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category: Social Science
published: Aug 2020
publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press

Plants, People, and Places

The Roles of Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology in Indigenous Peoples' Land Rights in Canada and Beyond

edited by Nancy J. Turner

tagged: native american studies

For millennia, plants and their habitats have been fundamental to the lives of Indigenous Peoples - as sources of food and nutrition, medicines, and technological materials - and central to ceremonial traditions, spiritual beliefs, narratives, and language. While the First Peoples of Canada and other parts of the world have developed deep cultural understandings of plants and their environments, this knowledge is often underrecognized in debates about land rights and title, reconciliation, treaty negotiations, and traditional territories. Plants, People, and Places argues that the time is long past due to recognize and accommodate Indigenous Peoples' relationships with plants and their ecosystems. Essays in this volume, by leading voices in philosophy, Indigenous law, and environmental sustainability, consider the critical importance of botanical and ecological knowledge to land rights and related legal and government policy, planning, and decision making in Canada, the United States, Sweden, and New Zealand. Analyzing specific cases in which Indigenous Peoples' inherent rights to the environment have been denied or restricted, this collection promotes future prosperity through more effective and just recognition of the historical use of and care for plants in Indigenous cultures. A timely book featuring Indigenous perspectives on reconciliation, environmental sustainability, and pathways toward ethnoecological restoration, Plants, People, and Places reveals how much there is to learn from the history of human relationships with nature.

About the Author

Nancy J. Turner

Contributor Notes

Nancy J. Turner is distinguished professor emeritus and past Hakai Professor in Ethnoecology in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellow, and author of Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America.

  • Winner, Daniel F. Austin Award
Editorial Reviews

"The influence of distinguished ethnobotanist Turner is beautifully apparent throughout the collection. Plants, People, and Places confidently and compellingly asserts the value of ethnobotany and ethnoecology to the ongoing legal challenges of Indigenous peoples, and to the broader resurgence of Indigenous cultures around the world." Montreal Review of Books

"As a whole, Plants, People, and Places is a text that reminds us to nurture our curiosity and to engage with a diversity of sources. Its contributors remind us that land is a teacher, that plants communicate, and that human beings can find knowledge and wellness in plant-people relationships. It is a book that ought to be read broadly. Anyone researching native plant species, Indigenous foodways, or settler-Indigenous relations in what is now known as North America can benefit from the teachings bound in this collection." NiCHE

“I wholeheartedly recommend this book to ethnobotanists, communities facing challenges related to sovereignty, policymakers, herbalists, and anyone interested in traditional ecological knowledge, history, plants, and Indigenous rights. The volume has something for everyone: unusually rich descriptions of plant-people relationships and knowledge, detailed histories of settlement and resistance, and inspiration for those seeking to reclaim their land and heritage.” Herbalgram: The Journal of the American Botanical Council

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