Sept 18 Book

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The Gitgaat

Plant ProjectHartley Bay 2004

The Gitgaat Plant Project Hartley Bay 2004Cover Photo by Nancy J. Turner Photographs in The Gitgaat Plant Project were taken by Judy Thompson, Nancy J. Turner and Mr.Borge, except where credits acknowledge other photographers. Hartley Bay School Students: Frank Dundas, Tristan Reece, Krystal Dundas, Jeremy Reece, Erin Bolton, Tiffany Wilson, Cheryl Reece, Vanessa Fisher, Randi Bolton, Brenda Clifton, Marisa Robinson, Karl Fisher, Myles Reece, Kayla Wilson, Ashley Sandy, George Fisher, Mark Bolton, Christopher Stewart and Jarvis Smith. Hartley Bay School is part of School District 52.

This book is dedicated to the memory of Chief Johnny Clifton




Plantsdzawes/salal wnax/ skunk cabbage sgan koo/ thimbleberry makooks/salmonberry moolks/pacific crabapple smmaay/ wild blueberry tsgaaam/ licorice root sahakwdak/ western yew wal / yellow cedar wooms/ devils-club hulnns/ poison root stati/ stinging nettle 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Photo Album Elders and Plant Informants

17 22

PrefaceOur people have always strived to co-exist in harmony with all of the things that share the world with us; the plants, the animals, the rocks, the air, the waterthe whole. Our future is bonded to the wisdom of how to perpetuate this coexistence. Our world sways in a delicate balance. The Gitgaat Plant Project illustrates our belief that in order to live meaningfully we must first respect, understand, and internalize the knowledge held by our Elders, and then translate it into a way that our future remains honest and true to who we are. Hartley Bay is a Tsimshian community; we are known as the Gitgaat People, the People of the Cane. Hartley Bay is located at the junction of three major water routes on the Northwest Coast; the Douglas, Grenville, and Wales Channels. It is accessible by boat and plane. Hartley Bay, because it is isolated from much of the world, has been able to maintain its heritage and carry on the traditions that have molded us into who we are. The Gitgaat Plant Project conducted in conjunction with our Elders, our students, and the University of Victoria, has been an endeavour which has allowed students to get in touch with their past and to link it to the future. Each student or group of students selected and researched a plant that is indigenous to Hartley Bay. They learned the historical and cultural significance of the plant from the Elders, and the Western scientific knowledge using books, the Internet and other sources. The students learned research techniques, interviewing skills and traditional protocol. We are grateful to the knowledge and support given to us by our Elders, our Dziis and Yaas who take care of us and our world; to Judy Thompson who dreamed; to Dr. Nancy Turner who enabled, and advised, and pushed, prodded, and poked; to Mr. Hill who encouraged, assisted, advised, and cheered; to Mrs. Hill for her support and assistance, especially in regards to arranging some of the interviews; to Eva Hill (Mrs. H) who ensured that the work got done; to both Eva and Simone Westgarth for taking most of the pictures; to Avi Lambert who made it look good; and to the students who, though they may not realize it yet, have made a positive commitment to the future of the Gitgaat People. Cameron Hill And a special thank you to Mr. H (Cameron Hill). Without his support, his enthusiasm, and his easygoing attitude, the Gitgaat Plant Project would not have come to be. He is an amazing teacher and a wonderful role model not only for his students, but for all of the children of Hartley Bay. Judy Thompson (Edosdi)

dzawes salal Gaultheria shalonFood: Salal berries are used for making desserts, jams, syrup, and jelly. Material: Children use the leaves to make a headband. The leaves are also used for separating dried seaweed cakes in a bentwood boxes. They are laid in between each cake so the cakes dont stick together. Florists use the leaves as decorative additions to bouquets. Harvesting?: When you go picking, you dont pile salal berries too high because they will become squished, and are hard to clean. It is best if you pick the berries with the stem still attached. It doesnt take long to gather berries if you know where they are. Once youve picked what you need, you keep the stems on if used for jelly and pinch the berries off if used for jam or dessert. Salal berries are harvested in the late summer until the first frost. What does it look like? The flowers are a pink and oval urn shape. The leaves are shaped like an egg and the leaves are evergreen, thich and shiny. The berries are reddish blue/dark purple. The berries grown on one side of the stem. They grow along the ground. Notes: It is best if the berries are still attached to the stem when picked. Salal berries can be found almost anywhere around Kiel, Mossy Bay, Fin Island, Hartley Bay, and Old Town oftentimes near water and shady areas. Salal Berry Jam: 10-12 cups squeezed salal berries 5-6 cups sugar 1-2 cup(s) water. Boil for 20 minutes. Freezer Jam: 10-12 cups squeezed salal berries 5-6 cups sugar 1-2 cup(s) water Add certo, or similar product. Put in freezer until ready for use.

Salal Dessert:Mix salal berries with oolichan grease, sugar, water and other berries (bunch berries, huckleberries, blueberries and salmonberries) (Recipes given by Mildred Wilson)

Plant Studies by: Tiffany Wilson (l) Randi Bolton (c) & Cheryl Reece (r)

Plant informants: Ernie Hill Jr. Mildred Wilson and Richard Wilson Yvonne Bolton

Plant studied by: Tiffany Wilson, Randi Bolton & Cheryl Reece

wnax skunk cabbage Lysichiton americanumMaterial: Skunk cabbage has been used in several different ways. Our people have used it to dry blueberries for different uses, such as preserving in jars. The leaves are also used for drying thimbleberries on. Stink eggs are wrapped with the leaf to protect the eggs from cracking. Children also use them as a cup to drink from rivers and streams. The Gitgaat people do not eat this plant. Harvesting? Skunk cabbage starts growing in the spring and dies through the winter months. Leaves can be picked in the spring, summer and fall. The largst leaves are the best. When you pick skunk cabbage leaves, break them off close to the ground. What does it look like? The plant leaf is oval-shaped and clustered, four to ten decimetres long. The skunk cabbage appears in the early spring and the yellow sheath is up to two decimetres long. The stalk breaks up and reveals brown oval seeds that are embedded in a white pulpy tissue. The skunk cabbage resembles the skunk becuase they are both smelly. Notes: Skunk cabbage grows in British Columbia and is most common in coastal forests. Skunk cabbage grows in swampy grounds, mostly in dark mucky soil, beneath alder and conifer trees, and rarely in dense shade. In Hartley Bay, skunk cabbage is practically everywhere, beside the road, under boardwalks, around buildings, among trees, in bushes surrounding rivers and streams.

Plant studies by: Jeremy Reece (l) & Erin Bolton (r)

Plant informants: Yvonne Bolton Eva Hill Helen Clifton Tina Robinson

sgan koo thimbleberry Rubus parviflorusFood: Thimbleberries are mostly used or eating by people, birds and animals. You dry thimbleberries into cakes. A little bit of berries makes a lot of jam. When you see the bushes or branches just coming up or sprouting, you can pick them and use [these parts] in a salad. The berries ferment quickly. Plastic containers should not be used - use cedar baskets as they will last longer. The berries can be used in pancackes and other fruit desserts. Material: The leaves are used when travelling with fish (pinks and coho salmon). If you are on a boat coming from Old Town and you are travelling out to other communities, you take the guts out of the fish and stuff the inside wiith the leaves of this plant. This gets the slime off. With the sticks you lay them out to put the fish on, so the fish doesnt get dirty. Harvesting? Look for bushes of the thimbleberry with ripe, deep red berries. When you pick them you have to take off the flower that it grown on so when you put it in the bucket, it wont squish. Although they resemble raspberries, they are very small and it takes a long time to fill a container. But a very small amount goes a long way. They are very flavourful. Thimbleberries are harvested from June to late September. Notes: The branches are one to two metres tall with brown bark and it is green on the inside of the bark. The leaf looks like a maple leaf, only they are green. The flowers are white and the berries are a deep red when ripe. The branches have no thorns. The leaf is fuzzy on the back, which makes it feel soft. Whe you are picking the berries you can come to tell the bushes from the unique smell of this plant. This plant usually grows near the lake or river but you will find the thimbleberry in the mountains too. They grow in a kind of hard, muddy soil. Youll find them mostly in the open. It grows right in Hartley Bay, along the boardwalks, rivers and houses. You can also pick them in Old Town. Freezer Jam method: Lynne Hill said, to make jam you mash the berries up and add sugar. Stir until all the sugar melts. Then, add Certo and stif constantly for three minutes. Put into jars. Leave jars out for 24 hours before putting in the freezer. Drying: Gather the berries and cook them unitl they get thick enough (like a paste). At this point the berries can be spread onto leaves of skunk cabbage, to dry in the sun. When it is really dry, you put more of the berry paste on and continue to dry. Then, put into jars and pour melted wax over the top to stop mould from growing. Thimbleberries can be frozen whole to be used in various desserts.

Plant studies by: Karl Fisher (l) & Miles Reece (r)

Plant informants: