Press Release: September 19, 2016

Autry Museum of the American West and KCETLink Media Group Partner to Produce Multiplatform Environmental Documentary Series Tending the Wild, A Project of the California Continued Exhibition

Download press release as PDF (408.98 KB)

Burbank, CA (September 19, 2016) KCETLink Media Group, a leading national independent nonprofit public broadcast and digital network, announced today a new multiplatform environmental series, Tending the Wild, produced in partnership with the Autry Museum of the American West. The series explores how the traditional practices of Native California communities can help address current environmental challenges. Launching today on both and, an extensive web hub will feature resources, videos, articles and first-hand perspectives of Native California cultures revolving around the concept of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). The Tending the Wildsix-part web series will premiere online on and starting October 3, 2016, with new episodes rolling out every two weeks and culminating in a one-hour television documentary airing in February of 2017.

The partnership is connected to the Autry’s new, groundbreaking California Continued exhibition that marks the most significant renovation to the museum since the organization’s founding in 1988. With nearly 20,000 square feet of redesigned gallery and garden spaces opening to the public on October 9, 2016, the exhibition explores the ongoing and interdependent relationships between people and the California environment. Drawing on a combination of Native cultural materials and contemporary artwork, this project connects Native California history, traditional ecological knowledge, and cultural practice to address environmental issues facing Californians today.

KCETLink Media Group has collaborated with the curatorial and creative teams at the Autry to produce media for the exhibition and create an online destination that will extend these important stories beyond the exhibition walls. By shining a light on the environmental knowledge of indigenous peoples across California and exploring how they have actively shaped the land for millennia, Tending the Wild examines how we live in balance with nature and how traditional practices can inspire a new generation of Californians.

“KCETLink is committed to collaborating with Southern California institutions like the Autry that share the mission to educate and enlighten people around key issues in our community and extend their reach throughout the region and the country,” said Juan Devis, Vice President, Content Development and Production of KCETLink Media Group. “Tending the Wild will highlight the impressive collection of cultural materials and influential voices from the Autry’s innovative exhibition and help viewers understand the relationship between traditional ecological knowledge and issues facing us today.”

“We are thrilled to partner with KCETLink on this initiative to amplify voices and perspectives from within California’s Native communities,” said W. Richard West, Jr., the Autry’s President and CEO. “The web series, documentary special and exhibition galleries work together beautifully to illustrate traditional practices that can inform current environmental thinking.”

Select footage from the new digital video series will be included in the Autry’s California Continued exhibition. Featuring interviews with key experts across the state, Tending the Wild will focus on four key California concepts: Salmon, Fire, Desert, and Plants (further explored as Food, Medicine, Nature and Materials). The video series will consist of six 8-10 minute episodes (detailed below) that will further expand upon the footage used in the Autry’s exhibition.

The series will be released digitally on and as follows:

Eps. 1 “Fire” – Tending the Wild: “Cultural Burning” – Monday, October 3 on and
will explore how Native California communities use fire as a natural resource to promote a healthy ecosystem and how plants and animals have evolved to need fire disturbances to survive. Additionally, this episode will explore how fire is used in various cultures; and the negative effects of fire suppression, a western concept initially promoted by National Parks and Forest Services. Ron Goode is interviewed on how cultural burning can restore the land and the culture.

Eps. 2 “Salmon” – Tending the Wild: “Keeping The River” – Monday, October 17 on and
will consider mitigations inspired by Native traditions and rituals, including dam removals, fishing restrictions, and tighter control on industrial and agricultural runoffs. The episode will interview key members of the Yurok, Karuk and Hupa tribes. Raymond Mattz, Susan Masten and Diane Bowers go on the record about “The Fish Wars” in Klamath as does Pergish Carlson, the only certified Native river guide on the Klamath.

Eps. 3 “Plants As Materials” – Tending the Wild: “Weaving Community” – Monday, October 31 on and
“Plants As Materials”
will examine why many people describe baskets as the epitome of California Indian culture. California Indian basketry requires an extensive amount of material and long cycles of time to produce. The episode describes the steps necessary to create a basket and how indigenous land management practices help produce healthy basketry plants. Tima Link gives an overview of basketry and materials while addressing access issues with regards to contemporary gathering practices.  Also, Nick Hummingbird discusses restoring threatened resources.

Eps. 4 “Plants As Food” – Tending the Wild: “Decolonizing the Diet” – Monday, November 14 on and
“Plants As Food”
gives viewers a glimpse into the “decolonized” diet including the preparation, harvesting and processing of raw material from indigenous plants. Many Native California communities today are reincorporating indigenous plants into their diets, which can potentially help prevent obesity and diabetes, two diseases on the rise since the industrialization of food. Craig Torres explains the health and dietary benefits of indigenous plants while Barbara Drake explores what issues arise when people are deprived of their traditional foods.

Eps. 5 “Plants As Medicine” – Tending the Wild: “Gathering Medicine” – Monday, November 28 on and
“Plants As Medicine”
will explore nature as a natural resource for medicinal purposes. Natural resources such as willow bark, yerba buena and sage can contribute to healthier lifestyles. Ethnobotanist and herbalist Sage LaPena gives an overview of plants as medicine and details how indigenous medicines work pharmacologically and culturally.

Eps. 6 “Desert” – Tending the Wild: “Living Desert” – Monday, December 12 on and
Native Californians interviewed describe their home, the desert, as a fragile, yet largely intact ecosystem with scattered sources of water, salt and herbs. “Living Desert” will interview key members of the Mohave and Cahuilla tribes to discuss threats that the desert is facing. Features an interview with Gerald Clarke, Jr.

In addition to the video series, the online web hub features a variety of news stories that illustrate a larger inquiry into the concepts and practices of traditional ecological knowledge, including an introductory article titled “What is Traditional Ecological Knowledge?” by M.Kat Anderson. The web hub will also include articles on cultural landscape management through the use of fire; traditional foods, medicines, and building materials; traditional California desert life-ways; and Northwestern California Native peoples’ relationship with Pacific salmon.

On Thursday, October 6, media will get an exclusive preview of the California Continued exhibition and a first look at material from the entire season of the Tending the Wild digital series. Press will be able to participate in curator-led tours, meet-and-greet with key spokespersons from the Autry and KCETLink Media Group, experience acorn-grinding demonstrations, and participate in a drop-in lunch that will give guests a taste of Native California. For details and to RSVP, e-mail

*The above schedule is subject to change.

Join the conversation on social media using #TendingTheWild, #KCET, #TheAutry, and #CAContinued

About KCETLink Media Group

KCETLink Media Group is a national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast network that provides high-quality, culturally diverse programming designed to engage the public in innovative, entertaining and transformative ways. With a commitment to independent perspectives, smart global entertainment, local communities, and opportunities for engagement and social action, KCETLink depicts people and the world through a lens unavailable elsewhere in U.S. media. A viewer-supported 501(c)(3) organization, KCETLink content is distributed nationally via satellite on Link TV DIRECTV channel 375 and DISH Network channel 9410 and on KCET in Southern and Central California via broadcast and cable, as well as through various digital delivery systems. For additional information about KCET and Link TV productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit or Select programming from KCET and Link TV is also available for streaming on Hulu, Apple TV, and Roku platforms.

About the Autry Museum of the American West
The Autry brings together the stories of all peoples of the American West, connecting the past with the present to inspire our shared future. Throughout the year, the Autry presents a range of public events and programs—including lectures, film, theater, family activities, and music—and performs scholarship, research, and educational outreach. The Autry’s collection of more than 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts includes the Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, one of the largest and most significant collections of Native American materials in the United States. To learn more, visit

Museum and Autry Store:
Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. 

Crossroads West Cafe:
Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

The museum, store, and cafe are closed on Mondays. Visit for more information.


Press Inquiries

Autry Communications

Land Acknowledgment

The Autry Museum of American West acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). We recognize that the Autry Museum and its campuses are located on the traditional lands of Gabrielino/Tongva peoples and we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.

The Autry Museum in Griffith Park

4700 Western Heritage Way

Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462
Located northeast of downtown, across from the Los Angeles Zoo.
Map and Directions

Free parking for Autry visitors.

Tuesday–Friday 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Tuesday–Friday 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.