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Virtual Launch / Jessica Hernandez’s “Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science”

January 20, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm PST

“In order to heal our environments,
which are all Indigenous lands, we
must incorporate Indigenous voices,
perspectives, and lived experiences.”

– Jessica Hernandez

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On Thursday, January 20th from 7pm to 8pm, join Massy Arts, Massy Books, and Indigenous scholar, scientist, and community advocate Jessica Hernandez for the virtual launch of her book “Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science” (2021, North Atlantic Books).

At the event, Hernandez will talk about the book’s research process, and address questions about Indigenous science, settler colonialism, and ecological debt.

The launch is a free online event, and registration is mandatory.

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Click HERE to register

Click HERE to purchase “Fresh Banana Leaves” from Massy Books

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The Book

“We Oaxacan and Salvadoran folks use a lot of banana leaves to make tamales
and other traditional foods. While bananas are not native to our homelands, they have become our relatives that continue to nourish us in various forms. Like banana trees, for those of us who are displaced from our homelands, we build on a strong foundation, our roots, and establish our new ecosystems and communities in the lands we now reside on. Our resilience is adapted to our current environment, and banana leaves serve as the metaphor to our descendants.”

Excerpt from Fresh Banana Leaves

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Despite the undeniable fact that Indigenous communities are among the most affected by climate devastation, Indigenous science is nowhere to be found in mainstream environmental policy or discourse.

And while holistic land, water, and forest management practices born from millennia of Indigenous knowledge systems have much to teach all of us, Indigenous science has long been ignored, otherized, or perceived as “soft”—the product of a systematic, centuries-long campaign of racism, colonialism, extractive capitalism, and delegitimization.

Here, Jessica Hernandez—Maya Ch’orti’ and Zapotec environmental scientist and founder of environmental agency Piña Soul—introduces and contextualizes Indigenous environmental knowledge and proposes a vision of land stewardship that heals rather than displaces, that generates rather than destroys.

She breaks down the failures of western-defined conservatism and shares alternatives, citing the restoration work of urban Indigenous people in Seattle; her family’s fight against ecoterrorism in Latin America; and holistic land management approaches of Indigenous groups across the continent.

Through case studies, historical overviews, and stories that center the voices and lived experiences of Indigenous Latin American women and land protectors, Hernandez makes the case that if we’re to recover the health of our planet—for everyone—we need to stop the eco-colonialism ravaging Indigenous lands and restore our relationship with Earth to one of harmony and respect.

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The Author

Dr. Jessica Hernandez is a transnational Indigenous scholar, scientist, and community advocate based in the Pacific Northwest. She has an interdisciplinary academic background ranging from marine sciences to forestry. Her work is grounded in her Indigenous cultures and ways of knowing.

She advocates for climate, energy, and environmental justice through her scientific and community work and strongly believes that Indigenous sciences can heal our Indigenous lands.

She currently holds appointments at Sustainable Seattle (Board Member), City of Seattle’s Urban Forestry Commission, and the International Mayan League (Climate Justice Policy Strategist).

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January 20, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm PST