Washoe tribe to participate in Stewardship Day
Everyone can help “Keep Tahoe Blue” on Sunday when Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day comes to the West Shore for the first time since its inception eight years ago. Another first for the League To Save Lake Tahoe-sponsored event this year is a collaboration with the Washoe tribe of Nevada and California.
“I kind of want to mix it up and get people all around the lake involved,” Jonelle Michael, Tahoe Forest Stewardship coordinator for the League To Save Lake Tahoe, said of the event, which has taken place every year on the South Shore or in Meyers. “(The Washoe) are bringing a lot of native cultures to the day. …They were the original stewards of the lake.”
Starting at noon, volunteers will be put into groups of 10, rotating through four different work stations that will be staffed with a project leader. The restoration projects include thinning lodgepole pines in Meeks Meadow, replacing a fence in Meeks Meadow, doing stream restoration on Meeks Creek and best management practice demonstrations on cabins at Meeks Bay Resort.
Following the restoration work, volunteers will be treated to a free barbecue and performances by South Shore based-Blue Turtle Seduction and Grammy-nominated artist SONiA.
“We all live here and love Tahoe,” Justin Yates, manager of Blue Turtle Seduction, said on why the band is playing at the event. “We have a deep appreciation for Lake Tahoe.”
Starting at 3:30 p.m., The Washoe tribe will give basket weaving and bead working demonstrations, acorn biscuit-making demonstrations, basket dyeing, making a be-beh (an instrument used to harvest pinion pine nuts), building a gah-du (a summer hut) and Washoe elders will tell stories around the campfire in their native language. A raffle will also be held to raise money for Washiùw Wagayay Manjal, the Washoe’s language program, and the environmental program of the Washoe tribe.
“This is the first time the League and the Washoe tribe have teamed up for Stewardship Day,” said Jimmy Levi, environmental program director for the Washoe tribe. “It fits right in with bringing the Washoe presence back at the lake. …The Washoe are the inherent stewards of the lake. As a non-Washoe who works with the tribe, I see it as a great opportunity to work hand-in-hand to work with the Washoe tribe. I want to see everyone come together and have fun.”
In addition to all the activities that day, a number of local groups and organizations will be on hand to educate volunteers about the work they do, including the U.S. Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition, Tahoe Resource Conservation District, Sierra Watershed Educational Partnership, Sierra Nevada Alliance, Tahoe Regulation Environmental Education, Meeks Bay Fire Protection District, the Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign, the BEAR League and the Sierra Sugar Pine Foundation.
“The lake is very beautiful in its serenity. What sustains it is the people who work to save it,” said musician SONiA. “The premise is to respect the land and respect each other. Let’s resolve our differences, whether it’s the Iraq war or polluting the lake. The result is respecting the land and respecting each other.”