“Managing Groundwater with the Paiute” Alan Bacock, Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley's Water Program Coordinator, testing water levels.

Running Ditches and Slowing Water: Paiute People Adapt Traditions to Modern-Day Gardens

A constant battle over water, including a major leak in a pipe owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, inspired the Big Pine Paiute Tribe to revisit the irrigation traditions of their ancestors and connect them to modern solutions.

Joseph Miller, a member of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe, describes how a plot of land has been transformed into a park, community garden, farmers market and an irrigation demonstration project. Working with the natural contour lines of the land, they have run ditches and made a berm to help water flow slowly into a water retention swell. Miller says they have applied the three S’s of water from permaculture rules: spread it, slow it and sink it. This process has improved the soil health on the plot and has made it possible to nurture plants as large as fruit trees, creatures as small as earthworms and fungi, and organisms as microscopic as beneficial bacteria.

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

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.

Protecting The Coast with the Tolowa Dee-ni'

Today many California coastal ecosystems are under threat from human caused toxification of our oceans caused by industrial and residential development. This episode journeys to the Smith River near the Oregon border to discover how the Tolowa Dee-ni’ are reviving traditional harvesting of shellfish such as mussels, and in the process, working with state agencies to monitor toxicity levels and redefine the human role in managing marine protected areas.

Decolonizing Cuisine with Mak–‘amham

The entire American populace is “food-washed”, we are eating mass produced products that are often pumped full of harmful chemicals or are genetically modified. Even “organic” certification is being revised and caught in fraud to include non-organic processes. This episode explores how two Ohlone chefs Louis Trevino and Vincent Medina are revitalizing Ohlone language, food practices and adapting them for a modernist palate.