Mi’kmaq medicinal garden planted

Carla Allen callen@thevanguard.ca
Published on August 4, 2011

A garden containing plants that have been used for centuries in Mi’kmaq traditions and culture was officially opened on July 26 at the Acadia First Nation reserve.

Deputy chief Darlene Coulton welcomed those who attended the event.

She told guests that project facilitator Laurie Lacey, and the band’s economic development assistant, Donna Whynot, worked with the elders to plan and design the garden.

“I see this traditional garden as a connection to the relationship with the land and a willingness to share the tradition of elders and their extended families,” she said.

The main objective of the project is to promote the social and educational interaction and the transfer of knowledge between the Mi’kmaq youth and elders through sharing circles, educational workshops, medicinal walks and preparation of traditional plants for healing purposes such as teas and salves.

Lacey, a naturalist and author, has over 35 years experience in the field of traditional Mi'kmaq plant and tree medicines.

He provided a tour of the garden, pointing out a few of the herbs like yarrow: recommended to treat severe colds and flu, bleeding, and to reduce inflammation; Echinacea: a tincture of which is believed to be a “cure-all” medicine; and sumac: which has leaves that are combined with tobacco in traditional smoking mixtures.

He appeared pleased as he looked around the recently planted garden and expressed hope for its future.

“Hopefully as the years go by it will only grow and things will become strengthened and well adapted to the property.

“I’d like to see a few other things come in like the sweet flag, skunk cabbage, muskrat root and blue flag,” he added.

Lacey developed a plant and medicine manual, which is available to view at the band office and health centre.

A luncheon was held afterwards at the band office.

Funding ($25,000) was provided under the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors program.

 Click on VIDEO link above to view video