International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

Diversity of Plant Knowledge as an Adaptive Asset: A Case Study with Standing Rock Elders

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Indigenous knowledge is often represented as being homogeneous within cultural groups, and differences in knowledge within communities are interpreted as a lack of cultural consensus. Alternatively, differences in knowledge represent a range of possibilities for communities to respond to social and ecological change. This paper examines the diversity of plant knowledge among elders who live in the Standing Rock Nation of the northern Great Plains. Elders know how to use different plants, and also hold different knowledge about the same plants. Analysis indicates that elders each contribute unique, complementary, and seemingly contradictory plant knowledge to their community. Compiled seasonal rounds help visualize differences in knowledge about the temporal availability of plants. These differences are linked to variations in use, including references to specific gathering sites, strategies to harvest multiple species, and selection of plants at different stages of development. Elders' diverse knowledge about the seasonal availability of plants may facilitate community adaptation to climate change in the 21st century. © 2011 The New York Botanical Garden.

Publication Title

Economic Botany

Publication Date

9-1-2011

Volume

65

Issue

3

First Page

295

Last Page

307

ISSN

0013-0001

DOI

10.1007/s12231-011-9168-x

Keywords

Dakota, food plants, Indigenous knowledge, intracultural diversity, Lakota, Standing Rock Nation

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