The beautiful illustration at the top of the page is by image maker Carmen Deño for Gastro Obscura.

The title of investigative journalist Mark Hay’s wonderful essay is: “How the Rage for Sage Threatens Native American Traditions and Recipes.”

The subtitle is: “In southern California, the popularity of white sage threatens its survival.”

The essay is a really great read. Mark Hay is a really good storyteller, and he interviewed the late Tongva elder, Barbara Drake, who inspired so many of us, as well as Julie Cordero-Lamb, Teresa Romero, and my collaborator Rose Ramirez, among others, all people who also appear in our Ethnobotany Project’s white sage chapter, our News from Native California essay titled “Saging the World,”ˆ and/or in our upcoming documentary, Saging the World.

Here is an excerpt from the Hay’s “Rage for Sage“:

A few years ago, Julie Cordero-Lamb took a handful of kids from her tribe, the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation, to a remote spot in the hills between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles where their community has, for generations, gathered white sage. . . .

As an herbalist, Cordero-Lamb had brought many youth groups to this site to teach them how to care for the land and harvest leaves, respectfully and sparingly. Usually, they were alone in the hills. But as they pulled up to the trailhead, they saw a huge truck, filled to mounding with white sage, driving away. When they got to the sage grounds, they found that the people in the truck had “ripped it all up by the roots,” she recalls. “It was completely destroyed.” Some of the elders present “sobbed their hearts out.”

This scene is all too common. Please continue reading about white sage’s multitude of challenges on the
Rage for Sage on the Atlas Obscura site. The article includes 3 more of Carmen Deño’s beautiful artworks.

See also:

Julie Cordero Lamb, Herbalist, Syuxtun Plant Mentorship Collective

Teresa Romero, Environmental Director, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

Weshoyot Alvitre, Comic Book Artist and illustrator

Posted by deborah small

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