Read an Excerpt
How Indians Use Wild Plants
For Food, Medicine and Crafts
By Frances Densmore
Dover Publications, Inc.Copyright © 1974 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
A majority of the plants to be described in this paper were obtained on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. Specimens were also collected on the Red Lake, Cass Lake, Leech Lake, and Mille Lac Reservations in Minnesota, the Lac Court Oreilles Reservation in Wisconsin, and the Manitou Rapids Reserve in Ontario, Canada. Many of these were duplicates of plants obtained at White Earth but others were peculiar to the locality in which they were obtained.
The White Earth Reservation is located somewhat west of north-central Minnesota, on the border of the prairie that extends westward and forms part of the Great Plains. It also contains the lakes and pine forests that characterize northern Minnesota and extend into Canada. This produces an unusual variety of vegetation, so that the Chippewa living on other reservations are accustomed to go or send to White Earth for many of their medicinal herbs. Birch trees are found in abundance, either standing in groups (pl. 28), covering a hillside, or bordering a quiet lake. There are large tracts of sugar maples and forests of pine, cedar, balsam, and spruce. (Pl. 29. ) Many of the lakes contain rice fields, and there are pretty, pebbly streams winding their way among overhanging trees. (Pl. 30.) Toward the west the prairie is dotted with little lakes or ponds, shining like mirrors. In June the air is sweet with wild roses and in midsummer the fields are beautiful with red lilies, bluebells, and a marvelous variety of color. In autumn the sumac flings its scarlet across the landscape and in winter there are miles of white, untrodden snow. The northern woodland is a beautiful country, and knowing it in all its changing seasons, one can not wonder at the poetry that is so inherent a part of Chippewa thought.
Excerpted from How Indians Use Wild Plants by Frances Densmore. Copyright © 1974 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
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