The native peoples that inhabited (and still inhabit) California (and a host of other places) were not the misled hands off nature conservationists that exist today...nor were they on the other extreme stripping the earth of its resources. They were the ultimate managers of the land...thankfully using what they needed and tending resources to be there for the future. Hundreds and hundreds of years of observation and trial and error imbued their peoples with a knowledge of how to use the lands resources...not just to survive...but to thrive. While our land has but a shadow of the resources that once existed here...we can still use what is left of that knowledge...to increase our awareness of the natural world and how to use and not abuse it.
It's hard to describe...but there is something that is just so satisfying about going for a nature walk and noticing a game trail...or collecting materials and weaving a useful basket...or seeing a mushroom growing and collecting it for lunch...or starting a fire using just sticks...of hearing a bird song and knowing what it might be talking about. It is a path to really understanding and appreciating the works of the Great Creator. A path of true self reliance...not dependent on gadgets and manmade materials as so many of us are today.
While much of the knowledge of the native peoples has been lost as they have died...and as successive generations have become westernized...it is wonderful that there are still groups that are working to keep such knowledge alive. I went to the first annual Buckeye last year and had a life changing experience. It's a family friendly environment...with classes running ALL DAY from top notch instructors. A week long camping trip hanging out with really nice and smelly earthy folks wearing buckskins! (just keeping it real!) To learn more and to register...visit their site. I hope to see you there!