Tribal youth explore natural resource career opportunities

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2017 Issi Wah Tribal Youth Ecological Workforce Program Crew

2017 Issi Wah Tribal Youth Ecological Workforce Program Crew

July 20, 2017 , Modoc Record – The Modoc National Forest in collaboration with Lomakatsi Restoration Project, hosted a career day for the Issi Wah Tribal Youth Ecosystem Workforce Program on July 14, 2017 at the Supervisor’s Office in Alturas.

Sean Cross, Assistant Refuge Manager from the USFW and Bryon Hadwick, District Conservationist, NRCS, joined Greg Moon, District Ranger of the Dev­ils Garden Ranger District, Pam Bumstead, Archeolo­gist and

Ken Sandusky, Tribal Liaison of the USFS, to offer the tribal youth a vast amount of experience and infor­mation for Natural Resource Careers. The youth were treated to a robust cadre of leader­ship that included a strong representation of Native American positions within the agencies.

The Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Les Ander­son, of the Pit River Tribe also presented information for these youths who are all Ajumawi-Atsugewi Na­tion (Pit River Tribe) Members. “These youths have opportunities to become Cultur­al Monitors and work to protect and preserve their natural resources and sacred places,” stated An­derson. Cross emphasized a good work ethic and being open to adventures and willing­ness to move for increased career opportunities.

Greg Moon inspired the youth with a vision for leadership, stating that, “Someone in the commu­nity is watching you all the time. You are leading someone, whether it is a little brother, sister, fam­ily member or outside of the family.”

“Let’s do good things for our land and community,” stated Moon. “We have the opportunity to make the needed changes and work together to find solutions to seemingly impossible issues.”

Marko Bey, Executive Director of Lomakatsi for the last 22 years, ended the Natural Resources Ca­reer Day sharing with the youth the opportunities that exist to form their own contracting business, to provide services to the agencies and regional tribes.

“Building your own for­estry, wildland fire or cul­tural monitoring business is another career option,” Bey said. “Millions of acres of forest and countless miles of streams are in critical need of ecological restoration and there is a great need for businesses to form in rural communi­ties to contribute to this effort and you make a good living doing this type of work that can support you and your family.”

Youth from the Aju­mawi/Atsugewi Nation (Pit River Tribe) are re­storing vital Redband Trout habitat this sum­mer, led by Illmawi El­ders, tribal leaders and the staff of the nonprofit organization Lomakatsi Restoration Project.

The project is one of many ecological restora­tion projects the youth will take part in as part of the Issi Wah Tribal Youth Ecosystem Workforce Pro­gram from July 11 to Au­gust 4.

The Tribal Youth Train­ing and Employment Pro­gram was developed by Lomakatsi and co-created with tribal traditional leaders from the Illmawi, Ajumawi and Kosealekte Bands. The four-week pro­gram gives tribal youth experiential learning op­portunities as they work with natural resource, ecosystem restoration, and tribal cultural ex­perts, learning both skills and knowledge from mod­ern ecological science and live classrooms, as well as Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) passed down through genera­tions.

“Programs like these, are invaluable in helping to equip, train and em­power our tribal youth with the knowledge, skills and abilities shared by our traditional cultural experts and professional ecosystem restoration practitioners in a peer-to-peer learning environ­ment,” said Lomakatsi Tribal Partnerships Man­ager, Belinda Brown, an enrolled member of the Pit River Tribe. “Getting our youth on the land in the ‘live, outdoor class­rooms,’ is creating career opportunities in ecologi­cal restoration, so our tribal people can remain as the first, best stewards of our ancestral home­lands.”

Now in its second year, the tribal youth program is part of a larger partner­ship between the Inter- Tribal Ecosystem Resto­ration Network, the local tribal community, Lo­makatsi Restoration Proj­ect and California Trout to restore the Wild Trout Area of Hat Creek.

Over the last four years, Lomakatsi Restoration Project and California Trout have worked to­gether to install a diver­sity of over 6,000 native plants along Hat Creek to re-establish vegetation that will help stabilize the banks of the spring-fed waters. The native plants have cultural signifi­cance and have provided the Illmawi people with medicine, food and art materials since time im­memorial. Illmawi Elder Cecilia Silvas was instru­mental in defining the plants that were planted for cultural use.

“We have lived on this land since time immemo­rial,” said Silvas. “The water quality and quan­tity should be protected and preserved. These are our traditions. Caring for the land, and the fish, and the creek, is caring for the people. Ensuring that the next generation is learn­ing what it takes to pre­serve these resources is critical for the future.”

The Issi Wah Tribal Youth Program provides valuable hands-on train­ing for youth ages 14-18. The 10 tribal youth will participate in the pro­gram, and be given op­portunities to explore career paths in natural resources, ecocultural and ecosystem restora­tion, science, ecology, as well as their own Tradi­tional Ecological Knowl­edge taught by Cultural Practitioners. They will earn $11 per hour for their work, in addition to receiving training.

“Lomakatsi has been restoring ecosystems and providing workforce training opportunities for rural and tribal commu­nities throughout Oregon and Northern California for more than 22 years,” Lomakatsi Executive Di­rector Marko Bey said.

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