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”

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”

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”

Wagmú waȟčá waŋ

Looking back, posting a pic from September: A late-season squash blossom. I had bought some Mexico-grown kabocha squash in early spring and thrown the seeds out onto the compost pile. A few of them grew into squash vines, but the compost pile doesn’t get great sun, so I transplanted them into the garden. Here isContinue reading “Wagmú waȟčá waŋ”

Uŋskúyeča Úta: Burr Oak Acorns

September is acorn season in the Dakotas. And our local indigenous variety, uskúyeča (Burr Oak) has acorns that are prized for their low tannic acid content. Unlike other varieties that require hours or days of soaking in water to leach out the acids and make them edible, these acorns can be eaten with minimal leaching.Continue reading “Uŋskúyeča Úta: Burr Oak Acorns”

Núŋǧe Yazáŋ Pȟežúta

Seen on Rattlesnake Butte, on the SD side of the reservation. Linda Black Elk told me that it is called Núŋǧe Yazáŋ Pȟežúta, or Earache Medicine. She said that people dry it and apply a poultice of the leaves for an earache. I am not sure what the English or Latin names are, and IContinue reading “Núŋǧe Yazáŋ Pȟežúta”