November 6, 2022
Native American Heritage Month – honoring the ancestry and traditions of Native Americans
Ethical participation, responsibility and reciprocity are words often used to describe the way a Native American experiences nature, or place. (There is no mention of Western concepts like ownership, resources, or maps in my readings by Native American authors.)
Sometimes I get a glimpse of what it might mean in everyday life to experience connection with all living beings. However, I have spent many hours, over 12 years, on the FECO public land and I find it very challenging to experience this place as an indigenous person would.
“The Hopi look at conservation from the point of view of caring for a relative and not from a scientific point of view of conserving a natural resource.“
UW Indigenous Series Webinar on Dryland Farming by Michael Kotutwa Johnson, also https://radiocafe.media/downtoearth-hopi/
When I was very young, there was a seasonal pond nearby where I would stare at the water for hours. The longer I stared, the more tiny critters would come into my view. But the connection I had made to ponds all went poof at adolescence. As for my European-descended family, it’s been 100 years since any of my ancestors even lived on a farm.
While planting, or weeding or harvesting, I default to viewing soil, water, plants and all the macro and micro fauna as living things separate from me. Among all the other living beings, I also find myself trying to play the lead role.
“The truth is that we need invertebrates but they don’t need us. If human beings were to disappear tomorrow, the world would go on with little change. … But if invertebrates were to disappear, I doubt that the human species could last more than a few months.”
Wilson, Edward O., The Little Things That Run the World (The Importance and Conservation of Invertebrates) https://faculty.washington.edu/timbillo/Readings%20and%20documents/ABRIDGED%20READINGS%20for%20PERU/Wilson_1987_Little_things_that_run.pdf
I hope to cultivate this interdependence with all beings, not from my thoughts but from within my inner spirit. For me, this way of being is more interesting, more peaceful, and could lead to a more intelligent life. But filters are thick and my thought patterns often stuck. It’s hard for me to stop thinking and go with direct experience. But it’s a goal.
“… In nature, all systems of energy transformation exhibit a similar kind of behavior (rc- referring to self-organization or “creativity” out of chaos). The survival of any self-organizing system depends upon its ability to keep itself open to the flow of energy and matter through it. This necessity may last a millionth of a second or billions of years, as is the case with the universe.”
Cajete, Gregory, Native Science, Clear Light Publishers, 2000, p18
How can I, an orchard volunteer, best serve all living things in the space that we care for? What do I offer to the land, in gratitude for what the land gives us? How do I honor all of my ancestors, even beyond those from my ‘family tree’?
Resources for Indigenous related plants and food:
Gunther, Erna and Jeanne R. Janish. Ethnobotany of Western Washington – The Knowledge and Use of Indigenous Plants by Natvie Americans. University of Washington Press, June 2003.
The Central Puget Sound Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society will loan out a slide show on Ethnobotany. Please contact the WNPS office at 206-527-3210 or 1-888-288-8022 to use it.
Native American EthnobotanyA Database of Foods, Drugs, Dyes and Fibers of Native American Peoples, Derived from Plants. http://naeb.brit.org/uses/search/filtered/
Read or Watch
Planning for a Climate Smart, Culturally Smart Future. Stefanie Krantz, Climate Change Coordinator, HIPT Alliance (Nov 9, so, not on their YouTube channel until December)
In this talk, planetary health and our well-being, traditional knowledge systems, land management, and ecological well-being will be discussed from a climate smart, culturally smart lens – a framework that was develop by the climate staff at the Nez Perce Tribe to find a way to include cultural survival in climate planning. See the HIPT YouTube channel here:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVmdDPwmM1ZKzx9oNc_QtEg
Rural Roots 2022 Pollinator Summit – Theme: Pollinators and Biodiversity.(Won the Moscow Mayor’s 2022 Earth Day Award)https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0E60BSiNJBFmzB7gcB47AgOBeDK0SCZr
Rural Roots: Over 20 years of working with and supporting small farmers who use sustainable practices. Our ancestors transformed ecosystems in sustainable ways. By listening to and adapting agricultural practices used by Indigenous, traditional, and local people; we can often halt and reverse the damage done to our environment. YouTube videos of presentations available at https://ruralroots.org/
Dr Chelsey Geralda Armstrong, Simon Fraser UniversityDocumenting land-Use legacies in the Pacific Northwest of North America: coupled archaeological and ecological signatures of indigenous forest gardens.
This relatively new research contributes to a growing body of evidence which reveals the ways in which Indigenous peoples’ land-use has positive effects on the lived landscapes and supports descendant communities seeking to re-integrate land-based foodways and livelihoods in unprecedented times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljQTIpitQZE
Smithsonian Native Cinema Showcase, November 18–25, 2022The museum’s Native Cinema Showcase is an annual celebration of the best in Indigenous film. Embracing their communities’ oral histories, knowledge and ancestral lands, Indigenous filmmakers are seeking guidance from the past and envisioning new paths for the future. https://americanindian.si.edu/events/?trumbaEmbed=eventid%3D162392737%26seotitle%3D2022-Native-Cinema-Showcase%26view%3Devent%26-childview%3D%26returnUrl%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Famericanindian.si.edu%252Fcalendar
Seattle Indian Health Board Traditional Medicine Garden. As a dedication to traditional medicine and healing, the Indian Health Board has created a Native medicinal garden at the Beacon Food Forest. Located in: Jefferson Park
Salmon Stewards can be found along Piper’s Creek on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. from November 5 – December 6, 2022.https://parkways.seattle.gov/2022/10/05/visit-with-carkeek-park-salmon-stewards-nov-5-dec-6/
Salmon are coming home to spawn in King County’s rivers and streams – find details on self-guided and interpretive viewing opportunities on the Salmon SEEson website.