We worked with Iskatewizaagegan (Anishinaabe) elders to create a holistic representation of their plant knowledge as well as a more standard ethnobotanical system of classification. In order to understand the holistic approach, chosen by elders to represent their plant knowledge, it was necessary to understand the ontology, epistemology and phenomenology of plant knowledge. This is explored through an examination of the ethnobotanical data, collected in 2000 and 2001, as a system of classification that includes the processes of classification, nomenclature, and identification. In conclusion, we propose that elders emphasize a holistic ethnobotany since they believe plant knowledge resides in the plants of a place and the relationships between persons and plants of that place. This leads to the conclusion that a critical factor in perpetuating knowledge over time, and between generations, is the ongoing creation of relationships through land-based activities.
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