Mac's Backs Book Club discusses The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson
Rosalie Iron Wing has grown up in the woods with her father, Ray, a former science teacher who tells her stories of plants, of the stars, of the origins of the Dakhóta people. Until, one morning, Ray doesn't return from checking his traps. Told she has no family, Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family in nearby Mankato--where the reserved, bookish teenager meets rebellious Gaby Makespeace, in a friendship that transcends the damaged legacies they've inherited.
On a winter's day many years later, Rosalie returns to her childhood home. A widow and mother, she has spent the previous two decades on her white husband's farm, finding solace in her garden even as the farm is threatened first by drought and then by a predatory chemical company. Now, grieving, Rosalie begins to confront the past, on a search for family, identity, and a community where she can finally belong. In the process, she learns what it means to be descended from women with souls of iron--women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss, through war and the insidious trauma of boarding schools.
Weaving together the voices of four indelible women, The Seed Keeper is a beautifully told story of reawakening, of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors.
"With compelling characters and images that linger long after the final page is turned, The Seed Keeper invokes the strength that women, land, and plants have shared with one another through the generations." --Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants
In chapters that shift among the perspectives of four Dakhóta women--including Rosalie's great-aunt, who grew plants because the seeds in her pocket were 'all that's left of my family'--Wilson tracks Rosalie's attempts to understand her family and her roots, and considers how memory cultivates a sense of connection to the land. -- New Yorker
Diane Wilson (Dakhóta) is the author of a memoir, Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past, which won a Minnesota Book Award and was selected for the One Minneapolis One Read program, as well as a nonfiction book, Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life, which was awarded the Barbara Sudler Award from History Colorado. Her most recent essay, "Seeds for Seven Generations," was featured in the anthology A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota. Wilson has received a Bush Foundation Fellowship as well as awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, and the East Central Regional Arts Council. In 2018, she was awarded a 50 Over 50 Award from Pollen/Midwest. Wilson has served as the executive director for Dream of Wild Health and the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, working to help rebuild sovereign food systems for Native people. She is a Mdewakanton descendent, enrolled on the Rosebud Reservation, and lives in Shafer, Minnesota.
We will be meeting on July 21 at the Coventry Peace Arch, near the library, weather permitting. Bring a lawn chair and a mask if you are not yet vaccinated. If the weather is inclement, we will meet via Zoom. Contact email@example.com for the link.
The book will be available at Mac's Backs or through our website a the 20% book club discount.