Camas Dig

Camas Dig

June 28, 2017  Tribal youth went on a field trip to gather Camas bulbs, they left the CELC in a van and the tribal bus and rode north a couple miles then ventured into a field of tall grass where the Camas grows.

Approximately 20 children listened as their teacher talked to them about how to use the steel digging sticks to dig close to the bases of the plants. One teacher told them to leave some room at the base to protect the bulbs, she also showed them what the stems looked like with small seed pods bunched are the top of the stem.

After the introductions of what to look for and how to dig, everyone was broken into groups of three to four students and one adult, then they walked into the grass in search of bunches of Camas plants. The grass was short enough that it was easy to keep a headcount of the children.

It was good to see people hunkered down in the grass picking plants, smaller children needed help from an adult to push the digging stick in the dirt; larger kids helped one another and team work was encouraged.

Most of the kids enjoyed getting their hands full of crumbly dirt searching for the small light brown bulbs, then bringing them to the surface. Next, they broke off the stem and pushed the seed pods into the hole the bulb came out of, then they tamped the dirt lightly over the seeds. They were told that doing this replenished the crop of plants for next year’s growth.

The children carefully cleaned the outer covering of the bulbs and put them in a bag that each group carried. A reward for the most bulbs was offered: it was a tee shirt for each winner.

After the morning field trip, all of the children were rewarded with swimming in the Camas Center indoor pool for an afternoon of play and splashing one another.