Restoring / by Karie Luidens


Indigenous languages, lifeways, and relations with the land have all been subject to the violence of colonialism. Maize herself has been a victim, and so have you, when a worldview which cultivated honorable relations with the living earth has been overwritten with an ethic of exploitation, when our plant and animal relatives no longer look at us with honor, but turn their faces away. But there is a kernel of resurgence, if we are willing to learn.

The invitation to decolonize, rematriate, and renew the honorable harvest extends beyond indigenous nations to everyone who eats. Mother Corn claims us all as corn-children under the husk; her teachings of reciprocity are for all.

I’m not saying that everyone should go back to Three Sisters agriculture or sing to their seeds; although I admit that is a world I want to live in. But we do need to restore honor to the way that food is grown. Agribusiness is quick to point out that we cannot feed a world of nearly eight billion people with gardens alone. This is true but omits the reality that most of the corn we grow is not going to hungry people: it is feeding cars. There is another kind of hunger in our affluent society, a hunger for justice and meaning and community, a hunger to remember what industrial agriculture has asked us to forget, but the seed remembers. Good farming should feed that hunger, too.

Robin Wall Kimmerer,
“Corn Tastes Better on the Honor System”