Ross River Dena, Yukon
Year(s) Funded: 2010-2011
Topic Area: Traditional Medicine
Partners: Ross River Dena, Yukon Government
Title: Culturally Important Plants of the Ross River Dena, and Associated Impacts Related to Climate
Action: This project documented culturally important plants of the Ross River Dena. The study was undertaken to ensure that knowledge about these plants is retained, reveal where sensitive plants occur to protect them, and to share this knowledge with the Ross River Dena to enable a return to traditional use of some of these plants. This work is the product of one-on-one interviews and community workshops with the Elders of the Ross River Dena.
Results: The information obtained covers most of the plants in the traditional use area that were and are used by local people. These uses include medicine, food, tools, or spiritual icons.
Outputs: A comprehensive database was produced, including an inventory of important plants and maps indicating where some of the more sensitive and important plants occur. This map has become part of a comprehensive Traditional Knowledge database, and has provided input into land and resource planning.
A book was completed, Gu None’: Ethnobotany of the Ross River Dena. Approximately 80 culturally important species of plants are presented in this book, organized by broad groups, including trees, berries, flowering plants, lichens and mosses, and mushrooms. Medicinal parts of some mammal species are also presented. For each plant, a description of its habitat is given, followed by its cultural importance and the steps in its preparation. Any á’ii / du la‘ (traditional laws) that apply to the plant are included, as well as excerpts from stories in which plants play a key role. Also, Kaska names are given and for some species translations of these names are provided. Photographs are presented for most of the plants. And finally, a medicine chart is included at the end of the book that organizes medicines by which parts of the body they can be used for.