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”

Wasžúšteča Wanáȟča: Strawberry Flower

When you see the first strawberry flowers of the year, you know the berries aren’t too far behind! This picture is from early spring. Wild Strawberries, Fragaria spp., wažúšteča, are one of my favorites. They are indigenous to boreal forests around the same latitude all over the northern hemisphere. In addition to indigenous North AmericanContinue reading “Wasžúšteča Wanáȟča: Strawberry Flower”

Baby Gooseberry Bush – Wičhágnaška hú

Here’s a baby gooseberry bush that I rescued from death by lawnmower, and replanted in a safer place. Isn’t it adorable? While Wičhágnaška hú (Ribes missouriense, or Missouri gooseberry bushes) are fairly common around here, they’re a pretty under-appreciated fruit. Most people can’t identify them by sight, and don’t think much about mowing them down.Continue reading “Baby Gooseberry Bush – Wičhágnaška hú”

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”

Uŋskúyeča Úta kiŋ: 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 kiŋ: Burr Oak Acorns”

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”

Čhaŋíčaȟpehu: Nettles in early June

Čhaŋíčaȟpehu, Urtica dioica, Stinging nettles. They grow in shaded, damp areas. Many people today avoid them or even wear thick gloves to pull them out for fear of the sting. But on Standing Rock, the knowledge that they are actually a powerful medicinal plant, and that the stingers can help with pain and inflammation, isContinue reading “Čhaŋíčaȟpehu: Nettles in early June”

Chokecherry flowers

Seen on a plant walk for the Culture Day at Selfridge Public Schools. I led walks around the school grounds for groups of students from different grade levels. Although they all knew how to identify a chokecherry plant from the presence of ripe cherries, few of them could identify it based on the leaf orContinue reading “Chokecherry flowers”

Eating Your Weeds

It’s the time of year where every seed that has blown into the garden bed is popping up, as well as any weeds that I failed to eradicate last year. I’m working on learning the difference between those that have some medicinal/nutritional value and are worth keeping, and those that should be pulled before theyContinue reading “Eating Your Weeds”

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”