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The Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic shares an island with Haiti. The island is located between Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico, and includes cloud forests, tropical forests, coastal forests and six unique eco-systems. There are over 400 medicinal plants that have been catalogued by biologists and ethnobotanists. The primary tradition in the Dominican Republic is la 21 división, with variations that include Liborismo, tchatcha lineages, and congo lineages. In many communities, there are also lineages that draw from variations rooted in Haitian vodoun, and there are some communities where the traditions are rooted in Agua Dulce and a strong hybridization with Catholic-indigenous practices. We interviewed elders who live in all three kinds of forests mentioned here, and elders who maintain distinct lineages within la 21 division and Catholic-indigenous practices. We also interviewed a Cuban elder who lives in the outskirts of Santo Domingo, a metropolis of over 4,000,000 people. In her case, we concentrated on her garden, which she has cultivated and expanded over a four-year period, as well as how she has incorporated her traditions as a migrant.

A batey, or open plaza, where community members gather for festivals, celebrations and religious ceremonies, Dominican Republic.