Moolks (Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca Raf.): Knowledge and Meaning in Gitga’at culture

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 5 May, 2011 - 23:00 to Friday, 6 May, 2011 - 01:30
Wyllie de Echeverria, Victoria - School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria

In this study, I am examining the folk classification systems and ethnobotanical uses of moolks or Pacific crabapple (Malus fusca Raf.) by the Gitga’at people of Hartley Bay, British Columbia. This species has historically been an important resource for food, materials and medicine for indigenous peoples throughout most of its range along the Pacific coast of North America, including the Gitga’at, who also recognize approximately five unique varieties. Through interviews with elders, knowledge about how the cultural importance of crabapples is expressed in their folk taxonomy, linguistic knowledge, ethnobotanical uses and management strategies will be recorded. In addition, botanical and environmental data will be collected from crabapple populations for comparison with cultural data. The appeal of this work to Hartley Bay community is that they are interested in preserving knowledge transmission between generations and maybe exploring the possibilities of cultural tourism ventures, of which crabapples could be a focus species.