Spring 2018 Newsletter

WISDOM FROM ASCENCIÓN

Edited by Jay Scherf, AMLT Program Coordinator

  Valley phacelia (Phacelia ciliata) and other California wildflowers in bloom. Photo courtesy Nik Kronick.  

Valley phacelia (Phacelia ciliata) and other California wildflowers in bloom. Photo courtesy Nik Kronick. 

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:

R61.1 436.2-437.2, R61.1 435.2-436.1

Tiwsi pire, the land is in bloom. And how many wildflowers there used to be! And how you’d see the plains streaked with colors! And herds of horses pastured on the plains, and so fat! Oh what rich grasses there used to be! And there were no fences, it was just an open country.

There used to be so many flowers at Sargent [Juristac] that it looked like a carpet of flowers. There was a lot of wild onions and wild cilantro and irises. I too got to see that, and it smelled so nice. And my mother used to tell me that it used to be so much prettier before.

 


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