Diane Wilson’s new book The Seedkeeper has now been released…
And The Minnesota Native American Lives Series is celebrating its launch as well.
Diane Wilson describes herself as a writer and a gardener. She’s a celebrated author and the Executive Director for the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance.
“I am a descendant of the Mdewakanton Oyate and enrolled on the Rosebud reservation,” said Wilson.
Diane Wilson brings together her love of writing and love of nurturing plant relatives in her new book, The Seed Keeper. Cole Premo and I talked with her about The Seed Keeper on the program Native Lights. Here’s a portion of that conversation.
“Diane, can you tell us, can you tell us about the new book?
Diane Wilson: The book is a novel my first novel, I should say. It tells the story of several generations of a Dakota family in the voices of four different women and then the seeds themselves.
And it’s a story that follows, um, the seed, the seeds that were precious to this family from dating from 1863, all the way to present well, actually to the early two thousands.
And it’s a, um, it’s a story of how we have shifted in our relationship to these seeds, um, and, and the sacrifices that these women have made all along the way to protect them and to ensure that we have the seeds for future generations.
Cole: That’s great. You spoke on what inspired you to write this, but how did you form the narrative? What made you present it in the way you did?
Diane Wilson: I started in the middle and then, um, you know, the, so I wrote a story in from about what is now about the middle, about Rosalie. And she was always the main character. then I kept adding characters who could bring out, um, earlier generations, for example, so that you can see the, the impact of, um, some of the assimilation programs like boarding schools actually had an impact on our connection to foods and, and really how you can tell this history of what’s happened to Dakota people through what’s happened to our foods. So it’s a way of showing food kind of as a vehicle for story itself.
Reporter: The Seed Keeper is published by Milkweed Editions – find out more about the book at MILKWEED DOT ORG.
Diane Wilson was also the author of a book in the recent Minnesota Native American Lives Series. The Minnesota Native American Lives Series is a partnership between The Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC) and the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) highlighting the history and experiences of individual Dakota and Ojibwe people.
Diane Wilson authored the book on Ella Cara Deloria. Two more books were also released in the series. Author Kade Farris wrote one of the books as well.
Kade Ferris: I’m from the turtle mountain community in, uh, North Dakota. I’m an enrolled citizen of the Manitoba meaty Federation in Canada.
Reporter: Kade Ferris wrote about National Hall of Fame Pitcher Charles Albert Bender. Bender was Ojibwe and grew up farming the land on White Earth, throwing rocks out of the earth so it could be farmed. Then Bender went to boarding school where his athletic abilities shined.
There’s a lot to the story that appeals to those interested in learning more… and baseball fans alike. As a pitcher, he won games, also…. Charles Albert Bender invented the slider. There’s a good deal for younger readers to learn, facing challenges and overcoming. Including standing up to racism, which Charles Albert Bender experienced.
Kade Ferris: I think that is something too… a good lesson for a young readers is that you have to stand up for yourself. You have to demand respect.
Check out MN Humanities Center – MN HUM DOT ORG or their facebook page for more information about the series and the virtual book launch on March 25th. For MN Native News, I’m Leah Lemm.