By Jay Scherf, AMLT Project Assistant

Ascención Solórsano was a Mutsun healer and leader who had extensive knowledge of Mutsun culture, language, plant uses, and customs. In the 1920s and ’30s she shared her knowledge with John P. Harrington, an ethnographer from the Smithsonian Institute.  Harrington recorded over 78,000 pages of her wisdom, which are stored at the Smithsonian. In each newsletter, we share a selection from these notes. Here are some of Ascensión’s words:

Manzanita (Tcuttur) with flowers and ripening fruit. Photo courtesy Nick Fullerton, CC BY 2.0

Reel 61.1, Frames 128-130

Tcuttur is the manzanita, the fruit of which is eaten…

There are two kinds of manzanita here. The bigger kind the Indians didn’t eat because it was nothing but pit. But the smaller kind had much powder inside and that type they did used to eat. The bears used to eat much of the bigger kind, so they used to say…

The fruit of the manzanita is good for making agua fresca [and has medicinal uses].








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