"This that I now tell is as I saw my mothers do, or did myself, when I
was young. My mothers were industrious women, and our family had always
good crops; and I will tell now how the women of my father's family
cared for their fields, as I saw them, and helped them." —Buffalo Bird
Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Indian born about 1839, was an expert
gardener. Following centuries-old methods, she and the women of her
family raised huge crops of corn, squash, beans, and sunflowers on the
rich bottomlands of the Missouri River in what is now North Dakota. When
she was young, her fields were near Like-a-fishhook, the earth-lodge
village that the Hidatsa shared with the Mandan and Arikara. When she
grew older, the families of the three tribes moved to individual
allotments on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.
Bird Woman's Garden, first published in 1917, anthropologist Gilbert L.
Wilson transcribed the words of this remarkable woman, whose advice
today's gardeners can still follow. She describes a year of activities,
from preparing and planting the fields through cultivating, harvesting,
and storing foods. She gives recipes for cooking typical Hidatsa dishes.
And she tells of the stories, songs, and ceremonies that were essential
to a bountiful harvest.
A new introduction by anthropologist and
ethnobotanist Jeffery R. Hanson describes the Hidatsa people's
ecologically sound methods of gardening and Wilson's work with this
Praise for Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden:
"A gem of a book useful for today's gardener." —Organic Gardener
"One of the best gardening books around." —City Pages
gardener and agricultural scientist should find gems of practical
wisdom in these pages, borne from an age-old tradition when sustainable
agricultural practices . . . made the difference in sustaining life.
Fascinating!" —Foster's Botanical & Herb Review
photographs and diagrams of farming techniques, along with actual
recipes and Hidatsa vegetable varieties, make this gem of a book useful
for today'' gardener." —Organic Gardening