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The Seed Keeper (Paperback)

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When her father died, Rosalie Iron Wing was taken from her extended family and placed into foster care, as so many Indigenous children were. She was twelve. Now, after her husband’s death, she returns to the cabin where she’d spent her childhood, seeking to understand her past. Her story is interwoven with those of others, giving us historical context and multiple points of view, and it is seeds that connect them all. Beautifully and evocatively written, The Seed Keeper challenges us to think about our relationship to the land and to the plants that sustain us. — Joan (RBB Staff)

— From The Seed Keeper


A haunting novel spanning several generations, The Seed Keeper follows a Dakh ta family's struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most.

Rosalie Iron Wing has grown up in the woods with her father, Ray, a former science teacher who tells her stories of plants, of the stars, of the origins of the Dakh ta people. Until, one morning, Ray doesn't return from checking his traps. Told she has no family, Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family in nearby Mankato--where the reserved, bookish teenager meets rebellious Gaby Makespeace, in a friendship that transcends the damaged legacies they've inherited.

On a winter's day many years later, Rosalie returns to her childhood home. A widow and mother, she has spent the previous two decades on her white husband's farm, finding solace in her garden even as the farm is threatened first by drought and then by a predatory chemical company. Now, grieving, Rosalie begins to confront the past, on a search for family, identity, and a community where she can finally belong. In the process, she learns what it means to be descended from women with souls of iron--women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss, through war and the insidious trauma of boarding schools.

Weaving together the voices of four indelible women, The Seed Keeper is a beautifully told story of reawakening, of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors.

Honors for The Seed Keeper:

  • A Book Riot Best Book of 2021
  • A BuzzFeed Best Book of Spring 2021
  • A Bustle Most Anticipated Debut Novel of 2021
  • A Bon Appetit Best Summer 2021 Read
  • A Thrillist Best New Book of 2021
  • A Books Are Magic Most Anticipated Book of 2021
  • A Minneapolis Star Tribune Book to Look Forward to in 2021
  • A Daily Beast Best Summer 2021 Read
Product Details
ISBN: 9781571311375
ISBN-10: 1571311378
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publication Date: March 9th, 2021
Pages: 392
Language: English