Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany


Karen Walker-Meyer

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Karen Walker-Meyer

Native American Ethnobotany Program Manager
William L. Brown Center, MBG

Research Interests

• Ethnobotany and Economic Botany
• Native Crop Production
• Native Seed Research
• Native American Ethnobotany
• Native Plant Research
• Natural Products Researc

Web Page: MBG

American Indian Ethnobotany in the Prairie Bioregion of South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska. Karen Walker is the Native American Ethnobotany Program Manager at the William L. Brown Center and works on a program developed in collaboration with the Lakota and Dakota Sioux People of South and North Dakota to explore the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of that region. The Lakota and Dakota People have accumulated knowledge as well as skills in using plants that grow around them for food, medicine, dyes, and ceremonies, transmitted largely through oral traditions. With the advance of technology there is a potential for the TEK of the Lakota and Dakota People to become irrelevant or even nonexistent. Fortunately, many Lakota and Dakota People are taking action to ensure that the next generations do not lose their valuable heritage. REU students will participate in an ongoing research project to document the Traditional Ecological Knowledge of the Dakota and Lakota People on two reservations: the Crow Creek Indian Reservation and Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Students will be taught interviewing and floristic methodologies as they work with Karen Walker to conduct interviews with Tribal Elders who have a lifetime of knowledge and expertise. To conclude the interview process, the students and Karen will go with selected elders to collect and voucher the plants discussed during interviews, as well as document the process of plant collecting and harvest management techniques. The students will spend 3-4 weeks at the Missouri Botanical Garden analyzing their interview data, processing herbarium specimens and learning general herbarium skills and techniques. Native American students are especially encouraged to apply.

Selected Publications 

• Bussmann, R.W., D. Sharon, M. Castro, R. Cardenas, G. Chait, S. Regalado, C.R. Del Toro, G. Malca, A.F. Perez, A. Glenn, K. Meyer, A. Rothrock, and A. Townesmith. 2009. Phyto-Chemical Analysis of Peruvian Medicinal Plants. Arnaldoa 16(1):105–110.
• Stahnke A., M. Hayes, K.Meyer, K. Witt, J. Weideman, A.P. Fernando, R. Burrows, and R.N. Reese. 2008. Prairie turnip Pediomelum esculentum (Pursh) Rydb. historical and modern use, propagation, and management of a new crop. Native Plants Journal, Volume 9, Number 1, Spring 2008, pp. 46–58.

Karen Walker-Meyer Karen Walker-Meyer
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