Traditional Plants and Herbs

Search Our Site

Traditional Plants and Herbs


Coordinator: Thomas Antonio


Registration Deadline: Friday, February 24, 2023


2020 Traditional Plants & Herbs Book List

  1. Ethnobotany of the Navajo. By Elmore, F.E. (1944). Monograph of the University of New Mexico and the School of American Research. Santa Fe, NM. Number 8. PDF
  2. Nanise’: a Navajo herbal – one hundred plants from the Navajo Reservation. By Mayes, V. O. and B.B. Lacy. (2018). Navajo Community College Press.
    ISBN-13: 978-1589852174 ISBN-10: 1589852176
  3. Flora of the Four Corners Region: Vascular Plants of the San Juan River Drainage: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah by Kenneth Heil, Steve O’Kane Jr, et. al. (2013). Missouri Botanical Garden Press
    ISBN: 9781930723849
  4. Wild Plants & Native Peoples of the Four Corners. By William W. Dunmire & Gail D. Tierney. (1997). Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, NM.
    ISBN 0-89013-319-0
  5. Plains Apache Ethnobotany. By Julia A. Jordan. (2008). University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK.
    ISBN 978-0-8061-3968-5
  6. Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province by William W. Dunmire and Gail D. Tierney. (1995)
    ISBN 0-89013-282-8


PDF Document: Traditional Plants and Herbs Comprehensive Plant List


Competition Objectives

  • Strengthen existing science/botany/environmental science programs at TCUs and stimulate new interest in plant fields.
  • Encourage interest in Native culture and history of traditional plants and their impact on Native community wellness.


Competition Rules

  1. The traditional plant competition will be in a PowerPoint format with fifty (50) slides (one (1) slide for each plant) on a provided laptop.
  2. The traditional plants will be selected from the Native region of the host committee.
  3. A list of all the traditional plants, with acceptable scientific, Native, and common names, as well as acceptable uses, will be available as part of the registration packet.
  4. Plants will be identified with appropriate information immediately following the competition.
  5. First, second, and third place will be awarded.
  6. Books from the reference list can be obtained from every Tribal College library, science department, or bookstore.
  7. Tribal College student participants will have up to two (2) hours to complete the competition.
  8. There can only be one (1) tribal college student participant at a laptop at a time during the competition.
  9. Reference material is not permitted during the competition.
  10. Common names or traditional uses may vary; check the registration-reference list for acceptable plant names and uses.
  11. Traditional plants may have more than one (1) traditional use; however, only one (1) traditional use needs to be provided for each plant in the competition. Each tribal college student participants’ list will provide one (1) traditional use for each plant.
  12. Any alternate use for a traditional plant that tribal college student participant wishes to provide during the competition shall be cleared by the host committee coordinator prior to the start of the competition. Any traditional use provided by the tribal college student participant shall be verified as a traditional use of the host committee region.
  13. Tribal College student participants shall list the scientific name, common name, the regional name, and traditional use for each plant.
  14. Traditional uses for each plant shall be specific beyond simply “food” or “medicine”.
    1. For medicines, Tribal college student participants shall identify the part of the plant that is used and illness that is treated.
    2. For foods, Tribal college student participants shall identify the part of the plant that is consumed.
    3. For building materials, tribal college student participants shall identify the part of the plant that is used and give an example of its uses.
    4. For other uses, Tribal college student participants shall identify the part of the plant used and its uses.
  15. Each AIHEC Tribal College may register three (3) students. 


Competition Guidelines and Procedures

  • The host committee selects the Traditional Plants coordinator. The Traditional Plants coordinator will reserve an appropriately-sized Traditional Plants location. A small conference room will suffice.
  • The Traditional Plants coordinator will provide periodic updates to the host committee concerning registration numbers.
  • The Traditional Plants coordinator may use the proven rules from above and make adjustments as the need arises to adapt to the specific host location, participant-entry size, budget limitations, etc.
  • The Traditional Plants coordinator might need to recruit ~ two (2) people (faculty, students, or staff members) to assist with judging, onsite monitoring, and registration.
  • Suggested Checklist of Materials to bring to the conference: master spreadsheet of the registered students, enough scorecards for each Traditional Plants participant, laptop with Traditional Plant PowerPoint presentation.
  • Have a firm registration deadline. Postmarked, faxed, emailed, etc. at least seven (7) days before the start of the conference. No exceptions.
  • Enter registered students into a master spreadsheet by college/team to ease the checking in process at the conference.
  • The coordinator arrives at the conference at least a day before the competition to setup the room reserved for the Traditional Plants with a table and the laptop.
  • The Traditional Plants coordinator is responsible for reporting the winning team to the awards’ banquet coordinator.


Registration Deadline: Friday, February 24, 2023

To register for this event, please download the application and email Thomas Antonio (

PDF Document: Download and REGISTER