“Digging for roots in the warm springtime,” she said, “gave a feeling of being part of the beautiful natural world…”
At the time (and possibly at present), many area Native people carried warnings from the elders that at some point, the dam will suffer a disastrous fate. This stems from the presence of several quake faults in the area and from the belief that drowning the land would create harmful spiritual karma.
Be that as it may, a couple of decades later, Reg Elgin—historic preservation officer for the Dry Creek Pomo Rancheria—says those transplanted sedges and willows are still very much on the minds of his people.
“In 1979, they transplanted 39,000 plants,” he said. “And we’re not going to really disturb them. Very recently, though, in the last two or three years, we’ve been in dealings with the Army Corps. One thing they want us to do is to weed and prune them; they are overrun with ivy and poison oak, but some are doing well.”
Elgin said although many of the elders in the tribe are too elderly to actually go out and gather, “We are still taking a pretty active role in watching the nine areas that were transplanted and actually putting
on basket weaving classes using some of
Elgin also said, in light of the increased recent interest in the transplant areas, “we have been up and down the lake and we have hired an ethnobotanist to map areas of importance for us.”
In fact, Elgin said that early on, a number of Native American advocacy groups had suggested that Lake Sonoma be named Lake Pomo. “They promised to name it after the Indians, but didn’t.”
“They took 88,000 acres of tribal land from Native people,” he said, “17,000 acres of which are underwater. We got 75 acres; I don’t think that’s even. There are 26 known sites and they gave us 10 acres for the sedge plants.”
“We’re thinking that we would like to take it back,” he added, “Then it would be Lake Pomo after all.”