Winter Projects: Wagmíza Yukpáŋ

This was one of my waníyetu wíčhoȟ’aŋ, or winter projects, last year. After the flour corn has hung in braids inside my home for a few months, dried out by time and the heaters that parch everyone and everything indoors during these Northern Great Plains winters, it’s ready to be made into cornmeal. First, aContinue reading “Winter Projects: Wagmíza Yukpáŋ”

Pápa (Bapa) Waháŋpi

This is one of my favorite traditional foods. Pápa (or Bapa, as it’s often called around here) is dried meat, usually wild game — and waháŋpi means “soup.” The main plant ingredients are sliced thíŋpsiŋla (Pediomelum esculentum) and waštúŋkala (dried sweet corn, Zea mays). This is a hearty, nourishing winter soup. I had this bowlContinue reading “Pápa (Bapa) Waháŋpi”

Willow Fence/ Čhoȟwáŋžiča Čhúŋkaške

This was from my garden a few years ago. Soon after I planted my seeds, pawprints and bootprints emerged on my carefully-cultivated fresh soil. I knew my seeds had no hope of making it past the seedling stage unless I could find a way to protect them. I needed a fence that would keep theContinue reading “Willow Fence/ Čhoȟwáŋžiča Čhúŋkaške”

Processing Dried-out Čhaŋšáša

Oops. I let the čhaŋšáša dry out — again. Have you ever gotten so busy that you just didn’t get to processing the čhaŋšáša you harvested before the bark got all dried out? Or maybe you just forgot about a piece, and discovered the poor, dried-up stick in a corner somewhere, months later? I’ve doneContinue reading “Processing Dried-out Čhaŋšáša”

On Čhaŋšáša and Traditional Tobacco

Winter projects, continued: Peeling the red outer bark away to reveal the green cambium layer on a fresh čhaŋšáša branch. Another, more abstract waníyetu wóečhuŋ: reflecting on what “traditional tobacco” means. If you are wondering about ceremonial uses of čhaŋšáša and would like to know more about the traditional teachings around it, there are aContinue reading “On Čhaŋšáša and Traditional Tobacco”

Waȟčázi sú / Sunflower seed

Waníyetu wóečhuŋ/ winter projects. This is another entry in my series of winter projects. Wahčázi sú kiŋ / the seeds of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus) are one of my favorite Indigenous North American traditional foods that many people don’t realize originate in the Americas. Then and now, they’re an important source of food and oil.Continue reading “Waȟčázi sú / Sunflower seed”

Wagméza kačháŋ / Winnowing corn

Waníyetu wóečhuŋ / winter projects. When working with traditional foods and plants, especially in a climate like Standing Rock’s where we have at least 5 months of winter, the work we do is highly seasonal. Some people would assume this means that there is nothing plant-related to do for 5 months out of the year.Continue reading “Wagméza kačháŋ / Winnowing corn”

Napé oílekiyapi / Dogbane / Apocynum cannabinum

Waníyetu wóečhuŋ/ winter projects, latest installment: My cousin and I spent Christmas (not our religion, but a day off from work) making some Dogbane cordage. It creates a strong string or rope, and is fun to make. Here, you can see all 3 stages, from the dry stalks to the broken-down fibers, to the finalContinue reading “Napé oílekiyapi / Dogbane / Apocynum cannabinum”

Nettle and Milkweed Cordage

Cordage/yarn created out of nettle stems and milkweed stems last summer. These are the work of Jana, the incredibly talented artist, spinner, and weaver behind Ffeltabertawe. (I will add a link if I can find one.) She came to the reservation during the #NoDAPL  pipeline resistance movement, and stayed to do some amazing things withContinue reading “Nettle and Milkweed Cordage”