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Vermillion Public Library Hosts One Book South Dakota Discussion

The Vermillion Public Library is hosting an in-depth discussion led by historian Dr. Brad Tennant about Diane Wilson’s Book, “The Seed Keeper.” Wilson’s book was selected as the One Book South Dakota, a program from the South Dakota Humanities Council.

“The South Dakota Humanities Council is just a resource that really anybody can use to do speaking engagements,” Kendra Brewer, Adult Services Specialist at the Vermillion Public Library, said. “One of the programs they run is called the One Book South Dakota and that’s what this is. They pick a novel or a nonfiction book every year to represent South Dakota in some capacity. So whether that’s a South Dakota author or it takes place in South Dakota.” 

Diane Wilson’s book, “The Seed Keeper,” is a fictional book that takes place during the 1862 Dakota War. It focuses on indigenous practices when it comes to their food, culture and traditions.

“The Seed Keeper” is a fictional novel that spans several generations in the lives of four Dakota women in Minnesota,” Wilson said. “It really follows their challenges and their lives as they struggle to protect their traditional way of life. … The real strong focus on the way that they take care of their children through the foods that they grow and preserve. That’s why seeds are such an important focus in this book because they actually relate not only to traditional food ways, but also to a lot of cultural practices.”

Wilson is the executive director for the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance. It is a national coalition of tribes and organizations working to create sovereign food systems for Native people. Through this organization, she was able to get inspiration and experience to write her book. 

“I actually worked for two Native American organizations that are focused on food sovereignty in native communities,” Wilson said. “Those organizations gave me the real life experience that I needed to understand in order to write the book. Specifically about the traditions of protecting your seeds and growing them out each season and pass them down to the next generation.”

The discussion for Wilson’s book is on Sept. 8 at noon. It is located inside the library’s Kozak Room and is available via Zoom.

“This discussion is completely free,” Brewer said. “We provide books that are available for checkout. USD students can get a Vermillion public library card for free. We hardly ever charge for programs, but this program specifically is completely free to everybody.” 

For more information about the discussion or more events that the Vermillion Public Library has to offer, visit their website https://vermillionpubliclibrary.org/.