“As I walk on, someone is walking behind me.”
Dani Tippmann intentionally grows and shares her knowledge of native plants. A direct descendant of Miami (Myaamia) Chief Richardville (Pinšiwa), Dani feels deeply connected to this land, known as Myaamionki or “Miami homeland.” She learned traditional and medicinal uses not only from her mother, but also from tribal elders as she worked to preserve her community’s knowledge. In her words, “Plants are important to our people. We use them. We have been a part of their lives as long as anyone can remember.”
Through this apprenticeship, Dani teaches her daughter Mary Harter to listen to the plants and learn how to interact with them. As Mary notes, “My mother’s use of plants as food has sparked a love of food for me, which is why I went to school to become a registered dietician. I love treating the body as a whole with nutrition, which is what my mother has always done.” Their work together gives Mary the opportunity to connect with plants outside of an academic context by learning Miami methods of creating elm bark harvesting baskets as well as processing, storing, and using native plants such as wild river rice, cattails, elm bark, and aster flowers.