Kateri Healing Gardens, Kahnawake, Qc

Rick Moore, FCSLA



EN_ Landscape architects and First Nations people have mutual respect for the natural environment. This proposal is a small step to bring our abilities and thoughts together to create the First Nations Kateri Healing Gardens.

The approach goes beyond the boundaries of every day practice by exploring First Nations culture and collaborating with a recognized Kahnawake Medicine Helper and Faith Keeper on design. This collaboration will increase our cultural knowledge of plant material and of the Mohawk people. The results will be tangible, benefit the community and widely distributed.

The construction of the garden is funded by the Kateri Memorial Foundation whose ” Philosophy is one of respect for the people and the community of Kahnawake. There is an understanding of the importance of the circle of life. The Foundation’s focus is on all health-related areas with a special concern for disadvantaged groups including elders, youth and the disabled.”

Specifically, the LACF grant will help fund ethno-botanical research of culturally relevant plants for a traditional healing garden. The work includes plant selection and design as well as preparation of plant description sheets for a brochure and signage. Information will the benefits and maintenance of selected plants.  It is anticipated that the garden will set a new precedent for health facilities, wellness centres and therapeutic gardens across Canada and be an important contribution to awareness of First Nations reconciliation.  


19.05.30 _ images added from http://katerifoundation.org/kmhc-healing-gardens/

17.03.05 _ RICK MOORE provides a personal update about his work:

A literature review is in progress of  ethnobotanical  publications of the Iroquois and Mohawk Nations. The initiation of this proposal was based on very limited review  and understanding of the  First Nations relationship to plants .  Several readings and one of the publications that I have purchased has been really valuable in developing more insight of this aspect of the culture.

The world view of the cosmos, The Creation Story (Mother Earth) and the power that is attributed to various groups of plants has been revealed. Interestingly, plants are grouped into a hierarchy, the most important are the plants for nutrition, second are plants for utilitarian purposes and thirdly are the medicinal plants. The rationale is that plants benefiting the greatest number of the community are most important. Medicinal plants are deemed to benefit the individual and while important they are in the third group. Somewhat of a surprise?  I have begun identifying plants in each category. This system may provide a very useful means to theme each of three design areas that are part of the Healing Garden project. One of the publications has identified over 300 medicinal plants and the purpose of each.


Since obtaining the grant from the LACF I have had further conversations with the Jardin Botanique de Montreal and they have agreed to lend assistance by providing horticultural input while selecting plants for the gardens. This  is very  practical as they have been looking after the First Nation garden at the JBM for several years and know what is involved in cultivating and maintaining these species.

In addition to the  research project I have been co ordinating the  landscape construction schedule  with the overall building project and we have now established a mid August until end of October time period for two of the Court Yards. The results of the research work will be applied and  planted by First Nations volunteers during this period. I am very confident that this research  project will make a significant difference in the development of the Kateri First Nations Healing Garden….Thanks a lot to LACF !


Rick Moore, FCSLA



FR_ Les architectes paysagistes et les membres des Premières Nations éprouvent un respect pour leur environnement naturel. Cette proposition est une modeste initiative visant à réunir nos capacités et nos idées en vue de créer les Kateri Healing Gardens des Premières Nations.

Notre démarche va au-delà des limites du travail habituel, en explorant la culture des Premières Nations et en collaborant à la conception du projet avec un aide-soignant et un gardien de la foi reconnu de Kahnawake. Cette collaboration permettra d’accroître notre connaissance culturelle des plantes et des Mohawks. Les résultats seront tangibles, bénéficieront à la communauté et seront largement diffusés.

La construction du jardin est financée par la Kateri Memorial Foundation qui a pour philosophie de respecter les citoyens et la communauté de Kahnawake. Elle tient compte de l’importance du cercle de la vie. La fondation met l’accent sur tous les domaines liés à la santé, et en particulier les groupes défavorisés, y compris les aînés, les jeunes et les personnes handicapées.

La subvention de la FAPC aidera plus particulièrement à financer la recherche ethnobotanique des plantes qui sont culturellement pertinentes pour un jardin de guérison traditionnel. Les travaux consistent à sélectionner les plantes, à concevoir l’aménagement et à préparer des fiches descriptives des plantes qui figureront sur une brochure et sur les panneaux. L’information traitera des avantages et de l’entretien des plantes sélectionnées. On s’attend à ce que le jardin crée un précédent pour des établissements de santé, des centres de bien-être et des jardins thérapeutiques au Canada et qu’il contribue à la sensibilisation et à la réconciliation avec les Premières Nations.