My friend and co-worker Carole Parks is helping me to document the heritage plants of Drumheller Springs. Her work will partially fulfill credit for her graduate degree, but will also help prevent further encroachment upon the indigenous plants of the area.
As my readers may recall, I got involved with the preservation of Drumheller Springs after several local environmental groups planted ponderosa pine on the digging grounds once used by the Spokane Tribe. Camas, bitterroot, and other native foods were disturbed by the planting of new trees. This encounter led to a meeting with the Spokane Parks Department and the Spokane Lands Council, and as a result, the Lands Council agreed to remove the trees.
Since that time, I have been working to explore legal and institutional options to protecting the indigenous plants of Drumheller Springs.
When Carole and I visited the land this morning, some of the native plants still had visible parts that she was able to collect for her project.
We also explored some of the other nearby features, including the mural on Ash Street, painted by George Flett and company.
Many plants are still visible, despite the change in weather.
As an aside, I have always been fascinated with these white berries, even though I can't think of any practical uses. I once heard a traditional story that described these berries as the service berries of the land of the dead. Unfortunately, I was never able to locate that story again. In any case, the Spokane Language may corroborate this story to some degree. The Spokane describe these berries as "corpse berries," or tmtmniałq.
If anyone knows of any traditional stories or uses for the plant, please send me an email.