Today's artwork from NYSM Ethnology collections recognizes Indigenous medicinal knowledge
One sub-discipline within cultural anthropology is the medical anthropology, or the focus on how humans think of medicine, illness and practice health and well-being. Today's artwork from NYSM Ethnology collections recognizes Indigenous medicinal knowledge!
In 1536, French navigator Jacques Cartier and his crew arrived in Mohawk territory on the Kaniatarowanenneh (St. Lawrence River) sick with scurvy, caused by malnourishment and poor diet. Scurvy is a severe deficiency of vitamin C, and Mohawk people were familiar with the illness and able to provide a cure to Cartier's crew made by boiling and preparing a concoction of the bark and leaves of the White Pine tree.
Strawberries are another source of vitamin C and could be dried and eaten during the long winter months. Strawberries are considered a precious gift in Haudenosaunee communities. According to the epic Haudenosaunee Creation narratives, Sky Woman falls from Sky World to Turtle Island (Earth) carrying the seeds for strawberries in her hands, a gift to the future peoples of Turtle Island.