May 18, 2024

Native American Heritage Month » New York Botanical Garden

Location At the Garden & Online

Tuesday, November 1, 2022 – Wednesday, November 30, 2022

At the Garden | Online

Join NYBG to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. On-site programming in and around the Thain Family Forest as well as digital offerings highlight the plant-based traditions of Native Americans from the Northeast and throughout the Americas.

NYBG is located on land that is part of Lenapehoking, the traditional homeland of the Lenni Lenape people, which extends from northern Delaware north to the Hudson Valley, and from eastern Pennsylvania to western Connecticut. The Lenape lived in this territory for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, and still maintain their communities and cultural practices in this area today.

Fall Forest WeekendNovember 12 & 13; 11 a.m., 1:30, & 3 p.m.

Join representatives from Native American-owned Cultural & Heritage Preservation firm Moskehtu Consulting for guided tours of the Thain Family Forest.

These tours look at the ecology of the Forest from an Indigenous perspective to protect and share the culture, perspective, and history of this space. Founder Chenae Bullock, also known as Netooeusqua, translating to “Butterfly Woman,” is an enrolled Shinnecock Indian Nation Tribal Member and descendant of the Montauk Tribe in Long Island, New York.

Fall Forest WeekendNovember 12 & 13; 12–4 p.m.

Chef Kini will showcase the techniques for preparing native Hawaiian foods made from plants such as kalo (taro) and other species in celebration of the connection of kānaka (humankind) and mea ‘ai (food).

November 18; 2:30–4 p.m.

Chef Irwin Sánchez will be giving a culinary demonstration and discussing the close connection between age-old Mexican culinary traditions and the Nahuatl language.

Limited Spots! Register Now

The workshop will focus on the importance of Indigenous food and languages as a means of resistance and cultural reclamation. Soup Milpa is a dish of peasant origin that is customary in Puebla, Tlaxcala, Federal District, Hidalgo, and, in general, in the center of the country. It uses products harvested in the milpa: corn kernels, epazote, pumpkin flowers and seeds, zucchini, poblano peppers, onion, and garlic cooked in water or chicken broth. In addition to these basic ingredients, cuitlacoche, green beans, or nopales can be added. It is a very old soup, perhaps of pre-Hispanic origin. Currently it is found all year round, but in the past, it was typically made in the rainy season, which is when pumpkin flowers and cuitlacoche abound and corn is harvested. Small bites of Soup Milpa will be served after the demo.

Ongoing; throughout the Thain Family Forest

Indigenous perspective historian and entrepreneur Chenae Bullock shares facts and stories about some of the useful and edible plants utilized by the Indigenous inhabitants of the Northeast in a self-guided tour of the Thain Family Forest.

Bullock is an enrolled Tribal Member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation and descendant of the Montauk Tribe in Long Island, New York; she is also African American. Bullock lends her extensive knowledge of Northeastern native plant life to explore contemporary and historical perspectives on some of the Forest’s most important plants.

The New York Botanical Garden is located on land that is part of Lenapehoking, the traditional territory and homeland of the Lenape people. The Lenape use hundreds of plants for food, medicine, tools, building materials, and other purposes. Discover more about Lenape Plantways on The Hand Lens.

Learn More

NYBG scientists are launching two new initiatives to support the preservation of biological diversity and cultural knowledge, the Shinnecock Cultural Resources and Environmental Departments, University of Waterloo.

The Shinnecock Ethnobotany Project will document local botanical diversity and traditional knowledge about its use and management, and the Shinnecock Indicators of Climate Change Impacts will study ecological processes related to climate change along with community perceptions and adaptations to them.

Learn More

Usnea, a genus of lichen known as old man’s beard, is used in traditional herbal medicine in many cultures worldwide—from ancient Greece to China to Native American groups—to treat respiratory and other conditions. It is known to grow on the north sides of trees, earning it the name chan wiziye (“on the north side of the tree” or “spirit of the north wind”) in the Dakota language.

Learn More