A Tree Reborn, a Commitment Renewed
Where others today may see only trees and water, Patwin Elder Edward “Bill” Wright envisioned his ancestors hundreds of years ago living on the banks of Putah Creek where UC Davis would eventually be built.
“It was one of his favorite spots,” said Juan Ávila Hernandez, a member of the Committee to Honor the Patwin and Native Americans, referring to a small clearing along the creek’s historic channel (today it is the Arboretum Waterway).
Twelve years later, the nearly 40-foot-tall buckeye broke apart, leaving a 10-foot-tall stump, about 4 feet in diameter, and hollow, as it turned out. The buckeye was among the first trees to be planted in the Arboretum 85 years ago, records show.
Ávila Hernandez was among the first to take notice of the fallen buckeye, around the end of 2021, setting in motion a replacement project that culminated in a tree-planting ceremony March 4. Three saplings will vie to be the buckeye that takes over the spot overlooking the Native American Contemplative Garden.
Inés Hernández-Ávila, professor in the Department of Native American Studies, among committee members past and present who attended the ceremony, said she appreciated that the tree-planting represented a renewal of the university’s commitment to the committee's work. Speaking from her Native perspective, she emphasized “the need for us to be recognized as the original inhabitants of the land.”
Read the rest of the article at UC Davis News.