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Healthy Ecosystems Feed Healthy Communities

We are thrilled to announce our latest curriculum project, created in collaboration with the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, and the California Indian Education for All project.

  • Tribal Focus: Pomo

  • Subjects: Environmental Science, Nutrition, Mathematics, English Language Arts

  • Grades: 6-9

  • Standards: NGSS, Common Core, CA Indian Essential Understandings, CA Healthy Schools Guidelines

To view Healthy Ecosystems Feed Healthy Communities Part 1 and 2, click here.

The Whole Picture: Healthy Eating Begins at Our Roots

Healthy ecosystems feed healthy communities. When developing a curriculum on the nutritional benefits of traditional Indigenous foods, we were reminded that healthy eating doesn’t begin with the chopping, cooking, and eating of ingredients. It starts with conscious land stewardship.

Long before our food makes it to our plates, it often exists as plant or animals species in unique ecosystems. For many Native peoples, the abundance and availability of traditional food sources relies on the health of those ecosystems. Specifically, our Native foods prosper in biodiverse environments, many of which are thoughtfully cared for by Native peoples themselves.

Biodiversity in California’s oak woodland ecosystem is supported by local Native peoples, and has been since Time immemorial. Controlled fires, pruning, and a wide variety of harvest management practices, are just some of the methods that Native peoples have implemented to ensure their ecosystems remain healthy. Having a strong ecosystem is, after all, the first step in supporting access to the traditional local foods that support wellness.

From the Land to the Classroom: Indian Edu. For All

In collaboration with the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, and California Indian Education for All, Redbud Resource Group has designed a Pomo ecology and nutrition curriculum titled “Healthy Ecosystems Feed Healthy Communities”, presented from an entirely Native perspective. The curriculum, designed for grades 6-9, provides opportunities for students to explore the Native methods for supporting a resilient ecosystem. Students learn about the role of keystone species in strengthening ecosystem resiliency, and explore the impact that over-consumption, industrial development, and natural disasters have on that resiliency.

Integrating the NGSS standards, students practice modeling skills by designing ecosystems that can thrive in spite of challenges, while also learning valuable cultural insights that ground their science lessons in Indigenous values and strategies.

The second section of the curriculum focuses on nutrition and the cultural role of food in one’s family. Students consider the impact that traditional foods can have on one’s health, practice providing nutrition advice to youth their age, and interview elders about the role of food in their lives. Students reflect on the availability of healthy foods in their local communities, and learn about ways that Pomo youth advocate for themselves and their communities by championing Native foods.

Using the Seven Essential Understandings, written by California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, students gain valuable knowledge about their local ecosystems and food ways, while also developing a greater appreciation for the historical and contemporary Native peoples of Northern California.

  • To view Healthy Ecosystems Feed Healthy Communities Part 1 and 2, click here.

  • To view the California Indian Education for All site, along with their Seven Essential Understandings, click here.

  • To view California Indian Museum and Cultural Center’s site, click here.

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