Dr. Gary Nabhan was the keynote speaker at the third annual meeting of the Arizona Ethnobotanical Research Association held this year in Flagstaff, September 15-17. Dr. Nabhan is the co-founder of Native Seeds/ Search, Director of Science at the Arizona Desert Museum and the author of numerous books. Both his books and his speech at the AERA emphasized the need to investigate and promote the use of traditionally utilized plants of the Southwest and to preserve this knowledge for future generations.
Dr. Nabhan stressed that the food for good health is all around us if we will take the time to inform ourselves. His description of the 250 mile walk from Desemboque, Mexico to Tucson with indigenous foods served along the way was an illustration of his belief.
Other speakers at the Symposium pursued different aspects of this research. Karen Adams, archeobotanist from the University of Toronto; Elaine Joyal, presently with the Anthropology Department at ASU; Gail Tierney, Laboratory of Anthropology at the Museum of New Mexico; and Michael Winkleman, Department of Anthropology at ASU.
Theodora Homewytewa is a traditional Hopi medicine woman who has been practicing traditional methods of healing for over 30 years. She explains that she always considers the needs of individual patients. One method or one herb do not fit all. Other practitioners of practical arts were Marina Vasquez' Highland Morgan style basket weaving, John Mink who gardens in Northern Arizona and Jon Hellason with primitive skills such as flintknapping, fire starting and dwelling construction.
R. Carlos Nakai performed a benefit concert Sunday afternoon, winning a standing ovation from the appreciative audience. He and his wife, Pam Hyde, a clinical herbologist, are both members of the Board of Directors of the AERA. Besides performing with a number of different flutes, Nakai described the origins of the music played, his relationship to the music, the flutes and his conviction that through the arts, the awareness of our relationships to the environment and to one another, we can know that everything in the universe is related.
Phyllis Hogan, owner of the Winslow Sun Trading Co. in Flagstaff, is the Executive Director of the Arizona Ethnobotanical Research Association. She organized the symposium and introduced each speaker and the concert. Cline Auditorium at NAU was the setting for the symposium.