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Digital Guide

Medicines of the Haliburton Sculpture Forest with Joseph Pitawanakwat

Medicines of the Haliburton Sculpture Forest with Joseph Pitawanakwat

The Medicines of the Sculpture Forest series is led by Joseph Pitawanakwat who is Anishinabe from Wiikwimkonng unceded territory on Manitoulin Island. Joseph Pitawanakwat is an educator who specializes in plant-based medicine. He is the founder & director of Creators Garden, a 365 days-a year, Indigenous outdoor-education based business. He focuses on plant identification, sustainable harvesting, and teaching every one of their linguistic, historical, cultural, edible, ecological, and medicinal significance through experience. The Haliburton Sculpture Forest had the privilege of having Joseph come and lead us on a journey of knowledge. In this series, Joseph discusses how native trees and plants within the Sculpture Forest were traditionally used.

Follow along with us to learn about the plants of the Haliburton Sculpture Forest and their medicinal uses.


White Ash

Latin Name: Fraxinus americana

Ojibway Name: Aagimak

Uses: Used to prepare for pregnancy and to lessen the risk of miscarriage. Also used in shoes or around camps to deter rattlesnakes. Because of this, cradles are exclusively made from white ash. It is the type of tree that is the most resistant to lightning.


Latin Name: Tsuga canadensis

Ojibway Name: Gaagaagiwanzhiki

Uses: The bark is used as a stain for all woodenware. In the Great Lakes region there is lots of heavy metal toxicity in the soil which accumulates in plants and animals. The mixture of tanins and resins in the stain becomes absorbent and absorb the heavy metals in food.

White Pine

Latin Name: Pinus strobus

Ojibway Name: Zhingwaak

Uses: Used to make shingles because the tree can very easily be split.

American Basswood

Latin Name: Tillia americana

Ojibway Name: Wiigobimizh

Uses: Wiigobimizh translates to rope tree. If you strip the bark off this tree and put it in a swamp over time the microorganisms will eat away at what holds the bark together leaving strands of rope behind. The rope is used to tie other medicines together which then incorporates the cardiovascular medicinal properties into the medicine as well.

Blue Cohosh

Latin Name: Caulophyllum thalictroides

Ojibway Name: Bezhigojiibik

Uses: Blue cohosh and ash are two of the most important women’s medicines. Helps to have a healthy pregnancy and also aids in menopausal symptoms.

Striped Maple

Latin Name: Acer pensylvanicum

Ojibway Name: Moozomizh

Uses: When a moose gets injured they will go straight to striped maple because there is a medicinal property that helps heal bruises. Observing the behavior of moose allowed Indigenous peoples to realize the medicinal properties of this tree. This tree promotes and stimulates angiogenesis which is the production of new blood vessels.

This series was filmed and edited by Scott Walling with additional edits and research by Nadia Pagliaro.

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