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Medicinal Plants

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Knowledge of plants is often passed through families, between friends and through MNO workshops...
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“In recent years, for the last seven or eight years, I’ve been making plant medicines and I found out from the same older cousin that he said “Don’t you remember your grandmother used to do that?”  And I talked to my sister and she remembers it and I can sort of picture this old back kitchen of hers and things drying from the ceiling.  So she made a lot of different medicines and I know my mother talked about one medicine when she was first married.” -- Métis Traditional Knowledge Mapping particpantMétis are increasingly sharing their knowledge of plants and helping each other learn to use wild plants for medicinal, spiritual, food or crafts. Knowledge of plants is often passed through families, between friends, and through MNO workshops and training.“Medicinal” plants in Métis culture have a broader meaning than simply remedies for physical ailments. In many of the descriptions of these plants by the study participants, there is an overlap between the medicinal and spiritual dimensions of healing.For example, cedar is used for everything from helping with asthma to cleaning feathers to clearing “negative energy.” Many of the food plants are also known to have medicinal properties. Trading and sharing wild plants – fresh, dried, or prepared as medicines – is also common practice among Métis.Whether the plants are gathered in people’s back yards, along road sides or in secret locations, many participants spoke of sharing their stores with others. There is also a trade of southern Ontario plants, such as wild leeks, for plants and medicines that grow only in the north, which demonstrates the sustained reliance, connections and mobility between Métis people, settlements and communities throughout the province. 

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