Reclaiming Roots includes a collection of twelve plants indigenous to the United States that have been utilized within Native American communities for ceremonial, trade, and architectural purposes. Madeline Sanders (Mvskoke & Mojave) and Shasta Hampton (White Mountain Apache) pioneered the collection and repatriation of eternally ephemeral data that have been orally disseminated within their communities since time immemorial to then transmute the products of roots that could blossom in modernity. The digital renderings of natural products reveal how sacred elements that are often overlooked can help views reconnect to green ways of living. Over 200 drugs that have been or still are listed in the Pharmacopeia of the United States or the National Formulary were first used by Indigenous peoples, but neither reference acknowledges this fact. Thus, the tremendous benefits we’ve derived from Indigenous knowledge of native plant medicines go largely uncredited. With this in mind, it is necessary to pay homage to those who came before us and paved the path for a better future. The artists wish to center and focus our project on the importance of sustainable environments, Indigenous knowledge, and reclaiming their roots. In the 1800s, as westward expansion exposed Americans of European descent to new landscapes as well as the inevitable injuries and illnesses, Indigenous people often provided the explorers and settlers with herbal medicines that proved crucial to their survival. Today, Indigenous plants are central to improving dietary health for current generations.
Works On View
Reclaiming Roots was created and installed on the campus of Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Special thanks to the Faculty and Staff at Fort Lewis College for helping to make this installation possible.
Prickly Pear Cactus
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