new videos
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.

more videos from
the PDC here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

PNW Native American Agriculture resembled permaculture  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22172
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Heidi Bohan, author of "The People of Cascadia" talks about the Native American agriculture in the pacific northwest hundreds of years ago.

She explains that the native american people that were here then were well beyond "hunter gatherer".  They had an agriculture all their own.  Much like permaculture.





 
Corin Royal Drummond
Posts: 18
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It would be more accurate to say permaculture is an ecclectic blend of re-discovered Native techniques from the Americas and around the world blended with modern ecological and agricultural science. Bill Mollison invented permaculture the way Columbus discovered America. It's a lovely synthesis, but let's not put the cart before the horse.
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
15
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When you have people like Sepp doing what we would think of a permaculture, and then finding out that is what it is - this is a very positive thing. More than anything, permaculture is working with nature and considering yourself part of nature, not its master.

Cultures that last for thousands of years almost have to go the way of permaculture, to survive (that should be obvious). The "green revolution" has not be with us very long, nor has power in the form of petroleum and they are not likely to be with us many more generations.

 
Steve Palmer
Posts: 18
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It would be fair to say a "few" native peoples used permaculture as a matter of necessity. There were not what you would consider "modern" farming practices or even the practice of growing a single crop or two to sell. They grew and collected to live. Most native peoples in the world lived in a area until the food ran out and they left for greener pastures until that area played out and then on to the next place.

I am personally sensitive to the idea that their way of life was better in some way and they were more of a steward to the land. I do not believe that to be true of any native peoples of any place in the world, there were just fewer of them and unable to do really permanent damage to the earth.
 
Travis Toner
Posts: 33
Location: Tokyo
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think maybe a more constructive way to look at it is to learn from what the natives in your neck of the woods were doing for some 10,000 years before you got there. I'm starting to discover what this means for dwellers of the Great Lakes region, the Ojibway mostly cultivated wild rice and made syrup from the sap of maple, poplar, basswood and birch trees, but also supplemented by the vast native wildlife, whatever could be found of course. I plan on incorporating as much native plant species to my own permaculture design, in theory, you would think the success rate would be higher since all these species are already accustomed over decades and decades to your area (as long as you take their needs into consideration with wise placement and design).

Here's a little article that enlightened me to this idea, for those in the Great Lakes region that may be interested.
http://www.stonecirclefarm.com/articles/native-foods.html
And a great nursery specialized in native species in K-zoo.
Hidden Savanna Nursery
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Many native peoples practiced what is called by anthropologists "horticulture" which is similar to permaculture but not very similar to agriculture.

Discussion of these words: http://kennysideshow.blogspot.com/2008/05/agriculture-or-permaculture-why-words.html
 
Ernie Wisner
gardener
Posts: 791
Location: Tonasket washington
31
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh i dunno
here in the west there was a migration pattern east and west that happened every year. it worked out well. the natives defiantly knew about farming from trade links down well into south america. Some have had trade links with china for many years before the settlers. trade north was up to the arctic and around the circle. so its doubtful that sophisticated agriculture was unknown. Why then did the native cultures choose not to sleep with animals in one place while running the soils to total depletion? I think that we dont give full enough credit to the world trade before Europeans broke out of the north. I dont think it was better but i do think the elders had evidence that farming the European way was not good for the sustained life they had in mind. Why would they adopt something that made you work all the time for something that you worked at for a little bit then left to do its own thing. We brought our pests with us and as such struggle to control them. most pests in a natural setting dont do much damage. So cant think of why a native culture would ever choose to go the European farmers way.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree with you Ernie. This is especially something to think about:

Ernie Wisner wrote: Why would they adopt something that made you work all the time for something that you worked at for a little bit then left to do its own thing.
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The Malacu tribe near us practices food forest for sure. I have visited their "plantation". It is very interesting. It is their traditional manner.

Why would they adopt traditional farming techniques? Well, by exploiting the land, one generation can make more. Cut down a forest and you have incredible fertility, for a little while. Just like cutting down a forest gives a big delivery of wood for sale and if your land is large enough and your forest old enough, down here you can retire.

But the next generation will have nothing.

I think people are inherently lazy and greedy. People might have a life we would aspire to, but people always want more or so it seems, and so if they see their neighbor with a big wad of money, they may well do the same, though the long term result will be poverty for their family.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
More about why people adopt agriculture: http://www.rewild.info/anthropik/2005/10/thesis-9-agriculture-is-difficult-dangerous-and-unhealthy/index.html

 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Corin Royal Drummond wrote:It would be more accurate to say permaculture is an ecclectic blend of re-discovered Native techniques from the Americas and around the world blended with modern ecological and agricultural science. Bill Mollison invented permaculture the way Columbus discovered America. It's a lovely synthesis, but let's not put the cart before the horse.


I agree that the title is better "permaculture resembles PNW Native American Agriculture "
...as what comes after resembles what was before.

And if we consider as being "first" what we know
... then we can be happy to have found something resembling permaculture!

The differences:
- More difficult to learn from the elders. These ways are no more established as a majority.
- No uniform society, we rarely live with our pairs as neighbours.

- And it is more of a choice and an effort, as we could follow the trend of the last modern years...
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It seems to me that the western mindset grossly underestimates the creativity, ingenuity, and skills of any non Eurasian, especially Native Americans. Permaculture makes sense on all levels, it's a great approach to agriculture for any people. Does that make sense?
 
R Laurance
Posts: 25
Location: Southern Sweden (zone 7a)
chicken forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Steve Flanagan wrote:It seems to me that the western mindset grossly underestimates the creativity, ingenuity, and skills of any non Eurasian, especially Native Americans. Permaculture makes sense on all levels, it's a great approach to agriculture for any people. Does that make sense?


I agree with that statement and would carry it even further to add that (for the most part it seems), the modern society of man continually underestimates the creativity, ingenuity, skills and technologies of all earlier cultures. One case in point, all the megalithic constructions around the world which with all of our 'vastly superior' technology and wisdom we would be hard pressed to emulate. It is quite possibly to say that each high culture of any specific time may consider itself the apogee of human development. Leaders know not humility!
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just let's be careful...
Underestimating on one side is the best way to lead to the balance by overestimating!
So let's not overestimate, not to under-estimate the use of our technology either.

eg: I am looking for manual tools whenever possible, which does not mean I want to find stone grinding techniques.
 
R Laurance
Posts: 25
Location: Southern Sweden (zone 7a)
chicken forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Don't get me wrong. I'm in agreement with you, Xisca. However, I guess my point is that technology in and of itself does not constitute what I would call a 'high' culture or 'THE' mark of civilization. Humankind is no more, no less than just another organism living on this rock, in what should be a mutual cooperation or of symbiotic relationships. Given, that we have all these great technological 'advancements', at the same time we have also placed our species and most other higher lifeforms on the planet in a precarious position of survival all for the things that we feel we 'need'.

I am not of the belief that we (mankind) have 'dominion over all the living creatures' and they are at our mercy to exploit and to use until we have exterminated every last one of them or genetically mutated them (pets included) for our own purposes. My perception is ... that kind of thinking is part of the present world problem!

Yes, we've grown beyond the 'stone grinding' techniques at the basic levels of finding a stone and spending all day to grind the meal for a loaf of bread, but destroying large ecologically sound habitats to pump oil or extract uranium or coal to power the electricity to power the electric 'stone' meal grinder in one own's kitchen really isn't the answer. Neither is the continued gung-ho support of the ever-growing monoculture agribusiness that grows, grinds and transports the meal to you from anywhere in the world.

Each one of us, needs to become part of the solution, and begin making decisions about everything.... EVERYTHING... that we do that has any impact on the earth and our fellow inhabitants. I seriously believe that those of us living in the developed nations, just because of our indoctrination into this system since birth, have to struggle with everything we do in this regards. And studies have shown that of all the cultures on the earth we remain among the those that are more unhappy. Those happiest cultures seem to be closer to the earth ... 'primitive' and 'poor' is how our developed modern culture tend to view them. Yet these cultures also enjoy more interpersonal time with their families and other individuals, don't have to work from dawn till dusk to provide sustenance, etc. In my mind it makes me question the meaning of 'civilization'! Being civilized is not... 'all about the money!'


............edited to add............
As an artist/sculptor... I think I would have enjoyed living amongst the Pacific NW coastal Indian groups (Tlingit, Haida, Salish, et al) that celebrated with the potlatch ceremony. I think half of the creative works that I've produced over the decades were given away (with heart) and accepted (with heart). A much greater feeling of value can be placed on items with this kind of exchange, IMHO. And to have lived in that time and allowed to create and feel that kind of value placed on 'things' makes me feel that if something broke or became boring to have, it wouldn't be directly thrown into the nearest trash heap.... if there was one available. I probably would have relished the grinding stone a bit as well, as presently I DO make sourdough bread twice weekly and even hand grind part of the rye for addition. Actually sprouted rye that is dried after making rejuvelac. :
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I did not reply only for you, but as an additional warning.
(see below, because of your last sentence)
I see much too often focuses on "the culprit", a person, a group, a technique, a way of...
And each one has its focus according to its view.
You focused on leaders for example.

And I can tell you that praising is a much hidden danger than accusing.
Do you know this circle of admiring, been deceived and accusing?
I hate when people think I am "very good", "too or soooo much" etc etc.

It is quite possibly to say that each high culture of any specific time may consider itself the apogee of human development.
Leaders know not humility!


Your last 4 words made me write what I did.
Not all leaders can be like this.
And the responsibility is not only on leaders.
Let's be careful about generalization as well as both sides: praising and accusing.

On the other hand, your first sentence I quote above is soooooooooo great, and we can see it in ourselves.
I increase my knowledge and consciousness.
I can see it from my past.
I am every day at my apogee...
I cannot see my future.

I have no humility except the curiosity for the future,
and that is where I really feel humble.
So I have no false modesty either!

Yes like Paul says, nobody is less than perfect (right now)!
 
R Laurance
Posts: 25
Location: Southern Sweden (zone 7a)
chicken forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, I do agree with you on that... the last sentence was a tad bit brash! There are certainly many leaders that don't fall in line with that statement. My bad! My inference was intended more towards those leaders that seem to so often 'beat their drums' in bolstering support for their agendas more than ALL leaders, as if it was part of their protocol.

That was no doubt something that bubbled up from my seething consciousness of living with too many (fortunately, not all) of the (U.S.) political heads through the years harping about the greatness of the country, blah, blah, blah, on one side of their face and then with their own actions moving in a contrary direction that deters from any kind of 'greatness.' Just my personal views!

Your words of generalizations are certainly spot on! I have also maintained that thinking as well... just a slip here... like I said, my bad!

 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
lol you are very forgiven... for the interesting things that come out of it are more important.
Thanks for sharing the personal part, there is always something personal in any reaction.
And even with THOSE leaders that are "bad"... we never know how much they are themselves stuck in a system.
They are certainly themselves angry after other culprits...

And however bad are some extremists in any field, how can we be sure they are totally dishonest?
I believe they also are sure about a theory !! I would like to be deep in the mind of GMO advocates for example.
I am badly sure they believe it is the best way to go. Or that we have no choice, that humanity has no choice.

That is why I tell about the hidden danger of praising totally. I have heard about someone who got convinced to stop using pesticides and did it and lost crops, and went back to chemicals more than ever. And each time someone praises the ancient ways, there is the risk to create the reaction of "don't go past", just because of the praising as ideal. However right is a sentence, who knows the reaction of other people? Do I want a bad result from a good sentence?

I hate "devilizing", that is why I am cautious with "angelizing" (or making look like it from outside, better, ideal etc): what looks the opposite creates the same, actually...
 
R Laurance
Posts: 25
Location: Southern Sweden (zone 7a)
chicken forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you, Xisca! Truly, you speak words of wisdom!

On a personal note......What island are you on? I've had a desire to visit your island group for the past few years. Hope you didn't suffer from any of the large fires there this past year.
 
Rory Rivers
Posts: 14
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fred Morgan wrote:The Malacu tribe near us practices food forest for sure. I have visited their "plantation". It is very interesting. It is their traditional manner.

Why would they adopt traditional farming techniques? Well, by exploiting the land, one generation can make more. Cut down a forest and you have incredible fertility, for a little while. Just like cutting down a forest gives a big delivery of wood for sale and if your land is large enough and your forest old enough, down here you can retire.

But the next generation will have nothing.

I think people are inherently lazy and greedy. People might have a life we would aspire to, but people always want more or so it seems, and so if they see their neighbor with a big wad of money, they may well do the same, though the long term result will be poverty for their family.


I disagree. I think people are lazy and greedy under certain conditions. But the simple fact of communities that have practiced permaculture techniques for many generations leads me to believe that love and generosity are at least as central to the human condition.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hehe we are everything! We want happiness, and if love is enough, great, but we also have an autonomous nervous system that takes the lead EACH TIME we feel in danger.
"Under certain conditions" is about culture, about administrations and structures WE built.
And it is difficult to figure out the consequences of each plan.
And administrations are made of human being working in things they do not feel responsible for, as they did not make the rules themselves.

Agriculture appeared when people wanted to feed more persons per square meters.
Or they moved whenever possible.
That even led men to reach many Pacific islands!

Now tell me how we can resemble natives that had more land per person than we have?
Love is enough when there are few people and we are happy to meet some other humans.
Overcrowd any paradise and it is in danger of becoming hell.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1318
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
R Laurance wrote:Thank you, Xisca! Truly, you speak words of wisdom!

On a personal note......What island are you on? I've had a desire to visit your island group for the past few years. Hope you didn't suffer from any of the large fires there this past year.


Thanks for speaking about my words and not about me! (even in good... ) )

I have spoken about "social therapy" (Charles Rojzman) before, and this is part of what I have learned.
I am in La Palma, was far from the fires, but very close to drought! Actually in it totally...
 
brevity is the soul of wit - shakepeare. Tiny ad:
Systems of Beekeeping Course - Winterization Now Available
https://permies.com/t/69572/Systems-Beekeeping-Winterization
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!