Leigh Joseph (ancestral name Styawat), is an ethnobotanist, community activist and entrepreneur from the Squamish First Nation who works with Indigenous communities throughout British Columbia and the Yukon, in Canada. She is also the co-director and subject of a new documentary Walking with Plants, which tells the story of the role of plant relatives in her life and healing journey.
Leigh aims to expand the renewal of ethnobotanical knowledge and the healing that comes from connection to place and plant foods and medicines. She draws from teachings learned from family and community members that are connected to Indigenous plants and the land.
As the founder of Sḵwálwen Botanicals, Leigh also brings together Indigenous science and self-care rituals by creating skin-care products and experiences that are grounded in the natural world. Honouring traditional Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) plant knowledge, Sḵwálwen incorporates sustainably harvested plants and organic, high quality ingredients. Each wild-harvested product has a Squamish name to honour the place where this plant knowledge comes from.
In this episode, Leigh helps to bring to life the relationship between ethno- and eco health, as well as cultural and individual wellness.
She shares her story of what it means to connect back to your identity and roots, how walking with plants is a way to learn more about yourself, your culture and your place in this world, and, what it really means to live in reciprocity, respect and reverence of our plant relatives.
Leigh also describes what it means to pass traditional Indigenous and land-based knowledge from generation to generation. In sharing her family’s history and her now experiences living back on her ancestral lands, she also narrates how connection to land can teach children about their identity, about their connection to wellbeing and about their cultural practices.
This conversation was incredibly moving…to think that to know our roots is to know oneself.
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CONNECT WITH LEIGH
Walking with Plants
CONNECT WITH DANA
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