[TimorLesteStudies] Publication: Ethnobotany in the resistance

Jennifer Drysdale jenster at cres10.anu.edu.au
Tue Sep 25 10:02:45 EST 2007

Fataluku medicinal ethnobotany and the East Timorese military resistance
Sean WM Collins,1 Xisto Martins,2 Andrew Mitchell,3 Awegechew 
Teshome,1 and John T Arnason
corresponding author
1Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
2USC Canada-East Timor, Dili, East Timor
3Northern Australian Quarantine Strategy, Darwin, Australia
corresponding author
Corresponding author.
Sean WM Collins: 
<mailto:seancollins99 at hotmail.com>seancollins99 at hotmail.com ; Xisto 
Martins: <mailto:xistomartins at yahoo.com>xistomartins at yahoo.com ; 
Andrew Mitchell: 
<mailto:Andrew.Mitchell at aquis.gov.au>Andrew.Mitchell at aquis.gov.au ; 
Awegechew Teshome: 
<mailto:ateshome at usc-canada.org>ateshome at usc-canada.org ; John T 
Arnason: <mailto:jarnason at science.uottawa.ca>jarnason at science.uottawa.ca
Received June 15, 2006; Accepted January 22, 2007.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the 
Creative Commons Attribution License 
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any 
medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

An ethnobotanical study of medicinal and poisonous plants used by the 
East Timor resistance was undertaken in the Lautem District of East 
Timor to study medicinal plant use in the region. Interviews were 
conducted with a single key consultant from the resistance army who 
belonged to the Fataluku culture. This study is of importance as a 
historical document and because no previous medicinal ethnobotanical 
studies on this region exist.

A rapid ethnobotanical survey of medicinal and poisonous plants was 
conducted through the proposed Conis Santana National Park in the 
Lautem district of East Timor. Medicinal and poisonous plants were 
identified by a Consultant and data was collected by the authors 
using classical descriptive ethnobotanical techniques (i.e. no 
quantitative measures) through an unstructured open ended interview.

During the survey 40 medicinal and poisonous plants were identified 
by the Consultant and collected by the authors. Defining 
characteristics of the Consultant's knowledge include a high 
frequency use of trees, heavily forested habitats, leaves, decoctions 
and drinks for a range of conditions relevant to a resistance army.

Despite limitations of the study, important contributions of this 
study include preservation of a part of the cultural history of the 
resistance movement and traditional botanical knowledge of the 
Fataluku. Furthermore, initial findings may indicate that traditional 
botanical knowledge is unique amongst different East Timorese 
cultures in terms of plant selection.

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Jenny Drysdale
Moderator, Timor-Leste Studies Association List
Mobile 0407 230 772
Email Jennifer.Drysdale at anu.edu.au
Personal Website http://cres.anu.edu.au/~jenster
East Timor Studies www.etstudies-aust.org  
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