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Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden: Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians (Borealis Books) Paperback – October 15, 1987


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$13.19 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden: Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians (Borealis Books) + Native American Gardening: Buffalobird-Woman's Guide to Traditional Methods + Native Harvests: American Indian Wild Foods and Recipes
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Historical photographs and diagrams of farming techniques, along with actual recipes and Hidatsa vegetable varieties make this gem of a book useful for today's gardener." -- Organic Gardening, July/Aug. 1990
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Product Details

  • Series: Borealis Books
  • Paperback: 129 pages
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press; 1 edition (October 15, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873512197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873512190
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
Her thoughts were well organized and she was very through in giving information.
Kim Willis
Buffalo Bird Woman recounts her gardening and harvesting traditions in this wonderful sociological record, as told to Gilbert Wilson.
Sei Shonagon
I can't put books like these down, they fascinate me - day to day life of people in a very different life than mine.
J. Buss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Rabbi Yonassan Gershom VINE VOICE on July 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a Minnesota Historical Society reprint of the anthropological study done by Gilbert Wilson in 1917, originally published as "Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians: An Indian Interpretation." Wilson was among the first of a new school of American anthropologists that felt Indian cultures should speak for themselves, and not be spoken for by "white man's" interpretations. Consequently, the book really is, as the subtitle says, "an Indian interpretation." Most of the text is translated directly from Buffalo Bird Woman's own words, complete with stories, jokes, and personal anecdotes about village life. By the time you are done reading it, you will feel as if you met her personally.
I bought it because I am a Minnesota gardener, so I wanted to see what tips I might pick up from the ways of the indigenous people. The book is rich with useful gardening lore, including diagrams of various tools and structures, along with detailed descriptions of the different kinds of beans, corn, and squash that the Indians grew. Plus, there are native recipes you can try.
I was surprised to learn that, when the Indians dried squash, they didn't use mature fruits with hard skins like we do today, but preferred to cut them when they were 4 days old -- at about 3 1/2 inches diameter. They were more tender that way, easier to slice, and they dried better. The best squashes were marked in the field and allowed to mature for seed.
I also found it interesting that the Indians kept the different colors of corn separate, not like the multi-colored "Indian corn" we buy today for fall decorations.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Originally published in 1917, reissued in 1987, now released again with a new introduction by Jeffrey R. Hansen, Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden presents an agricultural calendar year's activities as remembered by Buffalo Bird Woman, an accomplished Hidatsa gardener born around 1839. Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden was a doctoral dissertation by a man who believed "It is of no importance that an Indian's war costume struck the Puritan as the Devil's scheme to frighten the heart out of the Lord's annointed. What we want to know is why the Indian donned the costume, and his reasons for doing it (p.xix)." Wilson also went on to write Goodbird the Indian His Story and Waheenee: An Indian Girl's Story (biography of Buffalo Bird Woman, 1839-1921). Using biography to study a culture was effective because it highlighted the variety of traumatic cultural shifts, changes, and transmutations painfully experienced by Buffalo Bird Woman and her family. The use of empathy informs the dated, 'superior' dominant culture outlook. Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden has been called a classic anthropological document. It certainly is that and more. As a model of respectful viewing and learning, as a mirror of the complex lifeway of ;the agricultural Plains Indians, as a chronicle of human adaptation, survival and ingenuity in the face of cultural disenfranchisement, Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden sets the bar for the standard. In addition, it gives eloquent testimony to one of the enduring gifts of the Hidatsa - their varieties of corn, squash, beans, and sunflowers. Even more enduring, perhaps, is the contribution highlighted by Jeffrey Hanson: "buffalo Bird Woman's Garden is not the end, but the beginning.Read more ›
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Smallchief on July 19, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a unique and irreplaceable book. In the early 20th century, the author interviewed Buffalo Bird, an old Hidasta Indian woman about Indian farming methods in the mid 19th century. The result is a primer on how the Indians grew corn and other crops on the Great Plains. Interspaced with the explanation of agricultural techniques are charming stories, songs, recipes, and ancedotes told by Buffalo Bird. She also describes how the Indians preserved their crop.

The Hidasta lived in North Dakota and this book is a primer on how to garden in the State without recourse to chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or motor powered equipment. The Hidasta grew five crops: corn, beans, squash, sunflower seeds, and tobacco. Their methods of cultivation, storage, and usage of each crop is described, usually with enough detail to be copied by the modern low-impact sustainable agriculturalist. A large number of illustrations and photographs supplement the text and show how the Indians built fences, dug storage pits, dried squash, and laid out their fields.

A good introductory essay introduces the Hidasta, Bird Woman, and the author to the reader. The whole book is only about 150 pages, but there's a wealth of cultural and agricultural information here presented in a charming and easy-to-digest format.

Smallchief
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gandalf Greyhame on October 14, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A "must have" for anyone who is interested in doing a garden using authentic Native American practices, as used in the tribes in the Missouri Valley area. Details on laying out the garden, maintaining it, food storage, construction of tools, etc. are all included with sufficient clarity for reproduction.
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