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History Native American

Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples

by (author) Nancy J. Turner

Royal BC Museum
Initial publish date
Dec 2006
Native American, General
Recommended Age
Recommended Grade
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2006
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


In Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples, renowned ethnobotanist Nancy J. Turner describes more than 100 plants traditionally harvested and eaten by coastal aboriginal groups. Each description contains botanical details and a colour photograph to help identify the plant, information on where to find it, and a discussion on traditional methods of harvesting and preparation. This popular book remains an essential guide for anyone interested in wild edible plants or traditional cultures of First Peoples living on the coast of British Columbia and adjacent areas in Alaska and Washington.

About the author

Nancy J. Turner is an ethnobotanist, and Distinguished Professor Emerita, School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, Canada. She has worked with First Nations elders and cultural specialists in northwestern North America for over 50 years, helping to document, retain and promote their traditional knowledge of plants and environments, including Indigenous foods, materials and traditional medicines. Her two-volume book, Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge (July, 2014; McGill-Queen’s University Press), integrates her long term research. She has authored or co-authored/co-edited 30 other books, including: Plants of Haida Gwaii; The Earth’s Blanket; Keeping It Living (with Doug Deur); Saanich Ethnobotany (with Richard Hebda), and Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples, and over 150 book chapters and papers. Her latest edited book is Plants, People and Places: the Roles of Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology in Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights in Canada and Beyond (2020). She has received a number of awards for her work, including membership in Order of British Columbia (1999) and the Order of Canada (2009), honorary degrees from University of British Columbia, University of Northern British Columbia and Vancouver Island and Simon Fraser Universities.

Nancy J. Turner's profile page

Librarian Reviews

Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples

As long as people have lived in North America, wild plants have been an important source of food. For Aboriginal people in Western Canada, the nutritional and cultural contribution made by these plants was immense with some 200 species of wild plants providing food. This popular handbook depicts more than 100 plants used for food by the original inhabitants of coastal British Columbia. For each specimen it provides the common and Latin name, botanical description, habitat and Aboriginal use along with a colour photograph of the plant. First published in 1975, this edition updates the names of Aboriginal groups, some new plant findings and adds to the list of reference books.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2007-2008.