Working with Indigenous Communities: The Original Caretakers of Crops and Crop Wild Relatives

  • Scott M. HerronEmail author


Indigenous peoples are numerous, both in population and the number of distinct cultures across North America. They have managed plants in natural and agricultural environments for thousands of years in North America. Many of these domesticated, cultivated, and wild plants remain important within the indigenous cultures and across the globe. In order for these resources to be used to their full potential, there is a need for cooperative governance of the plants as well as the need to treat each tribe/First Nation as an individual government entity. Select case studies from the Northern Great Lakes region illustrate the ongoing natural resource management by tribal/First Nation governments in an effort to demonstrate strategies that researchers might employ to achieve productive working relationships with these original caretakers of crops and crop wild relatives.


Governance Epistemology Cooperation Natural resource management Tribal First Nations indigenous 


  1. Bonnette D (1998) Ecosystem management at Houghton Lake, Michigan with emphasis on wild rice (Zizania aquatica) ecology. Masters of Science Thesis, Central Michigan University. Reprinted by Houghton Lake Improvement Board.
  2. Busiahn T, Gilbert J (2009) The role of Ojibwe tribes in the co-management of natural resources in the upper Great Lakes region: a success story. Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.
  3. Deloria V (1994) God is red: a native view of religion. Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, ColoradoGoogle Scholar
  4. Geniusz M (2015) Plants have so much to give us, all we have to do is ask: Anishinaabe botanical teachings. University of Minnesota Press, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar
  5. Herron S (2002) Ethnobotany of the Anishinaabek Northern Great Lakes Indians. Unpublished Dissertation, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
  6. Herron S, LaBine R (2016) Retracing the canoe trail of Nanabozho: wild rice reemergence in Michigan after a decade of ecocultural restoration. Published abstract. In: Society of Ethnobiology 39th annual conference, Tucson, AZ, March 17, 2016.
  7. Intergovernmental Policy Council (2007) An overview of tribal, state, and federal co-management relationships in Washington.
  8. Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan (2017) Member tribes.
  9. Jackson L (2016) Ottawa National Forest wild rice restoration project. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.
  10. Jacobs C, Johnson A, Waboose J (2002) Species at risk on the Walpole Island First Nation. Bkejwanong Natural Heritage ProgramGoogle Scholar
  11. Kenney B (2012) Tribes as managers of federal natural resources. Nat Resour Environ 27(1):1–4 American Bar Association Google Scholar
  12. Kraft K, Brown CH, Nabhan GP, Luedeling E, Luna Ruiz J, D’Eckenbrugge GC, Hijmans RJ, Gepts P (2014) Multiple lines of evidence for the origin of domesticated chili pepper, Capsicum annuum, in Mexico. PNAS 111(17):6165–6170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. LaPorte E (2017) Sustaining lifeways and Anishinaabek partners. Graham Sustainability Institute, University of Michigan, July 19, 2017.
  14. Mattes WP (2017) Biological and commercial catch statistics from the Chippewa Inter-Tribal gill net fishery within Michigan waters of Lake Superior during 2015. Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.
  15. Moerman D (2017) Native American ethnobotany: a database of foods, drugs, dyes, and fibers of Native American peoples, derived from plants.
  16. Obama B (2009) Memorandum on Tribal Consultation. Presidential executive order 13175. Federal Register, November 5, 2009.
  17. Robinson P, Herron S, Power R, Zak D (2009) A regional multicultural approach to sustaining wild rice. J Ext 47(6):1–5 Article 6IAW5. Google Scholar
  18. Schoewe T (2017) Seeking September volunteers for wetland restoration at Voyageurs National Park. National Park Service news release July 19, 2017.
  19. Schultz J (2015) US Forest Service briefing paper: response to request from DUS Blazer on ideas for modeling Zaagkii Wings and Seeds Project – working with Native American tribes to achieve sustainability and resilience of natural resources, March 10, 2015Google Scholar
  20. Smith B (1998) The emergence of agriculture. W.H. Freeman and Company, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. USDA Botany in the News (2014) Chicago Botanic Garden partnership to collect native seeds. USDA Forest Service, October 28, 2014.
  22. Ustipak R (1995) An analysis of wild rice at Houghton Lake, Michigan. Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
  23. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (2017) Salmon and steelhead conservation: how tribes and state co-manage salmon and steelhead.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesFerris State UniversityBig RapidsUSA

Personalised recommendations