All About Yarrow: Cold Remedy, Wound Medicine, and More

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Yarrow lately, so I decided it was time for a more comprehensive Yarrow post. It’s a very important medicine, and in many regions, right now is the time to harvest it. First, a little background. This plant has many names: Ȟaŋté Čhaŋȟlóǧaŋ Tȟaópi pȟežúta Achillea millefolium YarrowContinue reading “All About Yarrow: Cold Remedy, Wound Medicine, and More”

Cleaning Buffalo Berries

Harvesting maštíŋča phuté (Buffalo berries, Soap berries, or Shepherdia argentea) is messy business. Due to the thorns on the shrubs, and the difficulty of picking them, the traditional harvesting method on the prairies is to lay a dropcloth underneath the plant, and (gently) beat a branch to shake loose any ripe berries. As you canContinue reading “Cleaning Buffalo Berries”

Retrospective: Biodiversity at Sacred Stone Camp

This month marks three years since the founding of Sacred Stone Camp in April of 2016, on land just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, at the confluence of two important rivers. These photos were taken during Prof. Linda Black Elk’s Sitting Bull College Field Ethnobotany class in June 2016. This day we didContinue reading “Retrospective: Biodiversity at Sacred Stone Camp”

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”

Pȟežíȟota Hinápȟe: Spring sage, and Sage Tea

A shot from last spring: The first spring shoots of Pȟežíȟota (ceremonial sage, Artemisia ludoviciana) emerging in on the prairies of Standing Rock in late April 2018. Working with this plant over the years, I have noticed that there are certain times of the year that are better to pick it for certain uses. TheContinue reading “Pȟežíȟota Hinápȟe: Spring sage, and Sage Tea”

Čhaŋšáša in Winter

I realized I’ve never posted a good picture of what this shrub looks like in the winter. I guess I’m usually too busy scrambling over snowbanks to get it, and trying to keep warm. I don’t usually pull out my phone, or take off my glove to memorialize the occasion. Thankfully, Sitting Bull College hasContinue reading “Čhaŋšáša in Winter”

Anishinaabe-style Čheyáka in Cree territory

Anishinaabe-style Čheyáka in Cree territory…what? This tri-national title sounds confusing: two indigenous nations, and a plant name from a third. Let me explain. Čheyáka? I always think of čheyáka as its Lakota name. I have to think a little longer to remember its scientific name…Mentha arvensis. And even longer to recall its common English name.Continue reading “Anishinaabe-style Čheyáka in Cree territory”

Prairie Turnip Impostors? Thíŋpsinla (Timpsila) vs. False Thíŋpsiŋla, and how to tell them apart

View Post Pop quiz: Which of these two plants is Thíŋpsiŋla (Prairie turnip, Pediomelum esculentum), and which is its look-alike cousin, the False Thíŋpsiŋla or Ghost Thíŋpsiŋla (Pediomelum argophyllum, Silver Scurf Pea)? Plant #1: Plant #2: **********If you guessed that #2 was the true thíŋpsila, you are correct! I should know better.I make this mistakeContinue reading “Prairie Turnip Impostors? Thíŋpsinla (Timpsila) vs. False Thíŋpsiŋla, and how to tell them apart”

Wáǧačhaŋ Wanáȟča Yúta — Eating Cottonwood Flowers

Wáǧačhaŋ wanáȟča yúta 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 tried oneContinue reading “Wáǧačhaŋ Wanáȟča Yúta — Eating Cottonwood Flowers”