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Soil, Water, Sun, & Love

Dan and Mary Lou Smoke teaching in August 2023.

When Elder Mary Lou Smoke teaches "The Water Song," she urges singers to "sing as if your life depends on water" if their voices begin to falter. The children of the Hippo School need no such urging: they love to sing at the top of their lungs every bit as much as they love watering every seed and plant in the garden.

We are blessed this year to have retired Hippo School teacher, Lara Huntsman, volunteering to lead weekly activities in the garden with the support of last year's Child & Youth Worker and this year's Community Development Worker, H Kryworuchko. Seasonal planting began last week, with the story of Skywoman falling on the Great Turtle's back and the creation of Land, with gratitude to Monique Gray Smith's young adult adaptation of Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

The soil, water, sun, and love the littles gave each planting meant observing green leaves from the seed potatoes this week, plus a new planting of wheat, and a chance to learn more about water. Michele Goade Smith's beautiful illustrations brought new understanding of water as life, and the need for water to be protected. Each little enjoyed a cup of clean water, then proudly wore a "Water Protector" badge the rest of the morning.

Elder Mary Lou asks all who learn "The Water Song" with her to promise to pass on the song and its message. We hope the littles are teaching their caregivers to sing it loud and proud.

For those with littles in their lives, stop by Noojimo'iwewin Gitigaan, a National Healing Forests project and find the activity cards Lara has made for you: at the very least, you'll want to hear the ideas your friends have about how potatoes got to Turtle Island from Bolivia without feet.


June 14, 2024

Lessons of the potato.


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