Monthly Archives: May 2019

Spring Group Meeting at Our New Home

For our spring group activity in April, we met at the site of our new “home” — a remote tract of land in Adair county that has been designated as a tribal conservation area for education and the protection of abundant culturally-significant plants and animals. Students and staff began work in early spring to create a trail and clear an area where we will construct a permanent pavilion for future meetings and activities. Our work to connect the elders and youth at this special place is further supported by a generous grant from the Indian Land Tenure Foundation.

It was a rainy and cold day, so we set up at the perimeter of the site to discuss numerous medicinal plants with the elders. Elder and spiritual leader Crosslin Smith began the meeting with a prayer and blessing for the site and all our future activities there. We had a simple lunch around a fire and discussed the plants that some brought from home, and others that had been collected by staff at the site shortly after we arrived. We also had a chance to transplant a Dwarf Prairie Willow cutting from a roadside to our group home with the hope that this important plant will establish itself there.

We are blessed to be doing this work with the support of numerous organizations and individuals, and I’m excited to have inaugurated our new “home” that we hope will be a site of learning, relationship-building (with the land and with each other), and for the practice of our land-based knowledge today and into the distant future.

The creek flowing through our new home.

Spiritual Leader Crosslin Smith (4th from left) discusses the importance of the land and our mission to protect and learn about the plants.

Pat Gwin makes a cutting from a Dwarf Prairie Willow (ᏗᎵᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᎤᏍᏗ) for transplanting.

Junior member Cherokee Davis holds the cutting to transplant.

Medicine Keeper Bonnie Kirk discusses Wild Cherry (ᎩᏔᏯ).

Student Kakiley Workman holds a Chickweed plant (ᏥᏔᎦᏂᏓ).

Medicine Keepers Ryan Mackey and Phyllis Edwards discuss a Calamus plant (ᏬᏱ ᎦᏙᎦ).

Medicine Keeper Phyllis Edwards and junior member Cherokee Davis. Cherokee is holding a Spicebush plant (ᏃᏓᏟ).

Student Summer Wilkie and Medicine Keeper Bonnie Kirk discuss a Buckeye plant (ᎤᏍᏆᏓ).

Students Summer Wilkie and Larry Carney examine a Buckeye plant.

Cherokee Davis inspects a Jack-in-the-Pulpit plant (ᏢᏓᏥ ᎦᏙᎦ).

Student Savannah Anderson talks with Medicine Keepers Anna Sixkiller and Margaret Christie Leuthje.

Clint Carroll and Pat Gwin discuss plants collected at the site.

Clint Carroll and Cherokee Davis examine a Buckeye plant.