In June 2021, Dr. Black traveled to Boruca Indigenous Territory, Costa Rica with M.A. student Cassandra Eng and recent M.A. graduate Yanet Fundora (beginning with 5 days of isolation and negative COVID-19 test results, with masking and social distancing).
Their project, funded by National Geographic and conducted in collaboration with El Centro Interamericano Para La Salud Global (CISG—the Interamerican Center for Global Health), was focused on Indigenous knowledge, planetary health, and cultural sustainability.
Dr. Black stayed with the junior researchers for two weeks to launch the project. After that, Eng and Fundora lived in Boruca for six additional weeks, working closely with ten Indigenous youth on a photo-voice project designed to reveal contemporary Indigenous approaches to cultural heritage and environmental sustainability.
The research team met with project consultants Doña Leila Garro Valverde and Don Jose Carlos Morales Morales. Garro is the author of an award-winning ethnographic cookbook about Borucan cuisine with over forty years of experience working as a nurse and researcher in the village. Morales is an Indigenous leader of international renown, who helped craft both the Indigenous Law of Costa Rica and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The researchers are in the process of analyzing data, writing papers, and preparing an ethnographic photo book to present to youth participants in the summer of 2022.