Within the boundary of the Unites States, over 5 million people are Native American. Through inter-generational learning and evolving experimentation, Native Americans have a unique long term perspective on North America. At WLBC we learn much about traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) as well as natural resources and biodiversity management traditions from our American Indian colleagues. The WLBC has established the American Indian Ethnobotany Program together with the Dakota Sioux of the northern Great Plains, and we are now incorporating various tribes and nations in to the program.
The three main objectives of the American Indian Ethnobotany Program are:
- to conduct meaningful ethnobotanical, conservation, and ecological research projects in collaboration with native peoples;
- to enhance scientific research within tribal communities as a way to encourage sustainable practices; and
- to collaborate with tribal colleges and communities to promote traditional ecological knowledge and traditional botanical knowledge as well as improve quality of life on reservations.