Standing in ankle-deep mud on Sequim Bay, Jamestown tribal citizen Mackenzie Grinnell slams a double-faced sledgehammer on top of an 18-inch long PVC pipe, driving it only a few inches at a time into the tideland.
With 200 more pipes to install as part of a new geoduck bed for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s latest traditional foods project, preparing the site was going to take longer than he expected.
The laborious effort is the first step in creating a tidal seafood garden for tribal citizens, said Grinnell, the tribe’s traditional foods program coordinator. The geoduck bed is part of 1/4-acre plot on the tidelands that was planted this spring for the seafood garden, which also includes manila clams and Pacific oysters. The PVC pipe protects three to five geoduck seeds planted in each one; the pipes will be removed in several years as the geoduck grow.
“This addition to the traditional foods program helps us continue to teach our community about traditional foods and harvesting, while adding to the seafood resources instead of taking away from them,” Grinnell said.
The goal of the program, which also includes managing the tribe’s community garden, orchard and berry farm in Sequim, is to promote community, traditional culture, nutrition and exercise.
“It’s a good feeling to continue in my mother Edith Cusack’s footsteps,” said Lisa Barrell, the tribe’s cultural program supervisor. “She instilled in me the drive to get our foods to our people. With guidance from ancestors, and the help of our community, we are creating a space to grow foods for our citizens and for future generations.”
The tribe received a Wellnessfor Every American Indian to Achieve and View Health Equity grant from Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board to start the shellfish garden and community wellness garden.
Jamestown traditional foods program and natural resource staff install PVC pipes to protect geoduck seeds as part of the tribe’s seafood garden. The pipes will be removed in a few years after the geoduck increase in size. T. Royal