“Her delivery was so engaging that I lost track of time.” — Austin Page Turners, 2022

Diane Wilson (Dakota) is a writer, educator, and environmental advocate, who has published four award-winning books as well as essays in numerous publications.

Wilson’s recent novel, The Seed Keeper (Milkweed Editions) was awarded the 2022 Minnesota Book Award for Fiction. Her memoir, Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past (Borealis Books) won a 2006 Minnesota Book Award and was selected for the 2012 One Minneapolis One Read program. Her 2011 nonfiction book, Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life (Borealis Books) was awarded the 2012 Barbara Sudler Award from History Colorado. Wilson’s middle-grade biography, Ella Cara Deloria: Dakota Language Protector, was an Honor selection for the 2022 American Indian Youth Literature Award. She is a co-author of a 2022 picture book, Where We Come From.

Her most recent essays–which explore seed advocacy, food sovereignty, social justice, and cultural recovery–have been featured in acclaimed anthologies: Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations; We Are Meant to Rise: Voices for Justice from Minneapolis to the World; and A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota. 

Wilson is the former Executive Director for the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, a national coalition of tribes and organizations working to support food sovereignty, and Dream of Wild Health, a Native-led farm. Wilson is a Mdewakanton descendent, enrolled on the Rosebud Reservation. She lives near the St. Croix River in Minnesota, where she cares for an Indigenous seed garden, native perennials for pollinators, and a Tamarack bog.

Diane's Featured Titles

The Seed Keeper

Milkweed |

A haunting novel spanning several generations, The Seed Keeper follows a Dakh ta family’s struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most.

Rosalie Iron Wing has grown up in the woods with her father, Ray, a former science teacher who tells her stories of plants, of the stars, of the origins of the Dakh ta people. Until, one morning, Ray doesn’t return from checking his traps. Told she has no family, Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family in nearby Mankato–where the reserved, bookish teenager meets rebellious Gaby Makespeace, in a friendship that transcends the damaged legacies they’ve inherited.

On a winter’s day many years later, Rosalie returns to her childhood home. A widow and mother, she has spent the previous two decades on her white husband’s farm, finding solace in her garden even as the farm is threatened first by drought and then by a predatory chemical company. Now, grieving, Rosalie begins to confront the past, on a search for family, identity, and a community where she can finally belong. In the process, she learns what it means to be 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, through war and the insidious trauma of boarding schools.

Weaving together the voices of four indelible women, The Seed Keeper is a beautifully told story of reawakening, of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors.

Beloved Child

Borealis Books |

“Far greater even than the loss of land, or the relentless coercion to surrender cultural traditions, the deaths of over six hundred children by the spring of 1864 were an unbearable tragedy. Nearly one hundred and fifty years after the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862, Dakota people are still struggling with the effects of this unimaginable loss.”

Among the Dakota, the Beloved Child ceremony marked the special, tender affection that parents felt toward a child whose life had been threatened. In this
moving book, author Diane Wilson explores the work of several modern Dakota people who are continuing to raise beloved children: Gabrielle Tateyuskanskan,
an artist and poet; Clifford Canku, a spiritual leader and language teacher; Alameda Rocha, a boarding school survivor; Harley and Sue Eagle, Canadian activists; and Delores Brunelle, an Ojibwe counselor. each of these humble but powerful people teaches children to believe in the “genius and brilliance” of Dakota culture as a way of surviving historical trauma.

Crucial to true healing, Wilson has learned, is a willingness to begin with yourself. Each of these people works to transform the effects of genocide, restoring a way of life that regards our beloved children as wakan, sacred.

Diane Wilson, director of Dream of Wild Health Farm, is the author of Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past, which won a Minnesota Book award. She is a Mdewakanton descendent; her mother was enrolled on the Rosebud Reservation.

Spirit Car

Borealis Books |

A child of a typical 1950s suburb unearths her mother’s hidden heritage, launching a rich and magical exploration of her own identity and her family’s powerful Native American past.


Seeds for Seven Generations


Indigenous Seed Reclamation


Telling True Stories: Memoir


Telling True Stories: Fiction


Seeds and Stories


Native Food Sovereignty


Food Sovereignty and Historical Trauma


Honoring Our Wisdom as Women Leaders

Upcoming Events

Dakota Commemorative Song

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Minnesota Book Award
50 over 50 Award from Pollen/Midwest
Barbara Studler Award from History Colorado
One Minneapolis One Read

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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