The Rainshadow of the Rockies - The Ecology and Native-American Folklore, Medicine, Food and Uses of the Herbs, Plants, Shrubs and Trees - by Elnora A. Stenersen Old Coyote

This is our loving salute to one of Natural Life News’ long-time and elder writers, Elnora A. (Old Coyote) Stenersen. Here are ALL 18 of the articles she published with us from 2007 to 2012 — collectively named, “The Rainshadow of the Rockies.”

We consider her lifetime of knowledge and writing—with the help of many tribal people—on the ecology and the medicinal and food uses of the native plants and trees of our region, as one of the most valuable series we’ve run in the magazine. For survival and sustainability, we suggest you print these out and make a field guide from the perspective of the natives who lived here long before us.

Elnora came to us in 2007, saying, “I have a truckload of manuscripts and I’d like to publish them in your magazine.” Thus began our six-year collaboration and friendship. Elnora is a Norwegian whose father was a new settler to Montana in the early 1900s, Harvard educated, and married to John M. Old Coyote, a full-blooded Crow Indian. She taught at MSU Bozeman and authored several books. Well into her nineties, she now resides in Billings, Montana.

She loves the arid area that is her home. She often described to me the concept of the “rainshadow,” where the moisture coming in eastward from the Pacific Ocean is all dropped to the west of the Rockies (the rainy northwest) and does not climb over the expanse of the mountains, thus creating the dry ecosystem she called, “The Rainshadow of the Rockies.”

Elnora interacted with the Native-American tribes in this area and learned all she could about its native plants, how these early peoples cherished them and used them to sustain life, in ceremony, and in healing. She then went on to teach this valuable information about our land, which must be preserved—for all times and for all peoples.

Natural Life News is proud to have published these articles featuring her favorite and most important of the local plants and trees. The PDFs of these articles, shown here, are freely available for download.

Denis Ouellette, Editor

Echinacea: Panacea of the Western Plains

Sagebrush Country - Native American Folklore & Usage of Sage

Wild Peas of the Rockies...Early American Folklore for Poisonous Plants

Cottonwood - King of the Great Plains & Rockies - Ecology, Indian Folklore, Medicine, Uses

Oregon Grape - The Holly of the Rockies: Ecology, Folklore, Medicine & Food

DANDELION - Ecology, Folklore, Food, Medicine

Poisonous Plants of the Rockies and Great Plains - Ecology, Early American Folklore, Medicine, Cautions

Lodgepole Pine: Structures, Food, Medicine

Rocky Mountain Subalpine Fir

SYMBIOSIS in Nature Part 1 - Lichen, Algae & Fungus

SYMBIOSIS in Nature Part 2 - Milkweed & Monarch Butterfly

SYMBIOSIS in Nature Part 3 - Yucca & the Yucca Moth

Bearberry - Kinnikinnick - American Indian Folklore, Food, Medicine, Smoke

WESTERN CHOKECHERRY - Indian Folklore, Medicine, Uses in the Rockies, Great Plains

Mustards of the Rockies - Messin' Around with the Mustards

Junipers of the Rockies - Early American Folklore, Food, Medicine

Pines of the Rockies: Ponderosa Pine: Ecology, Native-American Folklore, Food, Medicine

Quaking Aspen: It's Ecology, Native-American Food, Medicine & Uses

Ch. Issue # Months / Year Title
1 36 Nov-Dec 07 Echinacea
2 37 Jan-Feb 08 Sagebrush Country!
3 39 May-June 08 Poisonous Plants Part 1: Wild Peas
4 41 Sept-Oct 08 Cottonwood
5 42 Nov-Dec 08 Oregon Grape: The Holly of the Rockies
6 44 Mar-Apr 09 Dandelions
7 45 May-June 09 Poisonous Plants Part 2: Cautions
8 47 Sept-Oct 09 Lodgepole Pine
9 48 Nov-Dec 09 Subalpine Fir
10 50 Mar-Apr 10 Symbiosis Part 1: Lichen, Algae & Fungus
11 51 May-June 10 Symbiosis Part 2: Milkweed & the Monarch Butterfly
12 52 July-Aug 10 Symbiosis Part 3: Yucca & the Yucca Moth
13 55 Jan-Feb 11 Bearberry—"Kinnikinnick"
14 57 May-June 11 Western Chokecherry
15 59 Sept-Oct 11 Mustards
16 60 Nov-Dec 11 Junipers
17 60 Jan-Feb 12 Ponderosa Pine
18 63 July-Aug 12 Quaking Aspen