Plants, Land and Language–Gwich’in Elders’ Perspectives on Traditional Living and well-being

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 11 May, 2017 - 13:15
Main Johnson
, Leslie - Athabasca University
, Riva - Athabasca University

Our paper presents insights on the significance of plants, land and animals for well-being in the Mackenzie Delta region, Northwest Territories, Canada. We interviewed 12 Elders about relationships of land, language and traditional upbringing in healthy lives. Elders described use of plants as medicines, the gathering of berries as healthy foods, and learning about other traditional skills such as snaring rabbits or how to process a caribou. These stories were provided in the context of exploring how knowledge of language and growing up on the land contribute to life-long healthy life-styles. Tensions between the demands of jobs and the cash economy and the opportunities for pursuing a life on the land today were also described by the Elders as we explored how one might bring this knowledge forward for the youth.