Following in Plantain's Footsteps
Participatory performative inquiry
This performative walk and meditation took up Potawatomi botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer's call for settler societies to unlearn the mindset of colonization through learning from plants.
Participants attempted a dialogue with the plant known as White Man's Footprint or Common Plantain. Plantain is a non-native plant that followed early European settlers to Turtle Island. It is regarded with the special designation 'naturalized', reflecting its ability to co-exist with native ecology in useful and non-invasive ways. Through attention, drawing and mapping our sensory experience, we conversed with Plantain as a way to explore pathways to being HERE in a time/place of ecological crisis and unresolved settler colonialism. We also respectfully harvested plantain leaves with herbalist Danielle Gehl and made a medicinal Plantain oil.
I performed Following in Plantain's Footsteps with participants along the Eramosa River in Guelph in July 2017 as part of Musagetes' Mashkiki Gitigaan.
The creation of this work was generously supported by Musagetes.
Photos: Chelsea Brant