Economic Botany

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 63–99 | Cite as

The ethnobotany of the Coast Salish Indians of Vancouver Island

  • Nancy Chapman Turner
  • Marcus A. M. Bell
Article

Abstract

It is known that the Coast Salish Indians of Vancouver Island used 122 species of plants. Means of collection, preparation, and utilization of these plants are outlined. The role of plants in Salish culture and economy for food, technology, medicine, religion, recreation, linguistics, and migration and settlement patterns is discussed. When possible, phonetic transcriptions are given of Salish names of plants. The ethnobotanies of the Island and related Salish and other Northwest Coast Indian groups are briefly compared. Sixty percent of the plants used by the Western Washington Salish and 20% of the species used by the Thompson Interior Salish were used similarly by the Island Salish. It is concluded that these differences are mainly the result of differences in regional vegetation, extent of trade and inter-group communications, similarity of cultural traits, and the degree of secrecy surrounding use. A map shows the territory of the Vancouver Island Salish and linguistic subdivisions. Summaries of plant uses are given in an Appendix.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Chapman Turner
    • 1
  • Marcus A. M. Bell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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