Planting the Burke’s first camas bulbs

“We all have the responsibility to protect this way of life, to protect this Mother Earth.” – Connie McCloud, Puyallup Tribe of Indians.

Oxbow was honored to participate in the planting of the very first camas bulbs on December 3rd at the Burke Museum. In a moving ceremony of prayer and song, Tribal Elders Connie McCloud (Puyallup Tribe of Indians) and Rex Buck (Wanapum) spoke to the importance of caring for our soil, water, and air so that generation after generation may learn from and be fed by our planet. 

From left: Burke Museum Tribal Liaison Polly Olsen, Tribal Elder Connie McCloud, Oxbow’s Native Plant Program Manager Bridget McNassar, Tribal Elder Rex Buck, Jr., and Rex Buck, III.

Tribal Members, Burke Museum staff and donors, Oxbow staff, and members of First Nations at UW all participated in the planting. The camas will be a key feature of the Burke’s outdoor exhibit space, highlighting native plants of the region—many of which are traditional food sources for native peoples throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Left: Oxbow’s Native Plant Program Manager, Bridget McNassar, demonstrates planting techniques for the camas bulbs. Right: A guest cradles two healthy camas bulbs in her hand.
Shannon Nichol (right), founding principal of GGN landscape architects, encourages guests to plant camas bulbs intuitively and to disregard alignment and spacing—just as camas prairies would grow in nature.
Dozens of camas bulbs found a new home near the entrance to the Burke Museum, where the slow-growing plants will continue to mature and blossom for many decades to come.

Oxbow expresses our thanks to the Burke Museum team, especially to Polly Olsen and to the Burke’s Native American Advisory Board for their continued involvement in so many aspects of the project. 

To learn more about the Burke Museum and the native plants grown for the landscape, visit our Burke Museum Project page!