of the Limu Project is to serve the community as a resource and provide answers
when new generations wish to learn more about their heritage. Much of our
work is behind the scenes, conducting archival research, spending time with
Elders and learning from them. Along the way everything is archived and
importantly, this knowledge is shared and kept alive through classes,
apprenticeships, and learning materials in the following areas:
Birdsong Society – While Bird Songs are very popular today; their purpose has become virtually unknown. This is true for people of all ages. Without language as a foundation, things no longer make sense. Our goal is to teach and remind people of the true purpose of the Bird Dance, Bird Songs, and the Wamkish dance house.
Storytelling – We are working to revive the tradition of storytelling in our area. Nuances of language, gestures, and expression are taught. This area relies upon both language and star knowledge: language for proper understanding of the story, and star knowledge for knowing when you can and cannot tell certain stories.
Cultural Awareness – Many individuals do not know how much their culture survived. Many today think all is lost. For those people, we try to let them know that their heritage is here waiting for them. Often work in this field leads to recovery from drugs, alcohol, cultural separation, and depression. Counseling methods are used to nurture people returning to their roots. We help them connect with mentors and traditions that can benefit their well-being.
Language Revitalization – While on the
path of language acquisition, apprentices and students find meaningful
appreciation of their traditional tongues regardless of their level of fluency.
Instruction takes many forms, from formal classroom style courses to personalized family
lessons in the home, as well as social classes at planned gatherings and fieldtrips to sacred
Creation, Migration, and Tribal History –
We have come to a point in Southern California when very few people have ever
heard how they and their clans originated. Common to many Southern California
tribes is the great exodus that took place many centuries ago. It is
this common thread that connects the different communities that sing Bird
Songs. Our goal is to continue this traditional way of relating our origin to
our present lives. Through this effort we hope to strengthen these bonds,
remember where we are from and where we are headed. Objectives include teaching
and retelling this history to make it known again, as well as training others
to be able to do the same.
Ceremonial Traditions – Through the return of songs, dances and ceremonies, we hope to build a stronger more healthy community. Some specific areas
of work we are doing include the Big Horn Sheep Song and Dance Tradition and
the Deer Song and Dance Tradition. These are both ceremonies in their own
right, as well as part of the larger Annual Ceremonies that have not been held
for several generations.
Native Botany – Limu provides fieldtrips and workshops to teach proper plant identification, traditional uses, preparation, and gathering methods. This area of work combines language with traditional crafts and skills and creates a very interactive learning environment.
Peon Hand Game – “The Game of Spirit.” While
very social and fun, Peon in Southern California is an important part of traditional gatherings and fiestas. At
one time spiritual power was used in the game. Peon Songs are both prayer songs
and gambling songs. Through our language work we are discovering what these
songs mean and learning new lessons from them.