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Luschiim’s Plants: Traditional Indigenous Foods, Materials and Medicines

Luschiim’s Plants: Traditional Indigenous Foods, Materials and Medicines

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Respected Cowichan Tribe Elder and botanical expert, Luschiim Arvid Charlie, began his education in early childhood, learning from his great grandparents and others of their generation. Luschiim’s Plants represents his dedication to the survival of the Hul′q′umi′num′ language and traditional knowledge of plants for future generations. From the healing properties of qaanlhp (arbutus) to the many practical applications of q’am (bull kelp), the information presented in this remarkable guide shares knowledge of plants that Luschiim is familiar with through his own Elders’ teachings and by way of direct experience over the course of his lifetime, and compiled from field outings and interviews with notable ethnobiologist and botanist Nancy J. Turner.

In this unprecedented collection of botanical information, over 140 plants are categorized within their broad botanical groupings: algae and seaweeds, lichens, fungi and mushrooms, mosses and liverworts, ferns and fern-allies, coniferous trees, deciduous trees, shrubs and vines, and herbaceous flowering plants. Each entry is illustrated with a colour photo and includes the plant’s common, scientific and Hul′q′umi′num′ names; a short description; where to find it; and cultural knowledge related to the plant. Additional notes encompass plant use, safety and conservation; the linguistic writing system used for Hul′q′umi′num′ plant names; as well as miscellaneous notes from interviews with Luschiim.

This volume is an important addition to the bookshelves of botanists, and will fascinate anyone with an interest in plants of the West Coast and their traditional uses by Coast Salish peoples.

Prize(s): Short-listed James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award (2022), Short-listed Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award (2022), Winner Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize (2022) 

“There are no words to say thank you to Luschiim for his dedication in writing names for all the plants. No words for honouring our ancestors through his work. Hay ch qa Luschiim.”
–Humilh (Jerry Brown), Hul'q'umi'num' Language Teacher

“Hay ch qa Luschiim. We value his work of honouring the plants, honouring our people’s ways of knowing how to look after the plants, and how to harvest the plants. Every plant has a name. He is a living legacy who is making sure the names are carried on for our children.”
–Haqwaybuxw (Colleen Manson), MA, Hul’q’umi’num’ language teacher

“tunu siem' nu sqe'uq Luschiim, cuyulh naamut cun utun' syaays , tlimuw tli' tun pookw 'i' xulutuhw, 'i' huychqu siem'.”
–Squtxulenuxw (George Seymour), MA, Storyteller and Hul’q’umi’num’ language teacher

“In Hulq’umi’num’, the teaching is that when we learn the language, we also learn the culture. In sharing his knowledge of the plants, Luschiim teaches us the connection of the language and the culture to the land.”
–Cameron Park, MA, Hul’q’umi’num’ language teacher

“Luschiim has an encyclopedic knowledge of the plant relatives across Salish territories. This gift of his knowledge will help us to walk better on these lands.”
–Ted Cadwallader, MA, director of instruction, Indigenous Learning, School District 68

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