Tanya Ruka and Host Christine Luckasavitch

Indigenous Plant Medicine: Growing a Deeper Connection with the Natural World

What Stories Does the Land Hold? is a conversation series co-presented by the Center for Humans and Nature and The New School at Commonweal as part of the Center’s Questions for a Resilient Future Series

Across the world, Indigenous people share something in common: a connection to land and their Ancestral territories. This series of conversations spotlights a collection of Indigenous voices telling the stories of the land and its stories, connecting us to each other and to all of our relations.

In this conversation, join Host Christine Luckasavitch with Māori artist, designer, activist, and researcher Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka for a conversation about storytelling, community building, working alongside our plant relatives, and Indigenous futurisms. Tanya’s work is deeply rooted in Indigenous environmental knowledges, encouraging a deeper connection to ancestral place on a global scale through her artistic practices.

Watch all three conversations in this series on our YouTube playlist or listen on our Soundcloud playlist or on iTunes or Spotify.

Photo: Alyssa Bardy Photography

Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka

Tanya is a Māori Indigenous artist and designer living in Te Whānganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa (Wellington, Capital City of New Zealand). She is of Ngati Pakau, Te Uriroroi, Te Parawhau, Te Mahurehure Ngapuhi, and Waitaha descent. She is active in environmental issues from an Indigenous perspective in Aotearoa and globally. Working with the Waitaha Executive Grandmothers Council, she has been documenting and mapping the sacred stories of her Tupuna ancestors as evidence for tribal environmental issues involving land and water protection claims through the Treaty of Waitangi. As a Māori artist she is inspired by her ancestry and the creation stories that place the land as Ancestor and the Master Navigator voyagers of the Pacific who always kept their eyes on the horizon in hopeful anticipation, bringing the tribe safely to land. Find out more on her website or hear her speak on YouTube: City Talks: Kaupapa Mauri.

Host Christine Luckasavitch

Christine Luckasavitch is an Omàmìwininì Madaoueskarini Anishinaabekwe (a woman of the Madawaska River Algonquin people), belonging to the Crane Clan, and mixed settler heritage. Christine continues to live in Omàmìwininìaki, unceded Algonquin territory.

Christine is the Owner/Executive Consultant of Waaseyaa Consulting and Waaseyaa Cultural Tours, two small businesses dedicated to reviving and celebrating Indigenous ancestral knowledge and culture-based practices through educational opportunities. She is the co-owner of Algonquin Motors, a woman-led motorcycle clothing company honouring the spirit of unceded Algonquin territory. She is currently writing her thesis to complete her Master of Arts in Indigenous Studies at Trent University.

Christine is the former Executive Director of Native Land Digital, an Indigenous-led not-for-profit dedicated to providing a digital platform for Indigenous peoples to share knowledge about their Indigenous cultures, territories, and knowledge systems across the world.

Her work is centered around creating spaces for Indigenous peoples to share their knowledges, both in physical and digital spaces, and encouraging the re-emergence of ancestral kinship ties.