Learning, Sharing and Adapting: Indigenous Peoples’ Knowledge and Use of Plants


McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) Building, 2nd floor., 3463 Peel, CA


First Peoples of northwestern North America have developed complex, long-term, ever-changing relationships with plants and environments. Plants have supported their survival and well-being for over 13,000 years, providing them with necessary food, materials, medicines and ceremonial items. Many of these culturally important plants – over 250 species – have names in multiple Indigenous languages, often reflecting common usage across different speech communities and language families. How did people acquire this rich knowledge about their environments, including plants, algae, and fungi? How did they pass on their knowledge, practices, and beliefs from generation to generation, from family to family, and from community to community? And, how did they adapt these practices to the new and changing situations they encountered? Even more importantly, in the face of these rapidly changing times, how can this precious knowledge be recognized, maintained, and perpetuated for the benefit of future generations both within and beyond First Nations’ communities? These are questions addressed in my book, Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge, published in 2014 by McGill-Queens University Press, and which I will talk about in this presentation.

The Speaker

Nancy J. Turner, Distinguished Professor and Hakai Professor in Ethnoecology in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria.

This event is free and open to the public.  RSVP at misc.iecm [at] mcgill.ca

Reception to follow.

We are no longer accepting RSVPs, as the event has reached maximum capacity. Guests who have RSVP’d are strongly encouraged to arrive as early as possible, as we will seat only the first 40 participants on a “first come, first serve” basis. Part of University Press Week with the McGill Queen’s University Press.

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