Native American Gardening, Buffalobird-Woman’s Guide to Traditional Methods
as told to Gilbert Wilson
2005 reprint. Dover Publishing, Mineola.
This is a fascinating book from 1917 that has been intermittently republished. The edition in our library was published in 2005 by Dover Books. Gilbert Wilson interviewed Buffalobird-Woman, who was Hidatsa, (a tribe in the Siouan linguistic tribe in the Midwest) in her village in during the early 1900’s. At 129 pages, it is not a long read, but neither is it a dry read, as Gilbert Wilson uses Buffalobird-Woman’s own words to weave through the pages, narrating a year of garden and food preparation practices in her village. This book not only covers the basic food plants that were used in the Native American garden of the Midwest, but also when and how she and her fellow gardeners from her village planted and laid out their vegetable gardens, and how the food was prepared and dried for storage. Numerous line drawings and diagrams illustrate the garden plans, food preparation for drying, racks and pits for storing dried provisions, etc. There are also a few black and white photographs from the time and place of the book.
If you have ever been curious as to how the First Peoples organized their gardening year and their gardens, this book provides an intriguing lens into another time and space in the American plains.