Uŋskúyeča na úta: Burr oaks and acorns

Acorn (úta) season is finally here! Acorns have been one of my favorite foods since childhood. The acorns we have in this area, Uŋskúyeča, Burr Oak, or Quercus macrocarpa, are thought of as some of the best in North America, due to their more tannic acid content. I’m happy to report that I didn’t makeContinue reading “Uŋskúyeča na úta: Burr oaks and acorns”

Curlycup Gumweed

Pteíčhiyuȟa. Grindelia squarrosa. Curlycup Gumweed. This is one of the yellow flowers you’ll find growing by the side of the road this time of year — not just in the Dakotas, but across North America. This is the time of year to harvest it! If you look at the underside of the flower, you canContinue reading “Curlycup Gumweed”

Úma: Hazelnut Portrait

Hazelnut trees (Úmahu) don’t grow on Standing Rock. They thrive in wetter climates. I have seen this indigenous tree growing wild in Minnesota and Manitoba. The nuts are ready for harvest in the fall. They grow in clusters of four, forming a beautiful star shape. I just had to take a picture of this beautifulContinue reading “Úma: Hazelnut Portrait”

Herb Care Package Portrait

Just a quick still-life shot from earlier in the summer, of an herbal care package I was mailing to a friend who was sick. From left to right: Pȟežíȟota apé blaska, ziŋtkála tȟačháŋ, pȟežíȟota swúla, ȟaŋté, pȟežíȟota waštémna, čhaŋíčhaȟpe hú apé. (I’m not going to translate for this one, but if you’re interested and don’tContinue reading “Herb Care Package Portrait”

Waȟpé Tȟáŋka Čík’ala: Little Burdock Plant

Here’s a small but mature dock plant growing alongside Íŋyaŋ Wakáǧapi Wakpá (the Cannon Ball River). While it didn’t get very big, you can tell it’s a mature plant because of the seed pods. In more optimal growing environments, it can get as tall as a person, with giant leaves (hence the name, waȟpé tȟáŋka,Continue reading “Waȟpé Tȟáŋka Čík’ala: Little Burdock Plant”

White Waštémna?!

Yesterday, I went out to harvest this plant that has so many names in Lakota and English — waȟpé waštémna, heȟáka tȟapȟéžuta, wild bergamot, beebalm, elk medicine, Monarda fistulosa. I was surprised to find, in addition to the many magenta flowerheads that were popping out of the hillside to announce their presence, a small numberContinue reading “White Waštémna?!”

Sand Cherry — Aúŋyeyapi / Tȟaȟpíyoǧiŋ

I spotted a rare Sandcherry bush on Standing Rock: Their scientific name as Prunus pumila, showing that they are a close relative to čhaŋpȟá (chokecherries) and kȟáŋta (wild plums). Some sources list it as Prunus besseyi, although that may refer to a western relative of this plant; you can find a little more on thatContinue reading “Sand Cherry — Aúŋyeyapi / Tȟaȟpíyoǧiŋ”

Ground Plum/ Ptétȟawote

A few people have asked me about this plant recently. It’s called a ground plum in English. Ptétȟawote, or Astragalus crassicarpus. I believe that the fruit is technically edible, though it was pretty bitter and woody when I tried a ripe one about 4 summers ago at the site of Sacred Stone Camp. The fruitContinue reading “Ground Plum/ Ptétȟawote”

Pȟežíȟota Tȟáŋka: Mosquito Sage

It’s mosquito season here, and the spring floodwaters have given them the ideal habitat for a really prolific year… Not such great news for us warm-blooded mammals. And appropriately enough, the Čhapȟúŋka Oyáte really went after me while I was harvesting this plant. Pȟežíȟota Tȟáŋka, or Artemisia tridentata, is locally called sagebrush, in contrast toContinue reading “Pȟežíȟota Tȟáŋka: Mosquito Sage”