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It worked out well that Lisa Hillman was at the tiny airport in McKinleyville, Humboldt County, when I called her to talk recently. She usually doesn’t have cell service.
That’s because Ms. Hillman, a member of the Karuk Tribe who works as program manager for its Píkyav Field Institute, lives two hours away in the town of Orleans, along the Klamath River.
Also a long drive away from her home: The nearest grocery store.
“They just opened up a supermarket in Hoopa, which is 40 minutes away,” she told me. “But they’re all small and they’re all super expensive.”
The tribes, like the Karuk, who live in the vast, towering forests of the Klamath River Basin — who have for centuries hunted deer and gathered acorns, who knew how to weave baskets to catch once-plentiful salmon — now face food shortages at higher rates than almost anywhere else in the country.