The slogan of Siskiyou Permaculture is “Indigenate to Build a Local Culture”. We hope that our allies will join us and the still present First Nations in eco-restoration and the return of Salmon, Beaver and cultural Fire to our beautiful mountains and river basins, so that all beings of place can thrive.
Only First Nations peoples get to re-indiginate.
They return to the homeland that they know so well.
New settlers need to indiginate to become People of Place.
PEOPLES OF THE RIVERS
The Klamath River is named after the peoples of the upper Klamath Basin. Following the flow, the Upriver Karok, then the Downriver Karok, meet the Hoopa where the Trinity River joins the Klamath River, and then the Yurok carry the Salmon tending out to the Pacific Ocean. The Shasta people carry the Shasta River and the Scott River stewardship. The Rogue River is named from a pejorative slur against the Dhalgelma peoples, who care for the whole river to the sea. The proper name is “Dragonfly’s River”. Their upriver relatives are called Latgawa. The Dakubetede Athabaskans hold the Applegate River down to Dragonfly’s River, and the Tolowa and Dhalgelma peoples tend the Illinois River (named after a First Nation from the mid-continent).
We here now, admit that we are settlers,
On the unceeded territory of First Nations.
Where treaties, retaining sovereignty,
forced on survivors by the US Army,
at the time of their removal to reservations,
were never ratified by the US Senate.
We now need never forget to recognize
that First Nations retain traditional rights of access
to cultural uses of their Places.
Almost all the river names were brought here by the new settlers. Let us never forget the First Nations who tended these rivers and uplands. And these river corridors were crossed by many travelers from other tribes, following the ancient trade routes. The Siskiyous are a very complex web of multi-ethnicity. And this has been going on a very long time.
The ancestors of these small tribes arrived here over ten thousand years ago. The complex jumble of ranges and valleys also became connected long ago by the Chinook Trading Route, running north and south, while the rivers drain mostly west.
The valleys, running through and out from the Siskiyou Mountains harbored many small villages, with language dialect clans clustered in side drainages and basins. Lots of small cultures with different language roots living just over a mountain range from the dialect variations spread up the rivers.
The newest peoples to arrive in these river basins are mostly European settlers. They just got here compared to the thousands of years the people they displaced that had tended and loved these special places. The “new settlers”, have a lot to learn. This is not an easy place to thrive in, the knowledges and practices best suited to persisting for so long, and the stories that keep this place-based wisdom embedded in cultural ways of being, are not always honored and valued by these newly arrived settlers.
The new settlers and their extractive and genocidal impacts, came from the east over the long Pacific Coast ranges, across the Great Basin deserts. They did not understand what they found and did not appreciate the delicate balance of tending on this wild mosaic of complexity. The First Nations people had learned many important lessons for persistence and resilience.
In the flow of stories and peoples, traveling through or trying to stay, there would be great healing and wisdom growth in learning about this place and the original peoples. As generators of local new place-based dedication and culture growth, we want to hear the long story. There is so much to hear about. So much to learn to expect from the larger environs, and the seasons of disaster and abundance. We should always start any feast or ceremony with gratitude and greetings to the First Nations and all sentient beings of this spirit filled land.
Not many new settlers have really dedicated themselves to learning how to be and thrive with this amazing tapestry. Most new settlers have tried to bring their ways from far away places and paste them here without discretion or finesse. We at Siskiyou Permaculture, and our allies, intend to learn to tend and cherish our surrounds. This is a spiritual and practical task of cultural growth and evolution. We dedicated new settlers will only build our we-tending by becoming People of Place.
After making our intentions clear, new settlers have a lot to learn. This new story telling walks us through a scenario of coming home. We always start with acknowledgement and thanksgiving. This needs to be tradition for all local councils. After we thank All Sentient Beings, all the implicate ecology that holds us, let us speak gratitude and greetings to the First Nations past and present.
A complete thanksgiving, a recitation of gratitude, should take days. May we find the way again soon to have this time sense, to adopt an understanding of interconnectedness and co-creation with all our co-inhabitants, to state our intentions of staying and belonging to place.
A BRIEF TOUR OF THE SISKIYOUS
West from the Pacific Cascade volcanic mountain range which runs north and south is a tangle of geology pasted on the advancing North American tectonic plate. This complexity of metamorphic, granitic, and uplifted ocean bottom is often referred to as “The Klamath Knot”.
The Bear Valley corridor leading southeast, past Ashland to Siskiyou Pass, connects the north and south sections of the Chinook Trading Route. This braid of trails and camps snakes over this highest of passes near Pilot Rock, an ancient volcanic dyke. This storied trail system runs from Canada deep into Mexico.
The Siskiyous are probably named by Russian miners after women’s breasts, as the Tetons, from French trappers, are so named in Wyoming.
The central, east west running, and highest Siskiyou range is also one of the rare high elevation corridors going east west from the Pacific coast, leading across the north south Coast Ranges, volcanic interior north south Cascade Range, all the way to the Great Basin of rifts and block ranges further east. The drainages on the north slopes of this central range feed the Rogue River, which collects the Applegate River at Grants Pass and then cuts through the coast range, gathering up the Illinois River, in a spectacular canyon, on to the sea.
The Klamath River drainage, on the south slopes, runs from deep in the Great Basin, through the Cascade Range and down a complex set of canyons and geological fault lines to the sea, collecting the Scott River and the Trinity River on its way. The Sacramento River, south of Mount Shasta and the Columbia River farther north (and the home of the Chinook First Nation) also manage to cut through the Pacific coast’s great, long mountain ranges, from the interior all the way to the sea.
Here in that mosaic of steep mountain drainages and perched basins have settled many different First Nations speaking versions of almost all the language groups found scattered across the whole continent. These well defined landscape features protected many small villages and clans, connected by river travel and mountain pass trails to neighbors, intermarriage, and trade. The mosaic of language groups isolated in their small domains is more dense than anywhere else on the North American continent.