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Eva Burk
Eva Burk

Eva Dawn Burk was interviewed on January 18, 2023 by Jennifer Andrulli via Zoom. Eva was in Nenana, Alaska and Jennifer was in La Tigra, Costa Rica. In this interview, Eva talks about her work on food security and food sovereignty in Nenana, including the promotion of Indigenous agriculture, gardening, and the use of traditional plants for food and medicine. She talks about working with Elders and a multi-generational team and the importance of re-building a relationship with the land, plants, and animals. She also discusses the State of Alaska's Nenana-Totchaket Agriculture Project and its impact to traditional lands, lifestyle, and resources.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2021-02-36

Project: Ethnobotany, Ethnomedicine and Traditional Healing
Date of Interview: Jan 18, 2023
Narrator(s): Eva Dawn Burk
Interviewer(s): Jennifer "Jen" Andrulli
Transcriber: Ruth Sensenig
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
Alaska Ethnobotany Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kuskokwim Campus, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.



Food security, and reclaiming relationship with food and plants

Effects of climate change on the local environment

Traditional land management, and soil enhancement for agriculture

Traditional plants in her region, and planning for increased productivity

Use of composting to build up the soil, and developing a relationship with the land

Multi-generational team, sustainable agriculture, and fishing

Using fish as fertilizer

Bringing in plants from different regions

Role of prayer when working with plants, and success of their garden

Establishing a medicine garden

Planting traditional plants, and using food waste to make jam

State of Alaska's Nenana-Totchaket Agriculture Project

Transition from trapline and fish camp lifestyle to real estate and construction

Reclaiming traditional knowledge and practices

Multi-generational team, and training young people

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


JENNIFER ANDRULLI: Today is January 18, 2023. I am Jennifer Andrulli, and I am here with Eva Burk. We are on Zoom. I’m Zooming in from La Tigra, Costa Rica, on the traditional lands of the Maleku tribe. And Eva is Zooming in from Nenana, Alaska.

Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed today. As you know, we will be talking about the various uses of plants.

This and other recordings regarding ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, and traditional healing will become part of the oral history collection at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and will be placed online in an ethnobotany Project Jukebox hosted by the university.

EVA BURK: Eva Dawn Burk (speaking in Athabascan). Um, I’m Eva Dawn. I’m from Nenana and Manley Hot Springs. I’m Dene Athabascan.

Did you want me to continue? JENNIFER ANDRULLI: Yeah, please.

EVA BURK: I do a lot of work in food sovereignty and food security, but really focus on healing through food and culture.

And so to do this work, we’ve started a small business and a non-profit. And we’re working to build an Indigenous land center under our non-profit, Tlaa Deneldel. And my small business works -- we work with both tribes and a lot of other Indigenous people interested in agriculture across the state.

And we also are starting to expand into working with the university as far as educating university researchers and students, providing a cultural immersion experience so they can better understand our world view and maybe our lifestyle and what is important to an Indigenous community, especially in rural Alaska.

So there’s a lot of moving parts, but we really focus on creating space for healing and learning and bringing together all different generations.

So I was really excited to -- to have started this work in the past five, six years now.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: Thank you so much for your work. And you had told a story last year about climate change, and that is a part of what inspired you to work with food security and food sovereignty. EVA BURK: Mm-hm.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: Can you share that?

EVA BURK: Yeah, there’s, um -- Well, I really had a dream about and saw that we were going to have these really hard times, and that food was going to become this -- this critical piece of our reclaiming ourselves and being able to be resilient in the face of many changes, right.

And so, I also realized how much food is medicine, too. And that also there are a lot of plants out there that are foods that we have lost our relationship with, and that that’s another thing that we need to -- to reclaim.

Um, and so when I think about what climate change is bringing for us -- you know, we -- we moved around, and we -- we were more nomadic, and we built things from the land so that if one area needed to regenerate, then that we -- we would move on to a different area.

And I think -- I also think there’s some spirituality involved in that, knowing, you know, how did they know to -- which area to move to, right? Like how did they go out and look for that? Was it a physical, was it spiritual, how they determined to move next?

So that’s -- that's something, you know, thinking about my dream and how did I know. You know, like this is what needs to happen next.

And -- and there’s a lot of changes that we’re seeing from climate change, especially with the plants and vegetation with water, snow, ice. All of these different things that define Alaska, our environment.

And one of the biggest changes that I know is coming is it’s going to be a lot warmer. And our Elders predicted that this space that we’re in now, especially in the interior of Alaska, would turn into a grasslands.

And that’s -- Actually, you know, I was told that story to university researchers, you know, and they said that their climate models actually align with our Elders’ predictions.

And so, that’s interesting to think about that, but to think about -- you know, we are seeing declines in our fish and moose. Some related to climate change, but others related to increased population pressure, but also the regulation systems.

And so, the salmon that with -- you know, there -- that’s a really big gamble for us to -- I don’t believe that we’re going to be able to rely on salmon in our interior rivers, specifically the Yukon and Tanana Rivers.

I don’t think we’ll -- we'll be able to rely on salmon over the next decade or two. And hopefully people change to increase those populations, but similarly to the salmon, what we’re seeing from climate change is a brushing up. A lot of hardwoods taking over.

We used to do a lot of slash-and-burn, and, you know, thinking about what was our fuel, our supply for heat before we had chainsaws and all that. It would be a lot of the smaller brush that would be continuously clearing out.

And now that we’re not practicing that, that will affect the migratory patterns of the moose. And so, you’re seeing them moving into other areas that are more open, that don’t have that brushing up.

Areas that didn’t have willows before that now do have willows, and that -- you know, the moose are going to follow that -- that line of vegetation down.

And we are now fixed, so we can’t follow the moose and that vegetation down. Same with -- with the salmon. You know, the salmon are productive in Bristol Bay. The only wild stock that’s truly productive is in Bristol Bay. All the other salmon streams are struggling.

So, you know, we -- that puts us in this handicap of needing to look at agriculture, but also looking at what traditional foods do we have. Beaver is in abundance, you know.

Some of our natural plants, like I said, the brushing up. Some of our natural plants are in abundance, so how can we learn to harvest them, but also create really awesome recipes like pesto, you know, or sautéing them.

I’ve seen, pic -- you know, pickling, even fireweed shoots. Like these different ways of enjoying traditional plants and -- and putting a modern flair on it, I think is -- will be -- It will help in bringing people back to that plant and building a relationship with it again.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: And when we practice slash-and-burn to create the environment for the moose, well then there would be following year a lot of fireweed.

EVA BURK: Mm-hm. Yeah. And that’s something that we want to, um, practice on our land that we bought. Is can we slash and burn? How are we managing our willows and our hardwoods?

Um, I -- I wonder -- you know, and we’re also thinking about soil remediation and hemp as a cover crop to enhance our soil, but, say if others are --

We have a lot of Native land out there. And what happens if agriculture runs off? Can we build a hemp buffer to protect further degradation of the land downslope, you know? So --

And I’m thinking in my head, can we make a food for bison, because, uh, that is kind of a -- that’s a hard thing. Like right now, for example, the hay situation in Alaska was rough this past year, which puts people who rely on that, whether it’s for cattle or bison, in a situation.

And so, I thought, what other ways can we create food? Would hemp and willow make a good bison pellet? I don’t know. You know, so would hemp and willow make a good fire pellet? You know, we don’t -- we don't know these things until we try them.

And so, I’m excited also to do a little bit of experimentation as we move into this space, and I think that that’s in line with what, you know, one of our Elders would have done. Is -- is how do I use these materials around me for the things that I need, for how my life will change? Like, how can I start to experiment and understand these things better?

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: Thank you. Please share more about some of the traditional plants in your region that have a possibility of like, forest gardening, or even using traditional plants in a modern agricultural field?

EVA BURK: Yeah. I think there -- there’s -- there's a lot of different ones, and I, um -- The landscape is going to change out on that land as you move, like, east to west. There’s a fire scar on much of it right now so it’s just regenerating.

But when I look at what is out there, um, right away we do have some blueberries, we do have Labrador tea. We have the fireweed, the yarrow. Um, we also have a lot of cranberries. And raspberries is something that propagates pretty easy.

So -- and then also, things like the trees, like the willows and the cottonwood and um, also the spruce and the birch. Each one of those trees, we use for -- for something.

And so, as -- and we’re hoping to provide this way of doing the land preparation to other people interested in farming, because they’re coming in, and we don’t want them to just have a plan.

What our -- our advising I see it as like a few steps. Is -- is one is, um, just spending time with your land and understanding how it changes with the season and documenting that.

Like when the snow melts, when it’s at its coldest, when it’s in the middle of the summer, what it looks like in the fall.

And then, um, delineating when you’re on that land. You know, like I said, it’s a fire scar regenerating. So, we’re looking where are the really nice spruce and birch stands, and how can we, you know, leave those areas and promote growth?

And that, to me, I know there’s going to be brush. You’re going to have to clear out brush to keep the -- the spruce and birch healthy, but also delineating the areas where you have, you know, how you have a treeline, and you have the different plants next to that.

And so, where are our highbush cranberries? Where are the lowbush? Where are the blueberries? Where is the Labrador tea?

And if we have blueberries and Labrador tea together, we will start to manage the blueberry bush with these specific techniques of pruning and clearing out some of the Labrador, you know.

So we want to -- before we plan anything for the land, we want to see what natural, um, products, I hate to say that word, but you know, natural things that we use. Where are those at on our land, and how can we propagate them and care for them so they’re at their highest productivity and it’s sustainable through the years?

And then, so once we have, you know, delineated kind of that land, we’ll then go into our soils, and we plan to test the soils, and -- and use different things to increase the biological activity.

So we’re like, going in, and we want everything to be as locally sourced as possible. To build the soil up so it’s as healthy and productive as it can be.

And so, that will be through composting and using some of our traditional plants, too, I’m thinking. Like, um, they say we’ll have to -- we’ll need a lot of dry wood or sawdust. That will be our limiting factor is what --

In our compost studies, we’re -- we're learning, so we’re like how do we make sure that we’re using, you know, collecting the right amount of greens and browns that are next to us on the land? And how do we do that in a way that benefits the land but benefits us as well?

So like willows is one of those things. You know, the moose only want the first year shoots.

So that willow, that main willow that just grows next year, that’s -- that's toxic, so you want to get rid of that. You just want those new shoots for the moose. And the rest of that willow, we can use for, you know, heat or compost, whatever makes sense. Whatever -- 'Cause willows are hard to work with, right?

That’s the thing, too, is like when you’re identifying your plants and the things you want to use, also thinking about the amount of labor that goes into each of those spaces and areas.

So I’m -- I'm really excited because we have -- my daughter’s really interested in ethnobotany, and we’ve got another young person on our team who’s also starting the ethnobotany program, as well as a couple of Elders.

And so, it’ll be really cool to see all of us out there on the land, and creating this really cool plan for this space, and not trying to do it in one season, but rather in several seasons as we build a relationship.

Because I think that’s what people are like, I'm -- we’re trying to bring that back.

Like, don’t just see a piece of land on a map, say I’m going to buy that, and then come in with your square box plan without even getting to know the land and what it already has for you before you try to alter and change that landscape.

Um, so that will be a big part of what we’re doing, and what we’ll try to teach the neighboring farms, as well as the state of Alaska as they continue to want to sell our land.

Maybe we can show others a better way to do it.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: So I’m just really honoring your approach, the multi-generational family and involving communities and Elders, apprentices, young people coming in.

And then blending traditional ecological knowledge with -- with agricultural technology. EVA BURK: Mm.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: That’s fascinating, and it’s a rare project in Alaska. And much needed.

EVA BURK: It is really needed. In the -- you know, in my degree -- I’m getting my master’s degree, and part of it is in sustainable agriculture. My minor, it’s natural resources management, but focusing on sustainable agriculture and rural development.

And I wanted to go out in Alaska and work with different farmers, um, growers, producers, and learn from them and interview them. And it’s been -- I’ve been doing that.

We’ve even gone to the Hopi reservation and the Navajo reservation. Even in Peru where we were at, there was a permaculture site.

So, you know, we’ve been traveling around, and what I realize is, in Alaska we don’t have this place where people can go.

And, you know, so -- at Calypso (Calypso Farm in Fairbanks) provides farming, and you can go to their farm and stay there and do an intensive farm training, but what that --

If you think about agriculture, how does it conflict with fishing and putting up fish, right?

So a big part of our agriculture, and this really resonates because we’ve held several Indigenous agriculture trainings, everyone goes to fish.

I mean, we can -- you -- we start with agriculture, but the conversation goes immediately to fish, and it stays there.

And I’m like -- and I realize that’s where we’re at. We are trying to adapt, but it’s hard.

And like I was telling you earlier about my memories of what does it mean to be at fish camp, and who’s there, and how long you’re there, and that you’re not in and out, that you’re actually living in relationship to that space with your family all summer.

And I was realizing, if we’re going to do agriculture, you have to have this place where you have, um, set it up for both agriculture as well as producing fish.

And if you go to our fish camp in Nenana, that’s what you’ll see, a big garden as well as a smokehouse and some shacks that can be used to process fish, moose, vegetables.

And so, we make big wooden cutting tables that we use to process whatever it is that comes in. And so that’s how we’re setting up our spaces, and that differs just a little bit from Calypso. They don’t have a smoke house or drying racks.

And so, this summer we might be having the first group of Indigenous agriculture come down to Nenana and split up our training so people can see how we’re doing things in Nenana.

But then also go up to Calypso and see this much more, you know -- it’s much more advanced farm. You know, it’s been there for twenty years, so there’s a lot of -- of different crops and space that’s been, you know, worked, whereas we’re just breaking ground.

And -- but I think that that breaking ground piece is also helpful for people to see because they’re like, you can start here, and you can go here.

And here’s kind of how you do it, but it’s going to be different for every village, you know.

So that’s -- that’s what we’re trying to do, and it’s a big task. And I’m really excited to have the intergenerational team, because it wouldn’t be possible without that, um, you know --

That’s the sustainability is having the multiple generations working together. That’s what’s going to make it sustainable.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: And that builds resilience throughout the generations. With rising food costs, rising fertilizer costs, as we start to develop local systems, it will change the future.

It is sovereignty. It is independence.

EVA BURK: Yeah, and that’s fish being at our camp is excellent, because it is an excellent source of fertilizer and compost.

Um, and Tim Meyers out in Bethel grows a phenomenal amount of food out on his land, and I believe a lot of his composting is done with salmon.

And we actually use salmon. We’ll make like a little brine. Call it the stink juice ’cause it just kinda sits, and then you pull some of the juice liquid that forms, you know, as it’s decomposing, and then you mix that, dilute it with water, and add it to your garden.

And it’s not like you put that on there before you pick it. You know, you want -- you want to add it and then do a few more waterings before you pick it. But it’s excellent fertilizer.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: And we can put that on the blueberries and the cranberries. Really, doing some research to -- to find ways to increase yield, sweetness, happiness of those fruit-producing bushes.

How do you feel about bringing in plants? You had mentioned earlier that Interior Alaska will shift towards a grassland. So bringing in ferns from what, a hundred miles south on the other side of the Alaska Range is the first ferns. Or even in Manley Hot Springs. There’s ferns there. And bringing those closer.

EVA BURK: Yeah. That’s, um, that’s definitely something that I think we need to look at. And, you know, I’ve never -- I’ve never thought about what does it look like to move some of those plants from -- from the southern area more north, but it makes a lot of sense, if you think about the way things are shifting.

You know, a lot of stuff that is more southern is starting to move into northern parts, and we do need to be thinking about that.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: And carbohydrate-containing plants. Those are so important for our diet. So I know it by Indian potato, right. Masu.

But as we develop our harvesting, where we’re harvesting the traditional root plants, the harvesting becomes easier. The roots get bigger. The plants start to spread. EVA BURK: Mm-hm.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: In response to our interest. You know, that prayer and care that we take when we work with plants.

EVA BURK: You know, that’s really interesting. It’s important to think about prayer, because last summer when we did our first garden, we actually broke the entire willow root structure and planted in one season.

Um, and ideally we would’ve broke the willow root structure, composted, and then planted the next season, right? Um, but I -- and Elders told me I was blessed, and that anything I touch will come out good. And I was like, I don’t know.

But we had tomatoes and tomatillos and little chilis, and we darn near had corn silks, and with not as much input as you -- a person would expect for some of these more delicate and fussy crops.

We had a late start, smoky season. I mean, the odds were stacked against us, and we still produced hundreds of pounds of food.

And I really feel like that was because there was a lot of prayer, and a lot of, like, good intention put into that space. Because we weren’t doing that for ourselves. We were doing that because we wanted to build something for the community. We wanted to build something for the Elders and youth.

And I watched all of the Elders drive by almost every day, you know. So this area of tribal land that had kind of just been on the outskirts and sat most of the year is now being revitalized with --

And now this place where people come to, to have a cup of coffee and talk, to have some food. We often have a lot of salmon spread or moose soup out, and so, we're just realize, like they say, "build it and they will come." And it’s so corny, but it’s actually true.

It’s actually true. And we’re seeing it happen. It’s just this massive amount of interest.

Even I -- I sometimes am like, I didn’t think people would take to this or want to do this as much as I do or see the importance of it as much as I do, but I’m just proven wrong every single day about how much people care and want to support, and that’s exciting.

And we did make a little medicine garden, because we want to have -- we do want to make a little medicine garden with traditional plants because we want a place for our Elders to be able to grab stuff.

Um, you know, ’cause harvesting on the land does its own thing as far as healing, but sometimes you do need something that’s just a little more easily accessible.

And so we are wanting to make sure we’re creating those spaces, too, that are easily accessible for our Elders as they get -- as they age and have limited -- you know, as far as they can go.

And it’s really cool to go out -- You know, going to Chistochina and meeting the -- Jessica Denny and her family, and Lena Charley. And Lena’s ninety-one, and has an amazing setup for, you know, a rural area. Smokehouse by the creek, and, you know, her moose hide tanning.

And, you know, that’s what I think, and seen her get around her land and how it’s set up. It helps me think about what I should be trying to -- how I should be trying to lay stuff out for the Elders to be come -- to be able to come in and enjoy it.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: Mm, I love that. Thank you so much for putting in a traditional medicinal garden. What are some of the plants that you would like to put in that garden?

EVA BURK: We did, um -- We put yarrow in. We had lots of yarrow everywhere, but we just went ahead and put it in the garden.

And then we had stinkweed, and then we had, um, I don’t think calendula is native to us, but it’s something that we planted and it did very well. So that was another one.

And I know I’m forgetting a couple. I know I’m forgetting a couple. The one that has -- it looks kind of seedy, I’m forgetting its name. It’s not yarrow. Maybe it is stinkweed early on? Maybe that’s what I’m thinking of.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: Would you accept donations of -- ? If people brought you medicinal plants from around the state as they travel through Nenana, is there room for them in your garden?

EVA BURK: Yeah, as we expand. And that’s definitely -- when you mentioned, like the ferns, I was like, my -- I kind of slowed down, 'cause my head was like thinking, devil’s club, ferns, like all these, like --

I really love devil’s club, and it’s not native to us. But it’s something I barter for. I really like it.

Um, but yeah, I was just thinking about, like, how we could bring some of those plants in. What conditions do they need to thrive?

But yeah, I definitely open to doing a lot of experimentation. And I think just setting aside a space that is like, this is where we play around and see what we can do.

And in the -- We did have people bringing by traditional plants. We did actually plant some strawberries, and I think, um, there was a little bit of Labrador tea in there, too, I think, with the strawberries.

But we did plant those well, as well. And the strawberries is another wild crop that’s -- it does phenomenal once it gets established.

So definitely wanting to have a decent space for wild raspberries and strawberries. I think there’s some benefits to doing domestic raspberries and strawberries, but the wild is kind of where my heart is.

So I think we’ll play with both and see what makes the most sense, but always have space for these wild varieties, because that’s -- those are our relatives, and they belong in the space, you know.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: Mm. Growing up in Interior Alaska, and then I moved to Anchorage area, there’s plants that I miss from my childhood, like the strawberry plant, the strawberry blite plant with the really bright, sweet flower.

And I miss the wild rhubarb.

EVA BURK: We had rhubarb. We did plant rhubarb. Um, yes. Wild rhubarb. Yeah.

And we actually do, like food waste. We did a food waste jamming session, where somebody was throwing out strawberries, and we went in -- And I knew that they had only been out for two days, and I was like, no, we’re going to cut these fuzzy parts off and make jam with the rhubarb that we had.

And we did. And we probably made, oh my gosh, over ten cases of jam. Like it was -- we were jamming out. JENNIFER ANDRULLI: And then --

EVA BURK: It was cool to see kids there, you know. Like, don’t throw it away. Do something else.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: I love, you know, making a map of -- of the lands that I’m close to, to see where the cloudberry patches are. EVA BURK: Hm mm.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: And then that helps orient us on the land. And so, this road that went in across the river from Nenana, you know, it opened up land that more people have access to. And -- but that’s also us.

We now have this road into -- into the country where we can start looking at the resources even beyond the forty acres that you purchased. It’s going to be wild lands for a long time.

EVA BURK: Yeah, we have a trapline out there that’s well maintained by my dad and some young men from our village. So we have like four really nice trapping cabins.

And that’s -- You know, when I advocated to the State of Alaska that you shouldn’t be doing this project, um, and maybe that not so much as that you shouldn’t be doing this project, but more of, I don’t think you’ve taken the time to plan this project the best that it could be.

And I definitely don’t think, like if you’re thinking about how much you invest in something and what you’re going to, you know, see back on those investments, I don’t think there’s a lot of really strong planning being put into -- to -- you know, maybe making more road, and even to selling these acreages.

These different land sales, you know, 2000 acres this year, 2000 acres in 2024. You know, is that what it’s going to look like? Is like every couple years, we -- we give a couple thousand acres up?

And, you know, that’s -- that's the issue right there is there’s not a lot of planning going in. And it’s really -- for the State of Alaska to come into Nenana and say this is for food security, especially when Nenana has --

You know, not to toot my own horn, but I have been dedicating everything in the past five years to food sovereignty and security, so I’m like, I really understand this topic, and so you can’t come into Nenana and say this is what it’s for because I can tell you, like as an engineer, as somebody that works in agriculture, these are the, you know, technical reasons.

This is what’s feasible, this is what’s not feasible. This is your timeline, you know, and so I’m starting to have those conversations. I do hope maybe the State changes its track and its path just a little.

But I can also tell you from running that trapline and growing up on it with my dad, we made a living from the land. My family was one of the last families to -- to uh, not say abandon, but transition from a trapline and fish camp economy to more of construction.

You know, if you think about real estate and construction is such a colonial thing. Where you could actually make a living from the land, and now the only way you can do is because people are -- are owning land and putting up structures.

So my family -- my dad had to transition to that. I transitioned to being an engineer.

It’s kind of funny if you think about that, you know, and now I’m like, no, that’s -- structures and engineering and these projects that other people, you know, dream up and fund and finance.

And I don’t see my -- I'm like, I can’t work in that anymore. I need to go back to something that literally feeds the people, but brings us back to who we’re meant to be.

You know, we're -- it’s no coincidence that I’m -- I'm working in this now. I really don’t think there is.

You know, like I said, I had a dream. And I’m reminded every day that there was a lot of power in that dream.

And, you know, even my dreams that I -- I had after that dream about what I hoped for and planned for, I see us constantly making progress and steps, and I feel like there’s a lot of blessing.

It’s like spiritual support keeping us going that we can’t -- might not be able to touch, but I know it’s there, you know.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: Reclaiming our traditional plant medicine knowledge, weaving in traditional agriculture from, I don’t know, Europe, basically.

And even Europeans had these traditional plants that they worked with. And they have forgotten some of their traditional plants, so this is a time of the Great Remembering that we all as human beings have so much to learn and remember to be resilient on the land.

EVA BURK: Yeah. And that -- that’s what motivates me is knowing how I grew up, and that people aren’t really exposed to that lifestyle anymore.

And realizing that knowledge holders and Elders that can remember that and help us remember. Because a lot of people in my generation, they haven’t had that experience.

We’re providing little bits of that, you know, and it would be impossible to provide that experience without being guided by our Elders and ancestors, you know.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: And we’re Elders in the making. Young Elders. And we’ll be sharing that. As we learn, we -- we are in service to helping others remember.

Thank you so much for your work. Is there anything else that you would like to share before we close?

EVA BURK: Um, just keep on the lookout. I think there’s one thing I’m really glad about -- about this interview because a lot of sometimes, um, I feel like when we’re trying to reclaim stuff, we can’t always go back to just the Elders, but also some of these people because we’re not -- we live in a different time, right? We have different challenges. But we also have different tools and technology.

Um, so we need to have all these generations working together to -- to tow the line, because, you know, when we think about how we adapt forward, it’s not going to be all of the old, you know, and I don’t want to call it old, but we have to bring in some modern stuff to make it, you know, realistic and feasible.

And I think that’s the beauty of -- of capt -- of having this multi-generational team is just seeing all these head -- these -- these heads, but all these people’s brains and hearts, you know, working together is like, this is what our vision is, and it’s going to take each one of our generations to make it happen.

Um, ’cause what we’re building is essentially going to be -- the youth will have to take over. And so, we’re really trying to create lifelong, you know, wellness warriors, really, where we’re bringing people in their 20s and 30s. Like, you know, lifting them up.

And even people -- some of our best workers are thirteen. And so, we’re bringing up, you know, all of these different people and creating a very strong and diverse team.

And I think that is such a key part of adapting, is having a lot of diversity.

JENNIFER ANDRULLI: Thank you so much for your work.

EVA BURK: Thank you. It’s exciting.