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Museum group tours Lodi Lake in preparation for Indian exhibit

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Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 7:27 am, Thu Apr 28, 2011.

Docents for the Haggin Museum hiked through the Lodi Lake Nature Area and hopped on a boat to explore the Mokelumne River on Wednesday morning, all in an attempt to learn about California Indian cultures.

The Stockton-based museum plans to have a special exhibit from Aug. 4 through Sept. 25 focusing on traditional Indian hunting, collecting, food preparation and food preservation. The exhibit is titled “Seaweed, Salmon and Manzanita Cider: A California Indian Feast.”

The docents already went to Yosemite, and wanted to come to Lodi to learn about the plants and animals Indian tribes, including the Miwok, depend on.

“I was surprised by the use of plants as medicine,” museum docent Marti Kulisch said.

The group took a trip on the city of Lodi’s patio boat, went on a trail tour and visited the Discovery Center’s collection of animal mounts and Indian artifacts.

After the tour, the group went to the Dancing Fox for a special meal. As a reflection of the Indian culture, owner Colleen Lewis prepared smoked salmon, some greens and the bread she created for the Sandhill Crane Festival.

The bakery’s multi-grain bread features Central Valley wheat, barley, rice, corn and oats, which are staples of the Sandhill crane’s diet

“We wanted to keep with the spirit of what the docents are doing,” Lewis said.

One of the groups touring Wednesday witnessed a passing of the torch from an original Lodi Lake docent to the next generation.

Since 1987, Dale Prohaska has walked tour groups through the nature area as a docent. On Wednesday, he showed the museum group his stone mortar and pestle and explained how Indians used it to make acorns into food, which was 60 percent of the Miwok Indian diet.

His daughter, Dorana Prohaska, then led the group on her first tour as a docent.

“I love nature, and I would love to share it with children. I want to carry on my dad’s name and his love of nature,” she said.

To schedule a tour, email Kathy Grant at kgrant@lodi.gov or call 209-339-8722.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com or read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/city_buzz.

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