"The Lekwungen people will continue to harvest and prepare the camas for many years to come. Its importance is vital to our history, traditions and future roles and responsibilities. There is still so much work that needs to be done with regards to camas and cultural restoration. There is a growing need to have access to traditional food in Lekwungen Territory. Even more so to environmentally safe food to consume. Cultural roles and practices need to be included in the restoration of these ecosystems." - Cheryl Bryce (2006)
Indigenous Ecosystems refers to an unseen cultured relationship which people develop with the land.
This includes understanding (and many times internalizing) the seasons, when wild vegetables are ready, the movements of fish, the needs of fruits and tending to these relationships. This is the physical cultivation and manifestation of indigenous ecosystems, the landscapes that are nurtured in order to perpetuate space for practice, ritual, and ceremony. Rhythmic sync with these times are available to every intentional observation and action appropriate to purpose in place.
Inspiration of Indigenous Ecosystems personally credit to Cheyrl Bryce, a strong woman leader of the Songhees Nation in British Colombia and supporter of traditional foods such as camas and traditional food sovereignty. We can aliken her passion in Hawaii to the continued practice of gathering 'opihi, a limpet, from the ocean or hula plants from the mountains. These are cross societal behaviors which become unique related to climate, topography and biology.
Building on solid Foundation.....
Building upon that initial paper in 2003 I completed my master's in Spring 2011 focusing on the Hawaiian tradition of underground cooking, or imu, in a contemporary setting, but many other uses are also known for imu. Goals of the project were to understand what people were gathering (in general) and then record how community members are adapting to changing plant conditions and technology availability. Outcomes of the project included identification of continued family traditions, identification of culturally vibrant plants, identification of community future needs and points of view which seem to battle conservation but may nurse familial and Indigenous Ecosystem relationships.
After meeting Cheryl in Summer 2011 and integrating the understanding of Indigenous Ecosystems the projects next steps are to compare Native Hawaiian and Maori/Moriori plant gathering practices. Identifying how tropical and temperate island Polynesians are utilizing introduced and native species in a time of heightened conservation awareness as well as local community stoking of culturally vibrant activities (traditional diets, medicines, adornment, techniques and technologies). We are all aware that we are living in the 21st century a time of twitter, tumblr and tradtional knowledge. This interface is dedicated to sharing those experiences of Indigenous Ecosystems gladness which are limited to just some, maybe because of circumstance, choice, curioisity or naivity, but at all times available to all.
Channel Down2Earth. Down2Earth 1.3 - Cheryl Bryce (Lekwammen). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKTxP_zy_mA May 2013.
Pukui and Elbert. Hawaiian Dictionary. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2003. http://wehewehe.org/ May 2013.
Penn, Briony. Restoring Camas and Culture to Lekwungen and Victoria: An interview with Lekwungen Cheryl Bryce. FOCUS MAGAZINE. June 2006.
Picture I - Kaleo Wong (Hawaii), @manuiwa
Picture II - Natalie Couch (New Zealand/Aotearoa)
Picture III - No'eau Peralto (Hawaii), @noiau