Native Plant Gathering
Plant gathering is enjoyed by many tribal members in many different ways; berry picking, cranberries, maple syrup, wild rice, boughs, medicinal and non-medicinal plants. We assist tribal members in gathering with maps, workshops, information, finding different species, and checking for harvestable areas. Some of the species grown in the KBIC greenhouse are culturally significant plants in high demand; sweetgrass, sage, and bee balm are a few. These species are currently being added to our restoration site at Sand Point but we are also working on having larger harvestable areas for tribal members. This year, we had more people in our plants program and were able to devote more time to assist our Traditional Medicinal Clinic. Many enjoyable hours were spent with teachings and finding, gathering, and processing plants with the Cultural Committee. It was a great reminder of the importance of looking at a whole ecosystem and protecting a variety of our habitats for sacred gathering. The department also works with the USFS in identifying local sources of plant materials on Forest Service lands. KBIC also gathered seed from local grasses and forbes for our Sand Point restoration. This seed has been cleaned and stored to be started for the coming up year's planting. Ash seed was also collected for long-term cold storage; in response to the emerald ash borer threat.
We strongly recommend that before you pick them, you meet with elders in your community to talk about proper ways of harvesting, times of harvesting and proper preparation of the plants before eating them. This is important because some plants need to be harvested in certain ways to ensure that they will continue to grow, while other plants need to
be properly washed and prepared prior to eating or using them. In addition, those elders can also help you in different uses of these plants.