Tribal Youth Program teaches knowledge and skill

Photos courtesy of Lomakatsi Restoration Project

This July, ten young members of the Pit River Tribe ranging in age from 14-18 participated in a month long work and training program. The project combined science and cultural education with work to restore the ecology of the wild trout area of lower Hat Creek.

Tribal Youth, Elders, and Program Partners on opening day of the Pit River Tribal Ecosystem Workforce Training Program

Tribal Youth, Elders, and Program Partners on opening day of the Pit River Tribal Ecosystem Workforce Training Program

The Pit River Tribe, Lomakatsi Restoration Project, and Cal Trout cooperated to make the project a success. Cal Trout provided a grant to pay for the program. Pit River Tribe elders, cultural representatives and environmental technicians instructed the youth in Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Lomakatsi managed the program and employed the youth, providing technical expertise and professional mentors in ecological restoration.

The project included a full schedule of educational and hands-on activities.

The young people spent a week at a science camp at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed learning about the waterways, flora, and the fauna of the area.

The work project on Hat Creek involved trail improvement, restabilizing the banks, and helping to restore the natural oak environment along the creek. Belinda Brown, Tribal Partnership Coordinator for Lomakatsi Restoration Project, organized the work crews, picking up the young workers in the morning at the Safeway store and supervised their activities thoughout the day.

Trail improvement along Hat Creek

Trail improvement along Hat Creek

The group also visited Ajumawi Springs to study and repair fish traps.

Ginger Mike, Cultural Representative of the Ajumawi Band, shared about the importance of cultural resource protection and sacred sites.

Ginger Mike shares about the importance of cultural resource protection and sacred sites

Ginger Mike teaching about cultural resource protection and sacred sites

Participants learned about traditional foods such as pine nuts. The Hat Creek Ranger Station also addressed the group. In addition, the young people received some instruction in Achomawi language.

As a complement to learning traditional Pit River environmental technology, the young people were also treated to a day of fly fishing. Michelle Titus hosted the group at Clearwater Lodge and Drew Braugh from Cal Trout and three guides taught the young people fly fishing techniques.

Toward the end of the program the group was joined by tribal youth from the Ashland area in Southern Oregon. Radley Davis, Cultural Practitioner of the Illmawi Band, led a workshop teaching the young people to make a dugout canoe from a giant cedar tree trucked over from Old Station.

Dug out canoe workshop

Dug out canoe workshop

The program concluded with a visit by the combined youth programs to Burney Falls a traditional sacred site of the Illmawi Band of the Pit River Tribe.

Tribal Youth Project at Burney Falls

Tribal Youth and Ashland Youth Programs at Burney Falls

The Pit River Tribe is a sovereign federally recognized Native American Tribe consisting of 11 autonomous bands, whose homes and properties are distributed throughout the Upper Pit River watershed in northern California for time immemorial. The tribe contributed immensely to the success of the project.

“Protection and preservation of the cultural and environmental resources helps the tribe maintain sovereign jurisdiction over the tribe’s ancestral lands,” Chairman Gemmill said. “The partnerships have been able to provide economic and educational opportunities for the people.”

Lomakatsi in the Hopi language means “life in balance.” The Lomakatsi Restoration Project is a non‐profit, grassroots organization that develops and implements forest and watershed restoration programs and projects in Oregon and Northern California. Since 1995, Lomakatsi has formed collaborative partnerships with a broad range of partners including federal and state land management agencies, Native American Tribes, The Nature Conservancy, land trusts, private landowners, watershed councils, and city and county governments.

“Inspiring young people to pursue careers focused on the stewardship of forests, waterways and wildlife habitat is an important part of our mission,” Lomakatsi Executive Director Marko Bey said. “Traditional Ecological Knowledge is vital to successful ecosystem restoration.”

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Filed under Ajumawi State Park, Burney, Burney Falls, Hat Creek, Lake Britton, Pit River Tribe

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