First Nations researchers in Manitoba sound a warning note.
by Larry Powell (A PinP exclusive.)
Standing Medicine People Project photo.
They call it “The Standing Medicine People Project.”
Researchers from three reserves in south-central Manitoba, Long Plain, Swan Lake and Rolling River, have teamed up with the charity, “Food Matters Manitoba,” (FMM) to conduct the project.
They collected samples of six wild plants which grow there – pin cherry, saskatoon, nannyberry, raspberry, grape and the medicinal herb, wiike (or sweet flag). Indigenous gatherers throughout North America have harvested them traditionally as both food and medicine, for centuries. The team submitted the samples to “ALS Laboratory Group,” a certified lab in Winnipeg. There, they were analyzed for 103 different pesticides and heavy metals.
The lab detected several in either the roots, the soil, or both. However, most of the readings were well below levels of concern. In other words, the risk of getting sick from environmental contamination is low. And, if certain precautions are taken, the berries and herbs are still considered safe to eat.
Still, concerns linger.