Apache plant uses, beliefs to be shared at history event

Traditional Apache beliefs toward and uses of plants—for food, medicine, and in the creation of daily tools—will be the topic of a free public presentation at 2 p.m. Aug. 27, sponsored by the East Mountain Historical Society.

The program will be conducted in the historic church in Tijeras, just west of the East Mountain Library. Refreshments will be served.

EMHS member and long-time East Mountain resident Dr. Ronald Lah, an anthropologist, ethnomusicologist, living history reenactor, and former teacher of New Mexico history, will present the topic in an Apache persona, as he has done frequently at El Rancho de las Golondinas, where he is a history scholar.

Lah will share Chihenne (New Mexico’s Chiricahua Apache) traditional beliefs toward and uses of plants from the varied ecological zones of the vast Chihenne range, dealing not only with plant use for food, but also for medicines, as well as for a wide array of building and craft material, dyes, adhesives, and other uses. Samples of plants and plant-derived products will be shown during the presentation.

The “Apache Plant Use” program will also cover beliefs and practices related to plants, such as their mention in songs and ceremonial practices, symbolism concerning plants, and the use of a plant-based calendar. Lah says even the name of the famous leader “Cochise” references plants, the “chise” meaning “having the quality of an oak?”

The talk is free and open to the public. For more information about the all-volunteer East Mountain Historical Society, please visit eastmountainhistory.org.

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