Native American Plant Traditions
This year the Oklahoma Native Plant Society Indoor Outing is titled “Native Oklahoma: Plants and People”. The speakers, demonstrations and vendors will focus on the importance of native plants to Oklahoma’s cultural heritage as a means of sustainable living, food and art.
Members from the Northeast, Crosstimbers, Central and Southwest chapters of the Oklahoma Native Plant Society are participating to present a day filled with speakers and demonstrations.
Alicia Nelson, president of the Northeast Chapter said, “The rich Native American heritage of OK includes the integration of native cultures with the diversity of our native plants.”
|Dr. Hunter Osage Nation Museum|
The day begins at 9 with continental breakfast, educational booths and native plant vendors.
At 10 Dr. Andrea Hunter will speak on “Osage Plant Use in the Past and Today”.
Hunter said, “I will discuss the types of native plants used by the Osage for subsistence, medicinal, ritual, and utilitarian purposes. I will also discuss the effects colonization had on the Osage in terms of native plant use and the limited use today.”
At 11, Rita Williams will speak on “Revitalizing Family Traditions for Food Survival: Gathering and Preservation of Seasonal Foods”.
|Dr. Rita Williams - Muskogee Creek Nation|
Williams, a Muscogee (Creek) Tribal Citizen, currently works with the Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative in Okmulgee. She is Policy Coordinator, Chairperson of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Food and Fitness Policy Council, and a former employee of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Mike Berryhill, Muscogee (Creek) Tribal Citizen, is a self-taught traditional bow maker who credits his Grandfather, Joseph Berryhill for teaching him how to look for certain trees for bow making and taught him to make his first bow. Since retirement, Berryhill founded the Red Stick Bow Society and has been teaching bow making. His presentation is “Traditional Bow Making and River Cane”.
|Mike Berryhill -Art Under the Oaks|
Anthropologist Stephanie Berryhill, a member of the Deer Clan who works for the Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative is presenting, “Possum Grape Use in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation”. She will demonstrate how the plant was used by the Creek Nation and food sampling will follow her talk.
At 12:00 during lunch, Judy Jordan, co-author of “Plains Apache Ethnobotany” will give a brief introduction to the Southern Plains Indians of OK, as well as sell and autograph books.
At 1:00: The Cherokee Native Art & Plant Society will provide a group presentation by tribal elders and Rog and Shawna Cain, all of whom are designated Cherokee National Treasures. Their presentation is “How Cherokee Artists Use Plants and Interact with their Natural Environments”.
Shawna and Rog Cain said they will “focus on Cherokee National Treasures, especially the Elders, who as Tradition Keepers, continue to produce Cherokee art.”
At 2:45 horticulturist Russell Studebaker will give a program titled, “Guided Tour and History Presentation at the Creek Council Oak Tree Park” (www.tulsaokhistory.com)
Native plant vendors at the event will include: Wild Things Nursery ridgewww.wildthingsnursery.com, Pine Ridge Nursery http://www.pineridgegardens.com/special.htmand Groggs Green Barn http://groggsgreenbarn.com/.
Demonstration booths include: Cherokee artisans, Creek basket weaving, information on how to propagate and plant native species, and Oxley Nature Center Director Eddie Reese will demonstrate how Yucca was used to make soap and rope.
|Eddie Reese - OxleyNature Center|
The ONPS Northeast Chapter holds a Monday evening meeting at the Tulsa Garden Center in Mar, May, Sep and Dec. All the chapters organize several wildflower walks and outings, plus a 2-day annual meeting and the Indoor Outing. The NE Chapter holds Wildflower Fridays on the third Fri. of each month at Panera Bread on 41st and Hudson in Tulsa at 5:30 pm.
Membership in ONPS is $15 individual, $20 family and $5 student. The winter 2012 issue of their newsletter Gaillardia is on the ONPS website at http://www.oknativeplants.org/Gaillardia/Winter12.pdf. There is an on-going native plant discussion on their Facebook page.