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Community Grantee Update: Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum Garden Engagement

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In 2020, Ripple Project began working with members of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe to build an educational medicine garden outside the Pyramid Lake Paiute Museum. The museum’s director, Billie Jean Guerrero, was instrumental in initiating and guiding this project. They intend to continue developing the outdoor exhibits at Pyramid Lake next year with a desert  garden collection.

From Jacob Mast of Ripple Project:
We successfully installed a 6,000 sqft ethnobotanical garden in the summer of 2022. This garden now educates and engages visitors on traditional ecological knowledge, traditional herbal medicine, and preserving the Kooyooe Tukadu language. 









Our overall goal is to support the tribe’s work within Nixon and the surrounding area of the Black Rock Desert. We understand that rehabilitating our human relationship with the ecosystem necessitates collaborations with indigenous people whose land we build on. As Ripple Project seeks to create a community base for biodiversity regeneration at Fly Ranch, we intend  to launch similar projects in surrounding communities. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe is the most relevant community to this body of work as local leaders in land, water, and cultural stewardship.

In 2022, Ripple Project received a micro-grant from Burners Without Borders for our project titled Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum Garden Engagement.  The grant supported our build of a traditional shade structure, called a haba, along with educational signage about the structure. 

The haba is a small pavilion supported by wooden beams with a willow thatched roof; it was designed in collaboration with the Paiute community and built with volunteer support from the Burners Without Borders 2023 Spring Summit participants. In addition to being a functional shade structure for outdoor gathering, the haba helps preserve and celebrate traditional Paiute culture and history.













During the build, one of the Paiute elders who works for the museum, Shirley, spent time sharing stories about how her family would use these structures while she was growing up and told us how to say several valuable words in Pauite. These interactions are what the exhibits intend to create in order to keep indigenous stories alive.

Ripple Project is grateful to have the opportunity to interface with the empowering work that the Pyramid Lake Paiute Museum does to build, teach, and preserve cultural and ecological resilience for the community and visitors. We are also grateful for our relationship with Burners Without Borders and their support. 

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