Crow and Salish researcher working to catalogue Montana's indigenous plants
A Crow and Salish researcher is launching an online catalogue of Indigenous plant knowledge.
Rose Bear Don’t Walk is a Crow and Bitterroot Salish Ethnobotanist who grew up on Flathead Reservation. She started The Salish Plant Society to build a base of community-sourced Indigenous knowledge of plants around Montana.
“Ethnobotany is the study of the relationship between people and plants, usually localized plants," she said, "and how uses and those relationships have developed over time."
Bear Don't Walk says having resources available about which plants are edible is an important aspect of maintaining traditional knowledge and is vital for the future of food sustainability on Montana’s reservations.
“The idea with The Salish Plant Society is just kind of bringing traditional food plant knowledge to the forefront and allowing it to be accessible by first and foremost the Salish people and the Salish community,” she said.
The nonprofit 500 Women Scientists is helping fund the project.
Bear Don’t Walk plans on launching the website in early 2022 ahead of the next growing season.
Taylar Stagner is Yellowstone Public Radio's Report for America Indigenous Affairs reporter.