FOREST LANDOWNERS PROTECT TRIBAL CULTURAL RESOURCES

Cultural resources are specific to the people of each tribe

Cultural resources are varied in their nature and may include any number of materials, objects or sites that are considered to have significant cultural or historic value to the people. It is not uncommon for cultural resources to have personal, ceremonial, sacred, and spiritual qualities that might require confidentiality for their protection.  Therefore, they may be very difficult to define.  In fact, doing so may preclude or possibly exclude their protection.

Resources of significant cultural value should be preserved and protected in their natural state to optimize the ability of future generations of Indian people to maintain and perpetuate their traditional values and practices.

Petroglyph: state law prohibits moving or disturbing cultural resources.

Forest landowners protect tribal cultural resources on their lands

Cultural resources are part of the ancient and spiritual, present and future culture of the tribes. State, private and non-federal landowners have worked with tribes to develop voluntary measures for identifying and protecting significant cultural resources on their lands, and created a plan called Cultural Resources Protection and Management Plan (CRPMP).

The first step in the CRMP is to open a dialogue with neighboring tribal representatives, sharing each other’s plans and concerns.  Mutually acceptable management strategies are possible via the development of cooperative relationships.  This is followed by an assessment of cultural resources and then adoption of voluntary forest land management measures for the protection of significant cultural resources within the context of commercial forestry. 

An important goal of the plan is to ensure that the affected tribes have a better opportunity to maintain and perpetuate their traditional values and practices. What this is really about is building trust, which comes along step by step, based on the experience of everyone working together.

Ongoing mutual respect between landowners and native people

Just as each tribe is different with different traditions and values, so is each forest landowner with differing land management objectives.  In addition to protecting tribal cultural resources, landowners and land managers have forestry management, stewardship and economic objectives that they need to meet. 

Cooperation, communication and mutual respect, is a proven way of meeting the needs of forest landowners and tribes.  A Memorandum of Understanding helps with communications and relationship building, bridging knowledge gaps, anticipating and proactively resolving conflicts before they arise, and addressing cultural resources issues over larger geographic areas instead of on a site-by-site basis. 

Protecting significant cultural resources with voluntary management strategies

Once cultural resources are identified and inventoried on state or private forestland, management strategies may be developed to properly preserve and protect these sites in their natural state, during forestry operations.  Strategies include alternative methods of timber harvesting, or providing buffers; operational timing restrictions; changing the location of roads to avoid cultural resources during construction; surface treatment of roads and re-vegetation during road use and maintenance; abandonment of roads after operational use is completed; and planting trees of cultural significance, or retaining native vegetation by limiting non-Indian gathering.

Common plants in the forest that Native American's use

Big-leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum)

Uses:

  • bark was made into rope
  • used leaves to lay fish on while cleaning (Squaxin)
  • used to build framework for sweatlodges (Lummi)
Blue Elderberry (Sambucus glauca)

Uses:

  • berries were eaten
  • pith was removed from the stem and a plug inserted to make a whistle for calling elk (Quinault)

Broad-leaved Cattail (Typha latifolia)

Uses:

  • woven into mats used for mattresses, raincoats, capes lightweight baskets



Camas (Camassia Quamash)

Uses:

  • bulbs eaten as source of starch
  • coveted trade item between eastern and western Washington tribes
 
 
  
Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)

Uses:

  • used to make salmon spears and dip net handles
  • bark boiled and used on infections
  • bark boiled for light brown dye to color fish nets to make them invisible to fish (Swinomish)
Giant Vetch (Vicia gigantea)

Uses:

  • soaked roots, used water as a hair wash (Makah)
 
 
 
  
Pacific Flowering Dogwood (Cornus Nuttallii)

Uses:

  • charcoal used for tattooing (Quinault)
  • wooden discs used for games (Skagit, Klallam)
 
 
 
  
Pacific Yew (Taxus brevifolia)

Uses:

  • used to make bows, arrows, whale harpoons (Makah)
  • used for canoe paddles, war clubs (Swinomish)
  • made into wedges for splitting logs, household utensils, combs, drum frames, digging sticks for roots and clams
Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis)

Uses:

  • sprig used as charm for whalers (Makah)
  • roots used for basketry, rain hats, whaling rope
  • pitch used for canoe caulking
 
 
 
Skunk Cabbage (Lysichitum americanum)

Uses:

  • used leaves on the head for headache
 
 
 
 
Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum)

Uses:

  • used to line baking pits
  • leaves used for mattresses (Quileute)
  • spread on drying racks because berries do not stick to leaves (Squaxin)
  • roots roasted and eaten like potatoes
Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus)

Uses:

  • bark boiled and used as soap (Cowlitz)
  • dry leaves crushed into powder and applied to burns to avoid scars
 
 
Vine Maple (Acer circinatum)

Uses:

  • woven into baskets
  • used to make salmon tongs
 
 
 
 
 
Western Red Alder (Alnus rubra)

Uses:

  • used to make eating utensils
  • provided firewood (does not spark)
  • rotten wood rubbed on the body for aches and pains
  • cones and catkins chewed as cure for diarrhea
  • bark boiled and made into tea for colds
Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)

Uses:

  • disease-resistant wood used for house planks, house posts, roof boards, canoes, boxes, cradles, spindle for spinning mountain goat wool
 
 
 
Western White Pine (Pinus monticola)

Uses:

  • to relieve aches and pains, young shoots boiled and a bath was taken in the water
 
Wild Rose (Rosa nutkana)

Uses:

  • used as breath sweetener
  • tea made from roots for cold remedy
  • roots boiled and taken by the spoonful as a remedy for a sore throat

Source of information: Pacific Education Institute Forests of Washington curriculum.