Hibulb’s native gardening class a success

Working with nettles in the Hibulb’s gardening class. photo courtesy Virginia Jones, Hibulb Culture Center
Working with nettles in the Hibulb’s gardening class.
photo courtesy Virginia Jones, Hibulb Culture Center

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On Sunday, March 15, 2015 the Hibulb Rediscovery Program held a native gardening plant class to give Tulalip tribal members the opportunity to connect with their ancestral roots. This class was coordinated by Rediscovery Program staff members Inez Bill, Joy Lacy and Virginia Jones.

“We were very glad to see the large volume of interest. The class filled up very quickly,” says Virginia Jones. “We are thankful for the interest and wish we could offer it to more people. We are glad that people understand why we need to offer this class to our tribal members. We were anxious to see what kind of turn out we were going to have considering it was pouring down rain, but, despite the terrible weather, we were grateful to have a full class.

“The people got to hear advice about working with plants that has been picked up over the years from different teachers. The group went out and endured the rain. They learned how to harvest, clean, and process stinging nettles. They got to learn some of the uses for stinging nettles and what type of areas to look for them in. It was exciting to see. The class really came together and did the work. After the work was done they shared a light lunch.

“One of the important messages I hope everyone was able to take home is that it’s our responsibility to take care of these plants and the world they live in. It is just like fishing, hunting, clam digging, and berry picking. If we don’t protect their environments then there won’t be any places for us to harvest them from. If we overharvest, then there won’t be enough to sustain themselves. This is something that our people did for thousands of years. Now it is all being threatened by pollutants, new development areas, and people. I think a lot of the older generation can agree that the ‘woods’ just aren’t what they use to be. If we are going to go out and take these living things, then it is also our responsibility to protect them.

“Again, we thank everyone for their interest in the class. We are glad that there are so many people willing to reintroduce these plants back into their lives. These plants are able to provide their body and spirit with so much more than store bought foods.”

For more information about Hibulb Cultural Center events visit www.hibulbculturalcenter.org

Our Plants Are Our Medicine

 Hibulb’s Rediscovery Program offers new gardening class to connect Tulalip’s ancestors




By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve’s Rediscovery Program is offering Tulalip tribal members an exciting new class to reconnect with their traditional culture. The class is part of a series of classes entitled ‘Native Plants and Medicinal Herbs’ that will be ongoing during the traditional harvesting season, early spring to late fall. The series of classes will focus on teaching tribal members how to collect, garden, harvest, and process native plants and herbs that are indigenous to the Tulalip region. The first of a full series of native plant gardening classes will take place Sunday, March 15, starting promptly at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 4:00 p.m., at the Center’s facility classroom.

“Our plants are our medicine. They nourish our bodies and feed our spirit,” says Inez Bill, Rediscovery Coordinator. “We want to see our people gardening and harvesting the plants and herbs that our people have used historically. So we are starting this brand new series of classes that will help pass on the values and teachings of our ancestors. Hopefully, by taking the classes, our people will begin to use these plants at their homes and grow them in their gardens for their own use.”

Over the past four years, the Rediscovery Program has hosted its ‘Gardening Together as Families’ classes that emphasized teaching our tribal membership how to grow their own organic vegetable gardens. The Rediscovery Program staff think that the time is right to shift from a general theme of organic vegetables to one that specifically tailors to the traditional gardening customs of our Tulalip ancestors. By reintroducing the Tulalip people to native plants and herbs that were once used by our ancestors for generations.

“We’ve been doing the ‘Gardening Together as Families’ classes for four years now. That was an opportunity for people to come get hands-on experience growing their own organic vegetables. Now, we are able to shift the theme of our gardening classes to accommodate the needs of our people,” explains Rediscovery staff member Virginia Jones. “We want to give the people an opportunity to learn about the uses of Tulalip native plants and to grow them at their own homes.”

Throughout this new series of native plant gardening classes, there will be a primary focus of working with and getting familiar with the many uses of five major native plants; the stinging nettle, fireweed, giant horsetail, the Nootka Rose, and mountain huckleberry. There will be other native plants worked with as well, to supplement the uses and knowledge that come from working with the five major native plants.

“These plants we will be working with are all traditional food sources. They are something that are ancestors would have had, and so we are really fortunate to have them still available to us,” says Jones. “Today these foods are no longer a part of our everyday diets. We are trying to reintroduce these native plants back into the diets of our people. We want to reach our people on that level because these plants were used as foods that healed us and kept our bodies full of all different types of nutrients that our bodies needed.”

To participate in the first class in this new series, to be held March 15, the Rediscovery Program staff ask that you please RSVP ahead of time by calling Virginia Jones at (360) 716-2635 and leave a brief message with your name and how many family members will be attending with you. The initial class will be accepting 20 tribal member participants, so RSVP your spot as soon as possible.

Also, all those who will be participating in the native plant gardening class should remember to bring garden gloves and paper bags.

“Working with native plants is our culture,” says Bill. “It’s a delicate balance of going out and being with nature, gathering plants in prayer and working with them in a respectful way. We are one with nature at this time.”


Contact: Micheal Rios, mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov