Nourishing the Spirit in Native California
Dive deep into agroecology and the Native plant wisdom of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Keeper and medical herbalist Sage LaPena (Nomtipom Wintu) in this autumn new moon episode. This episode is unique in that it is based on the public lecture and hands-on teachings of Sage LaPena earlier this year during The Cultural Conservancy’s (TCC) Spring Planting Gathering at TCC’s Ethnobotany garden at the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden at the College of Marin in Novato, California.
We learn about the sacred Oak and Peppernut trees of the North Coast landscape along with many of the cultural foods, medicines and craft plants native to the woodlands, grasslands, and riparian ecosystems of Coast Miwok territory. Sage eloquently shares ethnobotanical knowledge about trees, shrubs, grasses, and underground rooted plant parts such as mahogany, manzanita, elderberry, soap root, and Calechortus, among others. Sage reveals the life cycles and unique characteristics of these beautiful Native plant relatives, along with the high-TEK tools used to gather with, such as digging sticks and baskets. Additionally, we learn about traditional fire management and cultural burning and California Indian tribes historical and contemporary use of fire as a land-care practice.
Sage’s teachings demonstrate the power of applied Indigenous environmental education, the importance of Native peoples as agroecologists and biocultural restorationists, and the spiritual ecology of relationships between human, plant, and planetary health.
Interview: Oneness With That Place: A Chat With Native Herbalist Sage LaPena, December 6, 2016, KCET
Video: Sage LaPena on Traditional Native American Herbalism in KCET’s Tending the Wild.
Host/Writer/Director: Melissa K. Nelson
Producer: Sara Moncada
Co-producer and photographer: Mateo Hinojosa
Audio Editor and Engineer: Colin Farish
Assistants: Yvonne Martinez
Additional photography: Loren Risley
Songs (in order of appearance):
Opening theme song (excerpt): “Life” by Colin Farish featuring Airto Moreira on seed pods and Glen Velez on Irish Bodran frame drum