Seeking Names

This grows in my garden:sunroots-in-bloom

As you can see, the stalks grow 8 feet tall, and taller, with multiple little heads that clearly show this plant belongs to the sunflower family.

This is what we eat from this plant:


You might know this plant as Jerusalem Artichoke, or Sunroot, or Sunchoke. You might, if you’re a botanist or science geek, know it as Helianthus Tuberosa.

However, although it is widely known to be an Indigenous North American plant, I have yet to find any mention of any name(s) for it in Indigenous languages.

I can find a lot of good information about how it got its current names. Wikipedia for instance, goes into pretty good detail about what Europeans decided to call it and why.

Wiki also shares a nice overview of why this intriguing plant could be a key contributor to revitalizing Indigenous cultures and communities. It’s terrific for anyone susceptible to Diabetes. I can also tell you that it’s delicious, easy to prepare in various ways, and so easy to grow – perennial, hardy in Zone 3/4, drought tolerant, persistent – that it could make a significant contribution to food security for a lot of people without a lot of effort.

The one issue with this root is that, being very nobbly, it can take a bit of cleaning to get all the dirt out of the crannies.

That doesn’t bother me.

What bothers me is knowing that there must be older names for this plant, and I don’t know them, and I don’t know who to ask. So, I’m asking every source I can think of, in person and online; if you know an Indigenous name, will you share it with me?

I’d love to help revitalize an Indigenous name for this indigenous traditional food, and be part of helping revitalize our connections to our… roots.

Welalin, Chi Megwetch, Hiy Hiy, Limlimpt, Dziękuję Ci, Merci, Gracias…

All My Relations


One Comment Add yours

  1. prairiepomes says:

    Got one response already, via Twitter: arctic yaks ‏@arcticyaks 7h7 hours ago
    @AnnaMarieSewell @phunphunphun Cree askipaw, Huron skibwan, A.Henry/D.Thompson esquebois – social media, so good sometimes. will go talk with Cree Elder i know, ask him if he knows more about askipaw.

    Liked by 1 person

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