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Keynote Presentation with Winona LaDuke

Friday, September 22nd, 7pm; Suggested donation: $15 at the door

WNMU Fine Arts Center Theater

Winona LaDuke’s keynote presentation will address the native food plants that are an integral part of the Anishinaabe people’s culture and health, the harvesting and preparation of these traditional foods, and the significance of traditional foods in Native American cultures. 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 in the face of climate change.

LaDuke, renowned for her passion about traditional native foods, has worked tirelessly to maintain their integrity, and will speak to the urgent need to protect and learn from these ancient cultures, and to incorporate their beliefs, wisdom, and philosophy into today’s society. 

Winona LaDuke is a rural development economist and author working on issues of sustainable development, indigenous economics, renewable energy, and food systems. A two-time vice presidential candidate with Ralph Nader for the Green Party, she lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.

In 2007, LaDuke was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and in 1994, was nominated by Time magazine as one of America’s fifty most promising leaders under forty years of age. She was awarded the Thomas Merton Award in 1996 and Ms. Woman of the Year (with the Indigo Girls) in 1997. As co-founder (with the Indigo Girls) and Executive Director of Honor the Earth, a grassroots environmental organization focused on indigenous issues and environmental justice, LaDuke works internationally on the issues of climate change, renewable energy, and environmental justice alongside indigenous communities. In her own community, she is the founder of the

White Earth Land Recovery Project, one of the largest reservation-based non-profits in the country. A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities, LaDuke has written extensively on Native American and environmental issues. She is the author of six books, including Recovering the Sacred, All Our Relations, Last Standing Woman, and her most recent, The Winona LaDuke Chronicles.

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Seeds of Consciousness with Jack Loeffler

Thursday, September 21, 7pm; Suggested donation $10 at the door

WNMU Global Resource Center Auditorium

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. Interviewees will include: Estevan Arellano, Rina Swentzell, Gary Paul Nabhan, Melissa Savage, Gary Snyder, Camillus Lopez, Roxanne Swentzell, Fritjof Capra, Wendell Berry and Edward Abbey. 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. After Jack’s presentation, he will be selling and signing copies of his books, including his most recent, Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest


Food for a Bountiful, Dry World with Richard Felger

Thursday, September 21, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm; FREE

WNMU Global Resource Center Auditorium

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:

“Hundreds of food plants across the arid west and all down the Gila River.

Apache elders say don’t touch bear food, but enjoy the rest. Choose the promising ones for agriculture across the arid lands of the world.

The deserts, grasslands, and forests are food. Hedge your bets in a diversity of crops. Seeds of grass, seeds of mustards, sunflowers, amaranths, teparies, nipa, acorns, mesquite, pitayas, desert goji, and desert palms. High protein, no-till, low water. Fit the crop to the land.”


Lone Wolf: Hunting in the Gila with Alejandro Muñoz

Thursday, September 21, 1 pm - 2 pm; FREE

WNMU Global Resource Center Auditorium

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 bowhunting elk during the rut, which he finds challenging and rewarding.  The months of early scouting and preparation add to the anticipation of the upcoming hunt.  Elk hunting in the Gila is physically and mentally challenging, as it can be unpredictable, cold, hot, and wet, all in one day. Its rugged canyons, dark forest and green meadows are breath-taking and humbling. 

Photo: Desert Exposure

Photo: Desert Exposure

Nde-benah with Joe Saenz

Thursday, September 21, 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm; FREE

WNMU Global Resource Center Auditorium

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. Looking at the past, Apaches say, "Everything in our country was sweet." in this presentation and open discussion, Saenz focuses on Nde history, culture, contemporary issues, and efforts to reclaim a presence in their traditional country. Genocide did not work; Apaches are still here, and we have much to learn from their experience.

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Culturally Significant Plants of the Chiricahua Apache with Phillip Koszarek

Friday, September 22, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm; FREE

WNMU Global Resource Center Auditorium

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, a large proportion of which were derived from wild plants. 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. Knowing which food sources were available where and at what time allowed them to take maximum advantage of what generally appeared to be a stark landscape. Collecting and harvesting while foods were abundant and then preparing and preserving those foods allowed them to survive periods of scarcity.

Main food sources included agave, acorns, mesquite beans, juniper berries, piñons, and walnuts. Other fruits, seeds and plants were gathered as available and used to supplement and spice primary food sources.  An intimate knowledge of the natural landscape also allowed the Chiricahua Apache to development a material culture, providing shelter, tools and material for artistry.  All of these foods and materials were collected during a year that was divided into six distinct seasons, named for their impressions of the natural environment. Interactions with the government, and eventual relocation required them to adapt their ancient ways, adopt new plant species, or abandon traditional practices due to lack of access to traditional plant sources.


Tending the Forest: Traditional Land Stewardship Practices of Indigenous Peoples with Lyla June Johnston

Friday, September 22, 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm; FREE

WNMU Global Resource Center Auditorium

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. The speaker 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 that we find within the context of indigenous land and forest management have great potential to inform the short-sighted society we live in and help us become more sustainable. Join us to explore ways in which we can all learn from Indigenous agroforestry and land management to aid us in times of great ecological upheaval and change.



Icons of the Gila with Diana Molina

Friday, September 22, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm; FREE

WNMU Global Resource Center Auditorium

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, with distinct natural features, 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. Human cultures, too, converge and blend in this area, creating a bountiful mix of traditions, food, art, and music. Molina’s images depict the relationships of people, land, and culture rooted in a rich environment.


A Celebration of Seeds with Miguel Santistevan

Saturday, September 23, 9:30 am - 10:45 am; FREE

The Volunteer Center of Grant County, 501 East 13th St., Silver City

Who knew seeds could be so intriguing? You’ll be a believer after this interactive seed presentation with farmer, biologist, and teacher Miguel Santistevan, the owner of Sol Feliz Farm in Taos. Miguel will demonstrate seeds of many native crop foods, and talk about their properties and adaptability to fluctuating conditions, such as climate change.

Miguel says of his farm and family: “We are working to grow the ingredients of our traditional foods so we can eat the way our grandparents, great-grandparents, and beyond used to eat.  We believe that sustainable agriculture starts with our kitchen table.  This isn’t just a romantic exercise; we don’t like the way the food system treats the Earth and its negative health effects on the people, and we are working to actualize an alternative.”

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Gathering the Ancestors with Food and Story with Denise Chávez

Saturday, September 23, 10 am - 11:30 am; FREE

The Volunteer Center, 501 East 13th St., Silver City

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; FREE

WNMU Global Resource Center Auditorium

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.

Upon entering this world the Hopi newborn is introduced to the mother, a full ear of white corn is tucked close to the newborn’s body until the 20th day when she is introduced to the father, Sun. Until that moment she has been growing in a darkened room. When the newborn appears from that darkened room, she responds to the sun like a corn plant shoot emerging from the earth.

When the person dies that person is laid to rest on a bed of cornmeal, and a trail of cornmeal placed to the cloud world. In between those portals, the people sing, dance and celebrate their corn origins and identity over and over again in their ceremonial cycles.

Sanctuary is about the world community connected by corn and the dialogue emerging from this experience: How can we become interdependent with another species?  This is a human experience to be celebrated in these racially intolerant times.