Mi’kmaq medicinal garden planted

Carla Allen
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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


Geographic location: New Horizons

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Recent comments

  • Christine Guidry Law
    October 01, 2011 - 11:39

    Hi, I am a Acadian Metis from Louisiana spreading the word of our heritage and history here. I would love to learn more about the plants used in the medicine garden as I am also a healer for my people. How could I purchase or acquire a copy of the manual mentioned in the article? My daughter and I have planted an herbal garden for healing purposes and would love to add more of the true Mi'kmaq plants to our garden. I can be reached privately at christineguidrylaw@gmail.com

  • Laurie Lacey
    August 11, 2011 - 21:47

    Hi, I would like to point out one thing, concerning the funding. The funding was not for the Yarmouth Garden, alone. We also developed a forest preserve/garden at Gold River, Lunenburg County, and completed a medicinal plant and tree manual for the Acadia Band. Regards, Laurie

  • Laurie Lacey
    August 11, 2011 - 21:40

    Hi Anne, Yes, of course you can visit the garden. It's best to enquire at the Acadia Band Office. They can give you directions to it. All the best, Laurie

  • Laurie Lacey
    August 11, 2011 - 21:35

    Good article Carla - I also enjoyed the photos and video. Thanks! Just one thing I'd like to correct in the article. It may have been the result of mis-communication on my part. The statement about sumac, " which has leaves that are combined with tobacco in traditional smoking mixtures," is incorrect. I was referring to other plants, e.g. labrador tea, in kinnickinick mixtures. All the best to you, Carla, Laurie

  • Anne Treadwell
    August 05, 2011 - 09:59

    Is the garden open to the public, and if so, how is it accessed?