Laurie Lacey

Herbal Elder, Traditional Medicine Maker

Laurie Lacey is a traditional medicine maker, naturalist, writer and painter, of mixed ancestry, including Mi’kmaq and Irish. He has been involved with aboriginal medicine, herbalism, and ethnobotany, since 1974. He is the author of several publications, including, Mikmaq Medicines: Remedies and Recollections, Medicine Walk: Reconnecting to Mother Earth, 1999. The book, Mi’kmaq Medicines , has become an Atlantic Canadian bestseller.
During his many years of involvement with the medicine plants and trees, Laurie has given countless formal presentations, informal talks, workshops and medicines walks, throughout Nova Scotia and elsewhere, including at the Herbal Association of Nova Scotia (HANS) Herb Fairs, Mi’kmaq First Nation events, National Parks, Schools, to Scouts and Guides, and at other Health,
Wellness, and cultural events.

Laurie Lacey is a storyteller, as well as a medicine maker. He can relate many stories and anecdotes about his life with the plants and trees, the animals and birds, and other wonderful “Beings” of the forests and fields, lakes, streams, and ocean.

Laurie graduated from Dalhousie University (King’s College) in 1975 with an Honours B.A. in Anthropology (specializing in Ethnobotany). In 1978 he went on to study Folk Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland, specializing in Mi’kmaq medicine research – plant, tree, and animal medicines, frequenting the aboriginal communities,  of Eskasoni, Shubinacadie, Mill Brook, Wildcat (Molega), and Gold River, Nova Scotia.

He also spent time at Conne River, them largest Mi’kmaq community in Newfoundland. He was taught aboriginal plant and tree medicines (including many of the green stemmed classic herbs) by a number of Medicine Makers
and Elders.

From 1980-2020 his primary focus has been as an educator, teaching the traditional plant medicines to Native and non-Native children and adults. In this manner, and especially through interpretive medicine walks, he connects individuals to the natural world, to the living plants and trees of the forests and fields. Living plants are powerful medicine companions.

He also offers consultations on health and wellness issues. Those consultations have increased in recent years. His clients are both aboriginal and non-aboriginal residents. When working with people on a one on one basis, he follows aboriginal medicine maker traditions, focusing on local plants and trees, as remedies. Although there are exceptions, he rarely recommends foreign or exotic herbs. He values the living plants as the best medicine, and wishes to help people develop a relationship with the plant(s) and/or tree(s) that heal them.

In keeping with Mi’kmaq medicine traditions, he treats many of his clients with medicinal teas and drinks, and external bathing solutions, the latter often composed of combinations of tree barks.

Laurie can be credited for first introducing Mi’kmaq medicines to the non-native communities of eastern Canada, and has since helped spread great interest in these traditions, well beyond the Maritimes.

Website: Natural Healing Talk


Interview with a Herbal Elder