Traditional harvesters are the original stewards of the land. Since time immemorial, Indigenous Peoples have been making observations about the weather, air, land, water, plants, and animals for survival. Today’s traditional harvesters are the community’s current environmental monitors and play an integral role in their community’s climate monitoring initiative.
For example, Shannon Landrie-Crossland is a traditional Métis woman harvester from Saskatchewan. She is the daughter of Gail Trottier and Dennis Landrie who are the descendants of Charles Trottier (Ursule Laframboise), Antoine Trottier (Angelique Laframboise) and Moise Landry (Philomene Laframboise) of The Trottier Hunting Brigade. Her family connection is deeply rooted in the lands of the Round Prairie Settlement, SK and extends as far back as the 1850s. Her family names of Landrie, Trottier, and Caron are present in all three-land use occupational periods within Round Prairie: Overwintering, Homesteading, and Current.
She currently practices her traditional harvesting activities within her traditional land use area in the Round Prairie Settlement, SK. She has the honor and privilege of sharing her knowledge with her family and other community members about traditional harvesting activities such as birch water harvesting. During the harvest, she makes many observations such as:
- what the weather is doing in the spring such as the temperature and snow conditions
- when the birch sap is running and when the trees start to leaf out
- the health of the trees such as the impacts of drought, fire and insect infestations
- the quantity and quality of the sap such as how much and for how long as well as what it looks, smells, and tastes like
- when other plants are sprouting and what birds and other animals are returning or waking up.