The Fisherman Lake Slave and their environment : a story of floral and faunal resources
Lamont, Sheila Margaret
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The past uses of the flora and fauna and methods used for making artifacts were recorded as described and demonstrated by the Slave Indian informants from Fisherman Lake, near Fort Liard, Northwest Territories. The area in which these Slave lived was described in terms of the geography, soils, climate and vegetation. Animals formed the base of subsistence and provided raw materials for use in technology as well as most of the food. Plants provided a variety of foods, medicines and were used extensively in technology. An understanding of plant and animal interactions was indicated by the Slave in their description of plants as animal foods, and the use of plants in attracting animals to their traps. Efficiency of plant use was high (the species they used were compared with those species found in the area that were used by other human groups), with most species being those of boreal forest origin. Species used for food and technology were largely those of common occurrence in the area, however some of the species used for medicines were of more restricted distribution. Plant use was restricted by seasonal availability, with only limited storage occurring. Use of fauna was also highly efficient with greatest use being of boreal species with those of alpine areas providing an alternative. Species availability varied with abundance cycles as well as with seasons. Slave classification of environmental components seemed restricted to plants and animals useful to them•• Nomenclature tends to indicate an emphasis on the fauna (particularly mammals) in Slave cognition.