Rosalyn R. LaPier
WSRP Research Associate 2016-17
University of Montana
Plants That Purify: The Natural and Supernatural History of Smudging
Rosalyn R. LaPier (Blackfeet/Métis) is an environmental historian, ethnobotanist, writer and popular public speaker on traditional environmental knowledge, American Indian religion and activism. She is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Montana. She is also a Research Associate with the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.
Dr. LaPier serves on the editorial board for Montana, The Magazine of Western History and the board of the National Coalition of Native American Language Schools and Programs. She is the founder of Saokio Heritage, a community based organization, created by Native women interested in preserving the histories, languages, and traditional knowledge of Native peoples of the northern Great Plains. She is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana and also Red River Métis.
While at HDS she will continue work on “Plants That Purify: The Natural and Supernatural History of Smudging,” a book-length project that explores the concept of purity in historic Blackfeet (Amskapi Piikuni) society. The Blackfeet believed human purity was required before interacting with the supernatural world and that women and the use of certain plants played different roles helping humans achieve that purity.