The Joy of Knowledge Shared

Posted on July 31, 2014

There’s a sparkle in T’ui’tanat’s (Cease Wyss) eyes when she talks about plants. An Aboriginal guide with Takaya Tours and expert ethno botanist, T’ui’tanat’s enthusiasm for sharing her First Nations culture is infectious as she talks about huckleberries with Vancouver blogger Miss604 on a recent medicinal plant walking tour in North Vancouver.

“When I do these walks, I try to infuse them with my own passion,” she says. “I want people to be as passionate as I am.”

Among other plants, huckleberries were a topic of the plant walk. In addition to sharing medicinal uses of the plant, T’ui’tanat spoke about the need to respect the growing things in the forest.


“It takes a long time for this plant to grow,” she says of a small bush of huckleberries estimated to be 50 years old. “I always encourage people to take the berries, but not break off a whole branch, because one length of an arm of these berries takes about 10 years to grow.”

These Aboriginal medicinal plant walks – and similar tours offered throughout British Columbia – serve to enlighten visitors about local First Nations’ deep connection, intimate knowledge and sacred stewardship of their traditional lands.

“We teach them how delicate our ecosystem is,” she said. And what began at an early age as a desire to simply “live off the land”, became what T’ui’tanat now calls “a lifetime of learning” that she hopes will inspire others. “You can never stop learning about plants,” she says with a smile.

If you are in Vancouver, you should consider adding one of Takaya Tours‘ Rainforest Walking Tours to your plans. They are a fantastic way to get into nature without really leaving the city. They also offer canoe tours in replica ocean going canoes as well as sea kayak tours in Indian Arm.

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