DNACA's focus on cultural diversity and inclusion has traditionally found its home in our more general commitment to promoting our community's local artists without regard to race, color, or other personal identification. Our focus on diversity and inclusion recognizes that Del Norte County is, demographically, a largely white community and somewhat lacking in cultural diversity.
According to the 2021 United States Census, the demographic makeup of Del Norte County is:
Information on demographic sources is at the bottom of this page.
Del Norte County was officially established in 1857, from part of the territory of Klamath County (which has since been disestablished) following the California Gold Rush. The area that is now known as Del Norte was and still is inhabited by the Yurok (Klamath River Indians) and Tolowa Nations of indigenous peoples, as well as Hmong and Hispanic peoples, and people of Pacific Islander and European decent.
Yurok: The Yurok's first contact with non-Natives occurred when Spanish explorers entered their territory in 1775. Fur traders and trappers came in 1827. Following encounters with white settlers moving into their aboriginal lands during a gold rush in 1850, the Yurok were faced with disease and massacres that reduced their population by 75%. In 1855, following the Klamath and Salmon River War, the Lower Klamath River Indian Reservation was created by executive order. The reservation boundaries included a portion of the Yurok's territory and some Yurok villages.
Tolowa: In the 19th century, epidemics of new diseases, such as smallpox, broke out among the Tolowa, resulting in high mortality rates. These occurred before they had face-to-face encounters with non-natives because of contact through intermediaries. In 1828 the first European American to explore the area was Jedediah Smith and his exploration party was the first known non-natives to contact the Tolowa. Between 1770 and 1910, over 90% of the entire Tolowa population was killed in deliberate massacres. This deliberate genocide of the Tolowa people has been recognized by the state of California. The survivors of early massacres were forced to move to the village north of Smith River called Howonquet, which is where their tribal offices are situated today. Estimates for the 1770 population of Tolowa have ranged from as low as 450 to an upper end around 2,400. In 1910, there were reportedly 150 Tolowa, and the 1920 census listed 121 Tolowa in Del Norte. By 2009, there were approximately 1,000 Tolowa Indians.
Others: Adding to the cultural mix, Del Norte was further pioneered and populated by Portuguese settlers and dairy farmers, and many of their descendants still call Del Norte home. Additionally, there is a small Hmong community in Del Norte county, represented in part by the Hmong Cultural Center whose mission is to preserve and share the Hmong heritage and traditions in our area. Del Norte also has a large Hispanic population. Most of the Hispanic community has Mexican heritage, but Central America and other areas are also represented.
Photo courtesy of the Hmong Cultural Center of Del Norte County Facebook page.
In keeping with DNACA’s mission to provide support and excitement for all the creative arts, and to inspire community vitality and harmony, we foster diversity and inclusion. Believing that the differing perspectives resulting from diversity and inclusion allows all organizations to be more effective, we are committed to promoting equality in the nonprofit sector as well as greater diversity and inclusion within our own organization. We do this by providing equal opportunity to people of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identifications, abilities, incomes, marital statuses, ages, geographic locations, philosophies, and veteran statuses in all levels of staff and governance.
This is achieved through the following efforts:
-Commitment to diversity in all staff, volunteers, Board and committee members, and audiences, including full participation in programs, policy formulation, and decision-making.
-Commitment to equal treatment and elimination of discrimination in all its forms at all organizational levels and throughout all programs.
-Commitment to adaptability, anti-racism, embracing cultural differences, respecting and valuing diverse life challenges, and remaining open to new experiences.
-Recognition of the rights of all individuals to mutual respect; acceptance of others without biases based on differences of any kind.
-Commitment to visible leadership and modeling diversity throughout the organization in order to lead society toward diversity. We believe we have a responsibility to society and our sector to achieve our goals with honesty and transparency, publicly promoting the benefits of diversity, and regularly reporting progress and lessons learned along the way.
-Commitment to individual and organizational efforts to build respect, dignity, fairness, caring, equality, and self-esteem. We acknowledge and honor the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals and pledge ourselves to creating and maintaining an environment that respects diverse traditions, heritages, and experiences.
-Encouraging voluntary diversity practices, including periodic self-assessments of Board and staff appointments. By increasing diversity and inclusion, we believe we will access more expansive and varied ideas, information, and perspectives, making us more creative and informed, as well as more reflective of the community that we serve.
Portuguese agriculture workers.
Diversity is the presence of difference. For example, a workplace offers a setting for different identities, such as race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, etc. A person is not diverse – they are unique. But an individual can bring diversity to a group. Diversity is plural and relates to groups or communities of people.
Inclusion is about people with different identities feeling and / or being valued and welcomed within a given setting (whether a team, workplace, or industry). Longtime educator, Vernā Myers, said: “Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” Inclusion isn’t a natural consequence of diversity. You can have a diverse team of talent, but that doesn’t mean they feel welcomed or valued or are given opportunities to grow.
Communities of Color
“Communities of Color” are identity-based communities that may share racial or ethnic characteristics among community members. We include what is often referred to as “BIPOC,” meaning Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, emphasizing the historic oppression of black and indigenous people. Members of Communities of Color may self-define and may share a history of, or current experiences of, racism. Given that race is a socially-defined construct, definitions of these communities are dynamic and evolve with time. Recognizing this, we define “communities of color” as including African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders, LatinX, and California Native Americans.
Intangible Cultural Heritage
UNESCO notes that cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts. While fragile, intangible cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization. An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life.*
U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP). Updated annually. Population and Housing Unit Estimates
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS). Updated annually. American Community Survey
The Race estimates of the population are produced for the United States, states, and counties by the Population Esimates Program and the race estimates of the population are produced for Puerto Rico, muncipios (county-equivalents for Puerto Rico), places, zona urbanas and comunidades (place-equivalents for Puerto Rico), and minor civil divisions by the American Community Survey.
The U.S. Census Bureau collects race data in accordance with guidelines provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and these data are based on self-identification. The racial categories included in the census questionnaire generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country and not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically. In addition, it is recognized that the categories of the race item include racial and national origin or sociocultural groups. People may choose to report more than one race to indicate their racial mixture, such as "American Indian" and "White." People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be of any race.
Census Bureau Definitions: