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  • Writer's pictureRose High Bear

Interns share final presentations

Our team at Elderberry Wisdom Farm quietly worked through our fourth-year anniversary last month. Most of the day’s focus was on the wrap-up of our first Organic Farming internship. Our cohort of six Native interns was busy preparing their final presentations in preparation for our celebration at Chemeketa Community College’s Agriculture Science Complex. We also continued discussions with our new partners.

Sam, our filmmaker, was out of town so we didn’t film our Spring Internship Celebration this time. But we recorded audio of the afternoon and want to share it with our followers. It was a great experience to emerge from three years of Pandemic issues to cultivate relationships with six gifted and motivated Native interns and our three amazing educators.

Here are three responses from our interns.

From Amy Treasure (Siletz):

Photo by Amy Treasure

I'm Amy Treasurer. I'm part of the Confederated Tribe of Siletz. My people are coastal hunters. We fish, we hunt inland, we hunt deer and elk, gathered acorns and berries. I try to still do that today with my kids to keep the culture alive and stay close and connect to the land… I first learned about Elderberry Wisdom Farms at a powwow. I was really excited because we need more Native American farmers. When I met Rose, I was able to connect to a bunch of other different farmers. For the past seven weeks, we have been really fortunate to be taught by Michelle Week, a Native American farmer, and she's been farming for seven years. My husband and I have had a small ranch in Vancouver for seven to ten years. We're really fortunate to have the land out there, so when I found out about Michelle's operations, it got me really excited about farming. Learning about farming and the land and what it takes has been really great. It's been a good way to connect with the land and to be able to expand our ranching operation.

From Riley Brooks:

Photo by Amy Treasure

My name’s Riley. I'm from the Kiowa tribe in Oklahoma, and we had a deep connection with the plains ecosystem. In this class we learned a lot about land management practices along with organic farming. I've been really interested in including hedgerows, organic farming, also integrative pest management, along with other Western science tools as well. One of the biggest things I was interested during this program was cultural burnings. That was a big part of Kiowa land management. We would burn a lot of the forests so that there would be more prairie land for the Buffalo. We learned a lot about farming in the classroom, but then also we would go out onto the land on Saturdays and integrate those practices into what we're doing out there. So I thought it was a really good hands-on learning experience. I also wanted to talk about my future career. I want to work in language revitalization. That's always been a passion of mine, but specifically, I want to work in cultural revitalization, bringing back that culture and connection to the land, and my people specifically.

From Ivory Pearson:

Photo by Amy Treasure

…Naturally when I saw Rose's ad in our Siletz newsletter, I knew it was a sign. I feel confident if I choose to start a gardening business, I would have all the tools I need to make it succeed. I understood my assignment, so I made my way back home and started studying all I could about organic gardening, shamanism and plant language. Then started my first garden with the help and guidance of my ancestors always giving me the information I seemed to have needed at the time. This internship has provided us with so many different opportunities from scholarships to other paid internships. With the education on co-ops, LLCs, and private enterprise, it opens many doors for future success paths. I loved learning about cover crops and the purpose of having them, how to properly care for them, and that they are so much better for the land than the till method. I learned a lot about soil health, dry farming, Aztec farming, making my own soil blocks, and land surveying. Those were just a few of my favorite classes. I think the field trips were helpful as well. It was cool to see what other establishments are up to. Honestly, these farmers are superheroes. The work that goes into every step from planting the seed to harvest is just magic. So much hard work goes into having your own farm. If it wasn't for these superhumans, some of us would most certainly perish. I had a lot of fun meeting new people from all walks of life. This is definitely an experience I'll never forget.


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