Here is a California basket-maker gathering tule along the edge of a pond.
Finished Tule Boat
RECALLING THE RULE OF TULE
There was a time in Northern California when every tribe had its tule craft, whether they were Miwok, Ohlone or Pomo. Today, only the Clear Lake Band of the Pomo continue to create woven tule boats, and as I understand it, they almost lost it.
Historic photo courtesy Big-Valley.net
As in, It, the memory of how.
The tule boat, woven from tule reeds, was the human ticket to the lakes and rivers of Northern California, and to San Francisco Bay itself. More recently, the Clear Lake Band realized that the art and craft of weaving tule was about to die out, but rather than let that happen, nine years ago they created the annual Tule Boat Festival, a three-day event in which tule is harvested on day one, woven into boats on day two and raced on day three.
In practice, there is still a lot of building going on, in the hours before the races on day three.
And, sadly, they don’t harvest where granddaddy harvested, because that shoreline is now polluted with the floridone that the State of California once assured all and sundry would never show up in the plant that, traditionally, served the Pomo as a source of food, shelter, and clothing. But there still are healthy tules to be found, and when I asked, the Clear Lake Band freely invited my family and me to join them for their Tule Boat Festival. They don’t sell tickets. It’s not a media event. It’s not a “public” event, either. You’re either there or you’re not, and I was told but lost track of how many hundreds of pounds of tri-tip hit the barbeque.
I do remember they invited Her Daughtership to jump in and race a canoe.
And I remember that the vibe was mostly about the kids, and at that level it wasn’t so very different from any BBQ, anywhere. It was summertime in America. But there was a theme, and the theme was restoration of a viable population of a fish, the Clear Lake Hitch, that once was part of the basic sustenance for Pomos living on the shores of Clear Lake. And now is not.
Put it this way:
The hitch, an ancient fish endemic to Clear Lake, live in deep in water most of the time, but every spring the adults work their way up the tributary creeks to spawn. In the words of biologist Rick Macedo, they used to “mass by the thousands,” in an annual ritual “as spectacular as any salmon run on the Pacific coast . . . The tumultuous splashing . . . and the appearance of herons, osprey, egrets, and bald eagles . . . signify that the hitch are in.” In recent years the population has declined precipitously, for reasons that are poorly understood. Streambed obstructions, predation by introduced fish, and food competition all have been suggested as possible causes for their diminished numbers. Source: UC Davis California fish web site.
The hitch once ran in every stream, every creek in the region. Now they are down to two streams.
As to boat-building technique, tules are first bound into bundles. The bundles are then re-bound and shaped into boats.
The tule boats of old would be hauled out and dried between uses and would last through a summer season, to be replaced the following year. The boats I saw being assembled and raced were intended for the weekend, and fun for all whether ashore in the gallery . . .
Or in the hunt . . .
Rather often, after an attempt at paddling, the skippers went freestyle . . .
So yes, it was about tradition, and caring for the world about us.
"The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this." Albert Einstein, "My First Impression of the USA," 1921
Ngaio Bealum joins us to discuss the effects of the West Coast medical marijuana crackdown, promoting May 20 Portland Mt. Tabor Theater show; Dave Bienenstock from HIGH TIMES with a preview of the newsstand issue and San Francisco's Medical Cannabis Cup; music by The Effinays
Live report from attorneys Lance Rogers and Michael Cindrich at the San Diego NORML protest of DEA abuse of Daniel Chong; highlights from the DFW NORML Cinco de Mota march; Rant: Debunking No on I-502 Misinformation, Again.
Los Angeles Times, 01 Oct 2015 - Re "Cleaning up after pot farmers," Editorial, Sept. 23 As representatives of craft and artisanal cannabis farmers in California, we applaud The Times' editorial, which addressed environmental damage caused by unregulated and illegal cannabis growers.
Los Angeles Times, 01 Oct 2015 - Re "Cleaning up after pot farmers," Editorial, Sept. 23 As the Assembly member representing California's "Emerald Triangle," and the author of one of the recently passed medical marijuana' bills, I appreciate your editorial drawing attention to the devastating environmental impact of large mariju […]
North Coast Journal, 01 Oct 2015 - The Pinoleville Pomo Nation, based out of Mendocino County, was raided by the sheriff's office last week and hundreds of marijuana plants were seized. The Journal reported in January that the tribe said it would build a 110,000-square-foot marijuana growing facility on its 99-acre Rancheria near Ukiah, anticipating leg […]
Sacramento News & Review, 01 Oct 2015 - I have two questions for you: (1) Have you ever been the victim of "laced" weed? (2) Is marijuana addictive? - -TJ First: I have never been the victim of "laced" weed. One time I did have a huge, heart-racing panic attack whilst driving to a gig in the boonies of Montana, so I went to the ER and […]
Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep 2015 - Medical marijuana dispensaries in Northern California are giving patients affected by a destructive wildfire up to $200 in free cannabis per patient for the next week. Through Oct. 7, two marijuana-related product companies, Care By Design and AbsoluteXtracts, are offering free products at five dispensaries in San Francisco, […]
Appeal-Democrat, 30 Sep 2015 - Three Initiatives and One Recall Yuba County voters are already being asked to sign three petitions that could lead to separate special elections. Now they'll have the chance to sign a fourth, this one to allow medical marijuana dispensaries.
The Press Democrat, 30 Sep 2015 - Pretty much everybody from Barack Obama to Carly Fiorina seems to agree that far too many Americans are stuck behind bars. And pretty much everybody seems to have the same explanation for how this destructive era of mass incarceration came about. First, the war on drugs got out of control, meaning that many nonviolent people […]
Sacramento Bee, 27 Sep 2015 - Re "Some marijuana regulation, finally" (Editorials, Sept. 20): We are supposed to be a nation of laws and not men - where the rules we live by apply to everyone equally. But how can our elected representatives compromise on legislation when there is no guarantee whether the legislation will be enforced? A classic exam […]
Sacramento Bee, 27 Sep 2015 - The Bee's editorial board has proven it's streetwise, using the slang term "weed" in the editorial about cannabis regulation. Maybe the next time beer is mentioned in an editorial, the board can substitute the word "brewski." The editorial mentions there is a lack of hard science on cannabis. I thin […]