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Plant Colonization: Indigo

The Unknown's picture

I was planning on tracing the history of a plant. I wanted to explore the cultural, ecological, and political complexities that this plant “witnessed” or was apart of. I was thinking about choosing a plant that was brought from one part of the world to a different place and dominated the local environment it was placed in, greatly diminishing the diversity. I also wanted to choose a plant that was beneficial to humans in some ways, probably in the short-term and show the evolution of the plant. I was hoping to explore the different ways people have used the plant.

I wanted to connect the destruction of different plant species to the erasure of a specific cultural identity and language. I plan on choosing a plant that “participated” in or played a role in the stealing of one country’s resources. Along with the possible loss of other plants due to this invasive species, I wanted to explore how parts of people's identities were erased, forgotten, or altered.

I want to explore if there was an exchange of knowledge or ideas about farming, palnting, or harvesting as a result of this plant or with the introduction of this plant into a new territory.

I was hoping to see how the people who are living with this invasive plant feel about it, possible efforts to limit its growth, and how much people know about the plant’s history. Is the plant aesthetically pleasing? What are its attributes? What are its flaws? How did the opinions of the various people who encountered this plant differ or are similar?

In the end, I am going to try to connect the specific plant’s history with the history and stories of the people it encountered and influenced.

I got my inspiration for this idea of discovering the background of a plant from “Alien Soil” by Jamaica Kincaid.