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Kathleen Smith (Walnut Creek) collaborating with Heyday (Berkeley)

Award: $40,000 Traditional Arts Grant awarded in 2011

Publication date: May 2014

Native California artist Kathleen Smith is collaborating with Heyday to explore, document, and celebrate aspects of traditional California Indian food gathering and preparation. Inaugurating the position of artist-in-residence at Heyday, Smith is creating traditional cooking instruments and demonstrating native food preparation for audiences. The project will culminate in an illustrated 48-page book.

Kathleen Smith is Bodega Miwok and Pomo and a member of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. She learned the arts of food gathering and preparation from her mother and grandmother. She also is a painter and traditional craftsperson. Among the foods she is likely to gather and prepare will be acorns, seaweed, berries, salmon, and shellfish. The project will capture the technological and artistic aspects of her activities and their social and spiritual dimensions, including songs that are sung, prayers that are spoken, gendered divisions of labor, and deep cultural knowledge and practice that give meaning to daily life.

Heyday is a nonprofit publisher and cultural institution whose mission is to deepen people’s understanding of California culture, history, arts, and nature. In addition to its role in publishing many books about California Indian culture, for 25 years it has published the journal News from Native California.