T'exelc

Ethnobotany

Along with fishing and hunting plants for food, for medicines, tools and implements were integral to the physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of the Secwepemc. Plant knowledge continues to be an essential part of Secwepemc cultural knowledge and is communicated through traditional stories, place names, beliefs and values. Secwepemc ethnobotany is recorded in the language (Appendix 7). Secwepemcul’ecw contains a great range and variety of plants at different locations, elevations and seasons throughout the year. Surplus plant foods and essential plant materials occurring only in certain locations were traded among communities and between nations.

Certain plant foods, such as berries and roots, were collected in well-known and well-tended locations. Seasonal village sites were located near these gathering locations for days or weeks to harvest, preserve and store plants for year-round use. The chief or designated elder would ensure resources were respected and equally distributed among the people.

Before the availability of manufactured goods and imported technologies, the plant life of Secwepemcul’ecw provided a vast range of tools and building materials to the Secwepemc. Canoes, baskets, permanent and temporary dwellings, dip nets, hunting instruments and dyes are some of the commodities provided.

Management of plant species was carried out through a variety of methods, including burning of old plant growth, pruning of berry bushes and selective harvesting of plant species. These methods continue today. Location of permanent and semi permanent villages were based on the ripening of plants and plant gathering activities. Plants and plant knowledge are an integral to Secwepemc culture. The maintenance and preservation of the plant life of Secwepemcul’ecw is essential.