Family keeps tradition alive with homestead

Grignon teaches indigenous skills that have been passed down through generations
Luke Reimer

One local family is doing its part to help teach and keep tradition alive.

With the help of her family, Lucy Grignon started Ancient Roots Homestead out of her home in Bowler during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ancient Roots Homestead is an indigenous-based educational homestead in Bowler, where we teach different indigenous skills that have been passed down from generation to generation,” said Grignon. “I do classes for the community, relating to different work shops. I go to some people each and some people come to me each month.”

She added that with not much to do during the pandemic, Grignon and her family started sharing the different lessons on Facebook, to which she started to gain a following.

“I would share a recipe or a project or something related to our homestead,” said Grignon. “I would share it on Facebook and it would go crazy. People would like it, share it and ask questions. When I saw that people were really engaging with my posts, I thought that with school shut down, I can still teach from our homestead.”

On Sept. 15 one of the classes that Grignon led was through the garden at Ancient Roots Homestead. Community members were given the opportunity to walk through the garden, as well as learn a little bit more about native and indigenous plants.

“We had the first homestead tour that we offered to the immediate community,” said Grignon. “We were able to walk through the homestead and connect with our seed relatives. Those would be seeds within our garden that we are growing that hold stories of our ancestors — the Stockbridge beans are directly related to us, because we are Stockbridge people. Being able to bring those seeds back to life, giving them love and giving them attention is just really beautiful to do.”

Grignon also led a tour through different trails on her homestead, where community members were given the opportunity to identify different medicines in the garden, plants that are growing, prairie flowers and prairie restoration in order to bring the native plants back to the area.

“I love teaching the community what I have learned,” said Grignon. “I love researching what my ancestors did, what they thought was important during their time of being alive and then make sure that I live my life in a way that my ancestors would be proud of.”

Due to the rich history and traditions surrounding some of the native plants, Grignon said that she gets emotional when teaching or leading tours about the subject.

“Because of my ancestors, I am able to still have this food, still grow these seeds and still connect with all of that, because somebody’s job was to be a seed keeper,” said Grignon. “They thought it was so important to keep these seeds that they kept them safe on their journey from the east to out here. Knowing that, it makes a lot of sense for me to bring love and light to these topics.”

As she hosts and leads classes and tours, Grignon said that she hopes others can take away as much from this experience as she has.

“If they can connect to their own roots, they are going to be living very fulfilled lives as well,” said Grignon. “We meet people where they are at — if they are not ready to put in a garden, maybe they want to take a plant and just try something little in a pot. These connections are so heavy, heartfelt and meaningful.”