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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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A Huckleberry Patch
by Cary Rosenbaum - The Tribal Tribune

Cooperative Effort Looks To Restore Traditional Ground Scorched By North Star Fire

Youth worker Tristen Adolph picks huckleberries in an effort to restore traditional populations in the North Star Fire area. (photo by Cary Rosenbaum - The Tribal Tribune)

INCHELIUM, WA — There's a bitter truth to the work tribal member Rebecca Peone conducts to restore huckleberries on the Colville Reservation.

The 50-year-old won't enjoy the fruits of her efforts in her lifetime, she says.

"I won't see these huckleberries produce," she says, in the thick of an undisclosed traditional gathering area in Inchelium. "Huckleberries are particular. They take a really long time to grow. You don't see them like blueberry crops."

After the North Star fire scorched more than 218,000 acres last year 10 miles out of Nespelem, there is a dire need for the Colville Tribes to restore traditional gathering grounds. Enlisted in this effort is the Tribes' Burned Area Emergency Response staff, History & Archaeology and BIA Forestry.

A dozen tribal youth workers interning with the forestry group, from ages 15-18, will now have areas to harvest for their own families, Peone says.

"[This project] gives them an opportunity to provide for their kids and grandkids in the future," she says."

The group of about 30 aimed to collect five gallons of the staple resource, with the intent of juicing and accumulating seeds. The University of Idaho will foster the plants until 2019, when they are able to be replanted.

Last week, the Tribe planted 1,800 between North Star and Moses Mountain. Thursday was the last shot in a gathering effort, Peone says—one that might not be worth the sweat.

"We don't know what good seed or bad seed is," she says. "So we're gonna just get what we can get. This will be the one shot."

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