Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pacheedaht Nature Walk Aug 18 2010

Over the past weeks the youth group in the Pacheedaht First Nation have been working together and learning more about the plants and foods in their territory. On August 18th, the group was lead on a Nature walk by invited guests Earl Claxton Jr and Lewis Williams from the Tsawout First Nation. Community member Stacy Jones and Madelen Jones lead and welcomed us to the old harvesting territory by Farry Lake. They had found out at their last treaty meeting that this was the old plant and medicine harvesting place.

List of Plants we saw in Pacheedaht with a brief summary from Lewis Williams
1) Cloak of the frog (Common Plantain): This plant can be used to treat mosquito bites and bee stings, chew it up a little then apply to area.

2) English plantain: This one can also be used for mosquito bites and bee stings, and the Saxons used it to cure headaches by wrapping it with red wool to their heads.

3) Sap of Spruce: The sap was used as gum, like today’s gum is.

4) Small flower Alumroot: The Skagit pounded it and rubbed it in little girls hair to help it grow thick, also they used for cuts.

5) Sword fern: Sword fern is a sacred plant to the Saanich people and is used in a lot of ceremonies to this day.
6) Lady’s fern: This is a beautiful fern that can inhabit the areas as the Sword fern and you can eat the fiddle heads of both species.

7) Skunk cabbage: The leaves of the Skunk cabbage are used by the Saanich people to wrap their food when using the pitcook method. The flesh in the stem can be eaten.

8) Hookers fairy bells: Some interior nations ate the berries but most northwest coast peoples consider them poisonous and associated them with snakes or ghosts.

9) Huckleberry: This berry comes in three different species on Vancouver Island, there is the Red huckleberry, The Evergreen huckleberry and the Oval leafed huckleberry.

10) Wall lettuce: This is an introduced plant that is quite well spread out through Vancouver Island and is bitter until it gets a frost then it will sweeten up.

11) Fungus, Conk, Echoes: This is used to absorb bad energy or gossip that is being said about you or thrown your way.

12) Pacific Sanicle: Sanicles are unpopular in pastures because if eaten by the cows it will impart an unpleasant flavour to the milk.

13) False lily of the valley: The Cowichan drank a root tea to treat internal injuries.

14) Old man’s beard (grey mans beard): There is a legend that says do not get this on your head or you will become lost in life, in spirituality, or emotionally.

15) Osier dogwood: The branches were used as salmon spreaders and basket rims.

16) Hard Hack: The branches were used by some Nuu-chah-nulth to make brooms for collecting tubular marine dentalis shells, which was a form of currency among the northwest coast peoples.
17) Pearly Everlasting: Ditidaht healers rub this plant on their hands to make them soft.

18) Cooley’s hedge nettle: This plant is in the mint family and was used by some for medicine, by others it was eaten, then there was some nations that did not consider it edible.

19) Burdock: The leaves can be used to treat bee stings and the root can be made into a tea to cleanse the blood.

20) Clover : This plant can be used in a salad, the whole plant can be eaten and is a source of iron.

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