Aboriginal Plant Use in Canada's Northwest Boreal Forest
256 pages, 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
Over 200 colour illustrations, maps
Release Date:01 May 2000

Aboriginal Plant Use in Canada's Northwest Boreal Forest

UBC Press, Canadian Forest Service

This handbook describes the traditional uses by aboriginal people ofmore than 200 different plants from Canada's boreal forest. It isthe result of original ethnobotanical fieldwork in 29 communitiesacross the boreal forest region of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.Natural resources of the boreal forest have always been essential tothe dietary, medical, economic, and spiritual well-being of FirstNations people, but until now much of their traditional environmentalknowledge has remained unrecorded and at risk of being lost.

To compile this book the authors, along with seven other FirstNation trainees, five Métis trainees, and four other botany students,learned how to collect voucher plant specimens and record traditionalknowledge about the use of plants for medicine, handicrafts,technology, and ritual practices. Over 100 elders contributedinformation that they felt should be shared among communities.

The entries and accompanying photographs are arranged according tothe plant family and include information on physical descriptions,habitat, uses for food, technology, medicine, and potential economicuse. The book also includes an explanation of the research approach, aliterature review, and an overview of the ecological and culturalbackground of the area.

In addition to gathering botanical data, the original field research also gathered information on ritual uses of plants, the naming and classification of plants in the indigenous languages, beliefs regarding plants, and attitudes toward development of plant sources. Biology Digest

Robin J. Marles is an Associate Professor and Chairof the Botany Department at Brandon University in Manitoba. He has beenconducting research on the traditional uses, chemistry, pharmacology,and sustainable production of medicinal and edible plants for over 20years.

Christina Clavelle recently completed herMaster's degree from the University of Saskatchewan Biology andAnthropology/Archaeology Departments.

Leslie Monteleone is a graduate student in theUniversity of Alberta Botany Department.

Natalie Tays is a member of the NisichawayasihkFirst Nation and a school teacher in Nelson House, Manitoba.

Donna Burns is a member of the James Smith FirstNation, James Smith 100 Reserve, Saskatchewan, and a former Universityof Saskatchewan student.

A Note on the Text




Research Methods

Ecological Background

Cultural Background

Related Literature on Boreal Plant Uses


Traditional Uses of Boreal Forest Plants

Common and Other Names

Scientific Name and Voucher Specimens

Description and Habitat

Food Uses

Medicinal Uses

Technological Uses

Ritual Uses




Listing of Useful Plants



Nonvascular Plants

Vascular Spore-Producing Plants


Angiosperms: Magnoliopsida

Angiosperms: Liliopsida




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