The Importance of Traditional Kwakwaka’wak Management on the Productivity of Estuarine Root Gardens
The internship will be conducting two research projects related to historical Kwakwaka’wakw root gardens. The first experiment will measure the effect of traditional management on the productivity of one of the native roots (silverweed or potentilla anserine ssp. pacifica) grown in these gardens. The intern will test the effect of two traditional management activities, tilling and weeding, on the length, diameter, and mass of silverweed roots. The second experiment will explore the variables that affect the flavour of silverweed roots. Some silverweed roots are bitter and little is known about why. Bitterness is an impediment to the renewal of silverweed roots as a food source. The intern will experiment with different genetic strains, soils types, root ages, and harvest season to determine what factors are associated with bitter roots. He will also have specimens sent to a nutritional chemistry lab to try and determine the nature of the bitter constituent. Both the traditional management experiments and the palatability experiment are designed to help the Kwakwaka’wakw restore food sovereignty and cultural identity.