Western Redcedar Bark Harvesting: Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Wisdom and People-Plant Relationships

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Brennan Strandberg-Salmon


This paper was originally written for Robert Bandringa’s INDG 332 course Indigenous Ethnobotany. The assignment asked students to research the Indigenous ethnobotanical practices associated with a specific plant that is native to so-called British Columbia and/or the relationship of that plant to a specific First Nation in BC. The paper uses Nature citation style.

This paper explores traditional cedar bark harvesting practices to illustrate how Western Redcedar is integral to Indigenous cultural identity and respectful relationships with plants and place, focusing on the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Nation. The paper provides a literature review of Western Redcedar in B.C. and the Squamish Nation’s relationship with the tree, followed by an analysis of traditional cedar bark harvesting processes and the importance of these practices in the context of industrial forestry and climate change. Overall, the reciprocity and wisdom of cedar bark harvesting represents the need to sustain Indigenous perspectives and respectful relationships with plants and places, for the welfare of all beings and future generations.

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Plurilingual Prize Category (open to all undergrad students)