This workshop was sponsored by a project from Japan: Small-Scale Economies Project at the Research Insittute for Humanity and Nature, Japan. The director is Dr Junko Habu. Also attending were: Rika Sinkai, Yuko Kobayashi and Alisha Eastep. The Acorn Processing presenters were Julie Tex, Mandy Marine and Carly Tex. These presenters are very culturally knowledgable and highly educated on the academic side. Julie has her degree in Anthropology and Social Science. Mandy has her degree in Archeology. They both work for Cal Trans. Carly has her Lingistics degree and works for Owen Valley Career Development Center.
This was a well attended event with 34 Adults and 13 Youth present. We had visitors from Visalia, Fresno, Lemoore and from the coastal area. It was raining all day, but we were able to host the activity in the barn. We had a fire going, and with all the bodies present, moving around as we worked, we were able to keep warm enough.
Julie, Carly and Mandy were well received by the crowd, as they gave an overall presentation, then jumped right into the “hands on” workshop! Tables were set up for Cracking & Cleaning, Grinding & Sifting, then Leaching and finally cooking. They brought traditional tools such as baskets, brushes, sifters & stirrers. They also demonstrated contemporary tools such as nutcrackers and grinders.
I brought some of our personal tools and Lalo was able to bring many mortars & pestles that have been returned to the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tribe.
It was crowded, and we didn’t have a lot of room to spread out. I appreciated that everyone took turns at the stations. While some were busy working, others had time to visit and get to know one another. The ladies from Japan were very interested in the work that we do, and were very happy to talk to Andrew Glazier, Steven Lee, Jim Summers (Saturday night) and Mandy so they could ask questions about botony and get more information about our plants.
As the acorn was leaching, the second presentation was given by Junko and Rika. They talked about the acorn and buckeye of Japan. It was very interesting how similar our cultures are. Rika had a handout available and provided taste testers for the audience. Yuko shared origami paper to make acorn and other origami. Junko also gave out paper made of very thin slices of a tree similar to our Cedar tree. They were very impressed with our group and hope to continue our work together.
Finally, we were able to cook the acorn. And when it was done, we were all able to taste! It was a lot of work for only a pot of acorn mush (teh’ pin), but I am reminded, that this was a daily chore, in the days of my ancestors. I have the acorn that we leached and the acorn that still needs to be ground and leached. I am planning to have this ready for the Spring Ceremony.
Thank you to the volunteers that helped to make this a success: Beth, Melissa, Ragni, John, Alyssa, Laura Kay and the youth who helped move those heavy rocks!
All in all, it was a very good day!
Submitted by: Darlene Franco 2-6-2016