Feather River College’s Spring Sustainability Series continues on Thursday, March 25, at 7 p.m. with an exploration of Maidu traditional knowledge about place, connection, and sustainable landscape management. The series theme for 2021 is Environment PLUS, and the March event is Environment + Culture.
“Given today’s challenges of wildfire and forest management, there is much to learn from the traditional practices the Maidu have used for generations. Look around – our forests are mostly still green. I’m sure we all want to keep it that way,” said Dr. Darla DeRuiter, chair of the Sustainability Action Team. “Opening up to the points of view our panelists bring to the table is critical to better forest management practices.”
Environment + Culture: Learning from TEK
Lorena Gorbet and Les Hall present an historical and spiritual view of how Mountain Maidu tend the land. Danny Manning and Hall both participate in cultural burning to bring back productive fire to the land. Trina Cunningham is involved with numerous partnerships and policy development throughout the state, and has a special ability to synthesize ideas.
One’s cultural experience, history, and lens influences forest management practices. Maidu people have a long relationship with the forests we live in, a relationship we can learn from. Bridget Tracy hosts this event, and all are welcome to join the free webinar Thursday, March 25, at 7 p.m. on Zoom: https://cccconfer.zoom.us/j/98556838815
Event planners encourage joining with small groups of family members and friends to watch the event. Please follow COVID protocols by wearing face coverings if interacting with others not in your household, washing hands frequently, and practicing physical distancing. If the webinar is full when you arrive, please livestream at the Feather River College Environmental Studies YouTube channel.
Mountain Maidu Panelists
Lorena Gorbet is a gardener, mother, grandmother, basket weaver and elder of the Mountain Maidu. Lorena works with the Maidu Cultural Development Group, and she is a founding member and leading voice in the Maidu Summit Consortium, a collaborative endeavor in interior Northern California to return traditional lands to the care of their traditional peoples.
Les Hall was born and raised in Oroville and currently lives in Meadow Valley where he has served as an active member of the Meadow Valley Fire Department since 2012. His maternal Mountain Maidu ancestry is traced to Genesee Valley. In addition to the cultural burning Les participates in through Plumas Underburn Cooperative and TREX, he assists with stewardship of the re-acquired lands from PG&E, including Tasmam Koyom, formerly known as Humbug Valley.
Danny Manning (Maidu, Diné) lives in Greenville and is Assistant Fire Chief with the Greenville Rancheria. Danny has been wildland firefighting for 20 years. He also does regular cultural burns and landscape stewardship and serves as a Fire Prevention and Investigation team leader with Bureau of Indian Affairs Forestry, Pacific Region. Danny is a student of the Mountain Maidu language and a board member of the Roundhouse Council Indian Education Center.
Trina Cunningham is a Mountain Maidu with deep roots in Genesee Valley. As a tribal lands, water, and fire expert, she works with local, state, regional and federal agencies as well as academic institutions to integrate and perpetuate indigenous cultural knowledge. Trina serves the community broadly and deeply and is Executive Director of the Maidu Summit Consortium.
Environment + Race: Recreation Access & Perspectives on Public Lands
For Earth Day, Thursday April 22, the series will culminate with a panel sharing their experiences with recreation as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Faith E. Briggs, Mario Guel, and Nizhoni O’Connell will help the audience find common ground, acknowledge that racism exists in the recreation field, and feel more open to discussion about the topic. Faith Briggs’ film, This Land, will also be shown.
DeRuiter, a professor of Environmental Studies and Outdoor Recreation Leadership, will host the event with help from her ORL 120 Event Planning class on Thursday, April 22, at 7 p.m. on Zoom. https://cccconfer.zoom.us/j/98556838815
The first event in January, Environment + Justice, featured Dr. Joan Parkin, FRC English professor and co-founder of the Incarcerated Student Program. Her enlightening talk exposed the audience of over 80 attendees to ways prisons and nature are entwined. One person said, “Despite having initially struggled to see how environment and justice could tie into one another, I found the talk very moving and informative.”