First and foremost, please read it from the source: Squash Story from the White Earth Land Recovery Project, on Anishinaabe land, northern Minnesota, posted 11/17/2015.
As many of you know, the seed for this Cucurbita maxima had been shared with Winona LaDuke, one of my heros who founded the White Earth Land Recovery Project, and she named it Gete Okosomin meaning “cool old squash” in Anishinaabe. The story that Winona received was that seeds for this squash had been found in a clay ball on Menomonee territory in Wisconsin and carbon dated to 800 years old. Apparently, the squash has a very different journey from that - one which I find even more beautiful and valuable, partially because it is true, and partially because it speaks to the power of countless generations of caring hands to shape the food that nourishes and delights us. And this squash is truly delightful. I will grow it every year if I can. For the updated story, again, please read it directly from White Earth.
Some of the many recent news stories about this squash have continued the game of telephone by changing the story even further, and often have not mentioned the role of White Earth Land Recovery Project (where seed keepers tend to this seed and this story) or Winona LaDuke (who named the squash). Some of these stories link to my blog, which has caused a skyrocketing of requests for this seed, which is understandable. Because I started with one good seed, and I sent back most of the seeds I saved last year to the Indigenous Seed Library, I do not have extra seed to share. Also, this is sacred seed and part of a legacy that is not mine. Unless I get a sense from indigenous elders that they would like this seed to be widely distributed or sold, I will carefully and respectfully grow this seed and share it back with the seed keepers I received them from.
If you would like to help preserve Gete Okosomin, Anishinaabe crops, farming systems, language, and culture, and of course the land itself - please donate to the folks who do it best: White Earth Land Recovery Project.
Jingle dress made of notebook paper. Each jingle has the name of an Indigenous writer. #anishinaabe #nativelife #travel #ojibwe #writer #NYC #NYNY #iloveNYC #212 #jingledress #mylife #nativepride #powwow #newyork #native #nuevayork #NYlife #aboriginalart #museum #citylife #NYCliving #powwowlife #loveNY #urbanlife #Indigenous #NYCphoto #NYC2016 #art #aboriginal (at Native American Museum New York)
The Ogimaa Mikana Project is an effort to restore Anishinaabemowin place-names to the streets, avenues, roads, paths, and trails of Gichi Kiiwenging (Toronto) – transforming a landscape that often obscures or makes invisible the presence of Indigenous peoples. Starting with a small section of Queen St., re-naming it Ogimaa Mikana (Leader’s Trail) in tribute to all the strong women leaders of the Idle No More movement, the Project hopes to expand throughout downtown and beyond.
With a copper pail of water in one hand and a staff in the other, Josephine Mandamin, an Anishabaabewe grandmother took on a sacred walk, traversing over 10,900 miles around each of the Great Lakes. She is known as a “water walker.” According to the Michigan Sea Grant, the Great Lakes shoreline is equal to almost 44% of the circumference of the earth. - Read More
Tom Goldtooth of the Dakota people in Minnesota and a spokesperson f the Indigenous Environmental Network opened the meeting by reminding the gathering that the indigenous movement “has never been idle” in its work, a reference to the Idle No More movement. He in turn called upon Josephine Mandamin (Anishinaabekwe), an Ojibway woman also known as Grandmother Water Walker who is noted for her work to protect the Great Lakes and other waterways, to offer a prayer.
First speaking in her native language and then in English Mandamin said, “The creator gave us the duty to take care of our mother the earth the way we would take care of our own mother or grandmother.. She called women the “water carriers” and told the climate activists, “We are women are the water carriers, the life carriers. The little droplet of water is what unites us all.” She told the group, “We have come here to speak to the powers-that-be, to the corporations about the climate issues and to ask, ‘What are you going to do about it.’ And I ask you too, ‘What are you going to do?’” Read More
A: Our walkers were always having blisters but our feet got used to callouses after a while.
Q: Which Great Lake do you like best?
A:I think Lake Superior was the one we really respected a lot in terms of it’s majestic length and coolness of the water. It was very nice. You couldn’t swim in it because it was so cold. Lake Huron is my home water and I really have a lot of personal attachment to the water there. I’m from Manitoulin Island and Georgian Bay was pristine waters when I was there.
Q: What was your worst experience?
A: Lake Erie was a place where we were called down. On the American side, people were driving by saying ‘Crazy indians’ when we walked through Detroit, it was really scary. When we got back (over the Ambassador Bridge) to Windsor my son said 'it’s good to be back home.’
Q: You’ve mentioned the pollution. Did anything give you reason for hope?
A:Lake Michigan is a beautiful lake and it flows into Lake Superior and there’s hope that we can still keep our waters pristine if we keep the motor boats and the gas out and get back to canoes. Where there are motorized boats, you can see the oil and gas in the water.
Grandmother attended, and did the Water Ceremony in NYC Sept., 21st