Some Interesting Plants of the Ancient People of the Yellowstone
By John Mionczynski
June 6, 2019
Join us for our June Draper Natural History Museum Lunchtime Expedition lecture. Wildlife consultant and ethnobotanist John Mionczynski discusses some of the interesting plants of the ancient people of the Yellowstone. The talks in this series are free, and take place in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Coe Auditorium the first Thursday of the month.
About our speaker
John Mionczynski functions as both ethnobotanist and cameraman for the Native Memory Project (formerly the Greater Yellowstone Historical Society) based out of Dubois, Wyoming. The group produces professional video footage of tribal elders recounting stories and knowledge of the way things used to be. 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. When this generation of native people is gone, there will be no one left to say they were raised with their pre-reservation grandparents.
Prior to this, Mionczynski worked for most of the wildlife management agencies as a wildlife consultant. Over a 45 year span, he conducted field studies on grizzly bears, mountain goats, pronghorn antelope, elk, pika, and nawazee. During this time he lived months at a time with two different herds of bighorn sheep to determine migration patterns and food habits.
While conducting field studies he often collected native plants used by the tribes as his food and medicine.
In all his time in 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. The study of these ancient people and their lifeways has been an obsession through his entire life.
Draper Natural History Museum Lunchtime Expeditions are supported in part by Sage Creek Ranch and the Nancy-Carroll Draper Foundation.
Join us the first Thursday of each month February through December for a Lunchtime Expedition! These free lectures explore a variety of natural history subjects and issues. Lectures take place in our Coe Auditorium at 12:15 p.m. and are free and open to the public.
Upcoming Lunchtime Expeditions
- July 11: Robert B. Smith with Anatomy of Old Faithful and Upper Geyser Basin and Its Ties to the Yellowstone Magma Reservoir (Note the change to the second Thursday of the month)
- August 1: Mike Kochert with Fifty Years of Studying Golden Eagles: What Have We Learned?
- September 5: Jeremy Johnston with Theodore Roosevelt, the Unscrupulous Concessioner, and the Insane Adversary
- October 3: Doug Smith with Wolf Populations in Yellowstone National Park
- November 7: Speaker TBD
- December 5: Tony Mong from Wyoming Game & Fish