Graduate Project

Traditional Environmental Knowledge (TEK) and Cultural Reconstruction: A Practical Application at the Red Bluff Recreation Area, Mendocino National Forest, Grindstone District

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  • The project location is a pre-historical gathering site for basketry materials utilized by the Wintun people within the boundaries of the Red Bluff Recreation Area. Due to environmental changes and neglect, the site has fallen into disuse and degradation. The aim of this project is ethnoecological restoration, which varies from traditional environmental restoration as there is a human and cultural element. One of the primary goals of this project is to incorporate tribal members and their use of fire and plant material knowledge in order to preserve cultural traditions. Desired results are the reduction of invasive plant species, insect species, a reduction of the dense understory within the site perimeter, and recovery of a traditional basketry materials gathering area. The project will enable continual participation and monitoring of the site as well as the restoration of a traditional cultural site for use in maintaining Wintun cultural heritage. The purpose of this project is to incorporate cultural practices within a stewarded environment that would require long-term integration and maintenance of a historically significant cultural area. Not only would the location be recovered but sustainably tended. This project recognizes parts of the landscape that we inherited still bear the marks of former Native American stewardship practices. It also recognizes that Native American practices that were used at the site location are a valid method of stewardship. Through the application of these practices the cultural site can not only be recovered but can serve as a demonstration of Traditional Environmental Knowledge (TEK) at the Red Bluff Recreation Area.
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