Tag Archives: Nancy Turner

Dr. Nancy Turner

Dr. Nancy Turner is a distinguished professor at UVic and the Hakai Chair of Ethnoecology.

I had the good fortune almost 20 years ago to attend Dr. Turner’s environmental studies course on ethnobotany, the study of plants in the traditional contexts of the people who use them.

When we attended traditional activities like a beach pit cooking it was possibly my first (non museum) introduction to living, breathing First Nations culture. We made many things with our hands in her class, like pine needle baskets. But this was not your stereotypical basket weaving course, the kind you’d sign up for to pad your course load.

This is a woman who has dedicated her life’s work to understanding and championing Traditional Ecological Knowledge. This is her personal website.


Module 1 post 3

Module 2- Post 5: Who owns the Healing Secrets of Plants

This is an interesting article that addresses the ownership issues concerning the Traditional Knowledge, its and plant exploitation, and much more. For example, Nancy Turner was given certain knowledge about medicinal plants, however this was never published or shared publicly. Find out why. This is of importance to my topic of plants, traditional knowledge, art, etc.

“As the Haida know, the rainforest can yield cures for sickness. But sharing such knowledge may create other ills.”

See here: http://thetyee.ca/News/2005/01/20/WhoOwnsHealingSecretsofPlants/

Module 2 – Post 3: Nancy Turner on the importance of BioDiversity to First Nations

Nancy Turner addresses the importance of biodiversity and its importance to First Nations  in maintaining the same and enhancing it throughout the history.

She goes on to say:

“Not only is biodiversity important in food systems, technology, and medicine, but plants, animals and fungi are also prominent in First Nations’ belief systems, art, songs and ceremonies (Turner 1988, 2005). Ceremonial species and those featured in art and narrative are often the same ones that had practical application (Garibaldi and Turner 2004). The richness of Northwest Coast First Peoples’ intense connections with biodiversity is reflected perhaps most famously in their world- renowned artforms representing stylized animals, birds, fish and other beings, in magnificent wooden sculptures, totempoles, masks and dishes, as well as in exquisite jewelry and paintings (cf. Holm 1965, 1990; MacDonald 1996).

Please see here: