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  • Writer's pictureRose BDW

Welcome to the Salish Plant Society!

x̣est skʷek̓ʷst pesyaʔ Hello everyone!

My Name is Rose Bear Don't Walk, I am a proud member of the Bitterroot Salish and Crow tribes of Montana. I recently received my Master's of Science in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and hold a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University. I am a longtime resident of the Flathead Indian Reservation of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Northwest Montana.

Growing up, my family made sure that I was a part of our Salish culture; they took me to ceremonies, annual feasts, and shared with me all the beautiful parts of what makes us Salish. Through study of the language, being out on the land, and spending time watching others in my community I have come to appreciate and love our Salish ways of being. A lot of our culture revolves around a deep understanding and love of the landscape; long ago our land was cared for and prepared for us by the animal and plant beings, without them we would not know how to live on this land in a good way.

Through my studies and life experience I have come to cultivate a deep appreciation for our plant relatives, specifically those who nourish us. That's why I've dedicated my studies, research, and community work to understanding the Salish's longstanding relationship to Traditional Food Plants. Over time, this relationship has become strained due to settler colonialism and western assimilation, yet the plants still return to us year after year. It's said that the Salish people knew and used hundreds of plants for food, medicine, tools, and ceremony. It's been my work to uncover how some of these plants were used for sustenance, nourishment, sharing and celebration. That is where the Salish Plant Society comes in!

Building on my Master's thesis "Recovering our Roots: The Importance of Salish Ethnobotanical Knowledge and Traditional Food Systems to Community Wellbeing on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana" the Salish Plant Society seeks to highlight, amplify, and provide community access to Salish Traditional Food Plant Knowledge. Using the Salish culture and botanical science this website aims to showcase the variety of ways to know our food plants. There are elements of plant physiology, identification, habitat, and ecology as well as culture, language, stories, and traditional uses. Additionally, this will home newsletters and blog posts containing content on foraging, nutrition, Indigenous concepts, as well as resources and ideas for all to engage with plants.

As the coordinator for the Salish Plant Society, I'm so thrilled to share this work with you all and hope we can work to recover our roots to be healthy, well and to carry this knowledge into the future for the next generation.

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