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Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do Is Ask: Anishinaabe Botanical Teachings

Wendy Makoons Geniusz
Mary Siisip Geniusz
University of Minnesota Press
Artists' Books
17.5 × 25 × 2.4 cm
392 pp

Mary Siisip Geniusz has spent more than thirty years working with, living with, and using the Anishinaabe teachings, recipes, and botanical information she shares in Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do Is Ask. Geniusz gained much of the knowledge she writes about from her years as an oshkaabewis, a traditionally trained apprentice, and as friend to the late Keewaydinoquay, an Anishinaabe medicine woman from the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan and a scholar, teacher, and practitioner of native ethnobotany. Keewaydinoquay published little, yet Geniusz has carried on her legacy by making this knowledge accessible to a broader audience.

Geniusz teaches the ways she was taught—through stories. Sharing the traditional stories she learned at Keewaydinoquay’s side as well as stories from other American Indian traditions and her own experiences, Geniusz brings the plants to life with narratives that explain their uses, meaning, and history. Stories such as “Naanabozho and the Squeaky-Voice Plant” place the plants in cultural context and illustrate the belief in plants as cognizant beings. Covering a wide range of plants, from conifers to cattails to medicinal uses of yarrow, mullein, and dandelion, Geniusz explains how we can work with these botanical beings to create food, simple medicines, and practical botanical tools.

Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do Is Ask makes this botanical information available to native and nonnative healers and educators and emphasizes the Anishinaabe culture that developed the knowledge and practice.

Softcover, perfect-bound, b&w


  1. Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do Is Ask

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