Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Cultural and ecological relationships between the Nisqually Indian Tribe and plants of Mount Rainier National Park
by Hooper, David Alan, Ph.D., University of Montana, 2015, 181; 3728557
Abstract (Summary)

Throughout the history of the National Park Service, the question of whether Native American’s still have rights to traditionally used natural resources found within park lands has been debated. This debate is largely held in political, legal, and philosophical arenas, but there are ethnographic and ecological questions that need to be addressed in order for policy makers to make informed decisions. Addressing these questions also provides insight into how cultures develop sustainable harvesting practices. One of the parks that has been addressing traditional plant harvesting is Mount Rainier National Park, which has been working with the Nisqually Indian Tribe to develop a collecting agreement that would allow members of the Tribe to harvest twelve species of plants. In this dissertation, I ask two questions: first, how do members of the Nisqually Tribe traditionally harvest these plants? My other question is: what are the biological effects of harvesting beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax (Pursh) Nutt.) and pipsissewa ( Chimaphila umbellata (R. BR.) Spreng,), and peeling bark of western redcedar (Thuja plicata Donn. Ex D. Don)? I used a combination of ethnographic and ecological methods to answer these questions. Based on the metrics I used, the Nisqually practices do not decrease the abundance of beargrass and pipsissewa. The traditional harvest of cedar bark does not change the tree’s secondary growth rate. The lack of measureable change in these three species is a product of limiting the amount of biomass harvested to within the plants’ range of tolerance to damage. Results suggest that the Nisqually’s methods of harvesting are based upon traditional ecological knowledge. The results of this research will help Mount Rainier managers and the Nisqually Tribe to develop policy that allows the Tribe to utilize these plants while not interfering with the park’s mission.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Greymorning, Neyooxet
Commitee: Burtchard, Greg C., Callaway, Ragan M., Campbell, Gregory, Prentiss, Anna M.
School: University of Montana
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Montana
Source: DAI-A 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Ecology, Plant sciences, Native American studies
Keywords: Beargrass, Chimaphila umbellata, Ethnoecology and ethnobotany, Human plant ecology, Pipsissewa, Thuja plicata, Traditional ecological knowledge, Washington, Western redcedar, Xerophyllum tenax
Publication Number: 3728557
ISBN: 978-1-339-14064-3
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