13th Annual Gila River Festival announces 12 free and by donation presentations

The 13th Annual Gila River Festival Gathering the Gila

Announces 12 Free and By Donation Presentations

September 21 - 24, 2017, Silver City, New Mexico

The 13th annual festival, Gathering the Gila will engage participants in an exploration of the bountiful native foods, plants, and medicines found throughout the Gila River and its watershed. Presentations will be offered free or by donation at WNMU’s Global Resource Center (GRC West 12th Street) and The Volunteer Center (TVC 501 E 13th St.) and WNMU’S Fine Arts Center Theatre.

Lone Wolf: Hunting in the Gila with Alejandro Muñoz: Thursday, September 21, 1 pm - 2 pm; (GRC)
Join conservationist and hunter Alejandro (Alex) G. Muñoz, Jr. as he shares and relives some exciting hunting adventures and memories. A long-time bow hunter, Alex will recount his tales of bow hunting elk during the rut, which he finds challenging and rewarding. 

Nde-benah with Joe Saenz: Thursday, September 21, 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm; (GRC)
This presentation will help you see "Nde-benah," the wilderness home of the Nde, or Chiricahua Apaches, through the eyes of native wilderness guide and outfitter Joe Saenz.  Joe advocates for Apache Lifeways and is very involved in efforts to preserve, conserve, and protect Apacheria's rich plant and animal life and geography, considered by Apaches as one of Turtle Island's most sacred sites in the Southwest.

Food for a Bountiful, Dry World with Richard Felger: Thursday, September 21, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm (GRC)
Botanist Dr. Richard Felger will make a powerful case in favor of growing food crops that are native and well-adapted to the Southwest. As climate change causes our region to become hotter and drier, we cannot continue to grow thirsty crops in a land of little rain. In Dr. Felger’s words: “The deserts, grasslands, and forests are food. Hedge your bets in a diversity of crops. High protein, no-till, low water. Fit the crop to the land.”

Icons of the Gila with Diana Molina: Friday, September 22, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm (GRC)
Artist and photographer Diana Molina’s presentation features her stunning photos of the Gila region and Chihuahuan Desert’s native food plants, and discusses how the land itself has a direct influence in the creation of human cultures.  Our geography unifies the experience of place, gives shape to our unique identity and collective character—unified but not homogenized.  The Gila area’s rich plant and animal diversity is the result of its unique location at the intersection of the Chihuahuan Desert, the northernmost Sierra Madres, and the southernmost Rocky Mountains.

Tending the Forest: Traditional Land Stewardship Practices of Indigenous Peoples with
Lyla June Johnston:
Friday, September 22, 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm (GRC)
The mythology purveyed by contemporary and colonial anthropologists is that this continent was sparsely inhabited by “primitive” nomads who had little effect on the ecology of the land. Johnston leverages her experience as an indigenous woman who has lived and researched the deeper natural history of indigenous communities to explain how Indigenous Peoples extensively managed, and in some places still manage, the “Americas.” The tools and the knowledge found within the context of indigenous land and forest management have great potential to help us become more sustainable.

Culturally Significant Plants of the Chiricahua Apache with Phillip Koszarek:
Friday, September 22, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm (GRC)
Wild plants of the Chihuahan Desert and mountains of the Madrean Archipelago provided nutrition and made up a large part of the Chiricahua Apache's material culture. Traditionally the Chiricahua Apache survived through a combination of hunting and gathering and by preserving those foods. The practice of collecting, preparing, and preserving the wild plant food sources was a year-round enterprise and integral to their overall survival. It required an intimate knowledge of the natural environment.  All foods and materials were collected during a year that was divided into six distinct seasons, named for their impressions of the natural environment.



A Celebration of Seeds with Miguel Santistevan: Saturday, September 23, 9:30 am - 10:45 am; (TVC)
Who knew seeds could be so intriguing? You’ll be a believer after this interactive seed presentation with farmer, biologist, and teacher Miguel Santistevan. Miguel will demonstrate seeds of many native crop foods, and talk about their properties and adaptability to fluctuating conditions. “We are working to grow the ingredients of our traditional foods so we can eat the way our grandparents, and great-grandparents used to eat.  We believe that sustainable agriculture starts with our kitchen table. “

Gathering the Ancestors with Food and Story with Denise Chávez: Saturday, September 23, 10 am - 11:30 am; (TVC)
In this lively session, New Mexico author Denise Chávez shares stories with the audience that inform and celebrate the sacred in our own families’ histories. Bring a family recipe to share on a 3x5 card. 

Sanctuary - Film and Discussion with Victor Masayesva: Friday, September 22, 10:30 am – noon (GRC)
Returning to the Gila River Festival, Hopi filmmaker Victor Masayesva will present and discuss his in-progress film, Sanctuary. Many indigenous people including the Hopi, Nahua and Maya have a special connection with corn to the extent that you can say that we are corn. From birth to death this connection is re-affirmed over and over again. Sanctuary is about the world community connected by corn and the dialogue emerging from this experience: How can we become interdependent with another species?  

Gila River Extravaganza: Saturday, September 23, 2-9pm, Big Ditch Park
Featuring live music, spoken word poetry, tastings of native food products, kids’ activities and the beloved Monsoon Puppet Parade. Caliente will play Latin, Tejano, and R&B dance music, and the Fort Sill Apache Fire Dancers with the Gooday Family from Oklahoma will return for an encore performance.

BY DONATION: Proceeds benefit the Gila Conservation Coalition’s work to protect the Gila River. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Seeds of Consciousness with Jack Loeffler: Thursday, September 21, 7pm; Suggested donation $10 (GRC)
For over 50 years, Jack Loeffler has been recording conversations with people from every cultural persuasion throughout the American West and Mexico. In this presentation, he will provide audio vignettes edited from a repertoire of conversations that pertain to gathering seeds, insights of indigenous peoples, and bioregional and watershed thinking. The purpose of this presentation is to “re-seed” the commons of human consciousness with perspectives more appropriate to our system of cultural attitudes than currently prevail.

Keynote Address with Winona LaDuke: Friday, September 22, 7 pm; Suggested donation $15 (WNMU FACT)
Ms. LaDuke is renowned for her passion about traditional native foods and has worked tirelessly to maintain the integrity of traditional native foods. LaDuke’s keynote will address native food plants that are an integral part of the Anishinaabe people’s culture and health, and the harvesting and preparation of these traditional foods. She will discuss the work to protect traditional foods from genetic contamination and extinction, to restore ancient varieties, and the vital importance of these well-adapted plants.

Many thanks to our major sponsors: New Mexico Humanities Council, National Endowment for the Humanities, McCune Charitable Foundation, Edible Baja, Fort Sill Apache Tribe, ALAYA, Stream Dynamics, Gila/Mimbres Community Radio, Western New Mexico University, the Center for Biological Diversity, The Glasserie, Town and Country Garden Club, the Town of Silver City Lodgers Tax, and our lodging sponsor, the Murray Hotel.

For more details and registration, visit our website at: www.gilariverfestival.org or call us at 575-538-8078. Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GilaRiverFestival/, and follow us on instagram: @gilariverfest


Allyson Siwik