Abstract

“I understood at a very early age that in nature, I felt everything I should feel in church but never did. Walking in the woods, I felt in touch with the universe and with the spirit of the universe”. -Alice Walker

Growing up with a strong connection to nature, I struggled balancing the joys and sorrows of being the only black person in my environment engaging in outdoor activities. It took 26 years for me to find spaces where people of color were either centered or inclusively involved in the strong connection with the natural world. Interacting with wildlife in these spaces has stimulated a profound relationship with nature and myself.

Research and dialogue have provided a rich understanding of why engaging with the natural is stigmatized in black communities in America. This creative discussion will explore how historical and current systems of oppressions perpetuated by patriarchal colonialism influence collective disconnect between the black identity and the natural world. Literature, music, and visual art by black artists who express the importance of their relationship to the natural world will also be shared to illustrate the power of embracing innate desire that humanity shares.

Additionally, we’ll discuss various studies that highlight the positive outcomes of interacting with natural landscapes, ways I integrate nature and Expressive Arts Therapy as I work with marginalized communities, and tools that promote intersectional ecological spaces.

Author Type

Graduate Student

Start Date

28-3-2018 10:10 AM

End Date

28-3-2018 11:00 AM

Presentation Type

Creative Performance

Disciplines

Counseling Psychology | Environmental Studies | Multicultural Psychology | Psychology | Transpersonal Psychology

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Mar 28th, 10:10 AM Mar 28th, 11:00 AM

Watering Black Roots (Reconnecting Human+Nature)

U-Hall 3-087

“I understood at a very early age that in nature, I felt everything I should feel in church but never did. Walking in the woods, I felt in touch with the universe and with the spirit of the universe”. -Alice Walker

Growing up with a strong connection to nature, I struggled balancing the joys and sorrows of being the only black person in my environment engaging in outdoor activities. It took 26 years for me to find spaces where people of color were either centered or inclusively involved in the strong connection with the natural world. Interacting with wildlife in these spaces has stimulated a profound relationship with nature and myself.

Research and dialogue have provided a rich understanding of why engaging with the natural is stigmatized in black communities in America. This creative discussion will explore how historical and current systems of oppressions perpetuated by patriarchal colonialism influence collective disconnect between the black identity and the natural world. Literature, music, and visual art by black artists who express the importance of their relationship to the natural world will also be shared to illustrate the power of embracing innate desire that humanity shares.

Additionally, we’ll discuss various studies that highlight the positive outcomes of interacting with natural landscapes, ways I integrate nature and Expressive Arts Therapy as I work with marginalized communities, and tools that promote intersectional ecological spaces.