Botanical from Nunavik


Plants and Inuit, a cultural relation and identity

The significant of plants in Inuit life has been underestimated; on the contrary, they are essential to their health and in the preservation of their cultural identity. What would we know of fireweed (Chamerion latifolium; paunnaq), alpine bistort (Bistorta vivipara; tursaq) or oxytrope (Oxytropis spp.; airaq) if not for the Northern peoples who educated us on their uses and benefits? In other words, who are the Inuit without these berries (and other plants) that define and to which they devote a boundless passion?

The tundra has many valuable plants and Inuit knew how to recognize, name and used them. It was wrong to presume that the Inuit people abbey to a strictly animal diet. Among the plants used, we find fuel, technology (baskets, mattresses, wicks, etc.), food and medicine (teas are a part of it).

Among the problems that they can heal, we find intestinal diseases and stomach pain, skin problems, respiratory and infectious diseases. The plants of Nunavik grapple with a rigorous climate (cold, wind, sustained sunlight); the same weapons as they made to face play a protective role for the wellbeing of all. Health!