Manitoba's Declining Wild Berries and Medicinal Plants Found To Be In Sickly Condition. Farm Chemicals the Main Suspects - First Nations Researchers.
By Larry Powell A tale that is all too tragic. And familiar For centuries, the aboriginal people of North America’s great plains have gathered wild berries and plants for food and medicine. Now, members of two First Nations in Central Manitoba have not only observed declines in the abundance of such crops, they have documented unhealthy foliage and severe deformities in many of them. These include chokecherries, raspberries, Indian breadroot, saskatoons, cranberries and hawthorns. Deformed chokecherry in study area. Unhealthy saskatoons. After obtaining federal funding for a detailed study, several band members gathered hundreds of samples in and around Swan Lake, southwest of Portage La Prairie, and Rolling River, southeast of Riding Mountain National Park. The study was done almost three years ago but not made public until now. For years, elders have watched as harvest areas shrink and overall quality declines. Where sage and sweet grass once