Tending the Wild - KCET Media Group

On-air, online, and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California.

In addition to broadcasting the finest programs from around the world, KCET produces and distributes award-winning local programs that explore the people, places and topics that are relevant to their region. Below is a sampling of their programs. To check out more from KCET, go to: https://www.kcet.org

Cultural Burning

For thousands of years, California Indians used fire as a tool for managing natural resources. Throughout the state, Native peoples conducted cultural burns on a wide range of plants. Their fire regimes created diverse habitat mosaics that sustained meadows, coastal prairies, and grasslands. The careful application of fire increased fruit and seed production, caused new growth that was better suited for making baskets, and reduced the fuel load that could be burned by naturally occurring wildfires. But starting with the Spanish conquest and continuing today in the form of Forest Service and CalFire policies, fire suppression has drastically limited cultural burning. As a result, the forest has become incredibly dense and we are now facing a situation in the Sierra Nevada where drought is causing many trees to die. This massive tree mortality has brought the forest to a tipping point, where large scale wildfires threaten to alter the Sierra forests permanently. In this video, we explore how cultural burning is being practiced today and what lessons it holds for the future of the forest. We visit the area just south of Yosemite National Park where two tribes are working to bring fire back to the land, the North Fork Mono Tribe and the Cold Springs Rancheria of Mono Indians.

Keeping the River

Salmon once swam in every major river in California and they provided and continue to provide an invaluable resource for Native peoples. In some areas like the Klamath River Basin, salmon are at the center of the world and integral to the environmental and cultural survival of the Yurok, Karuk, and Hupa peoples. But modernization forever altered watersheds across the state by concretizing rivers, siphoning water for agricultural production, and building dams to facilitate hydroelectric power. The effects on fish populations have been devastating and many Native groups have protested against these threats to their way of life. In this video, we explore how the Yurok, Karuk, and Hupa peoples have maintained their close relationship with salmon, how they have fought civil rights battles to secure tribal fishing rights, and how they have mobilized against the environmental degradation of the Klamath and Trinity Rivers resulting from dams, large scale agriculture, and the marijuana industry.

Weaving Community: How Native Peoples are Rediscovering Their Basketry Traditions

Basketry has been described as the pinnacle of Californian indigenous culture. But the craftsmanship necessary to make these works of art requires much more than weaving techniques. It requires a deep and sustained relationship with the environment. For centuries Native peoples tended the land and used a variety of methods to shape plants to suit their basketry needs from pruning, weeding, and coppicing to the the cyclical use of controlled burning. Today, many of these techniques have been lost or suppressed and the ability to access traditional gathering locations has been impeded by urban development and the restrictions of private property. In this video, we explore how traditional gathering is practiced today and how Native peoples are rediscovering their basketry traditions in Southern California.

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