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BotanyDoc consultant Letitia McCune

Principal Consultant

Letitia M. McCune, MS, PhD

Research interests include traditional food systems and uses of medicinal plant species; antidiabetic, anticancer and antioxidant properties of plants

and intellectual property rights of Indigenous Peoples.

BotanyDoc projects have included:

  • Working with the San Carlos Apache Tribe on their Traditional Western Apache Diet Program. Ultimate goals of the program being to influence officials and community to utilize traditional foods and to help create school, youth and community involvement in the ancestral food system of the tribe as a component of wellness.


-  Using seasonal traditional food menus compiled all known nutritional values of native plants and animals used,

-  Created an analysis of menus with professional nutritional software,

-  Wrote official reports of findings of the high nutritional values of their traditional foods system,

-  Created a public health journal article draft for their use to publish or not,

-  Hired for a second contract to compile information on more species and to create lists of potential market equivalents for use in designing diet



  • Writing a formal report on the benefits of copper soil at a medicinal plant gathering site for the Skeetchestn Natural Resources Corporation illustrating the benefits of the particular site to the medicinal properties of those plants and the overall importance of that land to the health of the Secwepemc People.

                  Some of this work is highlighted (with permission) in a chapter of a book on land rights:

                   Letitia M. McCune and Alain Cuerrier. 2020. Chapter 9: Traditional Plant Medicines and the                         Protection of Traditional Harvesting Sites. In: Plants, People, and Places: The Roles of                                 Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology in Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights in Canada and Beyond.                       Nancy J. Turner (Ed.). McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal, Canada. pp. 151-168.

  • Presenting to academic societies, Tribal Extension Program professionals and colleges on seed sovereignty, IPR, and the importance of traditional plant and food systems.

"Dr. McCune brought a deep cultural sensitivity, clear understanding and guidance on the rights of Indigenous Peoples to their traditional crop germplasm while working on the board of Native Seeds/SEARCH. She has also led my students, with clarity and respect for cultural traditions, into an understanding of international codes of ethics."

                       -Martha Ames Burgess, Adjunct Professor of Tohono O'odham Ethnobotany, Tohono O'odham Community College  and previous Native Seeds/SEARCH board member

"Your presentation was delightful in the Global Nutrition Class at Penn State.We need more "BotanyDocs" like yourself that can bring together Academic Knowledge and the Indigenous Knowledge of cultures around the globe."

                      -Audrey Maretzki, Ph.D., PSU Professor Emerita and Co-Director of ICIK (Penn State's Interinstitutional Center for Indigenous Knowledge)

  Background of Letitia M. McCune (Principal Consultant):

  • Experienced  researcher, author, presenter, and educator with extensive laboratory knowledge and a multidisciplinary background encompassing plant science, nutrition and ethnobotany.


  • Professional presenter at conferences of the Society of Ethnobiology, Society for Economic Botany (historical uses of plants by people), American Society for Horticultural Science, American Society of Pharmacognosy, American Society of Plant Physiologists and the Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program.


  • Work experience at the University of Arizona, Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and the Environment (CINE), McGill University, Harvard Medical School,  Massachusetts General Hospital, Cornell University, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, University of British Columbia, and with projects at Native Seeds/SEARCH.

  • University Education




              Post Doctoral Faculty, Nutritional Sciences  (University of Arizona)

              Ph.D., Plant Science  (McGill University) 

              M.Sc., Plant Science  (McGill University)

              B.Sc., Plant Science  (Cornell University)

              Certificate, Dietary Supplement Intensive Practicum (NIH)

              Certificate, Small Business Management (Northeastern University)

              Human Subject Certification (CITI@UA)

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