Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America

By Montaño, Mario | Western Folklore, Fall 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America


Montaño, Mario, Western Folklore


Keeping it Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America. Edited by Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner. (Seatde: University of Washington Press, 2005. Pp. xiv + 340, preface, introduction, photographs, illustrations, tables, map, bibliography, index. $50.00 cloth)

Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner's anthology calls into question the idea, long-dominant among archaeologists and anthropologists, that Pacific Northwest Coast Indians achieved their pre-contact social and cultural complexity without agriculture. The book consists of two parts: four chapters on conceptual and theoretical issues surrounding peoples who do not fit neady under the rubric of either "hunter-gatherer" or "agriculturalist," followed by six case studies highlighting diverse precontact practices of wild food cultivation and management. Among the subjects discussed in the anthology are the limitations of conceptual categories; alternative models for understanding the cultural resources utilized among Northwest Coast indigenous groups; and particular strategies used indigenously to change plants and fjieir soil structure.

In the preface, First-Nations scholar E. Richard Atleo, who also uses the name Umeekof Ahoust, emphasizes the need to understand the worldview of Native peoples, especially with relation to land and resource management. Editors Deur and Turner, in the introduction, set the tone and goals of the book when they state, "The role of humans in modifying Northwestern environments was much understated and misunderstood" (3). Both scholars provide several explanations regarding these misunderstandings in the ethnographic, historical, and archaeological record. Contributor Bruce D. Smith, in "Low Level Food Production and the Northwest Coast," examines key concepts - hunting and gathering, cultivation, domestication - to reassess the supposed singularity of Northwest Coast societies and to questions their classification as "complex" or "affluent" hunter-gatherers. Nancy J. Turner and Sandra Peacock, in "Solving the Perennial Paradox: Ethnobotanical Evidence for Plant Resource Management on the Northwest Coast," confront the widely held belief that Pacific Northwest cultures reached a high level of complexity by exploiting natural resources without practicing food production and domestication. The audiors rely on multiple sources ethnobotanical literature, ethnographic accounts, and interviews with community consultants-to provide evidence of a wide array of precontact plant management techniques: foraging, cultivation, harvest, and extraction (digging, tilling, weeding, clearing, and fertilizing). All these plant management strategies, the authors believe, existed along the Pacific Northwest Coast before the arrival of Europeans. In "A Fine Line between Two Nations: Ownership Patterns for Plant Resources among Nordwest Coast Indigenous Peoples," authors Nancy J. Turner, Robin Smidi, and James T.Jones examine land and resource ownership patterns based on both ethnographic descriptions and recollections of First-Nation people from the late nineteenth century to the present.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?