Cedar, Abalone and the people of the Deschutes Land Trust

Nov 16, 2010
For centuries, the cedar tree was a mother to the Native people of the Northwest...

by Mary Sojourner

For centuries, the cedar tree was a mother to the Native people of the Northwest. It sheltered them, gave them wood for spoons and masks and the great canoes; it’s bark was shredded into fibre to make clothes, hats and shoes. The carvers made tools and paddles from the scented wood. The people woshipped the red and yellow cedars. The women who cut and gathered the bark knew precisely how much bark they could strip away without killing the tree.

Like the earliest female sea divers in neighboring Japan, the Korean haenyeo once wore only flimsy cotton gowns that offered no protection against the bone-chilling cold. Working in groups, they pushed makeshift collection nets attached to a surface buoy while diving dozens of times a day, using iron picks and scythes to pry loose the shells from rocks as deep as 60 feet or more. They didn't believe in overfishing, harvesting just enough to get by.

They eventually donned wetsuits, but there's one modern convenience the haenyeo have shunned: oxygen tanks, which would allow them to exhaust the catch too soon.

       ---John M. Glionna, Ancient diving trade on South Korea islands struggles to survive, L.A. Times, November 1, 2010

Cedar gatherers,  abalone fisherwomen, you and the Deschutes Land Trust. What do we have in common?  
Somos el barco, 
somos el mar, 
Yo navego en ti, 
tu navegas en mi...

We are the boat, 
we are the sea, 
I sail in you, 
you sail in me...
    ---Lorre Wyatt

 And we are not only the humans.  We are dragonfly and wild turkey and cat-tail; we are Rimrock and Camp Polk Meadow; we are the winding of Wychus Creek and the silver-black of Lake Creek.  We are in you. You are in us. There is only connection. All else is a heartless illusion.