SAC # 71

Where Our Women Used to Get their Roots: Loss and renewal of indigenous food



TIME | 17 September 2009, 4pm onwards

LOCATION | Seminar Room, Centre for Innovation, 87 St. David St.

SPEAKER | Professor Nancy J. Turner


Nancy Turner is an ethnobotanist and Distinguished Professor in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. She is also a Research Associate with the Royal British Columbia Museum. Her research area intersects the fields of botany and ecology with anthropology, geography and linguistics, among others. She is interested in the traditional ecological knowledge systems and traditional land and resource management systems of indigenous peoples, particularly in western Canada. She has worked with and learned from First Nations elders and cultural specialists in northwestern North America for nearly 40 years, with a strong record of collaboration with Indigenous communities to help retain and promote their traditional knowledge of plants and habitats, including traditional foods, materials and medicines, as well as language and vocabulary relating to plants and environment. Her seminar is about the loss and renewal of indigenous food.

About the Speaker

Nancy has authored or co-authored over 20 books (most recently, The North American Guide to Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms – co-authored with Patrick Von Aderkas; Resetting the Kitchen Table – co-edited with Christopher Parrish and Shirley Solberg; Plants of Haida Gwaii, The Earth’s Blanket, and “Keeping it Living” – this last co-edited with Douglas Deur; and Plants of the Gitga’at People – co-edited with Judith Thompson), over 40 book chapters, and numerous other publications, both popular and academic, in the area of ethnobotany, ethnoecology, traditional ecological knowledge and sustainable resource use in Canada and British Columbia.

Her awards include the Richard Evans Schultes Award in Ethnobotany from the Healing Forest Conservancy in Washington (1997), DC, the Order of British Columbia, and elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (both 1999); Slow Food Award in Biodiversity, Bologna, Italy (2001); Honorary Citizen of the City of Victoria (2001); Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia Academic of the Year Award, and Canadian Botanical Association’s Lawson Medal for lifetime contributions to Canadian Botany (both 2002), and UVic’s Alumni Association Legacy Distinguished Alumna award (2003). Her book, Plants of Haida Gwaii, was awarded Lieutenant Governor’s medal for best BC Historical non-fiction of the year (2005). In March 2006, Turner was awarded the Craigdarroch Gold Medal, the University of Victoria’s top prize for research achievement. In 2007 she received the E.K. Janaki Ammal medal for the year 2006 by the Society of Ethnobotany (International), and in 2008 the William L. Brown Award for Excellence in Genetic Resource Conservation from the William L. Brown Center, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis. She received a two-year Killam Fellowship, commencing in January 2008, to develop a book based on her life’s research.

This seminar is also Seminar 8 in the 


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