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”

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 kiŋ / 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 kiŋ / 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”

Waȟpékȟalyapi waŋ Wakáǧe – Making a Tea Blend

Three medicinal plants that make a great tasting and medicinal tea (clockwise from top left): Pȟežíhota waštémna – Artemisia frigida – fringed sage Čhaŋíčaȟpehu – Urtica dioica – stinging nettles Ziŋtkála tȟačháŋ – Amorpha canescens – leadplant

Pȟaŋǧí — Sunchoke/Jerusalem Artichoke

Pȟaŋǧí. Helianthus tuberosus. Sunchoke or Jerusalem Artichoke in English. It is a cousin to the sunflower. It is not remotely related to an artichoke, and does not look or taste anything like one, so I’m not sure how it got its English name. But its Lakota name, Pȟaŋǧí, has since lent itself to many otherContinue reading “Pȟaŋǧí — Sunchoke/Jerusalem Artichoke”

Wáǧačhaŋ Wanáȟča Yúta — Eating Cottonwood Flowers

Wáǧačhaŋ wanáȟča kiŋ yáta oyákihi he? Can you eat cottonwood flowers? I’ve been working with cottonwood buds to make medicinal salves, but when I walked by our neighborhood trees and noticed that the buds had burst open to reveal these red flowers (technically called catkins, not flowers), I wondered if they were edible. I triedContinue reading “Wáǧačhaŋ Wanáȟča Yúta — Eating Cottonwood Flowers”

Sugarbush: Maple Syrup Season

Disclaimer: I have no idea how to do this. Despite years of being around sugarbush, having a mom who makes great maple syrup, and going on outings like this one  over the years, I have never done this myself, from start to finish. I’ve only had the privilege to be a guest of other peopleContinue reading “Sugarbush: Maple Syrup Season”