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Whose Land?

Beth Robinette (L), owner of the Lazy R Ranch stands with her arm around LaRae Wiley, executive director of the Salish School of Spokane. The two women are smiling as they stand in front of stalks of tule on a cloudy, overcast day.
Ashley Ahearn
Beth Robinette (L), owner of the Lazy R Ranch and LaRae Wiley, executive director of the Salish School of Spokane, have come together to bring students to the ranch to harvest plants and medicines.

Beth Robinette used to puff up her chest with pride when she’d tell people she’s a fourth generation rancher from eastern Washington.

But as she learned more about the history of her family’s land and the Native Americans from whom the land was stolen, she realized she needed to reconnect her story with theirs.

Beth reached out to LaRae Wiley, co-founder of the Salish School of Spokane. The school does immersion Salish language education for kindergarten through high school students.

Beth and LaRae built a friendship that has led to bringing Salish School students out to the ranch to harvest plants and medicine. It’s provided a chance to learn and connect – for everyone involved – and start to face the troubled history of ranching in the West, and reimagine the future.

A transcript of this episode is available.