Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Cultural Heritage Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Neyooxet Greymorning

Commitee Members

Gregory Campbell, Anna Marie Prentiss, Ragan M. Callaway, Greg C. Burtchard


Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax), Ethnoecology and Ethnobotany, Human Plant Ecology, Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata), Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Western redcedar (Thuja plicata)


The University of Montana


Throughout the history of the National Park Service, the question of whether Native AmericanÆs still have rights to traditionally used natural resources found within park lands has been debated. This debate is largely held in political, legal, and philosophical arenas, but there are ethnographic and ecological questions that need to be addressed in order for policy makers to make informed decisions. Addressing these questions also provides insight into how cultures develop sustainable harvesting practices. One of the parks that has been addressing traditional plant harvesting is Mount Rainier National Park, which has been working with the Nisqually Indian Tribe to develop a collecting agreement that would allow members of the Tribe to harvest twelve species of plants. In this dissertation, I ask two questions: first, how do members of the Nisqually Tribe traditionally harvest these plants? My other question is: what are the biological effects of harvesting beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax (Pursh) Nutt.) and pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata (R. BR.) Spreng,), and peeling bark of western redcedar (Thuja plicata Donn. Ex D. Don)? I used a combination of ethnographic and ecological methods to answer these questions. Based on the metrics I used, the Nisqually practices do not decrease the abundance of beargrass and pipsissewa. The traditional harvest of cedar bark does not change the treeÆs secondary growth rate. The lack of measureable change in these three species is a product of limiting the amount of biomass harvested to within the plantsÆ range of tolerance to damage. Results suggest that the NisquallyÆs methods of harvesting are based upon traditional ecological knowledge. The results of this research will help Mount Rainier managers and the Nisqually Tribe to develop policy that allows the Tribe to utilize these plants while not interfering with the parkÆs mission.



© Copyright 2015 David Alan Hooper