Jane Dumas

Kumeyaay traditional plant use

Master Kumeyaay ethnobotonist Jane Dumas

Jane Dumas, one of the few living elders with a comprehensive knowledge of Kumeyaay (native people of the San Diego region) ethnobotany and medicine, learned about plants and healing from her mother, Isobel Thing, a Kumeyaay kuseyaay cha’ak (healer) and midwife.  Jane helped found the San Diego American Indian Health Center and has been recognized as a traditional medicine specialist and educator.  She has taught Kumeyaay ethnobotany classes at Kumeyaay Community College on the Sycuan Indian Reservation.  Jane is also one of the last living fluent speakers of the Kumeyaay language.

As a master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2009, Jane worked with apprentice Richard Bugbee, a student of hers for over 25 years.  Their apprenticeship included developing a compendium of local plants and their Kumeyaay names, making an herbarium, and ongoing studies in plant identification, gathering, and propagation.