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Traditional Plant Study in Fort McKay

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IEG worked with Fort McKay community members to develop and verify a comprehensive list of important culturally used plants.

The land and water of the boreal forest have supported and nourished the people of Fort McKay for many generations. Cree and Dene names for the numerous plants used for food, medicine and spiritual purposes reflect a deep and close relationship to the land. As a result of this connection, Fort McKay has a desire to participate in meaningful reclamation on areas in their homeland undergoing development, as well as ensure protection of areas that are important for gathering.

This study was intended to engage community members in recording and verifying information of known culturally used plants and to explore the historical and current significance of these plants. The outcome of this study is an updated cultural plant list that includes scientific and indigenous names as well as methods of traditional use. This study engaged community members to identify plants they would like to see used in reclamation, as well as providing perspectives on what successful reclamation means to them for cultural use. In addition, information generated by this project will be used in educational initiatives in the community that support and promote cross-generational knowledge sharing.