Cycles of Reconciliation
Indigenous Landscape Knowledge in Virtual Reality
Lehua’s project, Cycles of Reconciliation, is an interactive virtual reality environment that introduces users to the natural world surrounding Amherst College and the Western Massachusetts area. Inspired Keith Basso’s book “Wisdom Sits in Places” which explores indigenous understandings of the natural landscape, Lehua worked with indigenous communities and literature specific to Western Massachusetts to represent indigenous knowledge regarding the plants that contextualize the area around Amherst College. Noting the general lack of understanding local Native American history, knowledge, and epistemology, Lehua’s project is designed to help people explore and create awareness of local indigenous ecological knowledge. Immersing users in accurately crafted virtual reality ecological zones with real plant species, animated wind and running water, this virtual reality experience will provide users an interactive showcase of plants and environmental characteristics in a manner designed to reflect indigenous non-western perspectives of the local landscape. Lehua demonstrated a demo version of her project at the Five College Digital Humanities Fellows Showcase on April 28th, 2018, at Smith College.