Two tribes join forces to protect an endangered plant


The Eastern Shawenee Tribe of Oklahoma and Cherokee Nation have partnered to preserve an endangered plant.

Rivercane is an indigenous bamaboo to North America and today the two tribes dug up the plant on Cherokee land to place on Eastern Shawnee land. Since European contact, river cane has been reduced to less than 2 percent of its original population. 
 This is a unique partnership because of the tribes’ histories. 

“River cane is evergreen so it provides more air than the trees around us.” said student Mason Hubbard.

Mason Hubbard is one of many students learning the preservation efforts of rivercane. Today hubbard learned about indigenous bamaboo to North America’s critically endangered ecosystem. 

“When it’s 20 or 30 years old you can use it as fishing poles and I just think it’s really cool.” said Hubbard

Both Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of okalahoma partnered to plant the indigenous plant on Eastern Shawnee land…that is now less than 2 percent of it’s original population. This partnership is unique for the two tribes since hundreds of years ago they used to battle over hunting grounds that had rivercane.   

“Rivercane reduces nitrogen and phospohorous surface and ground runoff by 90 percent,”said Roger Cain, Principal Investigator for Cherokee Nation. “Rivercane makes habitats that protect endangered species.”   

For the Eastern Shawnee Tribe it is important for them to teach working with other tribes to continue traditions. 

“It’s really great for these kids to come and plant this because it’s going to take 20 years for this stuff to become a nice big large robust cane break that we can harvest anything off of that will have any usable pieces of cane out of.” said Andrew Gourd, Eastern Shawenee Tribe of Oklahoma Land Use Coordinator 

Gourd says years later he hopes they remember this. 

“For them to be here when they are 6,7,8,9 years old they can come back when they have kids in their 20’s and 30’s and they can say look at all this I remember when it was tall as I was and I put it in the ground.” 

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