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One Woman's Passion

Photo by Brynn Mannino '06
Olson (left) with Onodaga, Jeanne Shenandoah

Brooke Olson continues her involvement with the farm and the nation to which she has devoted so much energy and time. She and Jeanne Shenandoah, of the Onondaga Nation Eel Clan organized a workshop on herbal medicine, an integral part of American Indian culture, for native and non-native people. Her student interns Kelly Keemer ’03 and Amanda Williams ’04 helped create the Turtle Island Medicinal Herb Garden at the farm, which is being used to educate the public. Some of Olson’s research focuses on Native Americans and diabetes, so the turtle-shaped garden contains plants used by Native Americans to manage the disease. Visitors come to learn how herbalists treat issues related to women, and how they use herbs to purify blood or treat headaches.

To apply their public anthropology model of education, outreach, and activism, Olson and Rossen plan to help create a Native American cultural center and gallery in downtown Ithaca. They also hope to raise funds to build a replica longhouse, like those uncovered at Cayuga Castle, at a nearby  park.

Olson is working on a book for Left Coast Press about the SHARE project, the farm, and public anthropology. She and Rossen recently contributed a chapter for a Springer Press book, Past Meets Present: Partnerships in the Public Interpretations of Archeology, due out this year. Rossen is working on a chapter, “Field School Archeology, Activism, and Politics in Central New York,” for Indigenous Archeology at the Trowel’s Edge: Field Schools, Pedagogy, and Collaboration, for University of Arizona Press; it, too, is due out this year.

--Brynn Mannino '06 and Maura Stephens

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Reclaiming Part of a Lost Homeland
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Hurricane Relief for Spring Break