Inuit plant use in northeastern Canada: Comparative ethnobotany in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik and Nain, Nunatsiavut

Poster Session
CLARK, Courtenay - Université de Montréal/Jardin botanique de Montréal
CUERRIER, Alain - Université de Montréal/Jardin botanique de Montréal

In northeastern Canada, plants are an important part of  traditional Inuit life, being used for food, tea, medicine, fuel, construction, cleaning, etc.. Based on semi-directed interviews, we document and compare plant names and uses in Nain, Nunatsiavut and Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik. Despite different dialects of Inuktitut and socioeconomic histories, plant names and uses were expected to be similar between communities. Both communities reported the same number of taxa, with equivalent proportions of vascular/non-vascular taxa, growth forms, use categories, and medicinal uses. Forty-three species were used in each community, for a total of 78 species from 39 families. Despite high overlap in species distributions, only 35% of non-vascular species and  56% of vascular species were used in both communities. Unique plant uses may reveal separate bodies of TEK or reflect a recent overall reduction of ethnobotanical knowledge in the Arctic. Reintegration of this knowledge could help inform culturally-appropriate climate change adaptation strategies.