Reclaiming, Restoring and Preserving Indigenous Relationship With the Land

By Paige (Bardolph) Laduzinsky
KCET: Tending Nature

November 18, 2020

The third and final season of “Tending Nature” connects us back to the Earth. It brings us to diverse environments across California, including the northern coastal prairies, springs in the Mojave Desert, fertile soil in the Capay Valley, and even the Presidio of San Francisco, an oasis of green space flanked by urban neighborhoods. Native tribal leaders, scientists, activists, and elders demonstrate how traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) helps protect and restore culturally and ecologically significant landscapes and how it provides a critical perspective when examining today’s environmental challenges, including climate change, development, and sustainable farming.

Throughout this season, the wisdom, lessons and stories from Indigenous peoples across the state revolve around the theme of land: reclaiming ancestral homelands and sacred sites, rethinking agricultural practices, and reinvigorating new landscapes. When it comes to protecting and advocating for land, Native communities still face challenges from the long-standing impacts of colonization. Many communities continue trying to regain land that was forcibly taken post-contact. Others are trying to restore areas devastated by industry or exploitation, such as ancient petroglyphs or ancestral villages that eventually became byproducts of industrial manufacturing. 

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