By Linda Black Elk Department of Natural Resources
My name is Linda (Bishop) Black Elk, and I was recently hired by the Mille Lacs Band Department of Natural Resources as the Band’s first ethnobotanist.
An ethnobotanist learns, teaches, and practices the uses of plants for food, medicine, and materials. My job at the DNR is to offer Band members health and healing through our plant relatives.
Most of what I offer isn’t really new to the Anishinaabe people. Your people have been utilizing plant medicines since the beginning, but a lot of this knowledge has been taken from Indigenous people over the last 500-plus years of colonization. It is my hope that we can work together to, once again, make plant medicine and traditional foods an everyday part of Band members' lives.
I am a servant of the people, and here is what I can offer:
Home visits by appointment to discuss health, wellness, and healing.
Visits by appointment in my office in Wahkon (beginning June 1).
Plant identification walks with you and your family so that you can learn to recognize the edible and medicinal plants all around you.
In-home cooking classes to teach you how to prepare and store traditional foods.
Consultations about gardening, including soil health and garden design.
Note: For in-person consultations and visits, please have a tobacco offering ready as well as a list of all current medications, and a list of any known allergies.
I will also be holding many workshops and classes on the following:
Making and using herbal products including salves, balms, tinctures, teas, infused oils, elixirs, syrups, and more!
Self-care workshops that include the use of traditional plants in making scrubs, clay masks, foot balms, bath bombs, relaxation and anti-stress teas, herbal sachets, and essential oil blends.
Workshops on the use of traditional plants in treating opioid or alcohol addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
Wild foods cooking classes that include foraging walks and preparation of delicious meals.
Garden design including three sisters Gardens and seed saving, also including fruit and vegetable preservation by drying, dehydrating, canning, and pickling.
Workshops for using herbal products during pregnancy, labor and delivery, nursing, and making safe products for babies and children.
Seasonal workshops on the uses of plants to treat winter ailments such as colds, flu, and lung congestion, as well as warm-weather ailments such as sunburn, bug bites, and allergies.
Thank you so much for your time and for the opportunity to serve the people of Mille Lacs. I hope to be hearing from many of you soon.
Linda (Bishop) Black Elk , Ethnobotanist