Existing On Our Own Terms: Healing Rituals As Liberatory Practice

Ever since Black people were forced from Africa’s shores, they have resisted the idea that their bodies did not belong to them, using any means necessary to regain the autonomy that was stolen. Geographies of resistance were created each time they disappeared into woods and swamps: to rest, to connect with spirit, or collect medicinal plants. These plants would become important allies in rebellious ritual acts of self-determination used to treat bodies, curse their oppressors, and even “return home.” In this workshop, Sade Musa will discuss the resistance history of enslaved Africans, the secret medicinal ways of plantation and maroon cultures, and why this plant medicine legacy should be revitalized for modern liberation movements.

Motivated by her own experiences navigating a deeply racist medical system, and similarly problematic alternative healing spaces, Sade Musa (she/her) is dedicated to helping her communities advocate for their wellbeing as a liberatory praxis of self-determination and resistance. Drawing from a background in biomedical research, western herbalism, and African-American folk medicine, she runs Roots of Resistance — an educational project seeking to reclaim healing ways interrupted by colonization, to disrupt narratives which invisibilize Afro-diasporic contributions to medicine, and bring attention to health disparities and other forms of health injustice. Through ROR she offers donation-based and sliding scale community herbal classes and consultation, leads free plant walks, operates an apothecary, and donates medicine to various grassroots wellness programs. She is currently working on an Afro-botany medicine series for Spring 2018. Follow Roots of Resistance on Instagram: @rootsofresistance