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Rethinking Traditional Plants

Over generations, plants become traditional to cultures around the world. Every tribal nation has plants that it considers sacred. For example, the Schweinitz's sunflower is important to the Catawba Nation of South Carolina.

Roo (Catawba Nation) talks about how his idea of "traditional" plants has changed. According to Roo, the traditional stance for Catawba people has always been to adopt new plants and to make them traditional over time.

Listen here:


What makes a plant traditional? How can this change over time?


Indigenous Land Relationships in the Carolinas: An Interactive Audio Tour

This tour features short audio recordings of Indigenous people telling their own stories connected to their relationship with the land. It was created by Quinn Smith (Chickasaw Nation, Chocktaw, Duke University's Trinity College Class of 2023) through Duke Gardens' Equity Through Stories Program.

Links to the rest of the tour pages are below; click to go to the previous or next tour pages, or click on any of the individual tour page titles. Tour pages can be visited in any order.





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About Quinn Smith, Jr.

photo of Quinn Smith, Jr. in Duke Gardens

Quinn is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, majoring in public policy with a documentary studies certificate. As a documentarian, Quinn strives to challenge our misconceptions of Indigenous people by documenting a long-silenced, shared humanity.

What drew Quinn to the Equity through Stories Program was the ability to uplift Indigenous truths and to forge reciprocal relationships with Indigenous people throughout the Carolinas. Quinn does this by interviewing Indigenous people about their relationships with the land and weaving their stories into audio documentaries to be exhibited at the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants. He also initiates seed-sharing and other reciprocal ventures between Indigenous peoples and Blomquist Gardens. Quinn hopes that his work will help to re-educate Duke Garden’s 500,000+ annual visitors and to create a healing space for Indigenous people.

Visit Quinn's website here.