Water Wisdom: The Indigenous Scientists Walking In Two Worlds

By Jane Palmer
November 22, 2021

Meet the international researchers who draw on both academic training and cultural experience to help Indigenous communities protect water, restore ecosystems, and sustain traditional resources.

Every year, on one day in October, generations of the Washoe Tribe gather on the shores of Lake Tahoe for a day of fishing using handmade spears, harpoons, and nets made from willow, dogbane, and other traditional materials.

The Washoe have centered their lives around Lake Tahoe for thousands of years, catching and drying fish in the summers to sustain them through the winters. But in the colonialist world, the tribe of roughly 1,400 members has little access to the lake. Now, only once a year, through a partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washoe hold a ceremonial day of fishing when they use traditional techniques to reduce overpopulation of nonnative kokanee salmon.

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