About this Website
This Great Lakes Anishinaabe Ethnobotany website is one of the multifaceted aspects of the Zaagkii Project, a native plants and pollinator protection initiative. It is a collaborative effort between multiple organizations.
The driving force behind the Zaagkii Project is The Cedar Tree Institute, a non-profit organization who “builds partnerships to improve the quality of life.” The Cedar Tree Institute is based in Marquette and works with tribes in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
“We live in a time marking a tremendous shift of consciousness about how we live with our natural environment. One key lesson carried by this website is that the recovery of traditional Native teachings about the earth are inextricably connected to the healing of the human spirit.”
— Jon Magnuson, Executive Director-Cedar Tree Institute
This website was inspired by USFS botanist Jan Schultz who serves as the Special Forest Products Program Leader for the USDA Forest Service Eastern Region. Although Jan’s office is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, her love for the dense north woods of the Upper Great Lakes region is readily apparent.
As a land steward, the Forest Service has a responsibility to sustain of our native plants. The Forest Services protects these native plants against the assault by aggressive and persistent invasive species and covets those native plants inherently rare or uncommon within our natural communities. Early on, some of these native plants became the progenitors to the commercially important foods that today support humanity on a global scale. As such our native plants form the essential green background that we both depend on and admire.
These native plants have also served to: inspire the creation of language and religion; to sustain people; to heal them and much more. They have contributed to the rich ethnobotanic legacy of Native Americans. The following segment of the Celebrating Wildflowers website bears witness to this cultural richness with us today.
— Jan Schultz, Botany, Non-native Invasive Species, Special Forest Products Program Leader-USDA Forest Service Eastern Region
The NMU Center for Native American Studies has played a pivotal role in the creation of this Great Lakes Anishinaabe Ethnobotany website. April Lindala, Director, supervised the Zaagkii Project interns and helped to organize the extensive travel necessary to meet with and interview Anishinaabe elders, culture bearers and traditional knowledge keepers.
“Seeing the NMU students grow from this real world experience has been very rewarding for me as an educator. Watching these students engage these elders and culture bearers, I see that this opportunity has given them something that a classroom simply could not replicate. In a way we have touched members of the upcoming generation through this project. We can only hope that their work will touch the lives of future generations.”
— April Lindala, Director-NMU Center for Native American Studies