Management and Traditional Production of Beaked Hazelnut (k'áp'xw-az', Corylus cornuta; Betulaceae) in British Columbia


Hazelnuts (Corylus spp.; Betulaceae) constitute an important food, technology, textile, and medicine resource for Indigenous peoples across Canada. As with other types of traditional ecological knowledge and wisdom, the legacy of residential schools, ongoing colonialism, and continued land degradation and development have affected how people remember and use this vital plant. This contribution focuses on the memories and stories of Elder Wal’ceckwu (Marion Dixon) from the Nlaka’pamux Nation (Interior Salish) of British Columbia to help foster the re-emergence of hazelnut management in her community and beyond. Using ethnoecological, archaeological, and ethnohistoric data, as well as drawing on the memories of other Elders and knowledge holders throughout British Columbia, we hope to draw connections between people and place, and to emphasize how they can preserve knowledge and links to homelands in an ecologically informed and socially just way.

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    Some professional archaeologists in BC have not collected hazelnut shells from their excavations because they assumed the shells were from modern hazelnut stands (Armstrong, personal communication).


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We dedicate this research to Nlaka’pamux youth who work hard to continue in the teachings of their Elders. We are eternally grateful to, and acknowledge Marion’s grandparents, her teachers, Nlaka’pamux people, and especially John Haugen. We are also grateful to the many Elders who shared their knowledge and love of hazelnut: Darlene Vegh, Art Matthews, and the late Annie York. We would also like to acknowledge Natasha Lyons, Ian Cameron, Nick Waber, Dana Lepofsky, and Leslie Main Johnson who helped with preparation of the manuscript. Finally, thank you to the two anonymous reviewers who provided helpful feedback on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Chelsey Geralda Armstrong.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest and no funding conflicts. Informed consent was granted where applicable and approved by Simon Fraser University Office of Research Ethics, study 2015 s0179.

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Armstrong, C.G., Dixon, W.M. & Turner, N.J. Management and Traditional Production of Beaked Hazelnut (k'áp'xw-az', Corylus cornuta; Betulaceae) in British Columbia. Hum Ecol 46, 547–559 (2018).

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  • Ethnobotany
  • Ethnoecology
  • Hazelnut
  • Historical ecology
  • Paleoethnotbotany
  • Traditional resource management
  • British Columbia
  • Nlaka’pamux nation