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Gathering Grounds

The Caribbean Sea, surrounded by mangroves and coastal forest. Site of an inter-tribal, inter-nation ceremony in 2018.

Cactus growing in the central mountain region, near Confluencia. Plant life is central to human life on this island.

We had not originally contemplated including a section on gardens and forests as we conceptualized this project. But, as stated in our methodology, our interviewees determined how the research unfolded. Having spent a significant amount of time with healers in the Dominican Republic, they began to share their gardens and medicinal forests with us. For this reason, the majority of our research into the ethnobotanical worlds of our elders took place in the Dominican Republic. Rich in bio-diversity, and in botanical plant life, we were able to visit vastly different micro-climates and ecological areas throughout the Dominican Republic. We visited the central mountain region, known for its cloud forests, tropical humid forests in the lower mountain regions, and arid coastal forests along the southeastern coast. In layman’s terms, we went to the high mountains, the low mountains, and down by the sea. We also went to peoples’ homes. In their homes, we were introduced to their gardens. In their gardens, people grow food and medicinal plants that they use on a frequent basis. In at least one case, medicinal plants included plants used for spiritual-religious healings.

We hope to incorporate similar findings from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the PNW in the near future. Funding and time to build relationships are essential for us to do this work. For now, we share sources about others doing similar work in Puerto Rico (such as Maria Benedetti ), and in Cuba. See the Bibliography 

This is the flower from a tree known by various names in the community where I planted it, back in 2004. Sometimes called cajuilito Suliman, poma rosa, Carolina, or pera asiá ica, itis a fruit tree that produces these beautiful pink flowers. The fruit itself is white and watery on the inside, and sweet like rose water.