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Chapter Meeting: The Ethnobotany Project

  • Casa Del Prado, Rm 101 1600 Village Place San Diego, CA, 92101 United States (map)

Yolanda Meza, Kuiai, of The Ethnobotany Project holding Yerba Mansa leaves. 

“The connection to who we are as a people has everything to do with the plants.”
—Tongva Cultural Educator, Craig Torres.

Please join us for a slideshow presentation of the book by our speakers, Rose Ramirez and Deborah Small, The Ethnobotany Project: Contemporary Uses of Native Plants; Southern California and Northern Baja Indians. Contemporary uses of 12 native plants will be discussed, including yerba mansa, bladderpod, wild cherry, creosote, elderberry, and agave, all of profound importance to the intellectual, spiritual, and cultural vitality of California native peoples. The many collaborators on this book hail from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico Border and they consider native plants their “teachers.” For this reason, the California native peoples are dedicated to passing on their traditional knowledge of native plant functions and practices to their generations and to others. We will learn how Native peoples are eloquent defenders of the land, its sacredness to them and its importance for all species that inhabit it. They have a fierce devotion to safeguarding native plants for their vital importance as foods and medicines, and in the larger cultural revitalization sweeping California in restoring the traditions of Native peoples.

The book’s collaborators promote an ethic of gathering and cultivating native plants in a manner that is sustainable, and they stress the importance of preserving native plants, plant communities, and the land for future generations of all species. We have the opportunity to learn from people whose ancestors were here for thousands of years, and knew how to protect and honor the Earth. We hope The Ethnobotany Project offers hope, inspiration, and healing for all of us!

Rose Ramirez is of Chumash and Yaqui descent. She is a member of the California Indian Basketweaver's Association and Southern California Indian Basketweaver's Organization. She runs the American Indian Channel, which documents the arts and culture of Native peoples. She has been a photographer for more than 40 years.

Deborah Small is an artist, photographer and professor in the School of Arts at California State University San Marcos, and a founding member of the Chia Café Collective. 

6:30pm-7pm: NATIVES FOR NOVICES: Garden Native Tour 2017 slides and presentation with Tour Director, Carolyn Martus

7:00pm-7:30pm: A time for discussion, camaraderie, visiting, and enjoying the sales table.


Earlier Event: April 12
Garden Native Committee Meeting
Later Event: April 23
Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary