Recognizing and Respecting Indigenous Traditional Knowledge of Cultural and Medicinal Plants (Phase 4)
Supporting ongoing traditional educational opportunities for shíshálh Nation members as cultural and medicinal plants are identified, conserved, and mapped.
Why this Project Matters
The fourth phase of this project is continuing the identification, conservation, and mapping of cultural and medicinal plants in partnership with SFI forestry partners and the shíshálh Nation. This project is continuing to increase the knowledge base of foresters and shíshálh Nation educators relating to the importance of cultural and medicinal plants. Revitalizing cultural practices like harvesting traditional medicinal plants is a priority for the shíshálh Nation. The shíshálh people have a distinct language and a unique world view. The swiya (traditional territory) of the shíshálh people is on the south coast of British Columbia.
How the Project is Supporting Traditional Indigenous Practices and Values
The project is increasing economic opportunities for shíshálh members who make part or most of their livelihood from producing traditional medicines and foods. The project is increasing shíshálh members’ chances of locating, harvesting, and maintaining a sustainable supply of cultural and medicinal plants. During the project’s first three phases, priority cultural and medicinal plant identification cards were developed by the shíshálh Nation Cultural Plants Team. This project is continuing to support sharing these cards with other forestry companies operating within the shíshálh swiya. (The first phase of the project began in 2018 and SFI supported phase three in 2020.) The culturally important plant cards are a tangible, community-created training resource that will enable field-based forestry personnel to more fully recognize and respect the First Nation’s traditional knowledge and relationships with the land. This project has the potential to become an example and best practice in other regions throughout the SFI‑certified land base.
The project supports using cultural and medicinal plants through outreach and fieldtrips. Desktop mapping and field verification of potential cultural and medicinal plants is also being employed. This includes sending a lead ecologist into the field with trained assistants and shíshálh community members. These educators and community influencers are central to encouraging shíshálh members, especially youth, to preserve and use cultural and medicinal plants. The project is supporting and promoting shíshálh Indigenous values and it’s also improving the understanding of these values by forest professionals and community groups in the area.
The SFI Community Grant Program is supporting this project. It will help to continue to grow meaningful relationships between the shíshálh Nation and other SFI-certified forest sector partners.
How this Project Builds SFI Community Engagement
SFI respects the rights and traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and believes our shared quality of life improves when forests are sustainably managed for current and future generations. These shared values allow for a strong and multifaceted link between SFI and Indigenous communities across the U.S. and Canada. There will be opportunities for SFI certified organizations to participate in community events and field trips. There is also a potential opportunity to bring experts from the shíshálh Nation together with other Indigenous communities who are certified to the SFI forest management standard.
This partnership includes members of the shíshálh Nation, conservationists, researchers, and SFI certified organizations.
The swiya of the shíshálh people lies between Queens Reach in Jervis Inlet and Howe Sound on the south coast of British Columbia. Historically there were four main settlements at kalpilin (Pender Harbour), ts’unay (Deserted Bay), xenichen (Jervis Inlet) and tewankw near Porpoise Bay.
shíshálh Nation is committed to innovation in program and service delivery designed to assist its members and community to achieve greater independence, wellness and self-sufficiency. Foundational to the Nation’sr shared work is the protection, promotion and practice of shíshálh culture, language and laws within their swiya. Learn more about the shíshálh Nation tems swiya museum, culture, language, and Elders.