As a little girl in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, Aalasi learned from her mother how to identify and harvest plants. Later, a mother herself, and living in Niaqunnguuq (Apex), she continued the practice, living off the land and passing her knowledge on to the next generation. In this introductory guide to traditional plant use—originally published as Walking with Aalasi—Aalasi shares her memories and knowledge of eighteen plants commonly found in the Canadian Arctic.
From plant identification and environmentally respectful collection to traditional uses and recipes, Edible and Medicinal Arctic Plants teaches readers how to reap the benefits of the natural world around them.
About the authors
Aalasi Joamie was born in Inukjuak, Quebec. Her family moved to Pangnirtung when she was a young girl. In the 1960s, she moved to Niaqunnguuq (Apex) with her husband and children into their first house. She has lived there ever since. For many years, Aalasi worked as a maternity aid at Baffin Regional Hospital. Aalasi contributed to Interviewing Inuit Elders: Perspectives on Traditional Health and she teaches traditional plant knowledge workshops at Nunavut Arctic College. She also travels to traditional plant-use conferences nationally and internationally.
Rebecca Hainnu lives in Clyde River with her daughters, Katelyn and Nikita. Rebecca believes it is important to teach Inuit traditional knowledge about the land, animals, people, history, and philosophies. Her family is usually on the land throughout the seasons. She hopes to pass on some knowledge through her writing. Her work includes Edible and Medicinal Arctic Plants: An Inuit Elder’s Perspective, The Spirit of the Sea, A Walk on the Shoreline, Math Activities for Nunavut Classrooms, and Classifying Vertebrates. A Walk on the Tundra, co-authoured with Anna Ziegler, was a finalist for the 2013 Canadian Children’s Literature Round Table Information Book Award, and was among the 2012 “Best Books for Kids and Teens,” as selected by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Rebecca is an educator in a K–12 school. She was the recipient of the 2016 NTA Award for Teaching Excellence.
Anna Ziegler is the principal of Arctic Willow Consulting, which specializes in program development and evaluation in community wellness, poverty reduction, and adult learning. She has completed graduate research on practices of archiving Inuit traditional knowledge. After living in Iqaluit, Nunavut, for fourteen years, she now resides in Ottawa, Ontario, and works on projects with groups across Inuit Nunangat. She is also the co-author, with Rebecca Hainnu and Aalasi Joamie, of Edible and Medicinal Arctic Plants: An Inuit Elder’s Perspective.