The new Indigenous People and Plants Trail at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton, Ontario, opens to the public on Monday 18th September 2017. The trail, located in Cootes Paradise, teaches us about how plants were used by the Anishinaabe people. I found a great journal article about Anishnaabe ethnobotany in NW Ontario, by Davidson-Hunt, Jack, Mandamin & Wapioke (2005). From the website about the trail:
Ontario has a rich indigenous history, involving many different cultures. Royal Botanical Gardens lays within the traditional territory of both the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Nations. This trail focuses on the story of Anishinaabe plant connections. The Anishinaabeg were semi-nomadic hunters, fishers and gatherers who moved with nature’s cycles — from trapping and hunting in winter, to harvesting and processing useful plants through the growing season. Medicine plants were not only their sustenance but were also widely traded. The people’s survival depended on intimate knowledge of the plants found in many habitats over a large area.
This primal connection to native plants remains a key part of Anishinaabe culture, where a plant’s value or importance is measured in its usefulness, rather than its rarity. Come and walk the trail to learn more!