Summer 2019 Newsletter
WISDOM FROM ASCENCIÓN
Edited by Jay Scherf, AMLT Operations Coordinator
Ascención Solórsano was a Mutsun healer and leader who had extensive knowledge of Mutsun culture, language, plant uses, and customs. In the 1920s and ’30s she shared her knowledge with John P. Harrington, an ethnographer from the Smithsonian Institute. Harrington recorded over 78,000 pages of her wisdom, which are stored at the Smithsonian. In each newsletter, we share a selection from these notes. Here are some of Ascensión’s words:
Excerpts from Reel 61.1, Frames 205.1 – 212.2
hireeni, Monterey pine, Pinus radiata
saak, gray pine, Pinus sabiniana
hireeni is pine tree, like the one that’s there in Monterey.
Before, pine cones used to be painted and hung up in the houses of the rich.
The pine cones that Mr. Hopkins brought are saak pine cones. There are some hireenis that grow here close to San Juan. They have smaller cones than the saak and the tree is smaller than the saak. The hireeni doesn’t give the pine nuts that we eat. Thesaak grows farther from San Juan than the hireeni. Don’t you see the hireenis here at Monterrey, those are hireenis.
The pines are not at the top of Gabilan [aka Fremont] Peak, but there any place in San Juan Hills, low down or high up. They’re good to eat. Those are the saak.
[The nuts] are bigger than a bean, and one has to crack their shell. Those are the saak.
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