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Carrier Traditional Medicines Part 1- 2003 Research Project

Carrier Traditional Medicines Part 1- 2003 Research Project

Jun 29, 2016
Category: Traditional Foods & Medicines Research 


"We are so happy that you guys are doing this we are so happy that you're trying to do something about the old ways. We need this done for our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren they should all know this and they should all learn about this" - Madeline Johnny, Saik'uz

"We have to teach our younger people how to do all of this again. I'm very, very happy that you're doing this I wish there were more young people here." – Henry Patrick, Lake Babine Nation

"Its good that you guys are doing this because we start losing our traditions. I'm so proud that you guys are bringing this traditional Indian medicine back because you might bring the medicine man back, healers. I think they get their strength from plants, herbs, and roots." – George Skin, Skin Tyee Nation

"We are so happy that you come here and do this for the future because we're not going to be around." - Alec Johnny, Saik'uz


The south-side team consisting of members from Nee Tahi Buhn, Skin Tyee and Cheslatta, with Head Reseracher Perry Shawana (far right) - taking a break. 

In 2003 the late Perry Shawana lead a joint project between CSFS, our member Nations and the University of Northern British Columbia to create an Aboriginal Health Sciences Certificate Program. The program was created to address the shortage of health providers in the Carrier and Sekani Territories, and to preserve and share the cultural knowledge of our traditional healers.

Although Perry's unexpected passing impacted the continuation of the program, CSFS has two of the manuals created for the program: FNST 282-3 Aboriginal Health Philosophy, and FNST 280-3 Aboriginal Medicines Preservation, and Harvesting.

At the conclusion of one of the focus groups where traditional medicine information was shared by participants, Perry said, "We've heard lots about how important it is to keep this information so that it grows to the future." He went on to say, "Really the true teachers are right here. They are in this room. My goal in this process is to make sure that those teachers come forward so they can teach you, their people, and all people."

Emma Baker, with the late Angeline Patrick and late Bernie Ketlo

A steering committee and elder task force guided the research, curriculum and delivery of the program. Principle researcher Perry Shawana was assisted by (then) students Carla Lewis, Warner Naziel, and Heath de la Giroday to conduct research to create the manuals using a qualitative approach with administrative and translation support from Benna Rathburn. Benna remnisces about the project as "The funnest project to work on; we were the dream team!"

Information on traditional medicine & health philosophy, spirituality, ceremonies, types of healing and use and preparation of plant and animal medicines was collected through an extensive literature review, personal interviews and focus groups.

Quotes were used heavily through each of the texts to ensure that copyright and credit remained with the knowledge holders, under the stewardship of CSFS. Knowledge holders from all CSFS member Nations participated in the project.

The participants stated over and over again throughout both texts on how important it was that the information was shared. In the spirit of honouring their wishes, it is our pleasure to provide a brief summary of some of the information from the Aboriginal Health Philosophy Manual in this mulit-part blog post.

Check out our next article Carrier Traditional Medicines, Part 2 – Respect When Harvesting Plants on the philosophy behind harvesting plants for medicinal use and Part 3 on different Types of Healing

© Carrier Sekani Family Services, 2016. Written/compiled by Marlaena Mann. All rights reserved.


Aboriginal Health Sciences FNST 282-3 (2004) CSFS and UNBC

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Last modified: Wednesday 03-Apr-24 12:36:28 PDT