Meet the 2021 Tribal Stewards Crew

Beth Macinko

This summer, a determined crew of Indigenous young adults is gaining professional experience in conservation, restoration and natural resource management, as our second season of the Tribal Stewards initiative, run in partnership with Northwest Youth Corps, is underway. The 2021 Tribal Stewards leaders and members bring rich experience and interests to the program and we want to introduce them to you.

 

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Scott Bowler, ONDA member from Portland

Scott Bowler, ONDA member from Portland

The desert speaks for itself, but very softly. I support ONDA to promote and enable discovery of the amazing beauty and recreational opportunities of the high desert by much broader groups of people; and most especially to protect forever the full and diverse landscape of the Owyhee Canyonlands, a place without parallel or equal in our country.”

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Tibetan Monks Visit Sutton Mountain

Tibetan Monks Visit Sutton Mountain

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Helen Harbin, ONDA Board Member

Helen Harbin, ONDA Board Member

“I connect with Oregon’s high desert through my feet, my eyes, my sense of smell, and all the things I hear. Getting out there is a whole body experience.” Supporting ONDA, Helen says, not only connects her with wild landscapes, but is also a good investment. “I felt like if I gave them $20, they might squeeze $23 out of it.”

Juniper cutting pros

Left to right: Duane Miller, Tiyana Casey, Parish Cook, Cam'Ron Eagle Staff, Diamond Villalobos, Audie Davis, Wesley Scott and Mo Moody.

The 2021 Tribal Stewards crew is:

Duane Miller (Wasco, Yakama, Umatilla, Nez Perce) is the crew leader, bringing his deep experience as a fisherman and traditional foods gatherer. He’s looking forward to expanding his leadership skills and being a positive role model for the crew. Spending evenings with the crew gathering golden currants and wild rye for seed along the Malheur River has been a highlight so far. 

Audie Davis (Chinook) serves as assistant crew lead and joined the crew this summer to share his traditional knowledge, see new parts of Oregon, and connect with other indigenous young adults. He’s enjoyed singing and drumming with the crew and cooling off in desert lakes and rivers.

Monique Moody (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and Nez Perce) was a crew member in 2019 and has returned to continue building experience in the natural resources field. She is currently at Haskell Indian Nations University. Mo enjoys a challenge and finds particular satisfaction after sawing through difficult juniper trunks. 

Wesley Scott (Klamath, Yurok and Siletz) joins the crew from Eugene, where he’s studying computer science. He’s excited to learn about a new field and get to know more of Oregon. Trailwork at John Day Fossil Beds was a highlight for Wes.

Cam’Ron Eagle Staff (Minicouju Lakota) is a rising senior in high school who wanted to get out of the house after virtual school last year and gain field experience. Cam’s highlight is finding several ancient oredont fossils while the crew was doing trail work at the John Day Fossil Bed,  some of which were documented and catalogued by park paleontologists for further study.

Parish Cook (Minicouju Lakota) is in high school as well. She wanted to join the crew to learn about different areas and different projects. Parish appreciates the desert’s dark night skies and the opportunities for stargazing. 

Diamond Villalobos (Nez Perce) is also a high school student and jumped at the chance to work outside and travel to new places. Diamond enjoys the cool mornings and evenings of the desert and is looking forward to fisheries projects as he’s an avid fisherman.

The cultural curriculum for this season, which centers around the seasonality of traditional food sources was developed by Tiyana Casey (Wasco, Yakama, Umatilla, Nez Perce), who served as the Tribal Stewards Crew Leader in 2019. Casey also recruited the 2021 crew and will provide support in the field. Casey serves as the Indigenous Community Liaison at Northwest Youth Corps and Indigenous Relations Liaison for the Camas to Condors Partnership, and we are thrilled to have her continued support and involvement in this initiative. 

With just a few weeks in the field under their belts, the crew has already had some pretty cool experiences. They have:

  • maintained trails in the John Day Fossil Beds Sheep Rock Unit, and worked with paleontologists and archaeologists to make sure any fossils and artifacts uncovered during the work were properly documented, 
  • learned about the John Day Fossil Beds partnership with Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Fisheries to work on stream connectivity and fish habitat restoration, 
  • collected native seeds for future restoration planting projects with Burns Paiute Tribe Natural Resources department and EcoSource Native Seed and Restoration, and
  • cut back encroaching juniper on the Burns Paiute Tribe’s Denny Jones property to restore sage-grouse habitat.

In the weeks ahead, this crew will continue on to fisheries monitoring projects, riparian restoration plantings, and stream habitat protection fence builds with the Malheur National Forest and with BPT Natural Resources at their Logan Valley property. 

We are excited to hear the crew’s experiences as they continue their work, and to share those experiences with you.