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Traditional ecological knowledge

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) describes indigenous and other forms of traditional knowledge regarding sustainability of local resources. As a field of study in anthropology, TEK refers to "a cumulative body of knowledge, belief, and practice, evolving by accumulation of TEK and handed down through generations through traditional songs, stories and beliefs. It is concerned with the relationship of living beings (including human) with their traditional groups and with their environment."[1] Such knowledge is commonly used in natural resource management as a substitute for baseline environmental data to measure changes over time in remote regions that have little recorded scientific data.[2]

The use of traditional knowledge in this field in management and science is controversial since methods of acquiring and accumulating the knowledge, although often including forms of empirical research and experimentation, differ from those used to create and validate scientific ecological knowledge .[3][4] Non-tribal government agencies, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency have established integration programs with some tribal governments in order to utilize TEK in environmental plans and climate change tracking.

There is a debate whether Indigenous populations retain an intellectual property right over traditional knowledge and whether use of this knowledge requires prior permission and license.[5] This is especially complicated because TEK is most frequently preserved as oral tradition and as such may lack objectively confirmed documentation. Ironically, those same methods that might resolve the issue of documentation compromise the very nature of traditional knowledge.

Traditional knowledge is often used to sustain local populations and maintain resources necessary for survival.[6] However, it can be weakened or invalidated in the context of rapid climate change, environmental impact, or other situations in which significant alterations of ecosystems render it weak or obsolete[citation needed].

TEK can also be referred to as traditional environmental knowledge which emphasizes the different components and interactions of the environment. More specifically it contains the knowledge of species of both animals and plants, and biophysical characteristics of the environment through space and time.

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Transcription

WOMAN: WHAT THE SPANIARDS CAME AND SAW IN CALIFORNIA THEY DESCRIBED AS LOOKING LIKE A WELL-TENDED GARDEN. IT LOOKED LIKE THAT BECAUSE IT WAS. THE PEOPLE HAD LIVED WITH THE PLANTS, HAD LIVED WITH THE ANIMALS, AND HAD EVOLVED AN ECOLOGY BASED ON BRINGING WHAT THEY NEEDED CLOSE TO THEIR HOME VILLAGES TO MAXIMIZE THE GROWTH OF THAT THROUGH OUR LAND MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES, TO KEEP IT GROWING IN CLOSE TO THE VILLAGE, TO BRING GAME IN CLOSE TO THE VILLAGE SO THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO GO FARTHER AND FARTHER AFIELD. THAT'S OUR ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE, WHAT PLANTS ARE USED FOR FOOD, WHAT PLANTS ARE USED FOR TOOLS, WHAT PLANTS ARE USED FOR MEDICINE. MAN: THIS IS THE HUMAN STORY OF THE ENVIRONMENT THAT YOU MAY BE LEARNING THROUGH SCIENCE, BUT TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE IS A WAY OF LIFE. IT'S A ROLE THAT WE HAVE LEARNED FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS. AND NOW THAT ROLE HAS BEEN TAKEN OUT OF THE EQUATION, IT'S OUT OF BALANCE. NOW SCIENCE IS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO PUT THINGS BACK INTO BALANCE. AND THIS IS WHERE TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE CAN PLAY THAT ROLE ONCE AGAIN. MAN 2: CALIFORNIA'S A BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING, DIVERSE PLACE, BOTH IN TERMS OF ITS CULTURES, BUT NATURE, TOO, WITH EVERYTHING FROM THE COAST TO COASTAL RANGES TO INLAND VALLEYS TO THE SIERRA NEVADA TO THE DESERTS. IT MAKES IT ONE OF THE WORLD'S HOT SPOTS FOR BIODIVERSITY. HISTORICALLY, THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SETTLER COLONIAL SOCIETY AND THE MODERNIZATION OF IT, THERE AROSE A CONSERVATION MOVEMENT THAT RESISTED THAT DEVELOPMENT. AND HERE IN CALIFORNIA, MOST VIVIDLY EMBODIED BY JOHN MUIR, AND IN THE LATE 19TH AND EARLY 20TH CENTURY, ADVOCATING FOR THE CONSERVATION AND PRESERVATION OF NATURE AS TEMPLES WHERE WE COULD APPROACH GOD'S CREATION. WHAT MUIR SAW IN CALIFORNIA WAS REALLY 3 CALIFORNIAS: ONE, THE CITIES WHERE COMMERCE HAPPENS, WHERE MOST PEOPLE LIVE, THE SURROUNDING COUNTRYSIDE OF FARMS AND RANCHES AND MINES. THIS ECONOMICALLY PRODUCTIVE LANDSCAPE THAT WAS CHANGED FOR HUMAN USE, AND THEN THE CATHEDRALS OF NATURE BEYOND, WHERE NATURE WOULD BE PROTECTED AND WHERE WE WOULD GO TO VISIT, BUT LEAVE LITTLE TRACE THAT WAS SEPARATE FROM PEOPLE, THAT WAS SEPARATE FROM CULTURE. WOMAN: WE CAN SEE THE NATURAL WORLD AS SOMETHING TO EXPLOIT, OR WE CAN SEE THE NATURAL WORLD AS SOMETHING TO KEEP PRECIOUS AND PROTECT. IN BOTH OF THOSE CASES, HUMANS ARE SEPARATE FROM NATURE. TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE, IT'S A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE OF KNOWING A PLACE OR KNOWING THE NATURAL WORLD. TEK IS NOT JUST INFORMATION, IT'S HOW PEOPLE DO THINGS, IT'S HOW PEOPLE PRACTICE THEIR CULTURE, IT'S HOW YOU GO AND COLLECT MATERIAL FOR A BASKET. IT'S HOW YOU ACTUALLY GO FISHING, OR SET UP YOUR SOCIETY WITHIN A PARTICULAR PLACE. MAN: TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE IS STORIES THAT WERE PASSED DOWN FOR 10,000 YEARS FROM OUR ANCESTORS. THESE STORIES TRADITIONALLY TEACH BOTANY, SCIENCE, THE THINGS THAT ARE NECESSARY, BUT WE DIDN'T LEARN THESE IN UNIVERSITIES. THESE WERE THINGS THAT WERE TAUGHT BY PEOPLE THAT PRACTICED THEM FOR CENTURIES. WHEN WE HEAR A STORY ABOUT HOW TO COLLECT FOOD IN THE FOREST, THESE AREN'T JUST GUESSES. THEY ARE PROVEN TECHNIQUES THAT HAVE BEEN PRACTICED FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS. MAN 2: IN CALIFORNIA, THERE'S NO ONE TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE. THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF DIFFERENT CULTURAL GROUPS IN CALIFORNIA, AND THE WAY THAT THEY INTERACTED WITH THE ENVIRONMENT IS OBVIOUSLY GOING TO VARY WITH LOCAL CONDITIONS. IT'S GOING TO BE DIFFERENT IN THE DESERT THAN IT IS IN THE REDWOOD FOREST. WOMAN: IF YOU'RE A PEOPLE LIVING IN THE SAME PLACE, THE SAME REGION FOR 1,000 YEARS, YOU'VE WATCHED THE TURN OF THE SEASONS, THE MIGRATIONS OF ANIMALS, BIRDS, INSECTS, FIRE REGIMES, AND HOW THEY MOVE THROUGH PLANT LIFE. ALL OF THOSE THINGS TOGETHER, HOW WE GATHER OUR PLANTS, HOW WE ARE ABLE TO SUBSIST, ALL OF THAT ENCOMPASSES TEK. WOMAN 2: CONVENTIONAL SCIENCE KIND OF COMES OUT OF THIS ENLIGHTENMENT VIEW OF THE WORLD, WHERE MAN HAS DOMINION OVER THE NATURAL WORLD, WE ARE VERY SEPARATE FROM IT; WE WILL UNDERSTAND IT TO CONQUER IT AND HAVE CONTROL OVER IT. WHEREAS TEK, SCIENTIFICALLY, IS JUST AS CORRECT AS CONVENTIONAL SCIENCE, BUT IT LOOKS VERY DIFFERENT, AND IT REALLY PLACES HUMANS AS PART OF THE NATURAL WORLD. CHRISTENSEN: I THINK TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE IS AN IMPORTANT CONCEPT, BUT WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL ABOUT THE TRADITIONAL PART OF IT, BECAUSE IT'S JUST AS ADAPTIVE, IT'S JUST AS CHANGING, IT'S JUST AS MODERN AS WE ARE. ROTH-JOHNSON: ANYBODY WHO'S LIVED IN CALIFORNIA FOR A LONG TIME HAS SEEN LOTS OF WILDFIRES AND I FEEL LIKE IN THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, WE'VE PROBABLY SEEN EVEN MORE, RIGHT, DROUGHTS EXACERBATING WILDFIRES, CREATING DRIER CONDITIONS, AND THAT'S A HUGE CONCERN TO ANYBODY LIVING IN THE STATE. FEMALE REPORTER: WE CONTINUE TO FOLLOW BREAKING NEWS OUT OF THE SANTA CLARITA AREA, WHERE 200 FIREFIGHTERS ARE BATTLING A FAST-MOVING BRUSH FIRE ALONG NORTHBOUND HIGHWAY 14 NEAR SAND CANYON. FEMALE REPORTER 2: A DEVASTATING BLAZE TEARING THROUGH SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA OVERNIGHT, MOVING FAST, TRIPLING IN SIZE, AND ENGULFING MORE THAN 18,000 ACRES OF LAND. MAN: I HAVE HEARD SOME DESCRIBE THIS AS AN ECOLOGICAL DISASTER ON THE SCALE OF HURRICANE KATRINA. TREE MORTALITY IS A HUGE PROBLEM IN THE SIERRA RIGHT NOW. THERE ARE MILLIONS OF DEAD PINE TREES. EVEN WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT WHETHER THERE IS A HUGELY ELEVATED FIRE RISK BECAUSE OF THESE BROWN AND DRIED NEEDLES, IT'S A DIFFERENT FOREST FROM NOW ON THAN IT WAS A COUPLE YEARS AGO OR 10 OR 20 YEARS AGO. ROTH-JOHNSON: THERE'S BEEN A LONG HISTORY OF FIRE SUPPRESSION IN THESE FORESTS, AND WHEN YOU SUPPRESS FIRE, THAT ALLOWS FUELS TO ACCUMULATE, AND SO WHEN A FIRE DOES SPARK, NOT ONLY IS IT GOING TO BURN MORE AND HOTTER, BUT THOSE FUELS THAT HAVE BUILT UP OVER TIME ARE ACTUALLY GONNA FACILITATE THE MOVEMENT OF FIRE FROM SURFACE FIRES TOWARD THE GROUND UP INTO THE CANOPIES OF TREES. WHEN FIRE IS UP IN THE CANOPIES OF TREES, THOSE ACTUALLY BURN EVEN HOTTER, THEY'RE HARDER TO CONTROL, AND THAT'S REALLY WHERE KIND OF THE WORST DAMAGE COMES. CHRISTENSEN: IN MANY OF THE EARLIEST ACCOUNTS OF EXPLORERS AND SETTLER COLONISTS IN CALIFORNIA, THE LANDSCAPE WAS CONSTANTLY BURNING. THERE WERE FIRES EVERYWHERE. IN SOME OF THESE HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS, THE WRITERS ARE VERY CURIOUS ABOUT WHY IS THE LANDSCAPE ALWAYS BURNING. NOW WE KNOW THAT INDIGENOUS PEOPLE USED FIRE AS A FORM OF MANAGING THE LANDSCAPE FOR THE THINGS THAT THEY VALUED. ONE EXAMPLE OF TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE IS CULTURAL BURNING. CULTURAL BURNING IS A SET OF CULTURAL PRACTICES OF USING FIRE TO CREATE THE CONDITIONS FOR FOOD SOURCES TO GROW, TO CREATE THE CONDITIONS FOR OTHER RESOURCES TO GROW SUCH AS PLANTS THAT ARE USED IN ARTS, LIKE BASKETRY. THE LATE 19TH CENTURY, ALONG WITH THE VIOLENCE AND GENOCIDE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, THERE WAS WIDESPREAD SUPPRESSION OF FIRES. ALDERN: THE SPANIARDS WANTED TO SUPPRESS FIRE BECAUSE THEY SAW IT AS DANGEROUS AND DID NOT NECESSARILY UNDERSTAND WHAT PURPOSES PEOPLE WERE PUTTING THE FIRE TO. THEY SAW IT AS A CARELESS APPLICATION OF FIRE BY WHAT MANY OF THEM REFERRED TO AS "PRIMITIVE PEOPLE." SO FIRE SUPPRESSION IS VERY MUCH TIED UP WITH SOCIAL AND POLITICAL OPPRESSION OF NATIVE AMERICAN PEOPLE. IT MIGHT SOUND LIKE A GOOD THING TO HAVE A LOT OF TREES. THAT'S WHAT THE FOREST SERVICE THOUGHT, AND THEY WANTED TO MAXIMIZE THE NUMBER OF TREES PER ACRE, BUT WHAT THEY WERE DOING WAS CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE, GETTING LOTS OF LITTLE, THIN TREES IN BETWEEN THE BIGGER TREES AND THE WIDE SPACINGS THAT HAD BEEN MAINTAINED FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS BY INDIGENOUS FIRES. BY SUPPRESSING FIRE AND KEEPING PEOPLE FROM LIGHTING CULTURAL BURNS, YOU BUILT UP THE FUEL OVER TIME AND THAT'S WHAT HAS LED TO A SITUATION TODAY WHERE THE FOREST IS FULL OF TREES BUT REALLY CLOSELY PACKED AND READY FOR THAT SPARK AND FOR A HUGE WILDFIRE TO START AT ANY TIME. CHRISTENSEN: IT MAY BE THAT THE FIRES THAT COME INTO THOSE ECOSYSTEMS ARE CATASTROPHIC. THE RISK IS THAT THOSE FOREST SYSTEMS MIGHT NOT RECOVER. IT'S ALSO POSSIBLE THAT FIRE IS EXACTLY WHAT THOSE ECOSYSTEMS NEED TO BE RENEWED. [MAN CHANTING IN NATIVE LANGUAGE] MAN: YOU HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO WORK WITH FIRE. WHEN YOU'RE MY AGE, I TAKE MY YOUNG ONES OUT, "SMELL THE SMOKE, SMELL IT. THAT'S GRASS FIRE." "SMELL THE SMOKE, THAT'S A HOUSE BURNING." "SMELL THE SMOKE, THAT'S TIRES BURNING." "THAT'S A WOOD FIREPLACE BURNING." YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO SMELL EVERY SINGLE DIFFERENT KIND OF SMOKE. THE ANIMALS TEACH THEIR YOUNG TO DO THAT BUT IF THERE'S NO FIRE, THEY CAN'T TEACH THEM TO DO THAT. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE TO BURN. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE TO KEEP THE FIRES GOING, SO THAT ALL PARTS OF LIFE UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS THAT WE'RE DOING WITH FIRE. THE NORTH FORK MONO AND MOST OF THE OTHER MONO GROUPS HAVE BEEN HERE FOR 15,000 YEARS. WHEN THE INDIAN WAS OUT ON THE LAND, THEY ALWAYS BURNED, SO THE USE OF FIRE COMES THROUGH YOUR LAND SO THAT IT CAN TAKE CARE OF YOUR RESOURCES AND GIVE YOU NEW ONES. CULTURAL BURNING IS EXACTLY THAT. SO, WHEN WE BURN, WE ARE BURNING TO PERFECT THIS RESOURCE TO SUPPLY RESOURCES FOR OUR CULTURE, WHETHER IT BE FOOD, MEDICINE, FIBER, STICKS, BASKETRY MATERIAL. WOMAN: FIRE KEEPS THE GROUND CLEAN. FIRE KEEPS OUR ENVIRONMENT CLEAN. FIRE IS TO KEEP THE PLANTS HEALTHY THAT THEY KEEP GROWING MORE MATERIALS FOR US TO USE. IT'S A WIN-WIN SITUATION, FOR THE PLANT AND FOR US. EVERY PLANT IS AFFECTED BY FIRE. WE AS BASKET WEAVERS, WE ARE TOTALLY DEPENDENT UPON THE LAND FOR ALL OF OUR MATERIALS BECAUSE WE CAN'T GO DOWN TO MICHAEL'S AND BUY ALL OF OUR BASKET MATERIALS. THIS PLANT IS STRUGGLING, BUT IF IT COULD GET BURNED AND BURNED BACK, IT WOULD HAVE A WHOLE BUNCH OF NEW JUST REALLY STRAIGHT SHOOTS COME OUT THE TOP, BUT YOU CAN SEE HOW LONG OF A PIECE THAT WE NEED. WE NEED A FULL YEAR, FULL CYCLE, TO GATHER OUR MATERIALS. ALDERN: FIRE IS REALLY A LOT LIKE ELECTRICITY. ELECTRICITY IS A DANGEROUS THING. YOU CAN GET A SEVERE SHOCK FROM ELECTRICITY AND IT CAN KILL PEOPLE, BUT IT CAN ALSO BE PUT TO WONDERFUL USES. AND FIRE, WHEN USED IN A SOPHISTICATED MANNER, IS VERY MUCH THE SAME WAY. FIRE CAN COURSE THROUGH THE FOREST LIKE ELECTRONS THROUGH A WIRE AND ENERGIZE THOSE CIRCUITS THAT THE FOREST HAS. IT CAN TURN ON THE MEADOWS AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO BLOOM AT THE RIGHT TIME OF THE YEAR. GOODE: YOU HAVE TO HAVE FIRE IN ORDER TO HAVE REJUVENATION. ROTH-JOHNSON: I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE THAT THERE ARE MANY LANDSCAPES ACROSS CALIFORNIA THAT ACTUALLY BENEFIT FROM FIRE. FIRE IS A FORCE OF GOOD IN MANY NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS. WHEN YOU USE FIRE ON THE LAND AND HAVE THESE CULTURAL BURNS, YOU CAN MAKE AN ECOSYSTEM HEALTHIER. MAN: I THINK A REALLY CRITICAL PART OF THE WAY THAT IT WAS DONE HERE IN CALIFORNIA IS THAT WHEN THEY DID SMALL BURNS, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IS IS YOU WOULD GET GRASSLANDS AND BERRIES AND OTHER PLANTS THAT WOULD COME BACK. AND TYPICALLY, STUDIES THAT HAVE BEEN DONE SUGGEST THAT THE DIVERSITY AND THE DENSITY OF THE FOODS THAT ARE FROM THOSE PLANTS REALLY INCREASES IN THAT YEAR OR TWO AFTER A BURN. CUTHRELL: THIS IDEA THAT YOU HAVE A MODERATE LEVEL OF DISTURBANCE, THAT'S WHEN YOU HAVE THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF DIVERSITY AND RICHNESS AND ENVIRONMENT. MAN: DIDN'T YOU GUYS JUST BURN IT? MAN 2: IT'S BEEN A FEW YEARS, WE'VE BURNED, LIKE, I DON'T KNOW, 50 YARDS IN ALL DIRECTIONS, AND SO THIS WAS PART OF A LITTLE PLOT WE HAD BURNED HERE. LAVELL: SO THESE ARE NEW SHOOTS RIGHT HERE COMING UP. IT'S GOOD TO SEE THIS. WE'LL HAVE THE BERRIES TO EAT. IF YOU EAT THEM RED AND DRY WITH SALT, MMM. GOODE: WE WERE BURNING IN THE AREA THAT HADN'T BEEN BURNED FOR WELL OVER 100, 120 YEARS, AND WHEN WE DID BURN, THESE BUSHES THAT WE'RE STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT ARE BASICALLY 3 FOOT TALL, WERE ABOUT 5 OR 6 FEET TALL AND SO THICK YOU COULD NOT WALK THROUGH THEM, SO DRY THAT LICHEN AND THE CALIFORNIA DODDER, WHICH IS A PARASITE, WAS BEGINNING TO CRAWL ALL OVER THEM AND KILL THEM, SO IT NEEDED FIRE. THIS LAND NEEDED FIRE. YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO SEE THROUGH THE TREES. THE CONCEPT THAT WE ARE BRINGING FORTH WHEN WE WORK OUT ON THE LAND IS THIS OPEN CONCEPT. WE'VE GOT TO BE ABLE TO SEE THROUGH. WHEN THE BABY IS INSIDE OF THE BASKET, LOOK THROUGH THE BASKET, SEE THE WORLD, SEE THROUGH THE BASKET TO THE OUTER WORLD, SEE THROUGH THE FOREST, SEE THROUGH FROM THIS WORLD TO THE NEXT WORLD. ALWAYS THE ABILITY TO SEE THROUGH. ROTH-JOHNSON: THERE'S A NATURAL SUCCESSION IN THE WAY THAT PLANTS GROW OVER TIME. THAT CULTURAL BURNING KEPT THOSE MEADOWS MEADOWS. BY USING FIRE IN THE RIGHT WAY, THE RIGHT TIMES OF YEAR, THE RIGHT FREQUENCY THROUGHOUT DECADES, YOU CAN HOLD OFF THE SUCCESSION AND STOP IT AT THAT POINT WHERE A MEADOW IS A MEADOW. AND THAT'S GREAT FOR THE ECOSYSTEM AS A WHOLE, BECAUSE AGAIN, IT KEEPS THAT DIVERSITY OF HABITATS. IF YOU HAVE A MEADOW NEXT TO A FOREST, THAT'S GOING TO SUPPORT MORE DIVERSE LIFE, A GREATER NUMBER OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS, THAN IF YOU JUST HAVE A HOMOGENEOUS FOREST. CONNER BOHNA: ONE GOOD THING, IF WE COULD HAVE A FIRE, IT BRINGS THE SPRINGS BACK, THE WATER LEVEL COMES UP. SO THE SPRINGS HOLD MORE WATER. GOODE: FIRE IS ALWAYS ABOUT WATER. WHY ARE THESE STILL GREEN? THESE ARE BEAUTIFUL. WE HAVEN'T SEEN WATER FOR A MONTH. BECAUSE THEY'RE HOLDING WATER IN THEIR ROOT SYSTEM. WHY DOES THE WATER STILL IN THE RIVER CREEK DOWN HERE? BECAUSE ALL THESE PLANTS ARE STILL HOLDING WATER AND LETTING THE WATER GO GENTLY DOWN INTO THE CREEK. WHEN YOU OPEN THIS UP, SNOW, RAIN IS ABLE TO GET TO THE ROOT SYSTEM. AND THEN THE ROOT SYSTEM RETAINS WATER. WHAT WE HAVE DONE HERE BY OPENING UP THIS FOREST AND THIS LITTLE ECOSYSTEM IS WE'VE RETURNED THE WATER. CHRISTENSEN: THE TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE OF FOLKS LIKE RON GOODE TELLS US THAT FIRE CAN HELP THIN OUT AND MANAGE THE FORESTS, MAINTAIN MEADOWS WHERE WATER CAN SEEP INTO THE GROUND SO THAT IT DOESN'T RUN OFF IMMEDIATELY, AND IT'S STORED. AND THAT'S GOOD FOR OUR WHOLE WATER SYSTEM, PARTICULARLY AS OUR CLIMATE CHANGES AND SNOW MELTS FASTER, AND IT'S HARDER TO RETAIN AND MANAGE THAT WATER. SO THIS IS WHAT TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE TELLS US. IT'S REALLY INTERESTING THAT SCIENCE IS TELLING US THE SAME THING IN DIFFERENT STUDIES OF MEADOW ECOSYSTEMS IN THE SIERRA NEVADA. ROTH-JOHNSON: WHEN WE THINK ABOUT OUR RIVERS ACROSS THE STATE, AND OUR STREAMS, THESE ARE ALL PARTS OF WATERSHEDS THAT START UP IN THE MOUNTAINS. AS RAIN COMES DOWN IN THE MOUNTAINS, AS SNOW COMES DOWN, WE GET OUR SNOW PACK, THAT WATER EVENTUALLY RUNS DOWN INTO OUR WATERSHEDS. AND SO HAVING A REALLY DENSE FOREST, A LOT OF SCIENTISTS ARE STARTING TO THINK THAT, WELL, MAYBE IT'S HARDER FOR WATER TO SEEP INTO THE GROUND, BECAUSE IT'S BEING SUCKED UP BY THESE BIG, THIRSTY TREES. SO HOW WE'RE TENDING THE FORESTS, AND BURNING OR NOT BURNING THE FORESTS IS ACTUALLY AFFECTING SALMON IN OUR RIVERS. IF WE HAVE LESS WATER ENTERING OUR WATERSHEDS, THAT'S GOING TO POSE A PROBLEM FOR SALMON DOWNSTREAM WHO NEED THAT WATER TO SWIM UP THE RIVER TO SPAWN. MAN: A LOT OF THIS IS ALL OF OUR FAMILY FISHING HOLES. THE CREEK'S FLOWING OVER THERE AND IT COMES UP OUT OF THE GROUND RIGHT THERE AND IT JUST CREATES THIS BEAUTIFUL POOL THAT KIND OF--IT'S A LITTLE SANCTUARY FOR ANY KIND OF FISH THAT'S IN THE RIVER SYSTEM OR THAT BABY FISH THAT'S HANGING OUT BEFORE HE HEADS TO THE OCEAN. THIS IS A VITAL SPOT RIGHT HERE FOR THE RIVER BECAUSE IT NOT ONLY COOLS DOWN THE RIVER, IT HELPS THE FISH THAT STOP HERE AND REST BECAUSE THE RIVER'S SO HOT. THEY COME FROM THE OCEAN AND IT'S COLD AND THEY GET UP IN THE RIVER AND THE RIVER'S KIND OF SICK FROM BEING SO HOT AND PEOPLE TAKING WATER OUT OF THE RIVER AND THE DROUGHT AND EVERYTHING JUST ACCUMULATING. THIS SPOT KIND OF HELPS THEM OUT A LITTLE BIT. IT'S LIKE A PIT STOP FOR THEM. THEY KIND OF GET RECHARGED. MAN 2: I'M VERY CONCERNED. THERE'S WATER CONDITIONS, OCEAN CONDITIONS. RIGHT NOW, IN THIS LAST COUPLE YEARS, IT'S BEEN VERY NOTICEABLE, IS A LOT OF JUVENILE SALMON HAVE BEEN DYING BEFORE THEY CAN GO AHEAD AND GET BACK TO THE OCEAN AND REGENERATE. CHRISTENSEN: IN THE 20TH CENTURY, WE SAW THE TRANSFORMATION OF CALIFORNIA WITH HUGE WATER PROJECTS, WITH THE DAMMING OF RIVERS FOR IRRIGATION SUPPLY, FOR HYDROELECTRICITY, FOR FLOOD CONTROL. IN THE BUILDING OF THOSE GREAT DAMS AND THE FARM LANDS THAT USED THE WATER THAT WAS IMPOUNDED FOR IRRIGATION CREATED WHAT WE CALL A KIND OF HYBRID LANDSCAPE THAT IS BOTH NATURAL AND ENGINEERED. AND THAT'S THE CALIFORNIA BEQUEATHED TO US BY THE 20TH CENTURY THAT WE'RE NOW THINKING HARD ABOUT HOW WE CAN TRANSFORM FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE IN THE 21ST CENTURY AND BEYOND. AND THAT CHANGE IS THE GREAT CHANGE THAT WE'RE LIVING THROUGH AND IT'S BEEN BROUGHT ABOUT BY INCREASING CONCERN AND RESPECT FOR NATIVE AMERICAN RIGHTS, FOR NATIVE AMERICAN WATER RIGHTS, FOR NATIVE AMERICAN FISHING RIGHTS, FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES. MAN: WE HAVE BEEN WORKING FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS TO REMOVE DAMS ON THE MAIN STEM OF THE KLAMATH RIVER. WITH DAM REMOVAL COMES THE POSSIBILITY OF RE-ESTABLISHING RUNS OF SPRING CHINOOK ONCE AGAIN INTO THE ENTIRE BASIN. ROTH-JOHNSON: ACROSS THE STATE, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF ONGOING BATTLES TO PROTECT OUR RIVER ECOSYSTEMS. WHETHER THAT'S TO REMOVE DAMS, DO WE GET RID OF ALL THAT CONCRETE AND KIND OF RE-WILD THAT RIVER ECOSYSTEM? IT COULD BE CLEANING UP POLLUTION FROM RUNOFF FROM LOCAL INDUSTRIES AND FARMING, THE POT INDUSTRY IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT THINGS THAT AFFECT THE HEALTH OF THE RIVER. ACTIVISTS ALL OVER THE STATE ARE TRYING TO MAKE CHANGES TO THESE RIVERS TO BRING THEM BACK TOWARDS THEIR MORE NATURAL AND HEALTHY STATE. WOMAN: THE SALMON IS AS ESSENTIAL TO THE YUROK PEOPLE AS THE AIR THEY BREATHE. IN THE 1930S, THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA ASSERTED ITS JURISDICTION ON THE RIVER AND CLOSED THE RIVER FOR INDIAN GILL-NET FISHING. THAT DIDN'T PROHIBIT MY FAMILY, WHO BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE THAT RIGHT TO FISH, THAT INHERENT RIGHT TO FISH. AND SO, MY UNCLES KEPT FISHING BUT THEY FISHED AT NIGHT AND THEY CONTINUED TO FISH, AND EVENTUALLY, THEY DID GET CAUGHT AND THAT RESULTED IN THE SUPREME COURT CASE THAT REAFFIRMED OUR RIGHTS IN 1976. MAN: I STARTED OUT WHEN I WAS 12 YEARS OLD, ME AND MY BROTHER. MASTEN: AND SO THERE WAS A LOT OF ANIMOSITY BECAUSE THERE WERE A LOT OF FISHERMEN THAT WERE HERE ON THE RIVER, AND SO WHEN WE STARTED TO FISH WITH NETS, THEY WERE VERY UNHAPPY BECAUSE THEY HAD CLAIMED OWNERSHIP TO THE RIVER AT THAT POINT. BECAUSE HE WAS THE ONE WHO TOOK THAT COURT CASE, HE WAS A TARGET. SO THEY WOULD STOP HIM ALL THE TIME. CHRISTENSEN: THE KLAMATH RIVER AND OTHER RIVERS, LIKE OTHER LANDSCAPES AROUND CALIFORNIA, ARE STORIED LANDSCAPES, STORIED RIVERS. THEY HAVE A DEEP CULTURAL HISTORY AND THAT HISTORY AND THOSE STORIES HAVE OFTEN BEEN FORGOTTEN, BUT ARE COMING BACK WITH TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE. AND IT'S THE IMPORTANCE OF THOSE STORIES THAT ARE PART OF THE CHANGE OF RECONNECTING IN A POWERFUL WAY TO THE SALMON, TO THE RIVER THAT THE SALMON DEPEND ON. THOSE STORIES DRIVE THAT CHANGE AND THAT CARING AS MUCH AS ANYTHING ELSE. ROTH-JOHNSON: HISTORICALLY, LARGE POPULATIONS OF SALMON USED TO LIVE IN ALL THE MAJOR RIVERS OF THE STATE, FROM NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ALL THE WAY DOWN TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. SO SALMON IS A KEYSTONE SPECIES, AND WHAT THAT MEANS IS THAT SALMON PLAYS A VERY PARTICULAR AND IMPORTANT ROLE IN ITS ECOSYSTEM. SO JUST LIKE IF YOU HAVE AN ARCH, THE KEYSTONE IS THERE TO SORT OF KEEP EVERYTHING IN PLACE; IF YOU TAKE IT AWAY, THE WHOLE STRUCTURE FALLS DOWN. IF YOU TAKE SALMON OUT OF ITS ECOSYSTEM, THE WHOLE ECOSYSTEM WOULD FALL APART. THERE'S NOTHING ELSE IN THAT ECOSYSTEM THAT CAN PLAY THE ROLE THAT SALMON PLAYS AND REPLACE IT. SO IF SALMON GOES AWAY, THAT'S GOING TO MEAN REALLY BAD THINGS FOR THE ONGOING HEALTH OF THAT ENTIRE ECOSYSTEM. MASTEN: WHEN WE HAD THE FISH KILL, WE IMMEDIATELY CLOSED OUR FISHERY, BECAUSE THAT WAS A SIGN THERE WAS A TERRIBLE IMBALANCE IN THE WORLD. AND SO WE DIDN'T FISH, BUT EVERYONE ELSE STILL FISHED. THERE WERE THOUSANDS OF DEAD SALMON, 12- TO 15-POUND SALMON LAYING ON THE BANKS OF THE RIVER, FLOATING DOWN THE RIVER, AND THEY WERE STILL FISHING. SO SENSELESS OVER A DECISION OF THE GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE WATER TO THE FARMERS AND NOT TO THE RESOURCE IN A YEAR WHERE WATER FLOWS WERE SO LOW AND THE TEMPERATURE SO HIGH. SO THE TRIBE PRESENTED DATA AND SCIENCE TO SAY, "YOU HAVE GOT TO PROVIDE WHAT WATER IS THERE TO THE RESOURCE TO PROTECT THE FISH," AND THEY CHOSE NOT TO. AND AS A RESULT, WE HAD 70,000-80,000 DEAD CHINOOK SALMON. FISHING IS WHO WE ARE, WE'RE A FISHING PEOPLE, SO THE HEALTH OF THAT RIVER AND ITS RESOURCES IS THE HEALTH OF OUR PEOPLE. AND SO IF THE RIVER'S SICK, THE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE SICK. BECAUSE OUR CEREMONIES, EVERYTHING, OUR SPIRITUALITY, OUR STRENGTH AND HEALTH IS ALL CONNECTED TO THE RIVER, WE'RE ALL ONE. PERGISH CARLSON: YUROK BEEN FISHING THE RIVERS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME. WE'VE BEEN FISHING ALL UP ALONG AND DOWN THE RIVER AND ON THE COAST EVEN AND IN ALL THE VILLAGES ABOVE. PUAKLA, THE PUAKLA IS A DOWNRIVER PEOPLE. THAT'S WHERE MY PEOPLE COME FROM ON THE KLAMATH RIVER. THE RIVER DOES SO MUCH FOR US. IT NOT ONLY BRINGS US OUR FOOD, IT BRINGS US EVERYTHING WE NEED. WE'RE AT REQUA AT THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE KLAMATH RIVER WHERE THE RIVER MEETS THE OCEAN. THAT'S WHAT REQUA MEANS. IT'S THE MOUTH. THIS IS WHERE IT ALL STARTS. THIS IS WHERE EVERYTHING COMES IN, WHERE EVERYTHING GOES OUT. IT'S A CIRCLE OF LIFE DOWN HERE. I'M GOING TO DO A DRIFTNET, JUST A BASIC 30-FOOT DRIFTNET, THROW-NET. YOU CAN THROW IT OFF THE BEACH AND LET IT DRIFT DOWN AND HOPE SOMETHING HITS IT. WE HAVE A SELF-IMPLEMENTED CLOSURE JUST TO LET, YOU KNOW, THE RIVER HAVE A BREAK AS WE'RE SUPPOSED TO HAVE A REAL LOW SALMON YEAR THIS YEAR. RULES WILL CHANGE BASED ON THE CONDITIONS OF WHAT WE'RE IN. LIKE, IF IT'S, YOU KNOW, A REAL LOW YEAR, WE DON'T HAVE THAT MUCH FISH, WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO CONSERVE. WHEN THERE'S A LOT OF FISH AND THERE'S TOO MANY FISH, WE'RE GOING TO HARVEST. WILLARD CARLSON: LONG AS WE ARE HERE, THERE HAS TO BE SALMON. I COULD NOT IMAGINE NOT HAVING ANY SALMON. IT'S OUR WAY OF LIFE. IT BRINGS US TOGETHER, PROVIDES HEALTHY FOOD, HAPPINESS, SADNESS, GREAT OCCASIONS. WE ARE ALMOST READY. A LITTLE BIT OF SEA SALT, NOT TOO HEAVY, BUT... READY TO PUT THESE ON. PERGISH CARLSON: WANT TO START PUTTING THEM IN? WILLARD: CARLSON: SURE. GET THEM UNDERWAY. PERGISH CARLSON: NOT VERY MANY PEOPLE SAY THEY GO CATCH THEIR DINNER AND PLAN THEIR DINNERS ON WHAT YOU CATCH. IT NOT ONLY SAVES US MONEY, IT ACTUALLY IS GOOD FOR US, YOU KNOW? IT'S WHAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO EAT, WHAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO ALWAYS EAT. OUR MAIN FOOD 100 YEARS AGO WAS ACORNS, EELS, DEER MEAT, AND FISH. THAT WAS IT. SO WE'LL GO, LIKE, 10 MINUTES EACH SIDE, BE DONE. AND THE STICKS WILL ACTUALLY HEAT UP REALLY HOT RIGHT HERE. WILLARD CARLSON: ANTHONY BOURDAIN SHOULD BE HERE TRYING THIS. RIGHT OFF THE STICK, THERE'S NOTHING BETTER. TRY A PIECE? [CHUCKLES] CHRISTENSEN: FOOD IS ONE OF THE MOST INTIMATE WAYS THAT WE RELATE TO THE ENVIRONMENT. WHEN SETTLERS FIRST ARRIVED IN CALIFORNIA, THEY WERE REALLY CONCERNED THAT CALIFORNIA AND THE ENVIRONMENT AND WHAT THEY ATE WOULD CHANGE THEM SOMEHOW. LATER, AS THEY TRIED TO CLEAN THE LANDSCAPE TO PRODUCE FOOD, TO CREATE MODERN AGRICULTURE, VEGETABLE PRODUCTS, WE BEGAN TO CONCEIVE OF OUR BODIES AS SEPARATE FROM THE ENVIRONMENT. [CONNER SINGING IN NATIVE LANGUAGE] CONNER: I JUST FELL IN LOVE WITH THIS SONG. IT'S JUST AN ACORN PROCESSING SONG. IT'S A PAIUTE SONG FROM THE EAST SIDE. THE PAIUTES ON THE EAST SIDE LOVED ACORN, BUT THEY DON'T HAVE ACORNS OVER THERE. THAT'S WHY WE TRADED BACK AND FORTH. THAT'S THE REASON WE FILTERED OVER THE MOUNTAINS AND RAN THE CHUKCHANSIS OFF OF THEIR LAND IS BECAUSE WE WANTED THE BLACK OAK ACORN AND WE HAD TO HAVE IT. ACORN IS A PURE, LIVING FOOD. YOU'RE PUTTING SOMETHING THAT SACRED INTO YOUR BODY, MAN, YOU'RE PUTTING LIFE INTO YOUR BODY. I KNOW THE POWER OF ACORN. OUR MEN WERE LONG DISTANCE RUNNERS, AND THEY WOULD JUST HAVE A LITTLE FANNY PACK AND PUT SOME OF THOSE CONOWOYS, THOSE DUMPLINGS IN A PACK, MAYBE WITH A LITTLE BIT OF JERKY, AND THEN RUN TO BISHOP. THERE WAS SOME FORM OF ACORN PROCESSING GOING ON EVERY DAY IN THE VILLAGE BECAUSE FOR EACH PERSON IN THE TRIBE, IT TOOK APPROXIMATELY 1,000 POUNDS OF ACORN TO SUSTAIN ONE INDIVIDUAL FOR A YEAR. THIS LITTLE ROCK HERE CAN BE MADE OUT OF GRANITE. USUALLY IT IS. IT'S CALLED A PASOOWINU. I LOVE DOING THIS THE TRADITIONAL WAY. I'VE TRIED USING HAMMERS TO CRACK AND SHELL. THE PASOOWINU IS THE BEST WAY. SOAPSTONE IS EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY HOT, AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT GOES IN THAT BASKET WITH THAT ACORN, WHAT IT'S DOING IS ROASTING THE ACORN. AND YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE THAT ACORN BROWN IN THAT BASKET, AND IT JUST BRINGS OUT THE RICHNESS OF THE FLAVOR. YOU CANNOT GET THAT IN A POT. YOU JUST CANNOT BECAUSE A POT CAN'T GET AS HOT AS THIS SOAPSTONE. I'VE GOT THESE THINGS SO HOT, WHEN I PUT THEM IN A BASKET IT ACTUALLY SCARED ME. SO YOU WANT SOME REALLY GOOD CHICAONOS, CHICAONOS ARE STIRRING STICKS. AND SO YOU WANT SOME GOOD, STRONG ONES AND YOU WANT TO BE READY FOR ACTION AND YOU BETTER BE STRONG. AND OUR GRANDMAS WERE REALLY STRONG. THERE'S MAYBE 5 OF US IN THE NORTH FORK AREA THAT GATHER ACORNS AND WE CAN'T EVEN FIND ENOUGH FOR OURSELVES AT THIS POINT. A LONG TIME AGO, THERE WERE MORE OAK TREES. A LOT HAVE DIED. A LOT. MY GRANDMAS WOULD NOT ALLOW THEIR ENVIRONMENT TO LOOK THIS WAY. THEY'RE GOING TO EITHER CUT TREES, PRUNE THEM. WHEN THEY WOULD GO THROUGH, THEY'RE GOING TO BURN. THEIR NUMBER-ONE THING WAS THEIR OAK TREES, AND THAT SUSTAINED NOT ONLY THEM BUT THE SQUIRRELS, AND THE SQUIRRELS PROVIDE FOR THE OTHER ANIMALS, SO WE'RE BACK TO BALANCE. NOW IT IS TOTALLY OUT OF BALANCE. IF YOU DON'T USE SOMETHING, YOU NEGLECT IT, IT GOES AWAY. CHRISTENSEN: NOW IN AN INTERESTING WAY WE'RE COMING BACK TO THE IDEA THAT WORRIED THE FIRST SETTLERS, THAT THE ENVIRONMENT CAN AFFECT AND CHANGE US. WE NO LONGER THINK THAT IT MIGHT BE BEST IF OUR FOOD IS PRODUCED IN THESE ULTRA-CLEAN, MONO-CULTURE VAST FIELDS UNDER STERILE CONDITIONS. ROTH-JOHNSON: CALIFORNIA IS A BIG AGRICULTURE STATE. WE PRODUCE A HUGE AMOUNT OF THE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. AS SOON AS YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT PRODUCING FOOD AT THAT SCALE, THAT'S A HUGE CHANGE TO THE LANDSCAPE AND TO HOW WE ARE TENDING AND GROWING OUR NATURAL RESOURCES. MAN: WE'RE SO USED TO GETTING EVERYTHING FROM STORES, THOSE OF US WHO LIVE IN URBAN AREAS AND CITIES. EVERYTHING THAT WE NEED TO SURVIVE, FOR THE MOST PART, COMES FROM A STORE, WHETHER IT'S FOOD, CLOTHING, A REPAIR ON YOUR HOUSE, EVERYTHING IS FROM A STORE. IT'S THERE. WE'RE NOT USED TO GOING OUT AND HARVESTING AND GATHERING THAT OURSELVES. CHRISTENSEN: PART OF THIS GREAT TURN IN OUR THINKING AND PART OF THE GREAT TURN THE TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE IS CONTRIBUTING TO IS THAT OUR BODIES ARE POROUS TO THE ENVIRONMENT, WE ARE PART OF THE ENVIRONMENT, THE ENVIRONMENT CAN AFFECT US, AND PARTICULARLY THROUGH THE FOOD WE EAT. THAT BRINGS US TO TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO DECOLONIZE, NOT ONLY OUR INDIVIDUAL DIETS, BUT OUR FOOD PRODUCTION SYSTEM. WOMAN: ALL OF OUR COMMUNITIES ARE THREATENED AND LOSING PEOPLE FROM DIABETES AND OTHER DISEASES THAT COME IN FROM THE INTRODUCED DIET, SO A LOT OF THE TRIBES HAVE BEEN GOING BACK TO THEIR TRADITIONAL FOODS AND GROWING THEM AND SHARING THEM AND UTILIZING THEM AND MAKING THEMSELVES HEALTHY. SO IT'S ALL ABOUT THAT, ABOUT MAKING OUR COMMUNITIES HEALTHY AGAIN AND CORRECTING THINGS. TORRES: SO TODAY, OUR PALATES HAVE BECOME SO DESENSITIZED BECAUSE OF A LOT OF THE PROCESSING THAT OUR FOODS CONTAIN, WITH THE WHITE SUGAR AND THE FLOUR. SO WE'RE TRYING TO REINTRODUCE PEOPLE TO SOME OF THE CONTEMPORARY FOODS BY HAVING THOSE ITEMS. LIKE, SOMETIMES WE DO USE WHITE FLOUR. SOMETIMES WE DO USE PRODUCTS LIKE AGAVE SYRUP. BUT IT'S TO COMBINE THOSE TWO AND GET PEOPLE USED TO THAT WAY OF EATING AND THEN THEY CAN GRADUALLY START REMOVING SOME OF THOSE PRODUCTS, THE WHITE FLOUR, AND KIND OF REVERSE THE PROCESS OF WHAT HAS BEEN DONE. WHAT I JUST MADE RIGHT NOW, I USED TO CALL IT CHIA CANDY BUT WE KIND OF CHANGED THE NAME TO CHIA POWER BARS BECAUSE OF THE HEALTH BENEFITS. IT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN TAKE WITH YOU ON A HIKE OR IF YOU'RE OUTDOORS GARDENING, YOU CAN KEEP IT IN A LITTLE BAGGY, AND IT REALLY BOOST YOUR ENERGY LEVEL. YOU CAN REALLY ADD IT TO ANYTHING AND GET A PROTEIN BOOST FROM IT. ASIDE FROM THE PROTEIN THAT IT HAS, IT HAS OMEGA-3S IN IT, SO IT DOES HAVE A LOT OF HEALTH BENEFITS TO IT. OUR TRADITIONAL CHIA, YOU REALLY CAN'T FIND IN OUR AREA. THE CHIA THAT YOU FIND IN THE STORES IS A DIFFERENT SPECIES. SO IT MAKES ME FEEL THAT THERE'S THIS WANTING FOR US TO BE ABLE TO GROW THAT AGAIN AND TO HARVEST IT THE WAY MY ANCESTORS DID, BECAUSE IT'S ONE OF THE FOODS THAT WE CAN'T GO OUT IN NATURE AND HARVEST. THERE'S JUST NOT ENOUGH OF IT ANYMORE. MAN: FOR TENS OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS, INDIAN PEOPLE HAVE HAD A RECIPROCAL RELATIONSHIP WITH PLANTS AND IT'S BEEN GOOD FOR THE PEOPLE, IT'S BEEN GOOD FOR THE PLANTS. EVERYBODY'S BEEN HEALTHY AND HAPPY. FOR THE LAST 500 YEARS, THAT RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN SEVERED. PLANTS AREN'T BEING GATHERED ANYMORE. THE PLANTS ARE NOT HAPPY. THAT'S WHY THEY'RE KIND OF GROWING WILD. HIGH: EVERYTHING WE NEEDED FOR OUR LIFE CAME FROM OUR NATIVE PLANTS AND OUR NATIVE ANIMALS WHICH ARE DEPENDENT ON OUR NATIVE PLANTS. IF WE WANTED A TOOL, IT CAME FROM OUR NATIVE PLANTS. IF WE WANTED FOOD, IT CAME FROM OUR NATIVE PLANTS. IF WE WANTED TO BUILD A HOUSE, IT CAME FROM OUR NATIVE PLANTS. WOMAN: WE'RE AT ONE OF THE VILLAGES ON THE AMERICAN RIVER THAT WAS PART OF THIS WHOLE RIVER CORRIDOR OF VILLAGES, WHICH IS NISENAN MAIDU TERRITORY OR SOUTHERN MAIDU. THERE'S AT LEAST 3 OR 4 PLANTS JUST IN THIS SMALL AREA THAT ARE VERY USEFUL. SO THIS IS ARTEMISIA AND IT IS ONE OF THE PLANTS WE USE A LOT FOR EITHER WOMEN'S MEDICINE, BUT ALSO FOR PROTECTION. IT'S MADE INTO A TEA AND IT'S DRANK TO HELP REGULATE YOUR MOON CYCLE OR YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE. I REALLY WANT PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND, WE AS NATIVE CALIFORNIANS, AS TRADITIONAL PEOPLE, ARE UTILIZING THE SAME MEDICINES THEY ARE, AND WE'RE TRYING TO HARVEST THESE THINGS TRADITIONALLY ON OUR OWN OR PUBLIC LANDS THAT ARE IN OUR TRIBAL TERRITORIES. AND WHEN PEOPLE LEARN ABOUT HERBS AND HOW WONDERFUL THEY ARE, AND THEN THEY GO OUT AND GATHER ALL OF THEM, WE DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO OUR MEDICINE. MAN: ACCESS TO LAND AND THE SHORTAGE OF IT REALLY DISABLES US. A LOT OF LANDS THAT ARE NATURAL ARE ALL HELD BY FEDERAL AGENCIES OR PRIVATE LAND OWNERS. THEY FEEL THAT WE'RE TRESPASSING OR WE'RE GOING TO DESTROY WHATEVER IT IS THAT THEY HAVE OR THEY'RE LOOKING TO PROTECT. WHEN IN REALITY, WE'RE ONLY ENHANCING WHAT IT IS THAT WE'RE GATHERING OR WHAT IT IS THAT WE'RE WORKING WITH AND THAT'S THE TRANSLATION THAT NOT ONLY DOESN'T GET FULLY UNDERSTOOD, IT IS ALWAYS OPPRESSED TO THE POINT WHERE WE'RE FEARFUL. ROTH-JOHNSON: LAND SOVEREIGNTY IS A BIG DEAL FOR NATIVE PEOPLE AND WE HAVE RECOGNIZED TRIBES THROUGHOUT THE STATE, AND ALREADY THEY HAVE A HARD ENOUGH TIME GETTING ACCESS TO THE LAND AND TO THEIR RESOURCES THAT THEY CULTURALLY AND TRADITIONALLY NEED TO HAVE ACCESS TO. THERE ARE A TON OF TRIBES IN OUR STATE THAT AREN'T EVEN OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED, AND SO THAT'S AN EVEN HARDER CHALLENGE FOR THEM TO START TO APPROACH THIS CHALLENGE OF LAND SOVEREIGNTY AND JUST HAVING ACCESS TO THE PLACES WHERE THEY TRADITIONALLY WOULD HAVE COLLECTED MATERIALS TO SUPPORT THEIR CULTURE. MAN: TO UNDERSTAND WHAT'S BEHIND THE CURRENT ISSUES WITH NATIVE PEOPLE'S ACCESS TO THE LAND, IT'S IMPORTANT TO TAKE A LOOK AT HISTORY. WHEN THE SPANISH ARRIVED, THEY SET OUT TO CHRISTIANIZE THE NATIVES, AND THAT BASICALLY MEANT PLUGGING THEM INTO AN AGRICULTURAL ECONOMY, WHICH, FOR THE MOST PART, HAD NOT EXISTED IN CALIFORNIA BEFORE. NATIVE PEOPLE HAD BEEN INTIMATELY TIED TO THE LANDSCAPE AND USING GRASS SEEDS AND THE SEEDS OF HERBS AS A STAPLE FOOD, AND THE SPANIARDS BROUGHT CATTLE, WHICH ATE THE PLANTS AND DENUDED THE HILLSIDES, DEPRIVING NATIVE PEOPLE OF FOOD. CHRISTENSEN: IT WAS IMAGINED BY SETTLER COLONIAL SOCIETIES, INCLUDING HERE IN CALIFORNIA, THAT INDIGENOUS PEOPLE WOULD DISAPPEAR. THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN, DESPITE THE ENORMOUS, HORRIFIC VIOLENCE, WHICH I THINK HAS RIGHTLY BEEN CALLED GENOCIDE. CLARKE: WHITE SETTLERS AFTER 1870 OR SO SEEMED TO LOSE ENTHUSIASM FOR KILLING INDIANS IN CALIFORNIA, AND THEY STARTED A PROJECT THAT WAS LESS VIOLENT CALLED INDIAN SCHOOLS, IN WHICH CHILDREN WOULD BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILIES AND PUT IN SCHOOLS WHERE THEY WOULD BE WESTERNIZED. THAT BROKE WHAT WAS LEFT OF THE CULTURAL TRANSMISSION CHAIN FROM GREAT-GRANDPARENT TO GRANDPARENT TO PARENT TO CHILD. IF THE CHILD WAS REMOVED FROM HIS OR HER ELDERS, HE OR SHE WOULDN'T LEARN NATIVE WAYS, AND THEY WERE TAUGHT HOW TO FUNCTION IN A CASH ECONOMY, HOW TO BE FARMERS, LABORERS, THAT KIND OF THING. IN THE 20TH CENTURY, THERE WERE PEOPLE THAT HID THEIR NATIVE ANCESTRY BECAUSE THERE WAS SUCH RAMPANT DISCRIMINATION. HUMMINGBIRD: WE HAD TO HIDE. IT WAS HIDE OR DIE. WHEN YOU HAD TO HIDE AND YOU HAD TO HIDE YOUR CULTURE, YOU WEREN'T ABLE TO PRACTICE YOUR CULTURE. IT BECAME ABOUT SURVIVAL. EVERYTHING ELSE SEEMED LIKE A LUXURY. KNOWING YOUR LANGUAGE AND SPEAKING IT OPENLY. GOING OUT PICKING PLANTS WAS ALL CONSIDERED A LUXURY. WOMAN: THIS BASKET HAS A PRAYER THAT WRAPS AROUND IT AND IT PROTECTS THE PLANTS THAT I GATHERED INSIDE. AND IT SAYS IN CHUMASH... [SPEAKING CHUMASH]. WHAT THAT MEANS IS, "GRANDFATHER IN THE SKY, THANK YOU FOR THE SUN, THANK YOU FOR THE MOON. PLEASE WATCH OVER THE PEOPLE." MY NAME IS TIMA LINK. I AM SCHMUISH CHUMASH AND I'M A WEAVER. BEING A GATHERER IS NOT JUST A PRACTICE, IT'S A MINDSET. IT MEANS THAT NO MATTER WHAT I'M DOING, I'M GOING TO WORK, I'M OUT IN THE WORLD, THAT I'M ALWAYS READY. MY MIND IS ALWAYS READY. MY EYES AND MY HANDS ARE READY TO GATHER. SO THE SPANISH CAME AND THEN-- THE UNITED STATES AND THEY SWEPT OVER THE LAND AND WHEN THEY WERE DONE, IT WAS CUT INTO TINY, LITTLE PIECES AND THEY PUT FENCES AROUND THOSE PIECES. WE LIVE IN A WORLD OF FENCES TODAY, AND THOSE FENCES ARE BOUNDARIES BETWEEN US AND THE LANDSCAPE. I RESPECT BOUNDARIES. I THINK WE ALL DO IN THIS WORLD TODAY, BUT FENCES, BORDERS, DAMS, SOME THINGS WERE NEVER MEANT TO BE, AND TODAY WE REALLY TRY TO TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT WHAT A RELATIONSHIP COULD MEAN BETWEEN US NATIVE PEOPLE AND THEM, AND HOW IT COULD ENRICH BOTH OF OUR LIVES. ONE OF THE PLACES THAT I GATHER AT RIGHT NOW IS HEDRICK'S PRESERVE. THE MAN WHO OWNS IT, SANDY, THE LAND THERE HAS BEEN IN HIS FAMILY FOR GENERATIONS, AND BEFORE THAT IT WAS IN OUR FAMILIES. AND SO FAST FORWARD IN TIME, I'M LOOKING AT THE PLANTS THAT ARE ON THAT PRESERVE AS A RESOURCE FOR MY WEAVING. SO ONE DAY SANDY FOUND ME. HE SAYS, "I HAVE THIS BEAUTIFUL PROPERTY AND I'VE WORKED FOR YEARS TO RESTORE IT WITH NATIVE PLANTS." HE SAID, "I KNOW WE HAVE BASKET PLANTS, BUT I'D LIKE YOU TO COME SEE WHAT YOU THINK." AND I'M SO GRATEFUL THAT I HAVE THAT RELATIONSHIP WITH SANDY AT HEDRICK'S. I WILL SAY, THOUGH, IT'S A LITTLE IRONIC THAT I SIGN INTO A PLACE THAT WE USED TO, WELL, WE USED TO OWN. I ALWAYS LOVE COMING OUT HERE, ESPECIALLY WITH MY FAMILY. THE PLANTS ARE FAMILY. WE'RE FAMILY TOGETHER AND IT FEELS GOOD HERE, IT FEELS GOOD HERE. TODAY WE'RE GOING TO CLEAN THINGS UP. WE'VE GOT A LOT OF HEALING TO DO HERE ON THE LAND AND A LOT OF DEAD THINGS TO CUT BACK. AND IT'S GOING TO BE A GOOD DAY, SO THANK YOU. THE SANTA CLARA RIVER IS A REALLY SPECIAL PLACE FOR US. WE COME TO NOT ONLY GATHER, BUT WE ALSO COME TO TEND THE LAND. SO THAT'S A REALLY IMPORTANT PART OF WHAT WE DO. WE'RE NOT JUST HERE TO TAKE, WE'RE HERE TO GIVE BACK. THAT PART'S KIND OF HANGING DOWN. THIS PLACE IS REALLY SPECIAL BECAUSE IT'S A PLACE WHERE THE OLD BASKET WEAVERS GREW UP HERE. THEY WERE BORN HERE, THEY DIED HERE. AND THEIR BASKETS, THE ACTUAL JUNCUS THAT THEY MAKE THEIR BASKETS OUT OF, IT'S FROM HERE. SO I FEEL THAT, WE FEEL THAT WHEN WE COME BACK HERE THAT THERE'S A CONTINUATION GOING ON. TODAY, I CAME TO GET JUNCUS, AND JUNCUS TEXTILIS IN OUR LANGUAGE IS CALLED [SPEAKING CHUMASH]. DIFFERENT KINDS OF JUNCUS ARE GOOD FOR DIFFERENT BASKETS. THIS KIND OF JUNCUS IS GOOD FOR A COIL STYLE BASKET, REALLY TIGHT. WE MAKE GATHERING BASKETS OUT OF THEM, COOKING BASKETS. [WOMEN SINGING IN CHUMASH] LINK: WHEN I WEAVE, I HAVE SO MANY POINTS OF CONTACT, RIGHT? MY HANDS ARE ALWAYS IN IT. WE'RE HOLDING HANDS. MY BODY IS PUSHING, MY KNEES ARE PUSHING. I'M FORMING THIS BASKET. SO IT'S VERY MUCH LIKE NATURE. YOU HAVE TO BE OUT THERE WITH MANY POINTS OF CONTACT. IT'S LIKE A DANCE PARTNER. NATURE PUSHES YOU, YOU PUSH BACK. IF ONE PUSHES TOO HARD IT UNBALANCES, AND WE SEE THAT WITH THE FIRES NOW. NATURE IS PUSHING HARD AND WE HAVE TO PUSH BACK, OR WE PUSH TOO HARD AND IT PUSHES BACK. SO IT IS THAT BALANCE BACK AND FORTH. NATIVE PEOPLE ARE FINDING OUR TRADITIONS AGAIN. THE TRADITIONS ARE COMING TO LIFE. THEY'RE NOT ALWAYS LOST. SOMETIMES THEY'RE JUST ASLEEP. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THE WORLD HEARS ABOUT US IS THAT WE'RE NOT HERE, THAT IT'S ALL PAST TENSE. ALL OF OUR BOOKS, ALL OF OUR TV, IT TELLS US PAST TENSE. THEY LIVED, THEY WORKED, THEY ATE, THEY WERE, AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT WE ARE, WE'RE HERE. AND THE NATIVE PLANTS ARE HERE, TOO. NEITHER ONE OF US HAVE GONE AWAY. AND WE ARE FLOURISHING. YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHERE TO LOOK. HUMMINGBIRD: IMAGINE YOU HAVE A CULTURE, AND THAT CULTURE DEPENDS ON YOU GOING OUT INTO THE LAND AND GETTING WHAT YOU NEED IN ORDER TO TAKE THAT HOME, TO MAKE YOUR BASKETS, TO MAKE YOUR MEDICINE, YOUR FOOD, TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN. AND WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE ACCESS OR YOU DON'T HAVE THE ABILITY TO GO OUT AND GET WHAT YOU NEED, THAT HAS A DEVASTATING EFFECT ON YOUR CULTURE. THAT HAS A DEVASTATING IMPACT ON WHO YOU ARE AS A HUMAN BEING. AND THIS IS WHAT WE'RE DEALING WITH. THIS LONG LEGACY OF SOMETHING THAT WE DIDN'T IMPLEMENT, BUT WE'RE PAYING THE CONSEQUENCES FOR EACH AND EVERY DAY. CLARKE: RACISM STILL EXISTS AGAINST NATIVE PEOPLE IN CALIFORNIA, BUT INCREASINGLY, YOU SEE PEOPLE WHO REFUSE TO HIDE THE FACT THAT THEY ARE NATIVE, AND WHO EDUCATE THE REST OF US ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE NATIVE, AND THAT'S AN INSPIRING DEVELOPMENT. [MAN SINGING IN NATIVE LANGUAGE] MAN: MY NAME IS GERALD CLARKE JUNIOR, AND I'M A MEMBER OF THE CAHUILLA BAND OF INDIANS AND I LIVE HERE ON OUR RESERVATION WHICH IS SOUTH SIDE OF RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA. MY FAMILY HERE AT CAHUILLA, WE COME FROM A LONG LINE OF BASKET MAKERS, AND PRIMARILY IT WAS WOMEN WHO MADE THE BASKETS, AND SO I WANTED TO RECOGNIZE THAT TRADITION, THE BEAUTY, THE COMPLEXITY OF THE TRADITION. FOR ME, THERE'S A STRONG REASON WHY I'M USING POP CANS AND BEER CANS, BECAUSE BOTH ALCOHOLISM AND DIABETES ARE WREAKING HAVOC ON OUR COMMUNITIES TODAY, AND SO I DON'T EVER WANT TO BE ACCUSED OF IGNORING THE OBVIOUS. AS AN ARTIST I HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO EXPRESS THE REALITY OF MY COMMUNITY. THE FIRST CAN BASKET THAT I MADE I CALLED THE CONTINUUM BASKET AND IT WAS THIS IDEA THAT THE BASKETRY TRADITION, THE TRADITION OF MAKING THINGS, OF BEING CREATIVE CONTINUES ON THROUGH THIS VERY DAY. LATELY I'VE BEEN THINKING A LOT ABOUT PLANTS AND INCORPORATING PLANTS INTO MY ARTWORK BECAUSE MY FAMILY DOES GO OUT AND GATHER AND USE THESE PLANTS, FOR EITHER FOOD OR UTILITARIAN PURPOSES. WE GO OUT INTO THE MOUNTAINS AND WE GATHER ACORN AND WE GATHER THE YUCCA BLOSSOMS, AND SO WE GATHER THESE THINGS AND THEY GIVE US LIFE. WE'RE IN THE DESERT RIGHT HERE AND THERE'S TONS OF RESOURCES HERE THAT WHEN MANAGED RIGHT AND SUSTAINABLY PROVIDED A LIVING FOR THE CAHUILLA, ALLOWED US TO SURVIVE HERE. MY TRIBE HAS SENT CULTURAL MONITORS DOWN TO THESE LARGE-SCALE DESERT DEVELOPMENTS AND SOLAR, BECAUSE THIS IS NOT THE NEW WORLD LIKE YOU SAW IN YOUR TEXTBOOKS, THIS IS THE OLD WORLD. AND ANYTIME YOU MOVE DIRT AROUND, YOU FIND ARTIFACTS OF OUR ANCIENT PEOPLES, AND SO THERE WAS A CONCERN ON BEHALF OF OUR TRIBE TO GET DOWN THERE AND MAKE SURE ANYTHING THAT GETS DISTURBED IS REINTERRED AND RESPECTED AND PRESERVED SOMEHOW. MAN 2: FORD DRY LAKE, WHICH IS BELOW THE MOUNTAINS OF GENESIS SOLAR PROJECT, WAS A PREHISTORIC LAKE WHERE PEOPLE LIVED. THIS GENESIS PROJECT IS WHERE 3,000 ARTIFACTS WERE REMOVED AND ARE NOW SITTING IN THE SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY MUSEUM. THERE ARE 300 MITATIS. WHAT MITATIS ARE USED FOR IS TO GRIND FOOD SUCH AS THE SCREWBEAN OR BERRIES TO MAKE FOOD FOR THEIR FAMILIES. SO 3,000 OF THOSE, ALONG WITH A LOT OF CERAMICS, A LOT OF WATER VESSELS MADE OF CLAY. WHAT WE TOLD THEM AT THE TIME WAS ANYTHING YOU TAKE OUT OF THE GROUND WE CONSIDER FUNERARY, BECAUSE SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE HELD THAT ITEM AND USED THAT ITEM. AND SO THERE'S A SPIRIT ATTACHED TO THE PERSON WHO USED IT, AND HERE COMES THE OBAMA FAST TRACK LETTING THE SOLAR PEOPLE COME AND DISRUPT THESE SPIRITS THAT ARE ATTACHED TO THE FUNERARY OBJECTS AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE OPPOSED TO. THE ISSUE IS WE'RE NOT AGAINST SOLAR AND WE'RE NOT AGAINST INDUSTRY COMING TO THIS AREA. WHAT WE'RE AGAINST IS OUR PEOPLE BEING DUG UP AND THE FUNERARY ARTIFACTS BEING DUG UP. AND WHY WE WERE SO OPPOSED TO THOSE 3,000 ARTIFACTS WAS BECAUSE IN 7 GENERATIONS, WHEN INDUSTRY COMES TO PUT UP A WALMART OR A SONIC OR ANYTHING ELSE OUT HERE, THEY'RE GOING TO SAY, "HOW DID WE KNOW MOJAVE PEOPLE LIVED HERE?" OUR CHILDREN CAN'T PROVE IT BECAUSE THE FOOTPRINT WAS REMOVED. SAY, WELL, THEN YOU HAVE NO TIES TO YOUR LAND. AND SO 7 GENERATIONS BRING THOSE ARTIFACTS BACK AND PUT THEM BACK WHERE THEY WERE BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE THEY BELONG, BECAUSE THAT'S OUR FOOTPRINT OF WHO WE ARE. HUMMINGBIRD: WHEN THE ENVIRONMENT SUFFERS, SO DOES OUR CULTURE, SO DO OUR PEOPLE. AND IT'S A HOLISTIC APPROACH THAT EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED. EVERYTHING IS A CIRCLE, RATHER THAN WE LOOK AT IT AS ISOLATED INCIDENTS OR ISOLATED PROBLEMS. WHEN ONE ISSUE ARISES, IT HAS A CULMINATING EFFECT TO ALL OTHER ASPECTS OF OUR CULTURE, OF OUR LAND, OF OUR ENVIRONMENT. AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE DEALING WITH TODAY. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE PICKING UP THE PIECES AND TRYING TO PUT BACK TOGETHER AND FIX WHAT WE CAN. ROTH-JOHNSON: WE'VE BEEN ON THIS PATH FOR 150, 200 YEARS, AND I THINK NOW, WE HAVE A CHOICE. WE CAN CONTINUE DOWN THAT PATH, OR WE CAN RETHINK OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ENVIRONMENT AND FORGE A NEW PATH. AND I THINK THAT IS OUR TURNING POINT RIGHT NOW. BUGBEE: ONE THING TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE DOES, IT GETS YOU BACK TO YOUR CULTURE. WE KIND OF HAD A LOST GENERATION OF INDIAN PEOPLE WHERE THEY WERE KIND OF TAKEN AWAY FROM THEIR CULTURE AND THERE WAS A LOT OF HEALTH ISSUES AND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, AND THE WAY WE KIND OF SOLVED THAT IS GETTING BACK TO THE CULTURE. WHEN INDIAN PEOPLE GET BACK TO THEIR CULTURE, THEY KNOW WHO THEY ARE, THEY'RE MORE SECURE WITH THEMSELVES, AND ONE OF THE WAYS TO DO THAT IS WITH PLANTS AND THE OTHER WAY IS WITH LANGUAGE, AND THEN WHEN YOU COMBINE THE TWO, IT'S JUST A WONDERFUL THING TO CONNECT PEOPLE. HIGH: I WOULDN'T BE TEACHING ABOUT OUR CULTURE, AND OUR ENVIRONMENT, AND THE WAY WE DO THINGS WITHOUT THE BELIEF THAT THIS IS OPEN TO ALL PEOPLE TO NOT ONLY LEARN, BUT UNDERSTAND, TO ADOPT, TO TAKE ON AS THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF THIS. TORRES: AS A PERSON WHO LEARNED FROM MY ELDERS ABOUT THESE THINGS, THE ONLY THING THAT I CAN REALLY HOLD ONTO IS HOPE. IF WE CAN START GETTING PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND, I DON'T CARE WHERE YOU GO ON THIS EARTH, YOU BETTER HONOR THE INDIGENOUS OF THAT PLACE, WHETHER IT'S THE PEOPLE, THE ANIMALS, THE PLANTS, THE WATER. THE MOMENT THAT YOU DISREGARD THAT, EVERYTHING IS THROWN OUT OF BALANCE. CHRISTENSEN: THERE WON'T BE ONE SIMPLE ANSWER, BUT THROUGH LISTENING AND LEARNING, WE CAN UNDERSTAND WAYS THAT WE CAN CHANGE OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH NATURE. THAT WE CAN BEGIN TO SEE OURSELVES NOT AS SEPARATE FROM NATURE, BUT AS PART OF NATURE, PART OF A CO-CREATION OF PEOPLE, NATURE, AND CULTURE, ALL WORKING TOGETHER TO CREATE THE KIND OF WORLD THAT WE WANT TO LIVE IN. GOODE: IF YOU HAVE A BRAND-NEW HOUSE AND NOBODY LIVES IN IT AND NOBODY CARES FOR IT, IN A MATTER OF A COUPLE OF YEARS, IT WILL BEGIN TO FALL APART. IT NEEDS TO HAVE SOMEBODY LIVING IN IT AND THIS LAND HAS TO HAVE SOMEBODY LIVING IN IT. MCKAY: IT'S BECOMING MORE AND MORE PREVALENT THAT NON- INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ARE LOOKING TO THE INDIGENOUS FOR SOLUTIONS. THEY'RE SAYING, "HOW DID YOU COPE FOR THE PAST 10,000 YEARS DURING THESE TIMES OF CLIMATE CHANGE?" ALL OF THESE THINGS THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE HAVE ENDURED. THEY'VE COPED WITH. THEY'VE DEALT WITH. THEY HAVE LIVED THROUGH IT. THEY'VE TOLD THEIR STORIES ON HOW TO LIVE. WE'RE COMING OUT OF A 20TH-CENTURY TECHNOLOGY AND WE'RE GOING TO GO INTO A 21ST-CENTURY TECHNOLOGY, BUT THAT MAY HAVE A LOT TO DO WITH VERY ANCIENT TECHNOLOGIES, TOO.

Contents

Development of the field

The earliest systematic studies of traditional ecological knowledge were conducted in anthropology. Ecological knowledge was studied through the lens of ethnoecology, "an approach that focuses on the conceptions of ecological relationships held by a people or a culture," in understanding how systems of knowledge were developed by a given culture.[7] Harold Colyer Conklin, an American anthropologist who pioneered the study of ethnoscience, took the lead in documenting indigenous ways of understanding the natural world. Conklin and others documented how traditional peoples, such as Philippine horticulturists, displayed remarkable and exceptionally detailed knowledge about the natural history of places where they resided. Direct involvement in gathering, fashioning products from, and using local plants and animals created a scheme in which the biological world and the cultural world were tightly intertwined. Although the field of TEK began with documentation of lists of species used by different indigenous groups and their "taxonomies of plants, animals, and later, of other environmental features such as soils," the shift from documentation to consideration of functional relationships and mechanisms gave rise to the field as it is recognized today. In emphasizing the study of adaptive processes, which argues that social organization itself is an ecological adaptational response by a group to its local environment, human-nature relations and the practical techniques on which these relationships and culture depended, the field of TEK could analyze a broad range of questions related to cultural ecology and ecological anthropology, .[8]

By the mid 1980s a growing body of literature on traditional ecological knowledge documented both the environmental knowledge held by diverse indigenous peoples and their ecological relations.[7] The studies included examining "cultivation and biodiversity conservation in tropical ecosystems, and traditional knowledge and management systems in coastal fisheries and lagoons, semi-arid areas, and the Arctic." What these studies illustrated was that a variety of "traditional peoples had their own understandings of ecological relationships and distinct traditions of resource management." [8] The rise of traditional ecological knowledge at this time led to international recognition of its potential applications in resource management practices and sustainable development. The 1987 report by the World Commission on Environment and Development reflects the consensus at the time. The report points out that the successes of the 20th century (decreases in infant mortality, increases in life expectancy, increases in literacy, and global food production) have given rise to trends that have caused environmental decay "in an ever more polluted world among ever decreasing resources."[9] Hope, however, existed for traditional lifestyles. The report declared that tribal and indigenous peoples had lifestyles that could provide modern societies with lessons in the management of resources in complex forest, mountain, and dryland ecosystems.

Differences from science

Fulvio Mazzocchi of the Italian National Research Council's Institute of Atmospheric Pollution contrasts traditional knowledge from scientific knowledge as follows:

Traditional knowledge has developed a concept of the environment that emphasizes the symbiotic character of humans and nature. It offers an approach to local development that is based on co‐evolution with the environment, and on respecting the carrying capacity of ecosystems. This knowledge—based on long‐term empirical observations adapted to local conditions—ensures a sound use and control of the environment, and enables indigenous people to adapt to environmental changes. Moreover, it supplies much of the world's population with the principal means to fulfil their basic needs, and forms the basis for decisions and strategies in many practical aspects, including interpretation of meteorological phenomena, medical treatment, water management, production of clothing, navigation, agriculture and husbandry, hunting and fishing, and biological classification systems.... Beyond its obvious benefit for the people who rely on this knowledge, it might provide humanity as a whole with new biological and ecological insights; it has potential value for the management of natural resources, and might be useful in conservation education as well as in development planning and environmental assessment....Western science is positivist and materialist in contrast to traditional knowledge, which is spiritual and does not make distinctions between empirical and sacred. Western science is objective and quantitative as opposed to traditional knowledge, which is mainly subjective and qualitative. Western science is based on an academic and literate transmission, while traditional knowledge is often passed on orally from one generation to the next by the elders.[10]

Aspects of traditional ecological knowledge

The aspects of traditional ecological knowledge provide different typologies in how it is utilized and understood. These are good indicators in how it is used from different perspectives and how they are interconnected, providing more emphasis on "cooperative management to better identify areas of difference and convergence when attempting to bring two ways of thinking and knowing together."[11]

Factual observations

The first aspect of traditional ecological knowledge incorporates the factual, specific observations generated by recognition, naming, and classification of discrete components of the environment. This aspect is about understanding the interrelationship with species and their surrounding environment. It is also a set of both empirical observations and information emphasizing the aspects of animals and their behavior, and habitat, and the physical characteristics of species, and animal abundance. This type of "empirical knowledge consists of a set of generalized observations conducted over a long period of time and reinforced by accounts of other TEK holders."[12]

Management systems

The second aspect refers to the ethical and sustainable use of resources in regards to management systems. This is achieved through strategic planning to ensure resource conservation. More specifically this face involves dealing with pest management, resource conversion, multiple cropping patterns, and methods for estimating the state of resources.[13] A lot of ignorance toward traditional ecological knowledge is at the fault of management, these people are used to growing up in a more modern advanced system, they tend to ignore it.

Past and current uses

The third face refers to time dimension aspect of traditional ecological knowledge, focusing on the past and current uses of the environment transmitted through oral history.[14] Oral history is also used to transmit cultural heritage through generation to generation to maintain the sense of family and community.

Ethics and values

The fourth face refers to value statements and connections between the belief system and the organization of facts. In regards to TEK it refers to environmental ethics that keeps exploitative abilities in check. This face also refers to the expression of values concerning the relationship with the habitats of species and their surrounding environment - the human-relationship environment.

Culture and identity

The fifth face refers to the role of language and images of the past giving life to culture.[15] The relationship between Aboriginals (original inhabitants) and their environment are vital to sustaining the cultural components that define them. This face reflects the stories, values, and social relations that reside in places as contributing to the survival, reproduction, and evolution of aboriginal cultures, and identities. It also stresses "the restorative benefits of cultural landscapes as places for renewal"[16]

Cosmology

This aspect is a culturally based cosmology that is the foundation of the other aspects. The combination relates to the assumptions and beliefs about how things work, and explains the way in which things are connected, and gives principles that regulate human-animal relations and the role of humans in the world. From an anthropological perspective, cosmology attempts to understand the human-animal relationship and how these directly influence social relationships, obligations toward community members, and management practices.

Ecosystem management theory

Ecosystem management is a multifaceted and holistic approach to natural resource management. It incorporates both science and traditional ecological knowledge to collect data from long term measures that science cannot. This is achieved by scientists and researchers collaborating with Indigenous peoples through a consensus decision-making process while meeting the socioeconomic, political and cultural needs of current and future generations.

Traditional knowledge and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was one of the first federal agencies to develop formal policies detailing how it would collaborate with tribal governments and acknowledge tribal interests in enacting its programs "to protect human health and the environment."[17] In recognizing tribal peoples connection to the environment the EPA has sought to develop environmental programs that integrate traditional ecological knowledge into the "agency's environmental science, policy, and decision-making processes."[18]

Although TEK is not currently recognized as an important component of mainstream environmental decision making, scientists are working on developing core science competency programs that align with TEK and promote self-sufficiency and determination.[19]

In November 2000, U.S. President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 13175, which required federal departments and agencies to consult with Indian Tribal governments in the development of policies that would have Tribal implications.[20] Tribal Implications are defined by the EPA as having "substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the federal government and Indian tribes."[21] As a Federal agency of the U.S. government, the EPA was required to establish a set of standards for the consultation process. As its initial response, the agency developed a set of standards that would allow for meaningful communication and coordination between the agency and tribal officials prior to the agency taking actions or implementing decisions that may affect tribes. The standards also designated EPA consultation contacts to promote consistency and coordination of the consultation process, and established management oversight and reporting to ensure accountability and transparency.

One form of consultation has been EPA Tribal Councils. In 2000, the EPA's Office of Research and Development formed the EPA Tribal Science Council. The council, made up of representatives from tribes across the nation, is meant to provide a structure for tribal involvement in EPA's science efforts, and serve as a vehicle through which EPA may gain an understanding of the scientific issues that are of highest priority to tribes at a national level. The Council also offers tribes an opportunity to influence EPA’s scientific agenda by raising these priority issues to an EPA-wide group.[22]

Of importance for tribal members at the initial gathering of the EPA Tribal Science Council was the inherent differences in tribal traditional lifeways and western science. These lifeways include "spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental connections to the environment; connections which are based on intrinsic, immeasurable values"; and an understanding that the earth’s resources will provide everything necessary for human survival.[20]

The EPA's Tribal Science Council, however, was meant to act as a meeting place where both groups could "share information that may contribute to environmental protection for all peoples with neither culture relinquishing its identity." In an effort to protect TTL the Council identified subsitence as a critical area for investigation. The EPA-Tribal Science Council defined subsistence as: the "relationships between people and their surrounding environment, a way of living. Subsistence involves an intrinsic spiritual connection to the earth, and includes an understanding that the earth’s resources will provide everything necessary for human survival. People who subsist from the earth’s basic resources remain connected to those resources, living within the circle of life. Subsistence is about living in a way that will ensure the integrity of the earth’s resources for the beneficial use of generations to come." Because TTL or TEK is specific to a location and includes the relationships between plants and animals, and the relationship of living beings to the environment, acknowledgment of subsitence as a priority allows for the knowledge and practices of TTL to be protected. For example, as part of their deliberation regarding subsistence, the Council agreed to identify resource contamination as “the most critical tribal science issue at this time.” Because tribal people with subsistence lifestyles rely the environment for traditional techniques of farming, hunting. fishing, forestry, and medicines, and ceremonies, contaminants disproportionately impact tribal peoples and jeopardizes their TTL. As the EPA Council stated, "Tribal subsistence consumption rates are typically many times higher than those of the general population, making the direct impact of resource contamination a much more immediate concern."[20] As native peoples struggle with tainted resources, the Council has made progress in investigating its impacts.

Despite such efforts, there are still barriers to progress within the EPA-Tribal Science Council. For example, one obstacle has been the nature of TTL. Tribal Traditional Lifeways are passed down orally, from person to person, generation to generation, whereas western science relies on the written word, communicated through academic and literate transmission.[20] Endeavors to bring together western scientists and tribal people have also been hindered by Native American's perceptions that scientific analysis are put in a metaphorical “black box” that shuts out tribal input. Regardless, the EPA has recognized the ability of indigenous knowledge to advance scientific understanding and provide new information and perspectives that may benefit the environment and human health.

The integration of TTL into the EPA's risk assessment paradigm is one example of how the EPA-Tribal Science Council has been able to enact change in EPA culture. The risk assessment paradigm is an "organizing framework for the scientific analysis of the potential for harmful impacts to human health and the environment as a result of exposure to contaminants or other environmental stressors." Risk assessment has been used by the EPA to establish "clean-up levels at hazardous waste sites, water quality and air quality criteria, fish advisories, and bans or restricted uses for pesticides and other toxic chemicals."[23] Tribal people are concerned, however, that current risk assessment methodologies do not afford complete value to tribal culture, values, and/or life ways. The Tribal Science Council seeks to incorporate TTL into exposure assumptions existent in the EPA risk assessment model. A long-term goal for the EPA’s Tribal Science Council, however, is a complete shift in decision-making assessments from risk to preserving a healthy people and environment. As stated above, tribal people do not accept a separation of the human and ecological condition when they characterize risk. Through EPA initiated seminar, workshops, and projects, tribes have been able to engage in dialogue about the integration of Tribal Traditional Lifeways into EPA risk assessment and decision-making. This has occurred in a number of ways: inclusion of unique tribal cultural activities such as native basketry, the importance of salmon and other fishes, native plant medicine, consumption of large amounts of fish and game, and sweat lodges as exposures for estimating potential risk to people or to communities. Although these types of tribal specific activities may be included in EPA's risk assessment, there is no assurance that they will be included nor is there consistency in how they may be applied at different sites across the country.[23]

In July 2014, the EPA announced its “Policy on Environmental Justice for Working with Federally Recognized Tribes and Indigenous Peoples," setting forth its principles for programs related to federally recognized tribes and indigenous peoples in order to "support the fair and effective implementation of federal environmental laws, and provide protection from disproportionate impacts and significant risks to human health and the environment."[24] Among the 17 principles were #3 ("The EPA works to understand definitions of human health and the environment from the perspective of federally recognized tribes, indigenous peoples throughout the United States, and others living in Indian country"); #6 ("The EPA encourages, as appropriate and to the extent practicable and permitted by law, the integration of traditional ecological knowledge into the agency’s environmental science, policy, and decision-making processes, to understand and address environmental justice concerns and facilitate program implementation"); and #7 ("The EPA considers confidentiality concerns regarding information on sacred sites, cultural resources, and other traditional knowledge, as permitted by law.").[25] While this policy identifies guidelines and procedures for the EPA in regards to environmental justice principles as they relate to tribes and indigenous peoples, the agency noted that they are in no way applicable as rules or regulations. They cannot be applied to particular situations nor change or substitute any law, regulation, or any other legally-binding requirement and is not legally enforceable.[24]

Effects on environmental degradation on traditional knowledge

In some areas, environmental degradation has led to a decline in traditional ecological knowledge. For example, at the Aamjiwnaang community of Anishnaabe First Nations people in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, residents suffer from a "noticeable decrease in male birth ratio ..., which residents attribute to their proximity to petrochemical plants":[26]

In addition to concerns about the physical reproduction of community members, indigenous people are concerned about how environmental contamination impacts the reproduction of cultural knowledge. In Aamjiwnaang, oral traditions once passed down from grandfathers during fishing or grandmothers during berry picking and medicine gathering are being lost as those activities are no longer practiced because of concerns about these foods being contaminated. Rocks once used for sweat lodges are no longer being collected from local streams because the streams have become contaminated. The cedar used for making tea, smudging, and washing babies contains vanadium at concentrations as high as 6 mg/kg..., reflecting local releases to air of > 611 tons of vanadium between 2001 and 2010.... At Akwesasne, community members report a loss of language and culture around subsistence activities like fishing, which have been largely abandoned because of fears of exposure to contaminants.[26]

Climate change

Indigenous people and Climate Change: fact sheet about the health impacts of climate change on indigenous populations.

Traditional ecological knowledge provides information about climate change across generations and geography of the actual residents in the area.[27] Traditional ecological knowledge emphasizes and makes the information about the health and interactions of the environment the center of the information it carries.[28] Climate change affects traditional ecological knowledge in the forms of the indigenous people’s identity and the way they live their lives.

The rising temperature poses as threats for ecosystems because it harms the livelihoods of certain tree and plant species. The combination of the rise in temperatures and change in precipitation levels affects plant growth locations.[29] Climate change has wiped out much of the salmonids and acorns which make up a significant portion of the Karuk people's food. The increase in temperatures has stunted the wild rice's ability to grow and that has a negative influence on the Anishinaabe people's lifestyle.[30] The Ojibwe people are also affected by the rising temperature's effect on rice growth.[31]

The warming also affects insects and animals. The change in temperatures can affect many aspects from the times that insects emerge throughout the year to the changes in the habitats of animals throughout seasonal changes. In Maine, the loss of certain habitats and the increase in temperatures, especially in the colder seasons, encourages the survival of ticks that harm the moose population.[30]

As the temperature gets hotter, wild fires become more likely. Not only are different aspects of the environment are affected, but together, the health of the ecosystem is affected by climate change and so the environmental resources available to the indigenous people can change in the amount available and the quality of the resources.[30]

The Navajo Nation peoples in the Southwestern United States are victims to the pollution in the air. Climate change increases chances for droughts which lead to the dangers of airborne dust to be picked up from the ground.[32]

Water resources are also affected. In particular, about a third of the Navajo Nation people need to physically attain their own water. Damage to their water resources poses as dangers to overall health and crop failures. In Arizona, the Fort Apache reservation's children are victims to the rising temperatures in their water which allows more impurities to grow in the water and causes them to have diarrhea and stomach problems.[33]

As sea ice levels decrease, Alaska Native peoples experience changes in their daily lives; fishing, transportation, social and economic aspects of their lives become more unsafe. The Native peoples residing on the Gulf and West Coasts are affected by the rising sea temperatures because that makes the fish and shellfish, that they rely on for food and cultural activities, more susceptible to contamination.[34] The defrosting of soil has caused damages to buildings and roadways. Water contamination becomes exacerbated as clean water resources dwindle.[30]

Climate changes undermine the daily lives of the Native peoples on many levels. For example, to immediately deal with these conditions, the indigenous people adjust when they harvest and what they harvest and also adjust their resource use. Climate change can change the accuracy of the information of traditional ecological knowledge. The indigenous people have relied deeply on indicators in nature to plan activities and even for short- term weather predictions.[35] As a result of even more increasing unfavorable conditions, the indigenous people relocate to find other ways to survive. As a result, there is a loss of cultural ties to the lands they once resided on and there is also a loss to the traditional ecological knowledge they had with the land there.[30] Climate change adaptations not properly structured or implemented can harm the indigenous people's rights.[36]

The EPA has mentioned that it would take traditional ecological knowledge into consideration in planning adaptations to climate change. The National Resource Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture has used methods of the indigenous people to combat climate change conditions.[37]

Case Study: Savoonga and Shaktoolik, Alaska

In one study, villagers of Savoonga and Shaktoolik, Alaska reported that over the last twenty years of their lives, the weather has become more difficult to predict, the colder season has shortened, there is more difficulty in predicting the amount of plants available for harvests, there are differences in animal migrations, there are more sightings of new species than before, and the activities of hunting and gathering have become not as predictable nor occur as often due to more limited availability to do so. The residents saw a noticeable change in their climate which also affected their livelihoods. The plants and animals are not as consistent with their availability which affects the residents' hunting and gathering because there is not as much to hunt or gather. The appearance of new species of plants and animals is also a physical and nutritional safety concern because they are not traditionally part of the land.[27]

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Berkes, F. (1993). "Traditional ecological knowledge in perspective". Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Concepts and Cases. 
  2. ^ Freeman, M.M.R. 1992. The nature and utility of traditional ecological knowledge. Northern Perspectives, 20(1):9-12
  3. ^ McGregor, D. (2004). Coming full circle: indigenous knowledge, environment, and our future. American Indian Quarterly, 28(3 & 4), 385-410
  4. ^ Becker, C. D., Ghimire, K. (2003). Synergy between traditional ecological knowledge and conservation science supports forest preservation in Ecuador. Conservation Ecology, 8(1): 1
  5. ^ Simeone, T. (2004). Indigenous traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights. Library of Parliament: PRB 03-38E. Parliamentary Research Branch Political and Social Affairs Division.
  6. ^ AAAS - Science and Human Rights Program. 2008. 10 February 2009 <http://shr.aaas.org/tek/connection.htm>.
  7. ^ a b Berkes, Fikret (1993). "Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Perspective" (PDF). 
  8. ^ a b Berkes, Fikret. "Traditional Ecological Knowledge" (PDF). 
  9. ^ "Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future" (PDF). March 20, 1987. 
  10. ^ Mazzocchi, Fulvio (2006-05-01). "Western science and traditional knowledge". EMBO Reports. 7 (5): 463–466. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400693. ISSN 1469-221X. PMC 1479546Freely accessible. PMID 16670675. 
  11. ^ Houde, N. (2007) Ecology & Society.
  12. ^ Usher, P.J. 2000. Traditional Ecological Knowledge in environmental assessment and management
  13. ^ Berkes 1988, Gunn et all. 1988
  14. ^ Usher 2000
  15. ^ Houde 2007
  16. ^ Lewis and Sheppard 2005
  17. ^ EPA, OITA, AIEO, US. "EPA Policy for the Administration of Environmental Programs on Indian Reservations (1984 Indian Policy)". www.epa.gov. Retrieved 2017-04-12. 
  18. ^ Woolford, James (January 17, 2017). "Consideration of Tribal Treaty Rights and Traditional Ecological Knowledge" (PDF). 
  19. ^ "Integration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in Environmental Science, Policy and Decision-Making" (PDF). June 2011. 
  20. ^ a b c d Sepez, Jennifer; Lazrus, Heather (Winter 2005). "Traditional Environmental Knowledge in Federal Natural Resource Management Agencies" (PDF). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 
  21. ^ EPA, OA, OP, ORPM, RMD, US. "Summary of Executive Order 13175 - Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments". www.epa.gov. Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  22. ^ "Policy on Environmental Justice for Working with Federally Recognized Tribes and Indigenous Peoples" (PDF). www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/. July 24, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b "Integration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in Environmental Science, Policy and Decision-Making" (PDF). June 2011. 
  24. ^ a b "EPA Policy on Environmental Justice for Working with Federally Recognized Tribes and Indigenous Peoples" (PDF). July 24, 2014.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  25. ^ McCarthy, Gina. "EPA Policy on Environmental Justice for Working with Federally Recognized Tribes and Indigenous Peoples" (PDF).  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  26. ^ a b Hoover, Elizabeth (2012). "Indigenous Peoples of North America: Environmental Exposures and Reproductive Justice". Environmental Health Perspectives. 120: 1645–1649. doi:10.1289/ehp.1205422. JSTOR 23323091. 
  27. ^ a b Ignatowski, Jonathan Andrew; Rosales, Jon (2013). "Identifying the exposure of two subsistence villages in Alaska to climate change using traditional ecological knowledge". Climatic Change. 121 (2): 285–299. doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0883-4. Retrieved 5 April 2017. 
  28. ^ Moffa, Anthony. "Traditional Ecological Rulemaking" (PDF). Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  29. ^ "Climate Change Threats and Solutions". The Nature Conservancy. Retrieved 22 March 2017. 
  30. ^ a b c d e "Indigenous Peoples, Lands, and Resources". Global Change. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  31. ^ "Climate Change and the Health of Indigenous Populations" (PDF). EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency. May 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2017. 
  32. ^ "Climate Change and the Health of Indigenous Populations" (PDF). EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency. May 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2017. 
  33. ^ "Climate Change and the Health of Indigenous Populations" (PDF). EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency. May 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2017. 
  34. ^ "Climate Change and the Health of Indigenous Populations" (PDF). EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency. May 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2017. 
  35. ^ Vinyeta, Kirsten; Lynn, Kathy. "Exploring the role of traditional ecological knowledge in climate change initiative" (PDF). Portland, OR: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  36. ^ Raygorodetsky, Gleb. "Why Traditional Ecological Knowledge Holds the Key to Climate Change". United Nations University. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  37. ^ Moffa, Anthony. "Traditional Ecological Rulemaking" (PDF). Retrieved 16 March 2017. 

Further reading

  • Hernández-Morcillo, Mónica; et al. (2014). "Traditional ecological knowledge in Europe: Status quo and insights for the environmental policy agenda". Environment. 56 (1): 3–17. doi:10.1080/00139157.2014.861673. 

External links

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