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by Bianca Fox

NativeWomanshare is an Indigenous-led Takelma and inter-tribal Native women and two-spirits* community organization and land-back** trust in Murphy, Oregon at the entrance to Applegate Valey. We honor the Takelma Tribe, whose land we are on and invite them back as rightful leaders and stewards of our organization and land. Grandma Nadine, the eldest living matriarch of the Takelma tribe, and her four generations (are leaders in this project) bless the project and join in collaboration (for Native pride, vital youth education and Native stewardship programming where there is great need.)

 Since 2020, we’ve offered a community center for Indigenous and 2SQT***+BIPOC women to gather and harvest wild foods, and an Indigenous food sovereignty farm.  Since many local native families live with poverty and food scarcity, they are often without access to their traditional foods. Our garden at Nativewomanshare cultivates Lakota squash, Cherokee tomatoes, Hopee corn and other heirloom varieties.

The community center also focuses on Indigenous Land Stewardship to remediate the land for ongoing fire relief.

With our growing Takelma and inter-tribal women’s community, we have inherited 23-acres of lesbian women’s lands formerly called Womanshare. This place has served as a refuge (“for Indigenous self-determination”) as we carry out our work.

On site, we have created a garden of Heritage First Foods—these are wild foods that we tend and include biscuit root, acorns, and wild yampa. (Missing first apostrophe”)One way to think of it is that our land is our grocery store and our pharmacy. We want to tend the wild food and medicine plants that nourish us,” says Bianca Fox, co-director. This food and medicine is provided for (free for) n(capital N)ative families.

In addition, we hosted our first Native and QBIPOC Indigenous Forestry Skills camps in 2023 (to reconnect Native families with their traditional land-based wisdom).

We work off-site as well, collaborating with the City of Grants Pass to proclaim Indigenous People’s Day every October. We regularly speak in public and with local universities on Native culture, and promote the Rematriation and Reindigenization of the land.

Our goal with A Greater Applegate’s Innovation Grant was to secure funds for a woodshop. We wanted to have a safe, enclosed space from which to build Native traditional bows, wares and make repairs to the existing Elder cabins. We vision building a Native traditional pit house and other traditional structures on the land. The woodshop is essential to these long-term goals.

Since we received a smaller grant than originally requested, we used the grant to pay our grant writer and social media specialist to continue local Native & QBIPOC outreach and education.

Our efforts fit in with the Inclusive & Engaged section of the Applegate Valley Vision. During the listening sessions conducted throughout 2019/2020, Applegate Valley residents expressed a desire to honor our cultural heritage and local history, as well as fostering a sense of belonging for diverse groups of people.

This aligns with our work at Nativewomanshare as we seek to support Takelma and Indigenous Sovereignty, Native women’s art and culture, educational programming for gender, land and racial justice, and community healing on land. We plan for seven generations to come with Native and BIPOC Women tending land for healing in the Rogue Valley.

Follow us on FB @Nativewomanshare and through our website to stay updated with our events calendar and offerings.

*In Indigenous cultures, “Two-Spirit” refers to a non-binary third gender. Two-Spirit people are often bridge-builders, healers, and ceremony leaders.

(**LANDBACK is a movement that has existed for generations with a long legacy of organizing and sacrifice to get Indigenous ancestral Lands back into Indigenous hands for Indigenous community empowerment, reparations and land healing.)

***2SQT means “Two-Spirit Queer Trans”