Graduation Date

Spring 2019

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources: option Environmental Science and Management

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Steve Martin

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Alison O’Dowd

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Laurie Richmond

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environmental Science and Management


Tule (Schoenoplectus sp.) is a native plant commonly used by California tribes and Indigenous people throughout the world (Macía & Balslev 2000). Ecological, social and regulatory threats to its use in contemporary Indigenous culture highlight major issues concerning natural resource management. My ancestral homeland, what is now Yosemite National Park, stands as a figurehead in the intersection of land management and Indigenous peoples. An important element of Traditional Ecological Management (TEM) for quality basketry materials is prescribed fire, an element western science is increasingly acknowledging for creating a more biodiverse and heterogeneous landscape. This research was conducted in Mariposa and Colusa counties and aimed to examine the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of prescribed burning and cutting to manage tule for eco-cultural purposes. An interdisciplinary approach used archival and legal research along with interviews of ten Native American cultural practitioners and four public land agency staff personnel between March 2017 and March 2018 to assess the quality of tule as sought by weavers/cultural practitioners and to understand perspectives of public land agency professionals’ assessment of TEK into resource management. The interviews provided knowledge on traditional gathering techniques as well as insight of qualities sought by weavers and Indigenous relationships with plants and their environment. A field study at Colusa National Wildlife Refuge (CNWR) examined the before and after data from a prescribed burn on March 28, 2018 with post-sample data collection occurring April 28-30th, 2018 to answer the question: Does prescribed fire increase tule abundance and/or quality for basketry purposes? In areas that were cut, gathered and later burned, the mean abundance of emergent tule, important for eco-cultural purposes was (10), greater than the mean abundance of tule in the burn (9.7), cut treatments (3.8) or the control (4.3). ANOVA results indicated the burn treatment to be the most significant factor (p-value = 1.061e-14) for live tule abundance. Archival and legal research unveiled remarkable documentation of the historic traditional perspectives of Indigenous land management as well as help illustrate the barriers Indigenous people continue to face.


Original degree title: Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources, option Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences

Citation Style



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