Geographic Context

Geographic Context

Humboldt County is located in Northern California - 250 miles north of San Francisco. The county is densely forested, mountainous, and rural, with 110 miles of coastline.  The county contains over forty percent of all remaining old growth Redwood forests, the vast majority of which are protected or conserved, within dozens of national, state, and local forests and parks, totaling approximately 680,000 acres.

There are 11 federally recognized and unrecognized tribes, rancherias and sovereign tribal governments within Humboldt State University's service area (Humboldt/Del Norte/Trinity Counties). These include:  Big Lagoon Rancheria, Blue Lake Rancheria, Elk Valley Rancheria, Hoopa Valley Tribal Council, Karuk Tribe of California, Resighini Rancheria, Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria, Smith River Rancheria, Tolowa Nation, Trinidad Rancheria, Wiyot Tribe and the Yurok Tribe.

The University sits in the northwestern portion of Wiyot ancestral territory, http://www.wiyot.com/.  The Department of Social Work respectfully acknowledges the Wiyot people and other Tribal communities on the North Coast and in the northern California region.

HSU is situated in a geographic region with numerous community resources, including the social and environmental justice organizations and movements that have a long history of activism and involvement in local government. Another strength is the vibrant and committed professional relationships among staff in public and private programs and schools, including partnerships with local governments and private foundations to secure support in meeting the social and health needs of people in this region. There are abundant resources to be found in the love that people express for maintaining the natural beauty of the environment, the well being of local communities, and the preservation of Native American tribal cultures.

The Department of Social Work has a long history of working together with surrounding communities to assure that these resources continue to grow. The geographic area also is presented with the challenges of contemporary life problems (e.g. family violence, crime, substance abuse, homelessness, poverty) coupled with the stresses historically associated with rural/small town communities (e.g. isolation, underdevelopment and inaccessibility). The Department of Social Work is committed to educating students to meet these challenges locally, while providing a curriculum that offers a global perspective on social issues and diverse societal responses.