A University of Michigan graduate is bringing her master’s degree project to life while simultaneously uplifting an Indigenous community.
For the past year and a half, Eva Roos has collaborated with the Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians in Cheboygan County to design and implement a healing garden for its headquarters in Brutus.
While Roos used the project to complete her degrees in science and landscape architecture, the experience required her to become knowledgeable in the Band’s language, faith and cultural history.
The garden will be named Izhi-Minoging Mashkikiwan — which translates to “place where medicines grow well.”
“When you study at a westernized institution, it is very rare they make connections between Indigenous people and designing a landscape,” Roos said. “To me, especially if you’re interested in ecological design, you’re talking about ecosystems that have been cared for by Indigenous people for millennia.”
Roos brought the design proposal to the Burt Lake Band Tribal Council in December 2019. To her surprise, the council jumped at her plans almost immediately.