Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California's Natural Resources

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University of California Press, 2005 - Nature - 526 pages
John Muir was an early proponent of a view we still hold today--that much of California was pristine, untouched wilderness before the arrival of Europeans. But as this groundbreaking book demonstrates, what Muir was really seeing when he admired the grand vistas of Yosemite and the gold and purple flowers carpeting the Central Valley were the fertile gardens of the Sierra Miwok and Valley Yokuts Indians, modified and made productive by centuries of harvesting, tilling, sowing, pruning, and burning. Marvelously detailed and beautifully written, Tending the Wild is an unparalleled examination of Native American knowledge and uses of California's natural resources that reshapes our understanding of native cultures and shows how we might begin to use their knowledge in our own conservation efforts.

M. Kat Anderson presents a wealth of information on native land management practices gleaned in part from interviews and correspondence with Native Americans who recall what their grandparents told them about how and when areas were burned, which plants were eaten and which were used for basketry, and how plants were tended. The complex picture that emerges from this and other historical source material dispels the hunter-gatherer stereotype long perpetuated in anthropological and historical literature. We come to see California's indigenous people as active agents of environmental change and stewardship. Tending the Wild persuasively argues that this traditional ecological knowledge is essential if we are to successfully meet the challenge of living sustainably.


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Fair warning: this is a preview review I suppose for I'm just back from the local library with this book.
Not having read it yet except the review from Google Books to get a brief idea of what it
contains. There is one topic, metric, subject, whatever we call them today, that I wish to educate myself on and that ls the burning of underbrush and open lands as well to produce better forests and hunting lands, crop lands and of course major, minor and sub (minor) divisions of property for what we now call civilization.
Should I finish it and remember to give a somewhat quality review then this is me heading to make monkey motions to get myself into reading mode from this hectic day of mine.
Charles Moffett....reader of writings.


Wildlife Plants and People
Gathering Hunting and Fishing
The Collision of Worlds
Methods of Caring for the Land
Landscapes of Stewardship
Basketry Cultivating Forts Sedges Grasses and Tules
From Arrows to Weirs Cultivating Shrubs and Trees
Plant Foods Belowground Bulbs Corms Rhizomes Taproots and Tubers
Contemporary California Indian Harvesting and Management Practices
Restoring Landscapes with Native Knowledge
Indigenous Wisdom in the Modern World

Californias Cornucopia A Calculated Abundance
Plant Foods Aboveground Seeds Grains Leaves and Fruits

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Page 8 - A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.
Page 8 - Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least...

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About the author (2005)

M. Kat Anderson is a Lecturer in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis; Associate Ecologist at the Agricultural Experimental Station at the University of California, Davis; and a faculty member in the Graduate Group in Ecology at the University of California, Davis. She is coeditor, with T. C. Blackburn, of Before the Wilderness: Native Californians as Environmental Managers (1993) and coeditor, with Henry T. Lewis, of Forgotten Fires: Native Americans and the Transient Wilderness by Omer C. Stewart (2002).

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