Skip to main content Skip to navigation


Department of Anthropology Colloquium ~ Dr. Nancy Turner

College Hall
Room 125
View location in Google Maps

About the event

Please join us on Friday, November 2 for our next Anthropology Colloquium, featuring Dr. Nancy Turner of the University of Victoria.

Learning, Sharing and Adapting: Indigenous Peoples’ Knowledge and Use of Plants in Northwestern North America

Dr. Nancy Turner
School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria

First Peoples across North America have developed complex, long-term, ever-changing relationships with plants and environments. Plants have supported Indigenous Peoples’ survival and well-being on this continent for over 14,000 years, providing them with necessary food, materials, medicines and ceremonial items. Many of these culturally important plants – over 250 species in Northwestern North America along – have names in multiple Indigenous languages, often reflecting common usage across different speech communities and language families. How did people acquire the rich knowledge about their environments, including plants, algae, and fungi? How did they pass on their knowledge, practices, and beliefs from generation to generation, from family to family, and from community to community? Even more importantly, in the face of these rapidly changing times, how can this precious knowledge be recognized, maintained, and perpetuated for the benefit of future generations both within and beyond First Nations’ communities? These are questions I will address in my talk.

Nancy Turner is an ethnobotanist, Professor Emeritus and former Hakai Professor in Ethnoecology with the School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria. She has worked with First Nations elders and cultural specialists in northwestern North America for over 50 years, helping to document, retain and promote their traditional knowledge of plants and environments, including Indigenous foods, materials and traditional medicines.

All are welcome to attend!