Cultivating the tekkillakw, the ethnoecology of tleksem, Pacific silverweed or cinquefoil (Argentina egedii (Wormsk.) Rydb.; Rosaceae): lessons from Kwaxsistalla, Clan Chief Adam Dick, of the Qawadiliqella Clan of the Dzawadaenuxw of Kingcome Inlet (Kwakwaka'wakw).

Date

2011-06-07

Authors

Lloyd, T. Abe

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Abstract

This thesis focuses on the traditional cultivation of an edible root species by Kwaxsistalla, Clan Chief Adam Dick, of the Qawadiliqalla Clan, of the Dzawada ēnuxw, a subgroup of Kwakwaka’wakw, occupying the Kingcome Inlet area on the Central Coast of British Columbia. Kwaxsistalla is a traditionally trained Clan Chief and potlatch speaker with recognized authority to share his detailed knowledge and experiences of his clan’s food production system. This research is centered on his Clan’s tekkillakw (estuarine salt marsh root garden) root gardens of the Kingcome River estuary, and the long-standing practices associated with the large-scale production of tleksem Pacific silverweed [Argentina egedii (Wormsk.) Rydb.; syn. Potentilla pacifica (L.) Howell.], is one of the four cultivated root species. Kwaxsistalla has shared his hands-on knowledge of how root garden cultivation fits into his family’s seasonal patterns of food production as well as detailed accounts of how to construct and use tools for cultivating, weeding, harvesting, and cooking estuarine roots. He has also provided information that has been instrumental in developing a model of aboriginal management of estuarine root gardens (Deur 2005). This thesis builds on Deur’s model by attempting to experimentally replicate tekkillakw management in order to better understand the management effect on the abundance, size, and flavour of Argentina egedii roots. Over the course of the 2008 growing season I randomly subjected 60 ¼ square meter patches of Kwaxsistalla’s fallow tekkillakw to either a “till” or “till + weed” treatment and allocated 30 similar patches as a control. I applied a roto-tilling treatment just prior to the growing season, a weeding treatment mid-summer, and harvested the roots near the end of the growing season. While the short duration of my study and use of a roto-tiller limit the inferential power of my results, I found that tilling and weeding significantly increased the abundance or A. egedii but significantly decreased the root size. Throughout the same 2008 field season I also collected root specimens for analysis of their bitter and sweet constituents and found (bitter) tannins concentrations to be highest in the late summer and lowest in the spring and fall.

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Keywords

Ethnobotany, Potentilla anserina, Potentilla pacifica, Kwakwaka'wakw, Adam Dick, Traditional Resource Management, Stewardship, Seasonal Round, Cultivation, Root Garden, Clam Garden, Tools

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