Native Americans have worked with nature to support themselves and the land for centuries. "These time-honored practices work with the natural world’s rhythms," reports Samuel Gilbert of The Washington Post. "Some might even hold the key to a more resilient future." Below are five of Gilbert's indigenous practices that can help humans tend to Mother Nature while caring for their communities.

Zuni waffle gardens are made with rows of sunken squares "surrounded by adobe walls that catch and hold water like pools of syrup in a massive earthen waffle," Gilbert writes. "The sustainable design protects crops from wind, reduces erosion and conserves water."

Controlled or "cultural burns" were used by Indigenous people "to improve soil quality, spur the growth of particular plants," Gilbert adds. "Prescribed burning has returned as state and federal agencies recognize the importance of fire in managing forests."

The use of acequias, which are ancient irrigation systems dating back to the 1600s. "The name can refer to both the gravity-fed ditches filled with water and the farmers who collectively manage water," Gilbert explains. "The earthen ditches mimic seasonal streams and expand riparian habitats for numerous native species."

Learn from dryland farmers. "The Hopi nation in Arizona receives an average of 10 inches of rain per year — a third of what crop scientists say is necessary to grow corn successfully," Gilbert adds. "Yet Hopi farmers have been cultivating corn and other traditional crops without irrigation for millennia, relying on traditional ecological knowledge rooted in life in the high desert."

Read the full article about Indigenous knowledge and practices by Heather Close at The Rural Blog.