Walker River Paiute Tribe TEK project

Photograph of tribal youth picking and cleaning buck berries

Project Overview

The Walker River Paiute Tribe has vast Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of the local area relating to plants, wildlife, fish and water. Due to the rapid rate of climate change and the impacts it has had on the reservation and gathering areas, the Tribe has not been able to keep up with the changes.

To address these challenges, the project team will:

  • Develop a Walker River Vision document which will include TEK of the traditional plants, wildlife, fish and water located on the reservation and traditional hunting/ gathering areas of the Agai Dicutta Numa (Walker River Paiutes) for use in future resource management planning and cultural sustainability.
  • Develop a pilot project along the Walker River on the reservation by planting willows and other traditional plants to determine best practices for re-vegetation.

One Year Project Update

The Walker River Paiute Tribe completed an assessment of the flora and fauna on the reservation along the Walker River. A Tribal member performed the assessment which included the Paiute name, scientific name and traditional uses of the plants. The assessment showed a decline in the abundance of flora and fauna along the Walker River due to drought and other ecological conditions. The growing and harvesting seasons for the plants have altered with the climate, with harvesting occurring a few weeks earlier or later than normal. For some plants, the gathering time is a few weeks at the most, then the plant will seed out and wither. The Tribe will use the information from this assessment to develop a Vision Statement which will be the basis of future natural resource planning and management.

In the summer of 2015, the project team worked with the Tribe’s Youth Initiative program on a traditional foods project. Two local elders taught Tribal Youth how to gather buck berries (Buffalo Berries) along the Walker River. The youth also learned how to make jam from the buck berries. The jam was shared with the community and it was a great learning experience for all.

As part of this work, the project team will sow traditional plants in a pilot project area along the Walker River. The Tribe has designated the site and purchased the plants through a U. S. Fish and Wildlife Partners grant. Planting will begin in February 2016.

Project Documents

Theme: Climate Change, Cultural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, Plants, Water

Project start date: 1/1/2015

Fiscal year funded: 2014

Project status: Active

Project managers: Marlene Begay, Walker River Paiute Tribe