Seed Stewardship

Cora Baker Story

In March 2000, a letter came from Cora Baker, a Potawatomi elder and Keeper of the Seeds, who was living near the Wisconsin Dells. She had gardened for many years, hanging her corn to dry on the side of the barn. People passing by on the road saw her garden and began giving her their seeds to save.

Five months before she passed on, Cora wrote:

“I had prayed and prayed that someone would take this gardening up again. I am very pleased to learn about your project. I feel that the Great Creator has answered my humble prayers. With the help of my great granddaughter and grandson, we set out to help you. I wish that someday the children will come to realize the importance of the garden.”

-Cora Baker

With help from her great-granddaughter, Cora sent many different varieties of corn, beans, and squash, plus several sunflower varieties, indigenous tobacco, and different plant medicines to Dream of Wild Health.

Once the word spread about Dream of Wild Health, seeds began arriving in the mail. Some came knotted up in a handkerchief, with a note saying, “My grandmother wanted you to have these.” Another family donated Cherokee corn seeds that were carried on the original Trail of Tears.

Today, Dream of Wild Health is stewarding seeds from across the country, each seed a gift from our ancestors. In 2019, we hired our first ever Seed Regeneration team who work to rematriate seeds back to their Tribal Nations.

Seed Rematriation

“The act of seed rematriation involves layers of intergenerational healing creating ripples of effects for everyone involved. The seeds are going home to their communities. When they come home they awaken our spirits to the ancestral ritual of planting, singing the songs of our ancestors and reconnecting us to our past. The seed team at Dream of Wild Health has been connecting with communities of origin to learn more about the seeds in our care. After learning that some of the seeds at DWH are no longer grown in their communities, the seed team has been dedicated to growing and sharing the harvest with those communities. This will ensure the seeds will continue to be grown by DWH and the communities of origin.“ — Jessika Greendeer, Seed Keeper and Farm Manager