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Abstract Detail

Economic Botany Section


Comparative plant usage among the Kiowa, Comanche, and Plains Apache in the southern plains.

The Kiowa, Comanche, and Plains Apache (KCA) were nomadic hunting and gathering peoples that were linked historically and geographically in the southern Great Plains since the 17th century.  They were closely associated since EuroAmerican contact, were confederated in 1867, and shared a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma where most tribal members reside today.  Because each tribe has remained in its ancestral region, had economies based on hunting and gathering, and were investigated by ethnobotanists, traditional knowledge of the KCA facilitates a meta-analytical approach to investigate plants used by the indigenous peoples of the southern plains.  Additionally, the rich archaeobotanical record allows an examination of regional plant usage in archaeological traditions throughout the Holocene.  Literature was reviewed and plants were recorded for use by the KCA and for their presence in the paleoethnobotanical record.  Plant nomenclature was updated, plant organs of use were identified, and usage was assigned to four categories:  edibles, ritual and medicinal, material culture, and personal care and adornment.  Archeobotanical data were organized by geographic location and archaeological tradition.  The KCA utilized at least 177 species of vascular plants in 57 families.  93% of the plants were native to the south central Great Plains, whereas 8 species were weedy exotics and 4 species were native to North America but occurred in other ecoregions.  88 species were used by one or more tribes for food preparation or consumption, 76 species were used in rituals or for medicinal purposes, 72 species were utilized for material culture, and14 species had a function in personal care or adornment.  Of the 45 taxa identified in the archeobotanical record, four genera were not identified for use by modern KCA elders.  A wide variety of plants were used by the native peoples of the southern plains that complemented a hunting dependence on the American bison.  Archeobotanical data indicate that many of the plants used by extant groups have a long history of usage by different cultural traditions within the region.

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1 - University of Oklahoma, Microbiology & Plant Biology and Oklahoma Biological Survey, 770 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, OK, 73019, USA
2 - University of Oklahoma, Microbiology & Plant Biology, 770 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, OK, 73019, USA

southern plains.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 5
Location: River Fork/Grove
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 8:30 AM
Number: 5001
Abstract ID:251
Candidate for Awards:None

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