Thursday, August 28, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

What’s in a name? Sharing Patwin traditions

By
From page A8 | February 11, 2014 |

0211patwin1W

Patwin native educator Diana Almandariz shows students some artifacts that would be used and traded by Patwin tribe members. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

What’s in a name?

For students at Patwin Elementary School in Davis, there is a rich history of tradition in their school’s name, and last month fourth-graders got a taste of just how rich and special that history is.

Visited by Diana Almandariz, a Patwin native educator, the students learned about life as members of the Patwin tribe, from the food they ate to the games they played; how they used their environment, but also protected it; and ultimately how their people suffered.

Almandariz is known as the “Tule Lady,” because of how she weaves the tule that grows locally to make everything from boats to beds. Under the watchful eye of Patwin students, she showed how she strips the outside of the tule reeds before weaving the reeds together into a mat that students could sit on.

But Patwin members also used tule to make ducks that would float on the river, attracting other ducks that tribe members would then throw a net over to catch.

Almandariz brought along one of those ducks for the students to see, as well as many other items and artifacts.

There was a cedar doll, “which doesn’t look like a doll,” Almandariz noted, but which kept bugs away during sleep.

She also had abalone, acorns and crystals — all traditionally used in a variety of ways by her people, and all found in the environment around them.

“There’s more you see on the ground in nature than what you might think,” she told the students.

She sees acorns and turns them into dice; polished pine nuts become part of a necklace. A deer scapula ends up a serrated-edge knife.

And what she finds, she said, can be traded with other tribes for things she needs.

“I don’t have any obsidian,” she said, so she’ll trade the tule boats she makes for obsidian.

But the Patwin were always careful to ensure that in taking from the environment, they weren’t harming it, she said.

Even when cutting tule from marshes, Almandariz said, she is careful to cut it in a way that it will grow back.

“Native people didn’t just cut things down and walk away,” she said. “They’d make sure it would survive.”

Almandariz has worked in education programs throughout the state for years, locally at the Cache Creek Preserve and the California State Indian Museum and she came to Patwin thanks to a grant from the Davis School Arts Foundation.

In addition to talking about her ancestors and how they lived, she also spoke of the destruction done to Native Americans by others.

She showed photographs of her family, including her grandfather, and talked about what became of many of them.

“A lot of our Patwin relatives were dragged off to Mission Dolores,” she said. “My ancestors were enslaved.”

Some of them never chose to come back, she said, and families were permanently split up.

“How do you think you would feel if that happened to your family?” she asked the students.

“Strange,” said one.

“Sad,” said another.

“We couldn’t even gather gold,” Almandariz told the students. “Laws said you could legally shoot an Indian on sight for panning for gold.

“And if any Indian was in jail, you could take him and enslave him. That happened to our people.”

The result was many psychological problems among her people, Almandariz said, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, depression and suicide.

“My grandfather chose to rely on alcohol and died young,” she said. “I’m 53 … and I’m the oldest (in my family).”

“The average lifespan of native people is 48,” she added. “We don’t live very long.”

“Why?” asked a student.

“Well, we inherited anger … and it made us reach out to things like alcohol and drugs,” she explained.

Given all that her people have gone through, teachers expressed their gratefulness that Almandariz is out there sharing and keeping alive the history and traditions of the Patwin people. And they hope she’ll make a return visit someday to her tribe’s namesake school.

“She’s such a treasure,” said teacher Vicki Rinne. “I love all the things she teaches them.”

It fits well with what they’re learning as well — students have been working on a Native American curriculum including an in-depth look at native California cultures and artists through hands-on activities.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at aternus@davisenteprise.net or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Comments

comments

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

.

News

School’s back, with gradual return to smaller classes

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New live-work project approved for Del Rio Place

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Marcy finds her place in the DHS Hall of Fame

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Testimony in Marsh trial starts Tuesday

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Lawmakers approve groundwater management bill

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Quake is major test for hard-luck city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Russian columns enter Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Low-income Davis homeowners can save money and go green

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Employee parking permits downtown streamlined

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A4

 
Prospective foster parents welcome

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis Media Access: Get involved in community media

By Autumn Labbe-Renault | From Page: A4

 
‘Art of Acting’ offered at Senior Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Tai chi classes set at Davis Senior Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Do you have a project for the noon Rotary club?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Learn about Girl Scouting at meeting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
 
Museum wants your old Davis High School yearbooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Stroll Through History highlights Beamer Park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
All are welcome at monthly sing-along

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Hosts sought to befriend international visitors

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
.

Forum

Lunch at the big table, again

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Put flowers in our hair

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Give cops the ability to protect

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Don’t let MRAP be a tool for bigger mistakes

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Yes, mother’s milk is best

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Perfectly good playground?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Work on gun control instead

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Military has too much money

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

DHS boys look to win seventh soccer section title

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
New attitude, new stadium for 2014 UCD field hockey

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Gould, Shaw won’t dwell on it, but Biggs remembers The Upset

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
No. 8 keeps Republic unbeaten streak at 8

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Aggie men ranked 11th in water polo poll

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
Dunning picks Cupcake Week

By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

Youth roundup: Judges like what they see from Davis Diamonds

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Baseball roundup: Huge inning helps Cats in Nashville

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

.

Features

Local teacher and artist turns 100

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
100 years’ worth of stories

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A10 | Gallery

.

Arts

Well-known artist will be juror for exhibition

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A11

 
Outdoor art classes to close out summer

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Ethereal dream pop to illuminate Sophia’s Thai Kitchen

By Anthony Siino | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Margarita Elizondo

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

 
.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, August 28, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6