Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science

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Fresh Banana Leaves is Jessica Hernandez’s appeal to center the voices and wisdom of indigenous communities in mainstream discourse on land, water, and forest management practices and policies. As an indigenous scholar, Hernandez centers family stories, personal history and case studies based in indigenous communities in bringing indigenous science at the forefront of the environmental and climate justice movements.

Through my own immigrant lens, reading Hernandez’s ode to indigenous ways of protecting and honoring the environment is like fresh banana leaves: refreshing, healing and familiar to the tropic-born heart. At times, the book reads as if it was written for the editor of a peer-reviewed academic journal, which is not surprising since Dr. Hernandez has earned a Ph.D. Yet, embedded in the social science lexicon is the pure wisdom of family and community history, witness of struggle through bloody civil war and the migrant’s story of striving for belonging in a new country.

Case studies of how indigenous women are leading efforts to instill traditional practices in caring for the land challenges the primacy of Western conservationism. The book succeeds in calling out and describing the harmful effects of colonialism, racism and capitalism, as well as their damaging intersections. It is a timely read for anyone working in and/or benefiting from conservation policy at all levels, as discussions ramp up about the need to diversify the field.


Reviewed By:

Author Jessica Hernandez
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 256 pages
Publisher North Atlantic Books
Publish Date 18-Jan-2022
ISBN 9781623176051
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue February 2022
Category Science & Nature
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