Man walking away with fishing net. | Still from “Restoring the River with the Yurok, Karuk and Hupa” episode of "Tending Nature"

Holistic Healing with the Syuxtun Collective

Since the 20th century, Western medicine has focused on treating a patient’s symptoms, not the underlying cause. Today, scientists and doctors are realizing that we should be wary of a health system that relies on direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising and are embracing alternative, preventive whole body options, which start with a healthy mind, body, and spirit. These are concepts Indigenous peoples have practiced for thousands of years, by using medicinal plant knowledge that informed much our pharmacopeia. 

In 2016 Julie Cordero-Lamb, herbalist & ethnobotanist from the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation, did a plant walk while visiting Santa Barbara. Upon realizing there was no one to teach the youth about plant knowledge, she formed Syuxtun Plant Mentorship Collective. Cordero-Lamb, along with Mia Lopez and Casmali Lopez of the collective, Dr. Kevin Curran, professor of biology at the University of San Diego, and Ken Owen, executive director of Channel Islands Restoration help us rethink our relationship with medicine by connecting it to our knowledge of the flora and fauna of our surrounding environment.

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Restoring The River with the Yurok, Hupa and Karuk

For the past two centuries, California has relied heavily on the natural resources of the North Coast region, exploiting its pristine watersheds for agriculture and its forests for timber. But today, the environmental costs of timber extraction and damming have reached a tipping point. Now the Yurok are working with local and state organizations to revitalize the forests, rivers and wildlife, a comprehensive feat requiring collaboration among community leaders up and down the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. This episode features interviews with:

Managing Groundwater with the Paiute

In the wake of the recent drought, scientists and politicians are beginning to understand that reserving and maintaining groundwater is essential for addressing the state’s water needs. California’s Native peoples have lived with drought cycles for millennia and today, the Paiute are shepherding conversations around access to water resources, raising key questions about how our snowpack, streams and aquifers are used and maintained.

Rethinking The Coast with the Ti'at Society

Climate change and urban development have significantly altered ocean conditions and our ability to access the coast, making it more and more difficult for the Tongva tribe to carry on their long-held seafaring traditions. Today, members of the Tongva, Chumash and Acjachemen are rebuilding their connection with the ocean and the Channel Islands by rebuilding a Ti’at, a traditional Tongva canoe.

Holistic Healing with the Syuxtun Collective

Since the 20th century, Western medicine has focused on treating a patient’s symptoms, not the underlying cause. Today, scientists and doctors are realizing that we should be wary of a health system that relies on direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising and are embracing alternative, preventive whole body options, which start with a healthy mind, body, and spirit. These are concepts Indigenous peoples have practiced for thousands of years, by using medicinal plant knowledge that informed much our pharmacopeia.