The 'Lost' Berry Gardens: First Nations' plant cultivation on British Columbia's Northwest coast

Ethnobotany 1
Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 09:30
Hamersley Chambers
, Fiona - University of Victoria

Recent research has highlighted how First Peoples on British Columbia’s Northwest coast managed their territories to enhance productivity of key resources such as estuary root crops and crabapple orchards. Today, however, few of these management practices are followed, and First Peoples are undergoing a nutrition transition as they move away from nutrient dense traditional foods to a modern diet high in processed foods, saturated fats and sugars. Associated concerns include a lack of community food security/sovereignty, epidemic rates of chronic preventable diseases, and the loss of biological and cultural diversity as traditional management practices decline. Working with the Heiltsuk First Nation, this PhD research seeks to discover to what extent and in what ways berries were managed in the past. Results will be applied collaboratively to address the concerns listed above. This research will contribute to the evolving understanding of how Northwest Coast First Nations enhanced plant productivity through cultivation.