Held by the Land: A Guide to Indigenous Plants for Wellness

Wellfleet. Mar. 2023. 192p. ISBN 9781577152941. $24.99. HEALTH
Ethnobotanist Joseph, a member of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) First Nation and the founder of Skwálwen Botanicals, an Indigenous business that creates small-batch botanical skincare products, includes helpful advice in this book for all outdoor gatherers. The Skwxwú7mesh language is used throughout, and there’s a useful phonetic pronunciation guide. Joseph discusses in detail how to start a relationship with the land, including paralleling one’s spiritual self to the cycles of the seasons. Her book makes a great shelf companion to Katherine May’s Wintering for this topic alone. The first half of the book is separated into detailed chapters about relationship-based harvesting, apothecary gathering, mindfulness, and the effect of cultural erasure on the land. The second half is a reference section that has line drawings and descriptive advice (including safety warnings and recipes) on the author’s local flowers, trees, and shrubs. The clearly marked and separated halves make quick field lookups a breeze.
VERDICT Land gatherers of all skill levels located near garden or forest regions will find this a necessary plant and spiritual reference guide.
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