CHICO — In the vervain fields of the Lindo Canal, dozens of people celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day by learning about native trapeze plants, seed planting and how indigenous people restored ecosystems.
The Traditional Ecological Knowledge Stewardship Program led Monday’s event, which guided people through traditional practices that endure to this day.
Ali Meders-Knight, master of traditional ecological knowledge, guided groups through a ‘wild care’ plant walk and basket weaving.
“Community nurturing and knowledge sharing are really important to understanding your place-based science,” Meders-Knight said. “Traditional and ecological knowledge is that long-term, place-based science that we can learn from indigenous peoples so we don’t miss the opportunity for a healthy ecosystem — especially since we have so many climate change issues.”
Eric Wright, a Chico Traditional Ecological Knowledge volunteer with experience in native plant restoration, spent part of his day teaching people about planting native seeds in the verbena fields.
“There are a lot of good changes going on in terms of indigenous relationships and creating better sovereignty,” Wright said. “And a lot of that has to do with this work. For me, it’s about learning and understanding this process as it has been done by land managers for thousands of years, and celebrating that work and helping people recognize that this work is important to the environment and the community .”
“Learning this process through the mentorship of the Mechoopda peoples, through the lands of other Maidu and indigenous peoples, is a way of healing the land but also seeing its worth in a great way,” Wright said.
Pablo García attended the event with friends who are involved in local environmental organizations. Together they strategically planted wildflowers across the Lindo Canal to ensure the plants survived the sun.
“I like it because it’s a small thing that builds up,” García said. “I think what’s most fascinating to me is that something so small can overlap and you only see the impact – like what we’re doing really matters.”
The Chico Traditional Ecological Stewardship Program hosts a wildlife conservation plant walk on the last Tuesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. with the Camp Fire Restoration Project https://tecchico.org/. For more information, visit the Traditional Ecological Stewardship Program website at https://tecchico.org or its Facebook events page at https://bit.ly/3EwGAxz.