Wildlife consultant and ethnobotanist John Mionczynski is the featured speaker at the next Draper Natural History Museum Lunchtime Expedition lecture at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
Titled Some Interesting Plants of the Ancient People of the Yellowstone, the free presentation takes place on Thursday, June 6, at 12:15 p.m. in the Center of the West’s Coe Auditorium.
Mionczynski’s talk is informed by his role as both ethnobotanist and cameraman for the Native Memory Project, based in Dubois, Wyoming. The project captures professional video footage of tribal elders as they recount stories and share knowledge from the past. “The pre-reservation uses of plant medicines and foods, as well as ancient storytelling, are captured on these archival videos before they are lost forever,” says Mionczynski.
Through his long career, Mionczynski has worked for several wildlife management agencies as a consultant. He has conducted field studies on grizzly bears, mountain goats, pronghorn, elk, pika, and bighorn sheep. Often during his time in the field, he collected as his food and medicine native plants used by tribes. In his travels through the Yellowstone Ecosystem and the Black Hills, “it was difficult to find a place that did not show evidence of Native cultures living on the land,” he says.
Draper Natural History Museum Lunchtime Expeditions are supported in part by Sage Creek Ranch and the Nancy-Carroll Draper Foundation. The talks in this series are free and generally take place the first Thursday of each month. Looking ahead to the month of July, note that—due to the Independence Day holiday—the talk takes place on the second Thursday, which this year is July 11.
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For more information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s pages on Facebook and Twitter.