Recipe IV: Bitter Medicine Is Stronger

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by Linda Noel, Christine Hamilton, Anna Rodriquez, Angela James, Nathan Rich, David S. Edmunds & Kim TallBear

Acorn mush is bitter–like the stories of Bloody Run or Bloody Island told to young Pomo Indians by their parents and grandparents, stories of massacres, forced marches and internment. The old women whose words animate this recipe and its meaning, argue over how bitter the mush must be, but they all call it medicine.

A Pomo-oak alliance represents a shared politics of resistance during the colonial era, where white settles brought plants, animals and diseases that damaged Pomo and local vegetation alike. It is far from a perfect alliance – the Pomo only now are beginning to make mush again from the acorns, and the oaks don’t like the pavement around reservation buildings, or the trash that drips who knows what alien chemical onto the roots – but the alliance has value.

Read Recipe Four: Bitter Medicine Is Stronger on Google Books.

Kim TallbearLinda Noel (pictured top left) is a former poet laureate of Ukiah. Her recipe in this collection involves a team of collaborators. Christine Hamilton is a celebrated Pomo basket maker, a cultural instructor for the Pinoleville Pomo Nation Head Start and Youth programs, and an elder of the Yokayo Rancheria. Anna Rodriguez is an instructor with the Pinoleville Pomo Nation Head Start program and an elder of the Yokayo Rancheria. Angela James is the vice-chairperson of the Pinoleville Pomo Nation and directs the Tribal Historic Preservation Office. Nathan Rich is the water quality specialist at the Pinoleville Pomo Nation and is the tribe’s lead gardening, landscape, and environmental restoration specialist. David S. Edmunds was the environmental director for the Pinoleville Pomo Nation for five years and is Director of the “Development in Practice” program at the University of Virginia. Kim TallBear (pictured bottom left) is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science (2013).

Kim TallBear: Official Website Christine Hamilton: “The Way of the Basket” Pomo People Information Page
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a companion to the book