N is for Native

Although my peony bush is not native to MN, it is native to Western North America and it does very well without my doing much with it.

Although my peony bush is not native to MN, it is native to Western North America and it does very well without my doing much with it. I couldn’t find a photo of my other flowers.

Today is all about the Native.

There are two things that come to mind when I think of the word “native”: one is native plants and another is Native Americans. We’ll discuss both briefly today since there is plenty to say on either topic.

I’ll start with native plants. I live in Minnesota, so our ground is quite harsh for many plants. I live on the border between a zone 3 and 4, according to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. Our state ranges from Zones 2 to 4. Not as much grows here because of our supremely cold winters, but if you choose native plants, that is not an issue.

I am a super lazy gardener, so I love native plants because you just don’t have to do anything really to take care of them. Once they are established, they pretty much take care of themselves as long as you trim them back once in a while. Native plants are also good for the local birds and wildlife. Native plants are a good ecological fit for the environment too. Non-native plants often need special care in order to stay healthy, including pesticides and the like.

If you are not sure what plants are native in your area, check out this site: FindNativePlants.com. This site is a great resource of companies that support native plants and also resources specific to each state/provinces for US/Canada.

Another word for natives is indigenous. Just as there are indigenous plants that survive well in their own original habitats, there are also indigenous people that do the same. It’s been said that we are a “melting pot” in the U.S., but you won’t find a lot of non-whites using that term. That term originated in the late 1800s to “assimilate” the various cultures into the white Christian culture. One group that did not assimilate well was the Native Americans. Can you blame them? We basically took their land and then we shoved them out of their homelands.

The traditional Native American culture was closely tied to the earth. As part of white man’s effort to take over the land that is now part of the United States, the U.S. government moved these groups around the country – often times to rather inhospitable environments that were not desired by the white populations. This displacement of native people was often done in very harsh and inhumane ways, sometimes forcing them to walk thousands of miles, with many of them dying. If you want to learn more about this craziness, check out this page on the Trail of Tears from the Cherokee.org website. This process of removing Native Americans from their native lands was devastating on so many levels: not only were the long walks horrific and deadly, but then they were forced to settle in areas where the desolate habitat was completely unknown to them and they were forced to live in close proximity to tribes that were not their own.

This sort of racial injustice is impossible to rectify, but at least there are some attempts being made to right past wrongs. In Minneapolis, just last year, there was an effort to get Lake Calhoun renamed back to its original Dakota name, Bde Maka Ska (Be-DAY Mah-Kah Ska) which means White Earth Lake. This is an issue because the Dakota tribe first lived at the lake. The man, Calhoun, by which the lake was then, and still is, named after – was one of the white people relocating tribes during that time to far away lands. Do we really want our lake named after him? Here is another article about the Lake Calhoun name change. I am sure that this is not just happening here in Minnesota. Let me know in the comments if you know of anything like this happening in your area!

If you read my post on inequality, you know that I have been doing some work lately on racial justice through my Beloved Conversations course. One of the things that I am trying to do, to come to terms with the injustices that are still going on, is to learn as much as I can about them. Maybe if I can learn what is being done currently to help the Native Americans, I can become part of the solution. In digging around, I found this post that was quite enlightening. I consider myself an ally, but hopefully not in the way that they portray in this article! It was interesting to read the different ways that “helping” is not really helping. No big surprise there.

Anyways, let me know in the comments what you think. Do you know about any racial injustices that have happened in your area? You can always learn if you don’t. It’s a fascinating topic and one that will help many others by building awareness. 

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This post is part of a series called the A to Z Blogging Challenge, taking place during the month of April 2016. Each day is a new letter throughout the month. My theme this month is NATURE. To view other bloggers writing about this alphabet, check out the list here.  

If you are enjoying the A – Z Challenge and want more blogging connection in your daily life, considering joining our Inspired Blogging Group on Facebook! 

The list so far…

A is for Aspen
B is for BreathB is for Butterfly
C is for Consciousness
D is for Deep Space
E is for Earth
F is for Fire
G is for Garden Gnomes
H is for Heaven
I is for Inequality
J is for Jade
K is for Kissing
L is for Light

Answers: 1.C 2. C 3. B 4. B 5. B & C are both true. From the side, it looks like a figure 8. You’d better not have said rectangle. 6. B


  1. Thanks so much for providing the native plants link, Amy. Very timely as I’m trying to figure out what will work best in an area I’m not familiar with and want to stick with indigenous on anything I add (that’s not planted to eat ;-)).
    Nanette Levin recently posted…Networking for introverts and novicesMy Profile

  2. I have some native american friends and they are awesome…
    Milton Garcia recently posted…Shavasana.netMy Profile

  3. I always love seeing people working with native plants – it feels like an extra layer of awareness and harmony. I love my peony bushes as well, and really look forward to when they bloom.

    Thanks for pointing us in the direction of the Unsettling America site. I really do look forward to more reports of how you’re working with issues unfolding from the Beloved Conversations course.
    Deborah Weber recently posted…Manifesto: O is for…My Profile

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