Instructional Plans: Plants Used for Medicinal and Social Purposes
Lesson 1: Aboriginal Communities Used Plants as Medicine
Aboriginal People used the plants, roots, and berries growing around them as natural remedies to cure sickness, they used special plants in important spiritual ceremonies, and they also used plants, roots, and berries to supplement their diets. Many of their traditional methods have been become the foundation for present day treatment of ailments. You may need to peruse the Native Plant Chart in the Student Zone section to familiarize yourself with a few examples of plants that Aboriginal people utilized.
Have student sit in a circle as this is an important tradition in Aboriginal communities. This circle will be known as a “sharing circle” as each student will share their drawing, the name of their plant as well as an ailment they think it may cure (there is no right or wrong as students are encouraged to use their imagination).
Conclude this activity by sharing with the students how traditional Aboriginal peoples/communities used a variety of plants, roots, berries etc. to solve common ailments, such as a toothache, to more serious ailments such as burns. Students should also know that not every person in the community knew how to use the plants. Elders were often given a special gift of knowing which plants could be used and what they could be used for. This knowledge has been passed down through the generations.