Ethnobotany of Alaska: A Southwestern Alaska Perspective

  • Dennis Griffin
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_9434

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...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

References

  1. Ager, Thomas A. and Lynn Price Ager. Ethnobotany of the Eskimos of Nelson Island, Alaska. Arctic Anthropology 17.1(1980): 27–48.Google Scholar
  2. Ainana, L. and I. A. Zagrebin. Zemlia Eskimosov: Vypusk I. S'edovnye Rasteniia (Land of the Eskimo: Issue I. Edible Plants). Community of Providenia. Translated by Richard Bland. Unpublished manuscript in author's possession.Google Scholar
  3. Amos, Walter. Taped interview. Robert Drozda, interviewer. Hultman Kiokan, interpreter. Mekoryuk, Alaska. 25 July. Tape 91NUN09. Copy on file at the Bureau of Indian Affairs ANCSA, Anchorage and Nunivak Island Mekoryuk Alaska (NIMA) Corp., Mekoryuk, 1991.Google Scholar
  4. Amos, Walter and Nona Amos. Taped interview. Ken Pratt, interviewer. Howard Amos, interpreter. Mekoryuk, Alaska. 2 Apr. Tape 89NUN02. Copy in possession of interviewer, 1989.Google Scholar
  5. Amos, Muriel M. and Howard T. Amos. Cup'ig Eskimo Dictionary. Fairbanks, Alaska: Alaska Native Language Center, 2003.Google Scholar
  6. Anderson, J. P. Plants used by the Eskimo of the Northern Bering Sea and Arctic Regions of Alaska. American Journal of Botany 26.9 (1939): 714–6.Google Scholar
  7. Andrews, Elizabeth F. The Akulmiut: Territorial Dimensions of a Yup'ik Eskimo Society. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Subsistence, Technical Report 177. Juneau, Alaska, 1989.Google Scholar
  8. Bank, Theodore P. Botanical and Ethnobotanical Studies in the Aleutian Islands. II. Health and Medical Lore of the Aleuts. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science 38(1953): 415–31.Google Scholar
  9. Biggs, Carol C. Wild Edible & Medicinal Plants: Alaska, Canada & Pacific Northwest Rainforest: An Introductory Pocket Trail Guide. 2 vols. Juneau: Carol Biggs’ Alaska Nature Connection, 1999.Google Scholar
  10. Birket‐Smith, Kaj. The Chugach Eskimo. Copenhagen: Nationalmuseets publikationsfond, 1953.Google Scholar
  11. Bos, Gregory N. Range Types and Their Utilization by Muskox on Nunivak Island. Unpublished Master of Science Thesis. University of Alaska, Fairbanks, 1967.Google Scholar
  12. Carroll, Ginger A. Traditional Medical Cures along the Yukon. Alaska Medicine 14 (1972): 50–3.Google Scholar
  13. Curtis, Edward S. The North American Indian, Being a Series of Volumes Picturing and Describing the Indians of the United States, the Dominion of Canada, and Alaska. Vol. 20. New York: Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1930.Google Scholar
  14. Fienup‐Riordan, Ann. The Nelson Island Eskimo: Social Structure and Ritual Distribution. Anchorage: Alaska Pacific University Press, 1983.Google Scholar
  15. ‐‐‐. When Our Bad Season Comes: A Cultural Account of Subsistence Harvesting and Harvest Disruption on the Yukon Delta. Anchorage: Alaska Anthropological Association, 1986.Google Scholar
  16. Fortuine, Robert. Lancets of Stone: Traditional Methods of Surgery among the Alaska Natives. Arctic Anthropology 22.1 (1985): 23–45.Google Scholar
  17. ‐‐‐. The Use of Medicinal Plants by the Alaska Natives. Alaska Medicine 30.6 (1988): 189–226.Google Scholar
  18. Fries, Janet. The Vascular Flora of Nunivak Island, Alaska. Unpublished senior honor's paper. Environmental Studies Department, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont, 1977.Google Scholar
  19. Garibaldi, Ann. Medicinal Flora of the Alaska Natives: A Compilation of Knowledge from Literary Sources of Aleut, Alutiiq, Athabaskan, Eyak, Haida, Inupiat, Tlingit, Tsimshian, and Yupik Traditional Healing Methods Using Plants. Anchorage: Alaska Natural Heritage Program, University of Alaska, 1999.Google Scholar
  20. Graham, Francis Kelso. Plant Lore of an Alaskan Island. Anchorage: Alaska Northwest Publishing Company, 1985.Google Scholar
  21. Griffin, Dennis G. Contributions to the Ethnobotany of the Cup'it Eskimo, Nunivak Island, Alaska. Journal of Ethnobiology 21.2 (2001): 91–127.Google Scholar
  22. ‐‐‐. Ellikarrmiut: Changing Lifeways in an Alaskan Community. Anchorage: Alaska Anthropological Association, 2004.Google Scholar
  23. Hulten, Eric. Contributions to the Knowledge of Flora and Vegetation of the Southwestern Alaskan Mainland. Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift 60.1 (1966): 175–89.Google Scholar
  24. ‐‐‐. Flora of Alaska and Neighboring Territories: A Manual of Vascular Plants. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  25. Jacobson, Stephen A. Yu'pik Eskimo Dictionary. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska, 1984.Google Scholar
  26. Jones, Anore. Nauriat Nigiñaqtuat – Plants that We Eat. Alaska: A. Jones, 1983.Google Scholar
  27. Kari, Priscilla Russell. Tanaina Plantlore: Dena'ina K'et'una: An Ethnobotany of the Dena'ina Indians of Southcentral Alaska. Anchorage: National Park Service Alaska Region, 1987.Google Scholar
  28. Kiokan, Nan. Taped interview. Dennis Griffin, interviewer; Mona David, interpreter. Mekoryuk, Alaska. 12 Sept. Tape 95NUN01. Copy on file at Nunivak Island Mekoryuk Alaska (NIMA) Corp., Mekoryuk. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, and in interviewer's possession, 1995.Google Scholar
  29. Lantis, Margaret. The Social Culture of the Nunivak Eskimo. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society. Vol. 35(Pt. 3). Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1946.Google Scholar
  30. ‐‐‐. Traditional Home Doctoring and Sanitation: Lower Kuksokwim Valley, Nelson and Nunivak Islands. Science in Alaska 1958. Proceedings of the 9th Alaska Science Conference, Alaska Division, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1958. 132–50.Google Scholar
  31. ‐‐‐. Folk Medicine and Hygiene: Lower Kuskokwim and Nunivak–Nelson Areas. Anthropological Papers of the University of Alaska 8.1 (1959): 1–75.Google Scholar
  32. Lee, Richard B. and Irven DeVore. Man the Hunter. Chicago: Aldine, 1968.Google Scholar
  33. Morseth, Michele. Puyulek Pu'irtuq! The People of the Volcanoes: Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve Ethnographic Overview and Assessment. Anchorage: National Park Service, 2003.Google Scholar
  34. Nickerson, N.H., N. H. Rowe, and E. A. Richter. Native Plants in the Diets of North Alaskan Eskimos. Man and His Foods: Studies in the Ethnobotany of Nutrition‐Contemporary, Primitive, and Prehistoric Non‐European Diets. Ed. C. Earl Smith,Jr. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1973. 3–27.Google Scholar
  35. Nowak, Michael. Subsistence Trends in a Modern Eskimo Community. Arctic 28.1 (1975): 21–34.Google Scholar
  36. Nuniwarmiut Taqnelluit. Nuniwami Naucit Cenallat-llu Nunivak Plant and Seashore Life: The Ethnobotany of the Nuniwarmiut, Nunivak Isalnd, Alaska. Compiled and Ed. Dennis Griffin. Anchorage: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006.Google Scholar
  37. Oswalt, Wendell. A Western Eskimo Ethnobotany. Anthropological Papers of the University of Alaska 6.1 (1957): 16–36.Google Scholar
  38. Overfield, Theresa, William W. Epstein,and Larry A. Gaudioso. Eskimo Uses of Artemisia tilesii (Compositae). Economic Botany 34.2 (1980): 97–100.Google Scholar
  39. Palmer, L. J. and C. W. Rouse. Study of the Alaskan Tundra with Reference to Its Reaction to Reindeer and Other Grazing. Research Report #10, U.S.D.I. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC, 1945.Google Scholar
  40. Schofield, Janice J. Discovering Wild Plants: Alaska, Western Canada, the Northwest. Anchorage: Alaska Northwest Books, 1989.Google Scholar
  41. Selkregg, Lidia L. Alaska Regional Profiles: Southwest Region. Vol. 4. Anchorage: University of Alaska, Arctic Environmental Information and Data Center, 1976.Google Scholar
  42. Shaw, Robert D. The Archaeology of the Manokinak Site: A Study of the Cultural Transition between Late Norton Tradition and Historic Eskimo. PhD Dissertation. Washington State University, Pullman, 1983.Google Scholar
  43. Smith, G. Warren. Arctic Pharmacognosia. Arctic 26.4 (1973): 324–33.Google Scholar
  44. Swanson, J. David, Devony Lehner, Jenny Zimmerman, and Dale Pauling. Range Survey of Nunivak Island, Alaska. Anchorage: U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service, 1986.Google Scholar
  45. Turner, Nancy J. Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples. Royal British Columbia Museum Handbook. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1995.Google Scholar
  46. Van Stone, James W. Mainland Southwest Alaska Eskimos. Arctic, Handbook of North American Indians. Ed. David Dumas. Vol. 5. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1984. 224–42.Google Scholar
  47. Wennekens, Alix Jane. Traditional Plant Usage by Chugach Natives around Prince William Sound and the Lower Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Master's Thesis. University of Alaska, Anchorage, 1985.Google Scholar
  48. Whitman, Mildred. Taped interview. Dennis Griffin, interviewer; Marvin Kiokun, interpreter. Mekoryuk, Alaska. 14 Sept. Tape 95NUN11. Copy on file at Nunivak Island Mekoryuk Alaska (NIMA) Corp., Mekoryuk. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, and in interviewer's possession, 1995.Google Scholar
  49. Whittaker, C. E. Arctic Eskimo: A Record of Fifty Years Experience and Observation. London: Seeley, 1937.Google Scholar
  50. Woodbury, Anthony C. Eskimo and Aleut Languages. Arctic, Handbook of North American Indians. Ed. David Dumas. General Ed. William Sturtevant. Vol. 5. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1984. 49–63.Google Scholar
  51. Young, Steven B. The Vascular Flora of Saint Lawrence Island, with Special Reference to Floristic Zonation in the Arctic Regions. PhD Dissertation. Harvard University, Cambridge, 1968.Google Scholar
  52. Young, Steven B. and Edwin S. Hall, Jr. Contributions to the Ethnobotany of the St. Lawrence Island Eskimo. Anthropological Papers of the University of Alaska 14.2 (1969): 43–53.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis Griffin

There are no affiliations available