About the event

Indigenous agriculturalists of North America are known for their domesticated annual crops such as maize, beans, squash, and sunflowers. Until recently, however, most North American Indigenous Peoples, have been described as “Hunter-Gatherers,” with the implication that they simply randomly harvested food sources – from salmon and clams to berries, and greens – available to them from the wild. Increasingly, it is recognized that First Peoples have developed sophisticated techniques and approaches to sustaining and enhancing their food resources and the habitats in which they are found. In this presentation, I present an overview of Indigenous resource management practices, with some key examples including transplanting fish, fish traps, seaweed harvesting, herring roe harvesting, estuarine root vegetables, seabird eggs, and clam gardens and discuss their importance, both in the past and at present. These management practices and associated knowledge have excellent potential for application in ecological restoration, food production, permaculture, and biodiversity conservation.

Nancy Turner is an ethnobotanist who has worked with Indigenous elders and cultural specialists in western Canada for over 50 years, learning about plants and environments. Distinguished Professor Emerita in Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, she has written/edited 30 books and over 150 papers, and is a member of Order of Canada, Order of BC, and Royal Society of Canada, as well as honorary degrees from four BC universities.

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