Sumêg Village is a small replica of a Native American village in the traditional territory of the Yurok. Unfortunately no original structures remain from 1800s, so an all-Yurok crew constructed Sumêg Village in 1990. The name Sumêg means "forever," and it was chosen with the hope that this site would remain for many years to educate future generations and to preserve the heritage and culture of the Yurok. Two other nearby tribes, the Hoopa and Kúruk, also use this location. Today these three tribes use this village at Patrick's Point State Park for traditional ceremonies and events.
Several different structures can be seen around the village, each having its own unique function within the village. The family houses were the location of rest for women and children during poor weather. A second, lower level typically housed a fire that vented through a covered skylight and kept the inhabitants warm through storms. These houses were also used for defense because the small circular opening was easy for women and children to defend from attackers. The dance pit found in the center of the village would usually be created by dismantling a family home when a child became spiritually ill. For several days and nights the brush dance continued, lead by the local medicine woman. A changing house is likely one of the first buildings you will see where the opening inside is tall and easy to enter. Three changing houses can be found in Sumêg village, one for each of the three tribes who use this location. A couple of sweat houses are the last type of building found here. These buildings were used by men and boys for shelter during foul weather, but more importantly they were locations the men and boys used to purify themselves through sweating. Medicine women also used sweat houses to purify themselves before leading a brush dance.
While walking through this village, be extra respectful of the history and culture of the local Native American tribes. These villages once dotted the nearby coastline, but now none remain.