Quinault Ethnobotany Program
The Quinault Ethnobotany Program is providing documentation of historical cultural uses of plants in the region traditionally inhabited by the Quinault and associated Coast Salish people which is important to sustain local plant knowledge and values for future generations.
How was bear grass sustainably harvested? How was camas traditionally preserved? What plants are good medicine for sore throats and coughs? What kind of wood makes the best canoe paddles or tool handles? Which forest plants make good snacks in the springtime?
Ethnobotany in the Land of the Quinault
The Quinault Ethnobotany Program has coordinated a multi-year research project that resulted in a limited edition illustrated booklet for tribal members in 2017: “Ethnobotany in the Land of the Quinault – Culturally Important Plants and their Uses.” The project provides upcoming generations of tribal members with valuable documentation of the plant-gathering traditions of the Quinault Indian Nation so this knowledge and wisdom persist and thrive into the future. Quinault/Salish plant names will be incorporated into publications to reinforce traditional language and cultural concepts.
“Cultural harvest” refers to the collection of wood (cedar, fir, spruce or hemlock), bear grass, sweet grass or cedar bark for traditional purposes such as canoe-building, bent board work, basket weaving or carving.
Cultural Resources Officer, Justine James, Jr » 360.276.8215 x7330
Quinault Archivist/Curator, Leilani Chubby » 360.276.8215 x245
Additional Quinault Ethnobotany Resources:
What is Bear Grass? (Wikipedia) » Xerophyllum tenax is a North American species of plants in the corn lily family. It is known by several common names, including bear grass, soap grass, quip-quip, and Indian basket grass.
What is Sweet Grass? (Wikipedia) » Hierochloe odorata or Anthoxanthum nitens (commonly known as sweet grass, manna grass, Mary’s grass or vanilla grass) is an aromatic herb native to northern Eurasia and North America. It is used in herbal medicine and it owes its distinctive sweet scent to the presence of coumarin.