Sustainable Sovereignty

The following article was originally published in Orion Magazine, a national bimonthly focusing on nature/culture/place. It has also been available on the Mvskoke Country website, but this is the first time it has appeared in the Muscogee Nation News. Two annual growing seasons have come and gone since I profiled MFSI and the Wilson community … Continue reading Sustainable Sovereignty

Reclaiming the Chickasaw Plum

Just as there are many ways to track time through the calendar year, there can be various methods for charting the lands of this remarkable continent. A notable effort to reconceive "America" on the basis of culinary geography is documented in the recent book Renewing America's Food Traditions. Edited by ethnobotanist Gary Paul Nabhan, this … Continue reading Reclaiming the Chickasaw Plum

Participating with Nature

Anyone who studies traditional ecological knowledge learns to appreciate the vitality of indigenous languages. "The way we talk about a place or other entity reflects how we feel, how we see, how we understand, and most important, how we think in reference to it," writes Tewa educator Gregory Cajete. "Language itself is a reflection of … Continue reading Participating with Nature

Cokv-Walv Mvskoke Redux

The reliable return of summer solstice means the end of one year and the beginning of another in Mvskoke country. Like other indigenous Americans, Mvskoke people "survived by knowing their natural environment well and making direct use of its surpluses. It was a land of abundance, but that abundance was only available to those who … Continue reading Cokv-Walv Mvskoke Redux

Kvco-Hvse, “Blackberry Month”

People of a certain age will remember Uncle Remus and his tales of Br'er Rabbit and other animal characters. Growing up in the sixties, I enjoyed listening to my parents read stories that had been popularized a generation earlier by Disney's Song of the South, a feature-length musical combining live action with animation. The movie … Continue reading Kvco-Hvse, “Blackberry Month”

Kē-Hvse, “Mulberry Month”

The calendar year in Mvskoke country winds down with a couple of months named for edible fruits: kē, "mulberry," and kvco, "blackberry." And like only one other month in cokv-walv Mvskoke (Hotvlē-Hvse, “Wind Month"), their traditional names include the word for "month" itself, presumably to avoid confusion between each month and its namesake. The remaining … Continue reading Kē-Hvse, “Mulberry Month”

Tasahce-Rakko, “Big Spring”

The dominant culture in North America tends to make a big deal out of the vernal equinox, around March 20, when night and day are about equal in length. Among those who define seasonal change according to strictly astronomical criteria, this marks the beginning of spring—a welcome relief from the cold and dreary conditions of … Continue reading Tasahce-Rakko, “Big Spring”