The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California has recently suffered several devastating wildland fires in the east Carson Valley, where the Washoe Tribe always held the Pine Nut Mountains in high esteem, both culturally and spiritually.
Most recently, the Carter Springs Fire devastated several Washoe family allotment holdings in the area and as tribal leadership it becomes heartbreaking to hear the stories and voices of those who have lost the pristine, rugged beauty of those affected areas. Stories of family time spent with elders long passed, with existing family members and friends, who gathered together in the annual tradition of gathering pinenuts, firewood, hunting and the social interaction of immediate family and friends.
In recent years, the lack of an adequate pine nut crop had caused a cessation of sorts on those type of activities, however this year it appeared once again the Pine Nut Mountains presented us with an abundant crop as a reward for our patience. Then came the Ray May, Preacher's Mine, Como, and Carter Springs Fires that might be construed as a possible impediment to our cultural activities again.
However, we are continuing to move forward with our celebrations and to give our thanks for the blessings we receive.
Families will still gather together to make their journeys to gather the pine nuts, laugh and carry on as we have for thousands of years, yet being mindful of the fragile state of the mountains caused by the continuing drought conditions throughout the world.
The Washoe Tribe will continue to work with our tribal, state, federal agencies to rehabilitate the affected areas and to bring back the conditions and life that was abundant prior to these wildland fires, and hopefully to mitigate the potential damages from flooding as evidenced soon after the Ray May Fire.
Throughout time immemorial, the land has always healed itself, yet we feel the sadness and heartache of those elderly tribal members, who may never see the healing of their lands in their lifetime.