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Coming Full Circle: ‘Tending the Wild’ Series on KCET Highlights Traditional Ecological Knowledge

KCET explores the myriad effective environmental management methods of Indigenous Peoples in California in 'Tending the Wild,' a new series.
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Indigenous Peoples are increasingly being seen as having the keys to save our habitat from human-induced destruction.

RELATED: Indigenous People Must Lead World to Sustainability

A new series on KCET explores several aspects of Traditional Knowledge and the ways in which the most effective methods of caretaking this land we call Turtle Island originated with those who originally inhabited these lands. Tending the Wild began airing on Monday October 3 with “Fire” and had its second episode, “Salmon,” on October 17.

The series centers on tribes based in what is today California. Episode 1, subtitled “Cultural Burning,” explores “how Native California communities use fire as a natural resource to promote a healthy ecosystem and how plants and animals have evolved to need fire disturbances to survive,” according to a KCET statement. “Additionally, this episode will explore how fire is used in various cultures; and the negative effects of fire suppression, a western concept initially promoted by National Parks and Forest Services.”

The second episode, subtitled “Keeping the River,” became available online on October 18 at KCET.org and LinkTV.org. This segment looks at dam removals, fishing restrictions and the controlling of runoff from agriculture and industry into the waters. Key members of the Yurok, Karuk and Hupa tribes appear in this one, KCET said.

Basketry takes up the third episode, set to air on October 31, in a story about using “Plants as Materials” and what that entails by viewing the process of basket weaving from the cultivation of the proper plants, to the end product.

RELATED: Reviving the Ancient Art of Basket-Weaving in California

Viewers will learn about the “decolonized diet” in Episode 4, “Plants as Medicine” in Episode 5, and how to love the desert in Episode 6. The series continues through mid-December.

The show is being launched in conjunction with an exhibition at the Autry Museum of the American West, California Continued, which will show some footage from the series as well. Online, the associated web portal at KCET will hold numerous news stories exploring the theme of traditional ecological knowledge.

Below is the series trailer, followed by a glimpse of tonight’s salmon episode.