Culturally Significant Plant

Species Initiative (CSPSI)

The Culturally Significant Plant Species Initiative (CSPSI) is a collaboration between The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere Cooperative.

A principal goal of the CSPSI is to seek a balance of access, utilization, and restoration of human-nature interrelationships in Southern Appalachia.

The CSPSI envisions vibrant collaboration addressing critical issues affecting conservation, access, utilization, and restoration of culturally important species, encouraging institutions across the region to participate, while respecting and acknowledging Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) about the species.

Our objectives include: 

  • Restoration, Management, and Utilization – Restore, conserve, and sustain culturally important plant species and associated habitats through species specific conservation goals.
  • Education and Outreach — Educate and build awareness of the importance of culturally important species while respecting and acknowledging the foundation of this knowledge.
  • Research — Undertake, encourage, and facilitate research that leads to sustainable management of culturally significant plants, their habitat and the products provided, as well as providing links to past research on the subject.

The Southern Appalachian Region

The Southern Appalachian region is recognized by UNESCO as a biosphere area, which provides a framework of cooperation in which communities and countries can unite efforts to enhance economic development and sustainable use of natural resources.

The Southern Appalachian Man in the Biosphere (SAMAB) Cooperative is a group of natural resource agencies working together to promote communication on key issues important to the Southern Appalachians with a focus on decision-making to foster sustainability.

Historic Cherokee territory, as defined by the Royce map and depicted in the map at right, intersects extensively with the Southern Appalachian region. 

Members

The Culturally Significant Plant Species Initiative is made up of representatives from organizations that work in the conservation, restoration, education, and research of culturally significant plant species in this region.

For more information on our members and their work, click here.

Mission & Vision

The CSPSI acknowledges and seeks to support the multigenerational connections to Cherokee language, cultural practices, education, and identity that are sustained through continued interaction with plants and the land.

Culturally significant plant species are species valued for their significant traditional, present, and potential uses.

They include species used for crafts, medicines, and culinary uses such as fruits, nuts, leaves, roots, mushrooms and ferns. They also include crop wild relatives valued for food crop improvement and providing for the current and future food security of people. Culturally significant plants contribute directly to people’s health, wellbeing, and food sovereignty.

The mission of the Culturally Significant Plant Species Initiative (CSPSI) is to collaboratively promote the sustainability, management, and conservation of culturally significant plant species within the southern Appalachian region through restoration, education, and research.

Incorporating and respecting Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of indigenous peoples with deep traditions of using plants, is at the core of the CSPSI.

ᏗᏍᏓᏩᏛᏍᏗ ᎤᏃᎮᎵᏍᏙᏗ:

Cherokee Mission Statement:

ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎬᏱ ᏥᎪᎯᏳᏙᏗ ᏃᎴ ᏕᏥᎸᏉᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎨᏍᏗ

ᏗᎦᎴᏰᏍᏙᏗ ᏃᎴ ᏗᎾᏓᎪᏪᎳᏄᏍᏗ

Recognize, respect, and do not distribute or publish

ᎾᏍᎩᏯ ᎡᏘᏲ ᏧᎧᏃᎮᎸᎯ ᎤᏂᏰᏍᎬ ᎬᏙᏗᎯ

Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)

ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏱᎩ ᎤᏓᏦᏎᏍᏓᏂ ᎢᎬᏱ ᏍᎩᏲᏩᏁᎴ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏍᎬ ᏗᎧᎸᎬᏱ ᏍᎨᎮᏍᏗ

without the express consent of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Documents

The CSPSI Charter and other documents can be found here.