Last week we were able to attend the first UW Indigenous Foods/Ecological Knowledge Symposium. It was a great event that included speakers from around the region as well as local food tasting. The event was also the inaugural event to honor UW’s future longhouse-style community building, Wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ(a Lushootseed word meaning Intellectual House), that will open its doors in 2014. This event symbolized the spirit of Wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ and embodies the essence of the work we envision doing in this cultural and intellectual space.
For more information on the speakers that presented see this: PrelimProgram.4.25
Several NWIC-Swinomish students were able to participate in an afternoon poetry workshop with the current Poet Laureate of Washington State, Kathleen Flenniken.
“Kathleen Flenniken came to poetry late, after working as a civil engineer and hydrologist at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. She teaches poetry and is a co-editor and president of Floating Bridge Press. She lives in Seattle, Washington.”
Workshop activities focused on the integration of environmental science issues and poetry and the use of parallelism in poetry. Her latest volume of poems (Plume) deals with her experience growing up in eastern Washington and working at Hanford.
Last week the Ecology of the First People’s calss had a joint field trip with with Sally Connor’s English class to Kiket Island (Kukatali Preserve). The tour was led by tribal naturalist, Tanisha Gobert. It was a great exploration of this recently reclaimed piece of land that is rich in botanical and wildlife diversity.
Read more about it HERE.
Above left: newly blooming current, above right: tombolo out to Flagstaff Island, left: naturalist guides the students to the shore.
(Photo credit: Sally Connor)
Last week we were able to travel to the world-renowned Makah museum, located at Neah Bay on the northwestern coast of the Olympic Peninsula. Along the way we visited the newly restored Elwha River and dam removal view point (formally Lake Aldwell.) We drove by Sail (pictured below) and Seal rock and stayed at Hoebuck beach. The sun was close to setting when we arrived, so some of the students had a chance to walk the beach and look for sand dollars before the group gathered for a meal and discussion of the day.
The next morning we arrived at the Makah museum which is an amazing cultural and historical resource. Many thanks to our guides and friends there for their time and teaching. We were also able to visit the gallery of Melissa Peterson, Makah artist. Finally, we headed back to the Swinomish site. On the way we stopped to look at a lovely herd of elk near Ozette.
We also viewed the Manis mastodon bones in Sequim, WA. These bones, accidentally discovered on a local farm, are evidence of one of the oldest human settlement in the Americas. A new study of the Manis mastodon provides proof of the oldest human settlement found to date in the Americas. The site is significant for more than being the oldest: For decades, most anthropologists studying early Americans believed the very earliest settlement was found in present-day Clovis, N.M. “Clovis man” was considered more than just the creator of a few tools and weapons; he was said to be a kind of cultural father to all ensuing generations of Native Americans. You can read more about it here.
Thank you to the science department for their support of this field trip.
More pictures below!
This quarter we are offering Ecology of the First Peoples (NESC 301). Last week we had discussions with Larry Campbell, Swinomish Historic Preservation Officer, and Theresa Trebon, Tribal Archivist, on Swinomish culture and history. This week students visited the Hilbulb Cultural Center at Tulalip. The center is approximately 23,000 square feet on a 50-acre natural history preserve. It was a great education experience and opportunity to view their certified collections and archaeological repository.
The ecology class was able to make it back to Port Susan Bay. Since our last field trip the dikes have been removed and the new sea wall has been built. The estuary is on its way to being restored and we are able to watch the process happen as well as get involved in some of the monitoring that the Nature Conservancy will be doing there for the next seven years!
The new estuary forming (left) after the dike was removed this summer (right).
Welcome back students! We are ready for another school year. Keep checking this site for updates and information on our science related activities and projects at Swinomish. There is also now another site for information on our 13 Moons Community Garden program.
See you all soon.
The Plant Biology students gave great presentations today that ranged from hummingbird pollinated flowers to camas to medicinal plants and ethnobotany. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to this class.
We were also visited by Indigenous Service Learning Faculty and Students that talked about their work on the main campus and acknowledged the ISL work that our students had done this year. Caroline Edwards led youth activities for Swinomish’s Earthday and Greg has been hard at work in the garden. All of the students are getting involved with the restoration project at Port Susan Bay and we hope to continue that in our Ecology class next fall.
The 13 moons community garden is growing. We saw some sunflowers just starting to push through this June-uary weather. We are looking for warmer summer days to come!
We had a good selection of foods on May 29th in our ‘Honor the Gift of Food Class.’ Students brought fish soup, nettle chips and fiddlehead ferns. We also sampled quinoa as an alternative grain and had some fresh local, organic asparagus. What are traditional foods? This is the question that we have been asking all quarter and we came to the consensus that traditional foods can be a lot of things. We all agreed that our relationship with food is deeply personal. In today’s class students talked about what they had prepared and participated in a discussion about cooking and eating with intention and the importance of preparing food with a good heart.
We hope to offer this class again next spring and it will be open to anyone for credit or CEU. Today while coming into school we had a row of crab pots ready to go! Another sign that the springtime will shortly be turning into summer!