Pinyon Pine Cone with Seeds

Gathering Devah: An Ancient Pine Nut Harvest Tradition


Pinyon Pine Cone with Seeds
Pinyon Pine Cone with Seeds - Bandelier National Monument

This is an excellent documentary from the DAVProductionsLV YouTube channel.  It was funded & presented by Nellis Air Force Base.

The Great Basin of the Western US has been the home to Native Americans for millennia. They moved in family groups over the landscape with an acute sense of timing to utilize natural foods like devah (Shoshone for Pine Nut). Their paths were linked by trips to spiritual places to maintain their perspective in nature and the universe. The family groups used the plants and elements of astronomy as indicators to know when to meet in the mountains each fall to collect, share, and store protein-rich pine nuts. Families looked forward to this harvest not only to gather food but to socialize and perpetuate sacred traditions to the youth through stories and songs.

In 1941, Congress set aside land in Nevada for military pilot training. The Nevada Test and Training Range is the premier aerial combat training range in the nation. Access to the area was restricted for security and safety reasons. The harvests that had occurred on mountains in this zone ceased. In 1996, Nellis Air Force Base invited Native Americans from 17 tribes with ancestral ties to begin a program to assist managing the land resources and sacred sites. Sixty-five years after Native Americans moved from the military training land, the pine nut harvest was revived on the Kawich Range by tribal members who described the harvest experiences of their youth in this film.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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