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True Nature Filter

#camas

Camas

Blue camas and other members of the genus Camassia are an important food for many First Nations peoples of the Pacific Northwest. Fields of camas were cultivated by the tribes, and traditional harvesting sites were passed down from family to family. The nutritious part of camas is its bulb, which is traditionally cooked in a pit with hot rocks. The cooking process makes the bulbs easier to digest and releases the sugars that were so important for the survival of the hunter-gatherer tribes. Once cooked, the bulbs, which were harvested in the warm months, could be mashed and dried into cakes that would last into the colder part of the year. Native habitat loss, largely due to modern agriculture and urbanization, has drastically reduced the plant’s abundance, yet it remains culturally significant for Pacific Northwest tribes. Two great links about camas: https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/camas/#.WDtIGHeZNE4 and http://www.nanps.org/index.php/gardening/native-plants-to-know/124-camassia-quamash-blue-camas-6-1 .

Lucia Hadella