re: Landscape architecture, Indigeneity studies and Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Rod Barnett published an essay over at Places Journal. He begins with the observation

Indigeneity is scarcely mentioned in the field’s seminal texts nor discussed in its conference halls and online forums….My project investigates how indigenous communities are represented (or not) in this process of contemporary American landscape-making.

He then draws on the work of Brian Davis

who places the modern practice of landscape architecture within the ‘long, sophisticated tradition of landscape-making in the Americas,’ thus establishing continuity and dissolving the boundaries between us and them, then and now.

to make the case for transculturation, decolonization and an awareness of the indigenous experience as a continual contact zone, as guiding principles for Designing Indian Country.

On a related note, this recent piece by Annalee Newitz for Ars Technica digs into the medieval city of Cahokia. As I noted elsewhere, the piece led me to recall a great post (also by Brian Davis) from 2011 re: mounds as “precedent for responding to floods.” and a pre-Contact form of indigenous #infrastructuralurbanism.

re: Designing Indian Country and transculturation

If Clifford is right, and I think he is, cultural encounter with Native America occurs not in the skewed spatiality of historical or aesthetic representation, but in a contact zone that is ongoing, interactive, and actually constitutive of contemporary indigeneity…Thus, landscape architects are commissioned to design public spaces that celebrate western expansion but not the decimations that accompanied it…does the making of landscapes that reference and evoke tradition, by Indians and non-Indians alike, blot out current identity practices?

via Rod Barnett (Chair of the Graduate Program in Landscape Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis) over at Places