My name is Ama. I am thirty years old, non-binary, and a friend of plants. This class will be my last class in the Occupational Endorsement program for Ethnobotany. Prior to enrolling at UAF, I pursued an interdisciplinary degree elsewhere, where I studied Anthropology, dance, Sociology, and business. I am now disabled and in between careers, but I used to do experiential marketing and choreography. I love to read and write and sing. I make jewelry and little wire-wrapped crafts when my chronic pain is on a low swing, and I spend every day making sure my dog Luna knows she is treasured. I call myself Ama Rose because the Rose is my favorite plant, lavender is a close second. My dream is to one day have a little house with a little garden, where Luna can run and I can talk to the trees, grass, and flowers and share whatever we grow and find.
I am really grateful to be a part of this course. In my childhood, I spent a lot of time outside and as I grew older, plant medicine became something I researched a lot as I fought progressing health issues. I wasn’t aware of ethnobotany before hearing of this program, and I have learned so much about the field and myself. I am indigenous and within this program, I have learned many things about the ways my and others’ ancestors have survived and thrived, I’ve learned about mentalities that seem so far away in modern society but were true in my heart. I found wild lettuce and mustard plants in my neighborhood, and I discovered how many of my neighbors have fruit and other edible plants growing in their yards. I found a banana tree and I along with someone made a little cookbook with different recipes.I learned to forage and made incense and a pine needle basket! My awareness of the different ways that discrimination and colonization were and can be observed through nature grew, and I learned most importantly of all, that there is hope.
Because of this program, I have decided that when I have the resources and ability, I am going to teach people how to forage and start a program where people collect the “falling fruit” from trees and vines, etc in their neighborhoods, providing free and accessible food, as well as knowledge and community. I will also be finishing my degree in Anthropology, focusing on Medical anthropology and Ethnobotany.
I will be using my cell phone as a magnifier and my Nikon camera.