This work presents a body of work inspired in colonial illustrations of flora and fauna of the Great Plains, in conversation with my own work that is inspired in women’s work and which has been the essence of my artistic practice. I collaborated with Professor Thomas Gannon from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln to translate the names of many different fauna and flora species into the languages of native indigenous communities with the Great Plains.
Solidago nemoralis (Aiton)
Traditional Lakota medicine included using a “decoction of the entire [goldenrod] plant [. . .] to expel kidney stones” (L. Black Elk, “Culturally Important Plants of the Lakota”). This is likely related to the plant’s more widely known use as a diuretic. You can now buy Native-produced goldenrod tea on the internet: “Goldenrod Tea is used to reduce pain and swelling (inflammation), as a diuretic to increase urine flow, and to stop muscle spasms” (Lakota Made, “Goldenrod Tea”).
Sturnella Neglecta (Audubon)
For the Lakota people, the Western Meadowlark is considered nearly family, the “bird who speaks Lakota.” According to Julian Rice, “Unlike the animals of Romantic and much twentieth-century British and American poetry, the meadowlark is neither more nor less blessed than man; rather, he exists in the Lakota consciousness as both model and messenger” (“How the Bird that Speaks Lakota Earned a Name,” in Swann and Krupat, Recovering the Word).