Aboriginal People and their Plants by Philip A. Clarke

By Philip A. Clarke

The publication is exclusive, spanning the space among botany and indigenous experiences. It differs from different released Australian 'bushtucker' overviews via treating the examine of crops as a window upon which to delve into Aboriginal tradition. the subject of Aboriginal use and notion of crops is big and for that reason a long way too huge for complete therapy of all areas in one quantity. however, this publication deals an summary to aid readers have fun with the intensity of indigenous ecological wisdom in regards to the atmosphere.

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The memory of elderly members of the band Was crucial for their survival at times of hardship. 109 Normally this plant, known as mamukata (literally ‘evil spirit’s head’), Was ignored as a food source. The seed capsules have irritant hairs that cause much discomfort if inhaled, With Women needing to position their heads upwind When winnowing. Such knowledge of Where and how to access emergency foods helped Aboriginal bands to Weather the bad times. Ngaatjatjarra girl biting lerp sugar from mulga.

Those of Oyster Bay spear the stringy bark trees, peppermint trees, honeysuckle trees. The gum trees they claim as theirs and call them countrymen. The stringy bark trees the Brune [Bruny Island] call theirs, as being their countrymen, the peppermint the Cape Portland call theirs, and the Swanport claim the honeysuckle. 71 Through the Dreaming, people and plants have a common identity and are both linked to the landscape. 73 In southwestern Victoria, Dawson claimed that there Were Aboriginal ‘owners’ of golden Wattle trees, and ‘each man has an exclusive right to a certain number of trees for the use of himself and family.

Ethnobotanists employ a large variety of techniques. Although united through the study of indigenous plant use, the peculiar interests of each category of recorder has led to specific strengths and Weaknesses in the compilation of data. Many references to plant use are gleaned from brief sentences in otherwise unrelated texts. 9 The early interest in plants Was not just academic, but also driven by a desire to discover ‘new’ species that Would have economic benefits to developing colonies. Plant hunters European botanists sent to the outer reaches of the empire Worked closely With explorers and indigenous peoples.

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