Transcript of "Seven Generations"
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We really live in God's country. It's beautiful. People sometimes don't believe we're being impacted by climate change, and I tell them, well, if you look up on the mountains and you see all those dead trees; that's a result of climate change. White bark pine has really always been part of our traditional food. Our people traveled over the mountains to hunt bison, probably camped out at the top of the mountain, going over some of the stories that the Elder said is that, you know, they'd just gather some cone, put them by the fire, and roast them and then they would eat the eat the seeds. All of what we see around us is a cultural resource and is culturally significant to us cultural resources are natural resources they're the same thing as we were stripped from our cultural ways as Native American people over time we have really damaged our diets we don't live off the land anymore like we used to we have developed sicknesses and health issues since we don't use our traditional foods anymore all tribes are trying to bring back our cultural ways our traditional living and one of the main things is through diet and our health I am Sheena Shaw Pete I am Navajo born Shawnee and I am the reforestation Forester for the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and I run the white bark Pine restoration program here for the tribe any type of cultural plant or animal that you have if you lose that you do lose the language because you no longer have the ability to use that word if you lose that word because you no longer use it it's going to tie in with other stories of Creation with the morals and values that come with our traditional stories and the knowledge that we have we were one of the first tribes in the United States to develop a climate strategy white bark Pine came higher up on priority list for us you just start realizing how how connected everything is and also how important some of these things are like white bark Pine in the ecosystem and you lose one thing and it has like a domino effect that you know basically goes down the Mountainside white bird Pine is a keystone species there's over 100 different species that are relying upon it if we lose the plant or the species up here on top of the mountain it's going to have effect with everything down below believe me as you look around we have a lot of trees that are dying from White Pine blister rest there's like five to eight percent of white bark Pine total of the species that is left why pine blister rest it is a new disease you could say for our trees because they haven't had enough time to adapt yet once it gets inside of the white bark Pine though it's pretty much it's it's infected once the trees are infected with the blister us it makes them more susceptible for mountain pine beetle to come through and eliminate them out quicker climate change has affected the winters here in the area so we're not having colder winters like we used to in order to kill out the different swarms but we want to get the seeds from plush trees which are trees that we are identifying that don't have any type of the blister rust in the trees so there's a genetic resistance within the white bark Pine we found that there's like a two percent of the species that has the genetic resistance our big restoration goal is to seek out these white bark pine trees that are showing the signs of this resistance we are going to collect the seeds from them to grow seedlings and to consistently plant sea sources for the future by bark pine cones grow at the top of the tree compared to like other pine cones where it's dispersed throughout that's why we have to have certified climbers to get to the top they go out and they find the trees that we have scouted previously that show the genetic traits for resistance and our climbers will climb up to the top pretty good with that okay I don't know am I come on we put cages on the cones so that way it protects them from the animals that are trying to come up to get the seeds we cage them in the spring we come back in the fall climb again collect the cones we send the seeds from trees that we have collected from our plush trees and from there they're going to grow the seedlings overall my goal is to create as many plantations around here across the crown continent but just around the reservation as well in these high elevation areas to have just different little mini plantations of genetic resistant white part it takes two years for seedlings to mature enough to implement into planting wipe our pancakes 60 years for it to mature and to get cones on the top of it so everything that I'm planning I'll never see in my lifetime and that's fine and my son will be lucky if you may see some of them but this is mainly for my grandkids great grandkids Seven Generations from now [Music] if you take the time to get to know white bark you'll really learn a lot they've seen a lot of things over time throughout this world and through our history fungus is trying to take it over beetles are trying to take it over fire tries to Smite it out but it's still here and we'll continue to keep it going I would like to see a time when we can share the white bark Pine seeds again and to have you know those celebrations and those feasts I think it's part of our goal is to be able to bring those back when we sit down together to share a meal connects us to not just the Earth but to each other.