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UVic professor sheds light on Indigenous Peoples’ land management practices
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UVic professor sheds light on Indigenous Peoples’ land management practices
Okanagan College Media Release

Nancy Turner Oct 2017Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia have historically been described as hunter-gatherers, but according to ethnobiologist Dr. Nancy Turner, this label scarcely acknowledges the sophisticated techniques and approaches First Nations have developed and applied over millennia to sustain and enhance their plant resources and habitats.

Turner, who is a Trudeau Fellow and Emeritus Professor in Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, will share insight into these management practices in a public talk at Okanagan College as part of the Science in Society Speaker Series. 

The presentation will take place at the College’s Vernon campus in the lecture theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and is called Looking after the Plants, Looking after the Land: Environmental Management by Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia.

Turner will explain how Indigenous plant managers bring their personal knowledge, techniques and practices passed down through generations, to cultivate wild species. These include influencing ecological succession, creating and extending particular habitats, pruning and coppicing trees and shrubs, enriching soils, distributing seeds, and transplanting species from one locale to another.

“Indigenous Peoples also embrace their own associated cultural institutions, means of monitoring and maintaining productivity, and ways of passing on knowledge to others, including future generations,” says Turner. “Their lessons and approaches are often taught through experiential learning, storytelling, ceremony, and art.” 

Turner’s research integrates the fields of botany and ecology with anthropology, geography and linguistics, among others. She is interested in the traditional knowledge systems and traditional land and resource management systems of Indigenous Peoples, particularly in western Canada.

She has worked with First Nations elders and cultural specialists in northwestern North America for more than 40 years, collaborating with Indigenous communities to help document, retain and promote their traditional knowledge of plants and habitats, including Indigenous foods, materials and medicines, as well as language and vocabulary relating to plants and environments.

Turner has authored, co-authored or co-edited more than 20 books and 150 book chapters and peer-reviewed papers, and numerous other publications, both popular and academic. She has also been recognized with a number of awards, including the Member of the Order of Canada.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. Eventbrite tickets are available online.

To subscribe or obtain more information visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com

This lecture is jointly presented by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre. The Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre, Starbucks Coffee, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.