|Much of The Land Conversation's early work has centered on the ecology and cultural
significance of willows (Salix spp.). Please check this page often, as we post our initial
research results here. Also, please read the summary of our research approach.
Excerpts from Jared Aldern's interviews with Native American consultants
Manuela Aguiar (Santa Catarina Pai Pai); Mike Wilken, translator:
Richard Bugbee (Payoomkawichum [Luiseño]):
…the plants have had this interaction with people for all these thousands of years and in
the last 500 years the interactions just stopped. And the plants have no idea what to do.
…Willow is used for so much. Every time you have to build a house or a ramada or you
need to replenish the greens on the ramada, or you had to make a skirt for somebody…
People don’t realize -- you know those willow-bark skirts? – how many willow trees those
are. They’re a ton of trees! So it’s used constantly. And the dead willow was taken for
…The energy in a willow goes back into its roots in the fall, and the wood becomes stiff. In
the springtime, you try to get that new growth... In the early spring you can get the smaller
ones, and the bigger ones later on.
Jane Dumas (Jamul Kumeyaay):
And the willow provided us the material to make the little houses, and it provided the
material for fuel to cook with, and it provided the material to make our granary baskets so
that we can store our acorn. Also they cleaned up some of the stems and they made other
baskets without the leaves. But for the granary part, the leaves were left on there because
it has a chemical in there that kept the bugs away, which is great. Also a certain portion of
that little branch, you could scrape the bark from that and make tea to get rid of a
headache. And then the larger branch, we used the bark to make our clothing. And so to
me, it is a very special plant...
This research program was made possible by a grant to the Southern California Tribal
Chairmen's Association -- a partner of The Land Conversation, Inc. -- from the Blasker-
Rose-Miah Fund and the Colonel Frank C. Wood Fund at the San Diego Foundation.
Page last updated on 10 January 2006. Thanks to Anne Geisler and Carre Weischedel for help with