The ethnobotany of the Southern Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia

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Abstract

142 plant species are known to be recognized by the Southern Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia. Means of collection, preparation, and utilization of these plants are outlined. The role of plants in Kwakiutl culture and economy for food, technology, medicine, religion, recreation, linguistics, and migration and settlement patterns is discussed. Phonetic transcriptions are given of most Kwakiutl names of plants.

The ethnobotanies of the Southern Kwakiutl and the Vancouver Island Coast Salish are briefly compared. 50% of the plants were used similarly by both groups. Most differences seem related to vegetation characteristics, degree of trade and communication, cultural features, and religious secrecy. The extent and even the type of use of species occurring in both areas often appeared to be related more to species abundance than to any inherent plant characteristics.

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Correspondence to Nancy Chapman Turner.

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Turner, N.C., Bell, M.A.M. The ethnobotany of the Southern Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia. Econ Bot 27, 257–310 (1973). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02907532

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Keywords

  • Bark
  • Economic Botany
  • Northwest Coast
  • Clover Root
  • Digging Stick