While protein is in plentiful supply
in our traditional diets, much-needed carbohydrates are harder to come by. To overcome this, our ancestors, like those of many Coastal First Nations, cultivated “root foods” in gardens around our major settlements – like Húy̓at. In particular, we valued the long, skinny roots of
springbank clover (also known as “Indian spaghetti”) and Pacific silverweed, and the bulblets of riceroot.
We ate these fresh after steaming or dried them for later consumption.
The abundance of these root foods in Húy̓at today reflects our careful tending of these plant foods over generations. Our ancestors knew that each of the plants growing in the intertidal thrive in a particular elevational zone, depending on their requirements and tolerance for hours inundated and exposure to brackish water. Thus, they artificially terraced the upper intertidal to increase the zone where plants like clover could thrive. Today, these remnant gardens are visible as subtle terracing in the landscape. 
Our archaeological excavations of the gardens in central Húy̓at revealed small fragments of stone tools, indicating the gardens were used pre-contact times. Ethnobotanical surveys of Húy̓at indicates that the distribution of clover is closely tied to the density of ancient archaeological sites. Its distribution likely reflects our tending of clover, including tilling the patches and leaving the broken roots as rootstock. We clearly had a mutually beneficial relationship with this important plant – we increased its numbers and distribution and it provided for us a much needed and desired food.
Root Gardens