Presented by the University of Washington
NoA.D. In the 1990s, members of the Sino-Indian Indian community began to notice that they did not receive much indigenous clam in their traditional harvest. With climate change and oceanic acidity – this trend is likely to intensify, especially with regard to shellfish. The tribes realized that these and other changes could continue to affect traditional food, cultural practices and, ultimately, the well-being of their members and the community. In response, Swimenish began exploring the ecological and socio-cultural resilience of indigenous martial arts, at least 3,500 years ago. The tribe now receives funding from the NOAA Saltonstall-Kennedy Competitive Grants program and the Northwest Climate Science Center to build the first modern clam plant in the United States.
“We have maintained our relationship with this region since time immemorial — our relationship with the earth, the water, the sea, and everything that lives with us. We are grateful that we have the financial support to continue working with land and water as we return to our ancient practices, ”said Steve Edwards, Chairman and Member of the Swedish-Indian Community.
Clam gardening involves a variety of environmental improvements and maintenance practices that will increase the shelf life of shellfish and breed. Historically, clam parks have traditionally been created by the construction of stone towers in the center of the region, which over time has created a stairway and expanded its clam habitat.
“Ecological studies have recorded a much lower neck and butter clam in historic clam gardens compared to undeveloped beaches. Clam parks increase the number of other species, from pumpkin to seaweed, ”said Courtney Grenner, a Swedish ecologist and project leader. “Because there is so much life associated with these structures, some communities call them ‘seaweed.’ Clam gardens also have large shell fragments that adapt to the ocean floor and improve living conditions when oceans are acidic.
“Our lives have changed dramatically in a short period of time, and our people have experienced the effects of that,” said Alana Kuntasket, a senator from the Swedish-Indian community. “Clam’s gardening is one of the best things we can do at this time because our people need it more than ever. Our land and sea relatives need it more than ever. They want to thrive and we return to them to thrive. Clam and other seafood grow and harvest.” From ancient times the coastal Salish people have been central to the way of life, but forces, including colonialism, racism, and coastal development, have influenced communities and coastal areas. They have fallen.
Much has already been done to build this clam garden. Swinomish has chosen a site based on community priorities and ecological and social criteria. The Department of Fisheries and Community Health Program, in partnership with the Washington Sea Grant, has received guidance from Indigenous educators and clam horticulturists to identify the best place to build a clam plant and identify where the ecological and socio-cultural benefits lie. To do this, they first created a list of possible locations with relevant environmental conditions such as seasonal flow and water quality. Then, they collaborated with members of the Swedish community – teaching them about the cultural benefits that are most important to them, such as subsistence farming and customary practices for the younger generation – and which of the following websites can enhance the benefits.
According to Melissa Po, an associate professor of social sciences at the Washington Maritime Grant, “the Swedish Indian community has developed a model for integrating social and ecological information with indigenous knowledge.” “This is a practical and communicative tool for community-based reform decisions that focus on the needs, priorities and leadership of the community.”
The tribe has now applied for a permit to build the Clam Park. Waiting for approval, these new sources of funding will be used to build backyard gardens during community-led events. The money will be used to collect pre- and post-survey data at the Clam Garden. “This long-standing indigenous knowledge is an important opportunity to demonstrate the importance of protecting our original foods from new influences, such as climate change,” said Joe Williams, coordinator of the Swedish Shellfish community.
The Swedish-Indian community is a federally recognized Indian tribe with over 1,000 members. Sweden is the legal successor to the Aboriginal bands that signed the Treaty of 1855. The reservation is located 65 miles north of Seattle, Washington on Fidelgo Island.