Collaborating with(in) the Garden: Stewardship, Performance, and Thinking Beyond the Spatio-Temporal Formations of Institutional Legacies
What might it mean to conceptualize stewardship as a multi-species performance that contests the spatio-temporal boundaries of institutions? The proposed paper focuses on the Native American Medicine Garden (NAMG) on the University of Minnesota campus and the stewardship of Cânté Sütá (Oglala Lakota), paying specific attention to the role of plants in a distinctly Lakota-led initiative. I consider the NAMG as an undercommons, a generative site to challenge conformist settler logics governing land use (i.e., Morrill Act) and to envision not-yet thought modes of co-existence. I think from the garden to consider the relationship between stewardship and performance, arguing that the NAMG - as a pedagogical space of possibility - expands how and for whom coaltions are built. The NAMG sets the conditions for resistance by entities that likely would be identified as auxiliary or inert within settler-colonial notions of land-use, inviting non-native participants to approach the formation of plants not as an object of analysis, but as co-constituting philosophical thoughts and possibilities for existence.
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