South Sound Science: Charlene Krise’s welcome: traditional ecological knowledge

UPDATE: Audio selection from her presentation here.

Jeff Dickison, assistant natural resources director for the tribe, introduces Charlene Krise, a tribal council member and director of the tribe’s museum and research center.

Jeff:

Science in the restricted sense, that many of us think of it today, is the scientific method. But, science refers to any knowledge base than can predict events.

I’ll hopefully also have audio of Charlene’s presentation later in the day.

Here are some pieces from Charlene’s talk:

There are stories from the 1930s of Budd Inlet when the beaches “were white with shellfish” and that if you went to these beaches today, they would be covered with silt, with no shellfish.

The tribe is known as the “People of the water” and their traditions and stories are connected to the land and to the water.

Traditional teachings, Squaxin tribal members are taught about protocol and respect for the earth.

During tribal events, many people wear read and black. Red is the signify mother earth, black is to signify honor.

The tribe also has sacred places that are very much like churches, and that birds and animals are the best teachers.

“Our people believe that if you watch, look and listen you can learn so much about the beaches.”

The potlach ceremony is not meant to show who has the greatest wealth, but rather to share and help other people understand knowledge of the earth.

Sometimes, we don’t pay attention to the land and end up doing damage.

At one time, when the tribe was going through hard economic times, she came upon a clear cut near the reservation. It impacted her deeply, and “changed her.”

She eventually came to visit the tribe’s natural resources department and learned that the long term damage of the clear cut was already being repaired. That led to her volunteering with watershed groups.

Initially, she was shy during the meetings, but always talked about the tribe’s “love of the land.”

She thinks the people in the room today really do have the same passion. “Keep on doing the research and talk to tribal members.”

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