Diane Wilson

Novelist & Memoirist
Food Sovereignty Advocate
Travels from: Minneapolis, MN

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

Diane Wilson (Dakota) is a writer, speaker, and educator, who has published two award-winning books, as well as essays in numerous publications. Her new novel, The Seed Keeper, was published by Milkweed Editions in March 2021.

Wilson’s 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. Her most recent essay, Seeds for Seven Generations, is featured in the 2016 anthology, A Good Time for the Truth (MN Historical Society Press).

Wilson has received a 2013 Bush Foundation Fellowship as well as awards from Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, and the East Central Regional Arts Council. In 2018, she was awarded a 50 Over 50 Award from Pollen/Midwest.

Wilson is the Executive Director for the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, a national coalition of tribes and organizations working to create sovereign food systems for Native people. Wilson is a Mdewakanton descendent, enrolled on the Rosebud Reservation.

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The Seed Keeper

Milkweed |
Novel

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 |
Biography

“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 |
Novel

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

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where you can download author photos and cover images.

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