Shelter at Sinnikmatak

IMG_4980Recently Riekes Nature staff, kids, and parents gathered with the local Amah Mutsun tribe to create a shelter at the U.C. Santa Cruz Arboretum for the kids.  This was part of a “work-learn” party in partnership between the Arboretum, Riekes Nature and the Amah Mutsun tribe.  Riekes staff have been participating in these work-learn events since fall of 2011.  These gatherings involve a morning work party, most often in the Arboretum’s Relearning Garden where plants of local traditional significance are planted.  These work parties are then followed by a hands-on learning sessions often using locally grown plants to make things such as fire by friction, medicinal tinctures, pine needle baskets, shell necklaces, and most recently, bark baskets.  Riekes staff have regularly participated and helped to lead hands on instruction for these learn parties.

The recent gathering was unique in that it was an opportunity to create a long term shelter to benefit the kids that will use this site into the future.  First we gathered with tribal and community members to strip the bark off of redwood poles that were harvested on site at the Arboretum.



This was a lot of work as you can imagine.  By the end of the day we had completed all 16 poles and set them into the ground.

IMG_4967IMG_4988We took time out after lunch for the dedication of the sign and the official naming of the site.  Amah Mutsun representative Paul Mondragon told the story of the naming of the site, “sinnikmatak”  which means “gathering place of the children.
IMG_4978He related a beautiful story about an eagle that looked down on the land and saw that the children were unhappy because they were all indoors, and that this site would be a place where the eagle would look down and see happy children.

After lunch we got to work on making bark baskets.  Ken Clarkson, Riekes Nature Awareness Director led this learning session.  We had a lot of fun peeling bark for baskets which required a little more finesse than the faster stripping of the poles we had done previously.  It was a group effort with lots of laughing.

IMG_4987And check out the finished bark basket!  Nice job Laurel!



Next came more bark stripping and connecting the roof frame.



Then it was time to harvest some bamboo from the Arboretum, split it and then begin attaching the roof.



Build it and they will swing…



Just before the big storm hit, we did the final synching down, and then, on a very rainy day this past wednesday we lit our first fire!!!

IMG_5010IMG_5023We look forward to seeing you at sinnikmatak!





~ by rcnature on December 3, 2012.

One Response to “Shelter at Sinnikmatak”

  1. This structure is so beautiful! Many thanks to all who helped, and for Ken and the Riekes staff. Levi comes home from the arboreteum glowing and happy!

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