Biscuit Root Makes History

I found a rich community of biscuit root growing on a scree slope. They’re hard to harvest there (which is, likely, why they’re still there), but they love it.
star 2Beautiful Biscuit Root in Bloom, Vernon

Is this essential Syilx crop still present in this spot in abundance because people, pushed into extreme poverty and fenced off from most of their territory, just couldn’t dig these ones up? Or is it because no cow in its right mind, set to graze on Syilx gardens and grasslands, would clamber over the darned scree and risk breaking a leg to chew them off year after year until they just up and died? I dunno. It does suggest, though, that in the Okanagan we should inventory rocky spaces as refugia, like the mountaintops that carried exotic species through glaciation. In this case, though, the “glaciation” is social, political and racial. In a place in which history was erased by being turned into a collection of anthropologist’s notes, this  plant is history; it is alive.


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