In the 2023 One Book South Dakota selection, “The Seed Keeper,” author Diane Wilson follows several generations of a Dakota family as they struggle to preserve their way of life. This summer and fall, she will share that story directly with readers in a dozen communities throughout the state.
Mitchell Public Library will host Wilson on her One Book South Dakota Author Tour for “The Seed Keeper” at 5:00 PM on Friday, June 9th at Mitchell Public Library. She will discuss her work, answer questions and sign books. Copies of The Seed Keeper are available for checkout at the library. For more information, contact Zack North at 605-995-8480 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsored by the South Dakota Humanities Council, “The Seed Keeper” discussions and author visits fulfill a mission to “celebrate literature, promote civil conversation, and tell the stories that define our state.” In addition to her tour this summer, author Diane Wilson will speak at the 2023 South Dakota Festival of Books, Sept. 22-24 in Deadwood.
A haunting novel spanning several generations, The Seed Keeper features the young Dakota woman Rosalie Iron Wing. She draws strength from the knowledge that she is descended from women with souls of iron, women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss.
“At the heart of The Seed Keeper is a true story about Dakota women who, during the 1862 Dakota war in Minnesota, when they were being removed from the state and didn’t know where they were going to go or how they would feed their families, they sewed their seeds into the hems of their skirts and hid them in their pockets,” Wilson said.
“I wanted to show how it is our responsibility [to care for] the gift of these seeds and to look at how that relationship has changed over many years and what that change means not only for us as human beings, but also for the seeds themselves. It’s very much my love story to the seeds.”
In addition to The Seed Keeper, Wilson has written a memoir, Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past, and a nonfiction book, Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life. She has also published numerous essays and two children’s books: Ella Cara Deloria: Dakota Language Protector and Where We Come From.
Wilson has received a Bush Foundation Fellowship and honors from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, and the East Central Regional Arts Council. A Mdewakanton descendent enrolled on the Rosebud Reservation, Wilson is executive director of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance and a long-time member of the Oceti Sakowin Writers’ Society.
“So much of my writing and research has been centered in South Dakota, so to be able to come back to a land where I feel such a strong family rootedness and to share these stories, this is a great honor for me,” Wilson said. “I’m excited for these conversations, so put the coffee on! I’m happy to come visit.”
The South Dakota Humanities Council coordinates the One Book South Dakota program, as well as the South Dakota Festival of Books and Speakers Bureau programs. Learn more at sdhumanities.org.