The seed keeper : a novel / Diane Wilson.
- ISBN: 1571311378 : PAP
- ISBN: 9781571311375 : PAP
- ISBN: 9781571311375
- ISBN: 1571311378
- Physical Description: pages cm
- Publisher: Minneapolis, Minnesota : Milkweed Editions, 2021.
"A haunting novel spanning several generations, The Seed Keeper follows a Dakota family's struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most"-- Provided by publisher.
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|Subject:||Dakota Indians > Fiction.
The Seed Keeper
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Orphaned at a young age, Rosalie Iron Wing has been at society's margins all her life. While Rosalie was in foster care as a teen, her one friend got pregnant and was sent away. Now in early middle age, she is widowed. Grief and the need to remember her roots drive her to the family cabin, which has stood abandoned. There, she remembers the Dakota ways her father taught her, how to forage, hunt, and move quietly through snow and forest. Dakota writer Wilson's depiction of Rosalie would be story enough, but her debut novel sweeps generations and also encompasses the War of 1862, when the Dakota were ultimately removed from their land in Minnesota. Through the voices of other women from past and present, Wilson deepens the reader's understanding of what loss of language and culture has done to Indigenous people. In depicting the way Rosalie's ancestor Marie Blackbird and other women sew seeds into their clothing as the war breaks out, Wilson shows these women's relationship to and reverence for the land: a sharp contrast to "a country that destroys its soil," using the methods of modern agriculture and its effects upon waterways. A thought-provoking and engaging read.
Publishers Weekly Review
The Seed Keeper
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Wilson's deeply moving debut novel (after the nonfiction narrative Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life) unfurls the complex story of Rosalie Iron Wing and her search for connection to her family, her people, and the land. The novel opens with the voice of the Dakota people's seeds, passed down through generations ("We hold time in this space, we hold a thread to infinity that reaches all the way to the stars"). Rosalie's sole friend as a teen, Gaby Makepeace, is a strong young woman whose auntie teaches Rosalie about the bonds shared by Dakota women. At 18, pregnant and married to John, a white man, Rosalie tries to make a life for herself on John's farm, whose family founded it on land stolen from her ancestors, and whose inorganic farming practices alienate Rosalie from anti-GMO activist Gaby. Decades later, after John dies from cancer, Rosalie returns to her father's cabin where she grew up. While struggling to survive through a brutal winter, Rosalie delves into stories of her family's painful past, often shaped by dehumanizing interventions from the U.S. government. Wilson offers finely wrought descriptions of the natural world, as the voice of the seeds provides connective threads to the stories of her people. This powerful work achieves a deep resonance often lacking from activist novels, and makes a powerful statement along the way. (Mar.)