Every summer, several members of the Chia Café Collective travel to Catalina Island to give native plant food workshops and cooking demos for the Pimu / Catalina Island Archaeology Field School.
In summer. 2016, Craig Torres, Abe Sanchez, Cindi Alvitre, and I arrive Friday, eat tacos and sip margaritas in Avalon with the Field School teachers and staff, then give a slideshow presentation on California native plants and ethical gathering protocol and practices.
At night, we stay in the camp with platform tents under skies teeming with stars. Saturday is our all-day cooking workshop in the outdoor kitchen looking out at the Pacific Ocean that surrounds us. On Sunday, we hike along the coast to gather seagrass, share snacks and stories, and swim.
PIMU ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SCHOOL NATIVE FOODS MENU 2015
Marinated Quail in prickly pear juice, rubbed with mesquite
Shellfish Stew with seaweed, welk, and other shellfish
Venison & Coreopsis Soup
Amaranth Green Tacos
Stinging Nettles Dip with White Tepary Beans
Cactus & Tepary Beans
Mesquite Tortillas made from mesquite flour, wheat flour, butter, and baking soda
Cactus Fruit Drink
White Sage Lemonade
Manzanita Berry & Lemonade Berry Drinks
Chia Seed Agua Fresca
Brownie Bites, no-bake and gluten-free, with chia seeds, date paste, black walnuts, yerba buena, and cacao paste
White Tepary Bean Pie topped with elderberry sauce inside a mesquite/almond meal/chia crust
The Pimu Catalina Island Archaeology Field School is taught over four weeks in Tongva land where the students learn the skills essential for working as professional archaeologists.
Unlike other archaeological field schools, however, students are also steeped in Indigenous Archaeology, meaning that they are taught to seek guidance about the landscape in which they work from the people to whom the land belongs.
This crucial insight allows them to more accurately, appropriately, and respectfully contextualize their work, and hopefully to become the best collaborative archaeologists possible.
In addition to having a Tongva archaeologist [Desireé Martinez] as co-Director, the field school works closely with elders who work regularly with the students, as well as providing additional special programming to supplement the students’ enrichment about what it means to work on Tongva land.
During the field season this year, a special program took place over the weekend of July 24-26. The students were treated to a Cooking with Native Foods weekend, put on by members of the Chia Cafe Collective, Craig Torres (Tongva) and Abe Sanchez.
In addition students also had the privilege of hearing Tashina Miranda (Luiseno) speak about gathering and processing practices of materials for basketry, and the importance and difficulties of retaining and transmitting this knowledge to her own students.
—by Mishuana Goeman and Allison Fischer-Olson
Food Sovereignty on Pimu with Abe Sanchez and Craig Torres