The Humboldt Area Peoples Archive was founded in early November 2016 by retired Humboldt State University (now Cal-Poly Humboldt) archivist Edie Butler and artist Scott Holmquist, at Holmquist’s urging. Holmquist soon recruited Southern Humboldt community leader Douglas Fir, geographer Dr. Dominic Corva and Northern Humboldt activist Richard Salzman. It became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in late 2017.
Our mission is to collect and conserve documents for public use related to culture, innovation, activism, cannabis, and the environment, as well as histories of counterculture and back-to-the-land in and around Humboldt. With an emphasis on the late 1960s to present.
In addition to preserving the records, we seek to promote wider knowledge of the recent past that built Northern California lives, arts, institutions and politics for greater equality, peace and the protection of our planet.
If you believe you have materials of historical significance and community value, please contact us.
Your history in good hands! HAPA Archivist Edie Butler loading the first boxes of archives to storage in Arcata, 2016.
HAPA Areas of Collecting
HAPA’s collections offer an unmatched dive into the extraordinary cultural changes from the 1960s to now in Humboldt and the Emerald of Triangle.
At no time since Euro-Americans expropriated the region’s Native American first-settlers has protecting the earth, and fostering a more just society and culture, been actively pursued by so many individuals, associations, and businesses. In large part, this is thanks to the political efforts of sixties-generation local Native American activists, hippies, environmentalists, dropouts, Leftists, LGBTQ people, and artists, whether homegrown or transplants to the region.
Without our intervention, these unique materials will disappear.
Over the past 5 years, HAPA has acquired over 250 cubit feet / 120 boxes of archival material including posters, oral recordings, publications, videos, games, photos, campaign materials, T-shirts and other objects. We are the custodians of the life’s work of many key figures in recent history, such as Joan Schirle of Dell’ Arte International, and of projects like the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project.
Today, authoritarian threats to democracy are growing across the US and indeed the world. The climate crisis is upon us. For both political and environmental reasons, we believe there is an urgent need to preserve, study and make accessible the rich evidence of citizen engagement and creative expression from the 60s to now in Humboldt.
We seek support to continue opening the records of Humboldt’s post-1960 counterculture and back-to-the-land movement, along with the stories of locals who joined them in building new businesses, organizations and ways of living. HAPA is the only organization to maintain a collection representing five decades of treasures from Humboldt’s recent history, available for education, research, production, and grant writing.
Welcome Avril, SJSU Intern with HAPA, Spring 2024
Executive Director. Nicole Riggs is the founder of Manifesto Synergies, a consulting firm for non-profits and women-owned cannabis businesses in Humboldt County. She is an Affiliate Researcher with the Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy (CASP), and a Co-Founder of the Cooperative Agriculture Network (CAN). Nicole has also published two translations from the Tibetan.
Founder and Treasurer. Since 2021, Scott has been presenting academic papers on the origins and culture of hippie communities that established the US cannabis industry's cradle in southern Humboldt County. Scott has been producing TV, books, art, and archives on the Humboldt Bay region for 30 years. Most notable is his suite of books (www.chronicfreedomseries.com) and the Low Tide Art|Archive project (www.lowtidearchive.com).
Edie is a Certified Archivist (now retired) who holds an MA in Public History, has been a director at the Humboldt County Historical Society, spent 15 years in Special Collections/ Humboldt Room at Humboldt State University (now Cal-Poly Humboldt) Library, and is deeply committed to preserving the region’s history, particularly that of environmental activism.
Secretary. Douglas has lived in southern Humboldt County for half a century. He formed one of the area’s longest standing communes, engaged in early environmental protection efforts, was involved with the Acorn Alliance (anti-nuclear energy and weapons group), co-founded Ancient Forest International, directed the Institute for Sustainable Forestry, and has served as a community facilitator and mediator, all the while growing illegal commercial cannabis. He holds an MS in Environmental Systems.
President. Assistant Professor in Sociology at Cal Poly Humboldt, Cannabis Studies Program Lead; co-director of the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research; Founder and Executive Director of CASP; co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Post-prohibition Cannabis Research.
Wendy is a mother to two beautiful girls and three wonderful stepchildren, a legacy regenerative farmer, a KNF expert, CEO of Sunnabis Full Sun Farms and a Ganjier Council member. Wendy strives to make other cultivators succeed and believes that more involvement in the political process is critical to that effort. Being of service to her community, both Southern Humboldt and the greater cannabis community, is of the utmost importance.
Eileen McGee is a media producer and former teacher who works with organizations and campaigns in Humboldt with a focus on messaging that informs and raises awareness around issues of importance in the community. She engages with organizations working for change and limits her professional work to people and projects that she believes will make a difference.
Richard is a highly regarded Northern Humboldt-based political activist who has managed or advised local campaigns, including the 2004 historic defeat of the attempted recall campaign against District Attorney Paul Gallegos. He’s been involved in electoral politics since his work as a field organizer on George McGovern’s 1972 Presidential campaign. He successfully challenged a local law restricting speech under the Cover of an anti-panhandling ordinance in Superior Court. He is a founding board member of the Humboldt Civil Liberties Defense Fund. He also professionally represents illustrators at richardsalzman.com.
Documenting the activism of Humboldt from the 60s to the present offers structural models.
Effective political organizing
The HAPA archive is the first and largest effort to preserve documents that reveal the nuts and bolts of Humboldt counterculture organizing.
Fights and measurable impacts from action on forest defense and river restoration in the Emerald Triangle through the 60s, 70s and 80s.