Raised in These Hills...
This week we speak with Iris: a woman born, raised and now raising a family in the hills of Humboldt County. When Iris was a child, her father was ‘busted’ by the infamous CAMP, Campaign Against Marijuana Cultivation, and given the option of 1 year of jail time or losing his land. He chose to keep his land and spent the next better part of a year in prison.
She recounts to us: the details of growing up in the marijuana culture as a child, the advantages and disadvantages of herself and those around her; knowing the safe house in the neighborhood, the one with no marijuana on the property, where the kids could flee to when CAMP came flying, learning all of the local plants and trees, as well as not having even a phone for many years. And how she appreciates the openness of her parents, and recognizes the sad fate of too many of her peers whom, as she says, “Feel very big, very early.”
Iris acknowledges the benefits of marijuana cultivation in her earlier years, but tells us the big WHY she no longer participates. It’s not the threat of jail, "That part wasn’t scary". She tells us how, as an adult, just two plants helped get her family set. What her community is doing to integrate the outsiders coming in, and poses the very important question of why Humboldt has alarmingly high numbers of childhood trauma and neglect.
This week we recognize not only the beauty of rural living, but the darker sides of growing up in an outlaw community. Perhaps it is only through looking at these shadows that we can hope to understand how to come back into the light.