Dene Nation publishes on-the-land medicine booklet

Labrador tea in the Sahtu's Mackenzie Mountains in June 2020
Labrador tea in the Sahtu's Mackenzie Mountains in June 2020. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

The Dene Nation on Monday published a medicine booklet, urging Dene residents “to use it in order to heal on the land.”

Running to 20 pages, the booklet is available for download online. It describes 10 plants used by Dene people to treat various common ailments.

An introduction states the booklet was designed to “support Dene communities to get back to the bush and to keep healthy as they deal with illness during the Covid-19 virus pandemic.”

Examples include the use of black spruce to heal sore throats, cranberry for kidney problems, and dandelion for fever.



The booklet also includes advice for preparing on-the-land trips and an equipment checklist.

Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya said in a news release: “We’re so proud of the depth of knowledge our guidebook provides to the Dene, and its collaborative approach to information-sharing.

“The content was obtained from several Elders and knowledge-keepers across our regions, such as Gwich’in, Tłı̨chǫ, and Sahtu.

Colonialism has meant that so much of our traditional knowledge has been lost. It’s imperative that we do everything in our power to revitalize our nationhood and, to do this, we must begin by listening to our Elders’ teachings, practising our traditions, and following our protocols.”