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Recommended Reading for the Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology
May 13th, 2010 - Posted by Abby Mogollón

12th International Congress of Ethnobiology (May 9-14, 2010)

This week the International Society of Enthnobiology (ISE) convenes in Tofino, British Columbia. The congress brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from around the world to tackle the key issues of our times, such as community-conserved areas and food sovereignty. The organization, which held its inaugural congress in Belém, Brazil in 1988, has a stated mission to recognize the central role of Indigenous peoples in all global, regional, and local processes, and the ICE works to support and promote  the critical efforts of Indigenous peoples, traditional societies, and local communities in the conservation of biological, cultural and linguistic diversity.

In honor of the conference, we’ve compiled a list of recommended titles from our partner presses:

By Daniel F. Austin
The Baboquivari Mountains, long considered to be a sacred space by the Tohono O’odham people who are native to the area, are the westernmost of the so-called Sky Islands. The mountains form the border between the floristic regions of Chihuahua and Sonora. This encyclopedic work describes the flora of this unique area in detail. It includes descriptions, identifications, ecology, and extensive etymologies of plant names in European and Indigenous languages. Daniel Austin also describes pollination biology and seed dispersal and explains how plants in the area have been used by humans, beginning with Native Americans.

By Roberta Ulrich
Empty Nets is a disturbing history of broken promises and justice delayed. It chronicles the Columbia River Indians’ fight to maintain their livelihood and culture in the face of an indifferent federal bureaucracy and hostile state governments.

Edited by Laura Berg
In this remarkable volume, Oregon Indians tell their own stories—more than half of the chapters are written by members of Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes. Using oral histories and personal recollections, these chapters vividly depict not only a history of decimation and decline, but also a contemporary view of cultural revitalization, renewal, and continuity. 

By Robin Wall Kimmerer
Drawing on her diverse experiences as a scientist, mother, teacher, and writer of Native American heritage, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of Indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.

By David Yetman
Towering over deserts, arid scrublands, and dry tropical forests, giant cacti grow throughout the Americas, from the United States to Argentina—often in rough terrain and on barren, parched soils, places inhospitable to people. But as David Yetman shows, many of these tall plants have contributed significantly to human survival.

Edited By Judith L. Li
To Harvest, To Hunt
reveals how diverse peoples have valued and used natural resources throughout the history of the American West. Drawing on family letters, oral traditions, historical records, and personal experience, the book’s contributors offer readers new perspectives on the land they live on, the harvests they consume, and the natural resources they manage.

Edited By Robert Boyd
Drawing on historical journals, Native American informants, and botanical and forestry studies, the contributors to this book describe local patterns of fire use in eight ecoregions, representing all parts of the Native Northwest, from southwest Oregon to British Columbia and from Puget Sound to the Northern Rockies. Their essays provide glimpses into a unique understanding of the environment–a traditional ecological knowledge now for the most part lost. Together, these writings also offer historical perspective on the contemporary debate over “prescribed burning” on public lands.

By Edward C. Wolf
Klamath Heartlands introduces the unique-in-the-nation plan by the Klamath Tribes of southern Oregon to restore the “remembered forest” of their former reservation, an area that Oregon governor McCall called “the greatest single stand of ponderosa pines to be found anywhere in the West.” Part of the Tribes’ effort to regain lands they lost in 1954, the Klamath Reservation Forest Plan offers a vision of ecological and cultural restoration that will change the way we think about Western forests.

By Saleem H. Ali
This book gets to the heart of resource conflicts and environmental impact assessment by asking why indigenous communities support environmental causes in some cases of mining development but not in others. Saleem Ali examines environmental conflicts between mining companies and indigenous communities and with rare objectivity offers a comparative study of the factors leading to those conflicts.

Edited By Gary Paul Nabhan
Renewing Salmon Nation’s Food Traditions encourages readers and eaters to familiarize themselves with the rich histories, ecologies, and recipes of these local foods. This beautifully illustrated handbook describes the appearance and taste of each species, as well as its origin and history, geographic range, and culinary uses. Foods on the list range from domesticated crops such as the Bing cherry, Hood strawberry, and Nez Perce bean to sea foods such as Chinook salmon, candlefish smelt, and geoduck, and wild foods such as Oregon black truffle, wapato, and blackcap raspberry. A resource list at the back of the book identifies nurseries, seed companies, and suppliers working to safeguard and revitalize the heritage foods of Salmon Nation.

By Amadeo M. Rea
Drawing on more than four decades of field and textual research along with hundreds of interviews with tribe  members, Rea identifies how birds are incorporated, both symbolically and practically, into Piman legends, songs, art, religion, and ceremonies. Through highly detailed descriptions and accounts loaded with Native voice, this book is the definitive study of folk ornithology. It also provides valuable data for scholars of linguistics and North American Native studies, and it makes a significant contribution to our understanding of how humans make sense of their world. It will be of interest to historians of science, anthropologists, and scholars of indigenous cultures and folk taxonomy.

By Eugene S. Hunn
Eugene S. Hunn is a well-known anthropologist and ethnobiologist who has spent many years working in San Juan Gbëë, studying its residents and their knowledge of the local environment. Here Hunn writes sensitively and respectfully about the rich understanding of local flora and fauna that village inhabitants have acquired and transmitted over many centuries.

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