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Gathering and Harvesting Classes Completed for the Season

Gathering and harvesting series ends, new series on tap.


By Marilyn Craig | UKB John Hair Cultural Center & Keetoowah Museum


TAHLEQUAH -- The John Hair Cultural Center and Keetoowah Museum’s “Getting Back to Basics” wild onion gathering class began on March 9 at 10 am. The four-hour class met on the UKB property near the Illinois River to get the seasonal delicacy. Participants were provided with a gardening mat, and a shovel. Everyone started digging their onion and the group got busy looking for and gathering onion with everyone spread out. When the group  came back together for lunch, it was not surprising to see that class instructor, Tradition Keeper Cindy Hair had gathered the biggest bunch of onion!

Attendees were treated to a lunch of beans, onion, eggs, and frybread, which had been prepared by assistant museum director Barbara Girty Foster. Participants Destini and Hollie Goins brought hog meat to complete the feast.


“There is a great camaraderie as the group performs these tasks, lots of visiting and laughter. Because we are ‘Getting Back to Basics,’ many conversations go back to childhood and memories of watching their mothers and grandmothers do these activities,” said Girty Foster.


On April 12, the group finished off the Winter/Spring Gathering & Harvesting series with a fishing class. The class met at the museum and then walked over to the big pond on tribal grounds.


Like all other museum classes, all materials and supplies were provided, and participants got to take home their rod and reel at the end of the day. UKB Tribal housing employee Gil


Hooper taught the class, and he showed the group how to tie a hook, and how to attach the sinker and bobber. The bait was nightcrawler worms.


The weather cooperated and it was sunny and a balmy 70 degrees. Although it was windy,  almost everyone caught a fish. Kim Gourd caught four fish that day, and most of the fish were released, but one catfish and one bass were kept, to demonstrate how to clean both types of fish. Then the group met back at the classroom for a fried fish, beans, and cornbread lunch.


With the completion of the Gathering and Harvesting series, the nine-class series ended, however, a new series begins in June. “We are repeating the series, due to popular demand. There were some people that missed it the first time and they have requested that we offer it again. Of course, we will kick off with the canning series. Making the Strawberry freezer jam was extremely popular, and we were able to get Stilwell strawberries that came right off the field about 6 pm the night before the class. That was some of the best jam I have tasted,” said Girty Foster.


For more information about cultural classes, contact Barbara Girty Foster at 918-871-2794.

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