In 2021, Naknuwithlama Tiichamna (Caretakers of the Land) hosted Xmaash Tamaycht (Camas Bake), a series of cultural immersion camps supported by the Ascension School Camp and Conference Center in Union County and by a Public Programs Grant from Oregon Humanities.
During the camps, participants scouted, gathered, prepared, and baked camas using traditional practices. The program culminated in ceremonial gatherings featuring the baked camas—all on the unceded lands that the Cayuse, Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Nez Perce people have inhabited since time immemorial.
Bobby Fossek, pictured above with his daughter, Meadow, says the ceremony and feast “brought many families, language speakers, culture keepers, and students together under the shade of the trees in this highly culturally significant village site, Wiweeletitpe, now known as Cove, Oregon, to celebrate our culture and foodways.”
The Caretakers of the Land are building on a long tradition of Indigenous-led camas stewardship in Oregon. On the significance of this work, Fossek says, “[Elders] have told us that the Tamaycht is ‘Naami Timna,’ our heart. This practice not only feeds our bodies but brings us together as a community to nourish us in many ways. It is a time to preserve our languages, crafts, skills, teachings, and connection to each other, our Ancestors, the land, and the many plants and places we interact with.”
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