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A goal of the Heritage Garden Program is to educate our community about the history and biodiversity of the Columbia River Basin. Understanding and appreciating the history of the first peoples and their relationships with our native plants is an important piece of that history. The Heritage Garden Program appreciates the importance of using respectful discretion when sharing this knowledge. Indigenous voices are best able to honor their own communities, cultures, stories and knowledge. We will work to provide opportunities for intercultural education and collaboration.

To honor the cultural heritage of indigenous communities in your Heritage Garden, consider including plants that have been traditionally used for food, shelter, art, medicine or ceremony.

We encourage our Heritage Gardeners to include at least one plant of ethnobotanical significance. Ethnobotany is the study of the relationship between cultures and plants. 

Photo Gallery

This gallery presents a few of our favorite plants that also are of indigenous significance. The text included with each image is taken from our Plant Selection Guide, where sources for the information are provided. We have used only published accounts of the uses of these plants. The Plant Selection Guide discusses traditional uses of many additional plants.


Click on an image to bring up the gallery. This will enlarge the photo and show a brief description of how the plant has been used. Once in the gallery, use the arrows to go back and forth between plants.

Indigenous Communities
& Tribal Nations

Indigenous people of the Americas have been stewards of the land since time immemorial, with deep connections to the land and its processes through language and traditions in ceremony, spirituality, food and culture. 

Sovereign Nations 

Thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, many tribes called this region home and were connected to the area through complex inter-tribal relations and economies that transcended the state and national boundaries of today. To learn more about the Tribes that belong to the Columbia Plateau and Basin, explore the links below. You may also consider visiting a tribal cultural center or museum.

Collaborative Initiatives in Conservation and Cultural Revival

The fisherman--Wishham (i.e., Wishram) | Tlakluit Indians | Curtis, Edward S., 1868-1952, photographer

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