Ethnobotany of Alaska: A Southwestern Alaska Perspective

  • Dennis Griffin
Reference work entry

Alaska is the home of many diverse native peoples who inhabit a wide variety of environments. To survive and flourish in these environments it was essential for people to be aware of the wide range of plant and animal species in their area on which their survival depended. Published texts on Alaskan Natives, particularly the Eskimo (Lee and DeVore 1968), have stressed the dependence of native people on hunting in order to survive. While this dependence is undoubtedly true, the awareness and intensity of use of vegetal resources has often been overlooked. While it is impossible to summarize, in a single article, the use of indigenous plants among all native peoples of Alaska, this article focuses on one area of Alaska, that of the Southwest, in order to illustrate the range of knowledge and use of indigenous flora by the Yup'ik Eskimo. This use includes the harvest of plants for food, medicine, and utilitarian purposes. Limited ethnobotanical references for native peoples in the...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • Dennis Griffin

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