“Making Relatives:  Plants, Trees, and Waters”

17 May 2023

Ms. Ida Downwind (Leech Lake Anishinaabe), Indigenous Elder in Residence, returned to Carleton in April

Ms. Ida Downwind returned to campus April 24-28, 2023, following her attendance of the Minnesota Indian Education Association conference. At the conference, she shared her work at Carleton with teachers, students, staff, faculty, and state education leadership. 

Ida Downwind on an Arb Tour talking about a cottonwood tree
Ida Downwind talking about the importance of the cottonwood tree

The theme of her second visit was “Making Relatives:  Plants, Trees, and Waters,” as she introduced the Carleton Community to Indigenous plant knowledge by hosting a Plant Walk in the Arboretum and a large group discussion event in which she shared healing properties of common plants and their preparations for traditional medicinal teas, which were available for participants to try and to bring home. While on campus, Ms. Downwind met with President Byerly, Provost Mattson, Dean Livingston, and new Vice President of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity, Dina Zavala. Indigenous students, faculty, and staff gathered to visit and share a meal with Ms. Downwind and Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor, Jennifer Denetdale (Navajo). 

Ida also visited Indigenous Studies courses – Native American Religious Freedom and Indigenous Film, met with Indigenous students visiting from Red Wing High School, and held open-for-sign-up office hours for students, faculty, and staff. 

Ida Downwind in the Carleton Arboretum
Ida Downwind in the Carleton Arboretum