Economic Botany

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 236–253

Ethnobotany of chumash indians, California, Based on Collections by John P. Harrington

  • Jan Timbrook
Article

Abstract

At least 150 plant species were used for food, medicine, material culture, and religious practices by the Chumash Indians of southern California. A great deal of traditional Chumash plant knowledge survived into the present century, despite massive deculturation.

The most significant source of information on Chumash ethnobotany is the extensive, unpublished field notes of John P. Harrington, based on interviews conducted from 1912 into the 1950s. Several hundred voucher specimens collected by some of Harrington’s consultants have also been preserved, along with the original notes, at the Smithsonian Institution.

Data are presented here on knowledge and uses of plants in this important California Indian culture, as reconstructed from the Harrington material. Changes in plant knowledge resulting from Euro-American contact are also discussed.

Los Usosde Plantas Entre los Indios Chumash de California, Basado en la Colección de John P. Harrington

Resumen

Los indios Chumash que Vivían en el sur de California usaban mas que 150 espećies de plantas para alimentos, medicina, artefactos, y costumbres religiosas. A pesar de que esa cultura indígena ha sido casi destruída, el saber tradicional de las plantas ha perseverado hasta este siglo.

La fuente mayor sobre el conocimiento etnobotánico de los Chumash tiene que ser las entrevistas realizadas por el antropólogo y lingüista John P. Harrington con esos indios entre 1912 y los 1950s. Las materias Chumash juntado por Harrington, que actualmente se guardan en el Instituto Smithsonian, incluyen mas que cien mil páginas de notas y casi quinientos espécimenes de plantas.

Aquí están presentado datos sobre el saber y usar de plantas entre los Chumash, un grupo indígeno importante en California, como se pueden reconstruir usando las materias de Harrington. Tambien discuto lo que ha cambiado en el conocimiento etnobotánico a causa del contacto histórico con culturas extranjeras.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Timbrook
    • 1
  1. 1.Santa Barbara Museum of Natural HistorySanta Barbara

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