UBC Theses and Dissertations
Promoting the relationships of plants and health within Westbank First Nation Liman, Joel
In this thesis I present a community-based participatory research project analyzing principles for the management of non-timber forest products within Westbank First Nation (WFN). This work situated WFN perspectives within current research on Aboriginal understandings of human and ecological health. The mixed method approach of this project utilized qualitative community knowledge and quantitative, field-based research. The results from the qualitative components detail community understandings of the connection between plants, health, and the environment. These connections were summarized in community principles for managing native flora and creating culturally-grounded ecological education. The quantitative research component analyzed the current distribution characteristics of Shepherdia canadensis (L.) Nutt., Elaeagnaceae within the Central Okanagan. Distribution characteristics and various plant community associations were analyzed using a plot-based field methodology. This information was compared to community input regarding the historical distribution of Shepherdia canadensis (Okanagan - sxʷusəm) in the region. The current fragmented distribution of Shepherdia canadensis implies the potential for a broad historical access to this plant at low elevations. This broad distribution was in accordance to the accounts of some community members. This particular information provided an example of how traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) has the potential to improve questions within resource management practice. On a broader level, this data provided some context to discuss effectively co-managing for resources within changing ecosystems. As a whole, this thesis presents an example of how Aboriginal perspectives of health and ecology relate to their conceptions of managing resources and how these perspectives should be engaged to promote effective management practice.
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