Shannon Angrish is in her final year in the MAIS program, with dual focus areas of Literary Studies and Cultural Studies. She currently works in the field of intellectual property as a Trademark Agent.
Title: The Role of Fungi in Indigenous Societies of the Global North
Abstract: Fungi serve an important role in the spiritual beliefs and rituals, medicine, and everyday life of Indigenous societies of the Global North. They do not, however, feature prominently in the traditional diets of these communities, although in more recent years certain groups have begun eating mushrooms, particularly in Siberia. This scoping review of the literature reveals that ethnomycological research on fungi in Indigenous communities of the Global North, especially circumboreal and circumpolar groups, is lacking in certain respects. These include cultural explanations surrounding edibility in North America; Siberian and Saami medicinal use of fungi; religious or social underpinnings of the widespread association between fungi and the dead; and the lack of a credible explanation as to why hallucinogenic mushroom use never took hold in North American communities. Further research is needed to flesh out our understanding of the role of fungi in Indigenous communities, and this research should focus primarily on the lived experience of the Indigenous populations.