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March 27: Teachings of Our Elders - Kenneth Jerome on Nature

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North Dakota Native American Essential Understandings number one is about sacred relatives. It states, "Native people practice a deep interconnectedness with the land, the resources, the water, all living things, and all human beings, land stewardship, respect for all two-legged, four-legged winged, crawlers, and swimmers, and a strong belief in the sacredness of all human beings are key elements of our spirituality."

In today's episode of Dakota Datebook we'll hear Kenneth Jerome Hill, enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, share a bit about how nature heals.

Kenneth Jerome:

Well back then, the Dakota people always relied on mother nature for healing of different things. There's some certain leaves that are good for some certain... My grandfather, my mom's dad, Edward Lawrence was his name. He was one of the very few that never knew any English. He knew a lot of herbs, a lot of roots. There's a lot of different things that he knew that I picked up from him that, what some of them are good for. And it is essential that sometimes the white man's medicine won't heal or do things, but if you look at these other things, they do. Because it was brought from a long time ago. They know what all worked and what all didn't and what it was to work for. So, yeah, and we are all related. I mean connected to the elements of the wildlife, the trees, and what not. There's a lot of things in animals too that are good for healing, parts of animals.

If you'd like to learn more about the North Dakota Native American essential understandings, and to listen to more Indigenous elder interviews, visit

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.