Published April 29, 2022

Ten tribal members recently hired by Lomakatsi as part of our Inter-Tribal Workforce Training & Employment Program participated in a four-day training module this week on the aboriginal homelands of the Gidutikad Band of the Northern Paiute, in Modoc County, northeastern California. The participants represent five tribes from Oregon and northern California.

Ecological forestry and wildland fire trainers from Lomakatsi and the Bureau of Indian Affairs provided instruction as participants took part in this hands-on fuels reduction and habitat restoration project within the Fort Bidwell Indian Community of the Fort Bidwell Reservation— an area known as “Yamoos” in Uto-Aztecan, language of the Northern Paiute.

Lomakatsi has been partnering with the Fort Bidwell Indian Community on ecocultural restoration since 2016, through our tribally-led Tribal Partnerships Program. Goals of the program include assisting tribal communities in building workforce capacity, essential to creating jobs and strengthening economies, creating job training opportunities and support services, and building wildfire resilience within communities and ecosystems.

Take a look at these photos of the crew at work cutting juniper and clearing shrubs to restore grasslands, while maintaining a strategic fuel break adjacent to houses on the Fort Bidwell Indian Reservation. These breaks will maintain a tactical area for more efficient response in the event of a wildfire, and also serve as anchor points for future prescribed fire opportunities.

Today the training focused on Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and included a visit to evaluate an ecocultural prescribed fire research site, established in 2006, northeast of Surprise Valley, CA, in Washoe County, NV. The group observed that Yampah (Perideridia spp.—an important food called “Indian carrot” or “epos” by the local tribal community) is increasing in abundance at the site as a result of restoration efforts, including the removal of juniper and application of cultural fire.

Lomakatsi thanks World Centric, Roundhouse Foundation, and Center for Disaster Philanthropy for funding to support each participant. We also thank instructor Arnold DeGarmo, Regional Program Analyst for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Pacific Region—and Fort Bidwell tribal member—for his support and hospitality.

“It just feels good to be out here in Northern Paiute country, working on tribal lands, getting to touch the ground again with our people and learning work ethic that can take care of our families. It feels good, being a Native American, working with other Native Americans on tribal grounds. It gives you a sense of pride and healing.”

Justice Blacksun, descendant of The Klamath Tribes, enrolled citizen of the Apsaalooke Nation, and Lomakatsi Tribal Partnerships Associate.

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