For thousands of years, the Plateau Salish peoples have used earthen pit ovens to cook traditional foods like black moss, camas, and other roots. Today the Spokane Tribe reaffirmed this timeless tradition during our annual Culture Week. School children, tribal elders, and community members worked together to prepare the foods. For my part, I helped to prepare moss with wild onions.
Today's gathering had a profound effect upon me. I was moved to see our people come together for a common purpose and to know that we still hold a living tradition. As I drove home afterwards, the world seemed brighter and more beautiful.
The ovens were constructed near the tribe's pithouse.
A view from inside the pithouse, looking up toward the upper door.
Tribal elders cleaned moss within the shelter of the pithouse.
The men cover the food inside the pit oven.