Strategies for Revitalizing Traditional Botanical Knowledge in Two Tribal Communities in Coastal Louisiana.

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 15:45
, Liza

Native American communities of Isle de Jean Charles and Pointe-au-Chien, located along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, are experiencing adverse affects from coastal erosion, subsidence, and sea level rise affecting their ability to remain in a place they have lived for generations. The extensive land loss, and salt water inundation is also a major contributing factor to the loss of many traditional medicinal and wild edible plants. This paper brings together research from the 1930’s, 1960’s, and present-day to examine how traditional botanical knowledge and use has changed, and how various sociocultural and environmental factors have contributed to its decline. Currently, both communities are actively pursuing strategies to revitalize traditional botanical knowledge with the aims of increasing self-sufficiency, improving health outcomes, and fostering pride in their cultural heritage. This paper will discuss different strategies the communities are employing to maintain and revitalize traditional medicinal and wild edible plant knowledge and use.