“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

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Tribal Hunting with the Pit River Peoples

The industrialized production of meat products has created numerous health issues: it has separated us from the animals it comes from, it is often inhumanely grown, and it is often filled with chemical additives. This episode explores how members of the Pit River Tribe in Northeast California are reviving traditional hunting practices, embracing Community Science initiatives to preserve and monitor wild elk and deer populations; as well as developing statewide intertribal trading networks for the distribution of humanely sourced and sustainable Native foods.

Healing The Body with United Indian Health Services

While “Food Deserts” is a term used by many to describe urban areas without access to fresh food, this issue is not just one that inner city areas are struggling with. Native peoples in rural areas often lack easy access to healthy, affordable food and a younger generation is witnessing the effects of health issues in their community. As a result, they have started several food sovereignty programs across California. The most prominent of these is in Arcata, CA at UIHS’ Potawot Community Garden which is serving as an inspiration for other initiatives across California.

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.