Productive 1st Nations

B.C.'s indigenous peoples have historically been described as hunter-gatherers, but a university expert says their traditional knowledge systems are much more sophisticated than that.

Professor Nancy Turner of the University of Victoria will explain how indigenous plant managers bring their personal knowledge, techniques and practices passed down through generations, to cultivate wild species.

An author and a member of the Order of Canada, Turner will present her research at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus in the lecture theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Called 'Looking after the Plants, Looking after the Land: Environmental Management by Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia', Turner’s research integrates the fields of botany and ecology with anthropology, geography and linguistics, among others.

She is interested in the traditional knowledge systems and traditional land and resource management systems of indigenous peoples, particularly in western Canada.

She has worked with First Nations elders and cultural specialists in northwestern North America for more than 40 years, collaborating with indigenous communities to help document, retain and promote their traditional knowledge of plants and habitats, including Indigenous foods, materials and medicines, as well as language and vocabulary relating to plants and environments.

“Indigenous peoples also embrace their own associated cultural institutions, means of monitoring and maintaining productivity, and ways of passing on knowledge to others, including future generations,” said Turner. “Their lessons and approaches are often taught through experiential learning, storytelling, ceremony, and art.”

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. Eventbrite tickets are available online.

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