Land, Healing, and Renewal: A Note from Mary Delorié 

Dear community, 

In the wake of multiple days of below-zero temperatures, when we’ve all been cooped up inside to stay warm, I’ve been spending nights curled up with my books and tea. Books and tea don’t have to be a winter-only sport, but now is the time our northern ecosystem hibernates. We’re called to slow down, retreat inwards, and do some intention setting for the new year.  

Braiding Sweetgrass, a collection of essays by award-winning Potawatomi botanist and author Robin Wall Kimmerer, has been on my bedstand for a month now. The read has been an incredibly personal one, each essay a meditation on the infinite beauty of botany, Indigenous ways of knowing, self-care and connection to place. It has me thinking about how I’m going to steward my backyard gardens after the thaw comes. And how I plan to introduce my four-year-old to the richness of dirt, worms (!), and the process of growing things. Is now the time to reserve summer camping sites in our fabulous Minnesota state parks as well? In the dead of winter, I’m still in relationship with the land and dreaming about Minnesota summers. 

While the land that sustains us takes a rest this winter season, I thought it might be a good time to highlight the work of several grantee partners who are stewarding plots of earth and human connection. Various land sanctuaries across our region have been in cultivation these past few years. Guided by the leadership of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), women, and queer community members, these co-ops and organizations are creating intentional space for growth, healing, art, renewal, and cultural connection, etc.  

I have a personal connection to The Fields at Rootsprings since I grew up in Annandale, Minnesota where Rootsprings is located. When I was in high school, in the late 90’s, there were Franciscan nuns who ran what was then called Clare’s Well. These nuns printed cookbooks, ran a wellness center for massages and meditations, hosted guests in the hermitages, raised chickens and happy goats, and had collie dogs that would warmly greet all the guests. It was a place of comfort, relaxation, and belonging. It was, and continues to be, now as Rootsprings, a local treasure. A space for reflection, healing, and expansiveness.  

Rootsprings is one of many land-based organizations and sanctuaries stewarded by people of color and Native communities expanding across our region. May I introduce you to a few more? 

In their own words… 

The Fields at Rootsprings 
Annandale, Minnesota 

This retreat center, now queer and Black-owned, envisions nurturing artistic and spiritual development steeped in revolutionary principles. They are guided by relationship building between people and the land for healing and are dedicated to offering accessible cultural programming to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ community members and beyond.  

Wild Path Collective 
Osceola, Wisconsin 

This group is an intergenerational, multicultural, and interfaith community and commons where Black, Indigenous, People of Culture, Women, Queer, Trans, Poor, and all other people who experience systemic and oppressive challenges to land access may reconnect with land that is held collectively, in a commons. 

Wakan Tipi Awanyankapi 
St. Paul, Minnesota 

Wakan Tipi Awanyankapi is a Native-Led, East Side environmental stewardship nonprofit centered in Dakota values. All of of their work —at Wakáŋ Tipi / Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, and throughout the East Side —takes place on Dakota land. For generations, Dakota people have cared for and been cared for by this land. That relationship and knowledge is the foundation for Wakan Tipi Awanyankapi’s cultural and land conservation, education, and restoration projects. 

Maji ya Chai Land Sanctuary 
Two Harbors, Minnesota 

This sanctuary provides a container for the fullness for individuals to blossom from the depths of our relaxed being, supported by nature as it believes the key to healing and connecting with our full & true selves is not through doing, producing, or pushing, but through ease, relaxation, allowing and listening.  

Philadelphia Community Farm 
St. Croix River Valley, Wisconsin 

This farm is committed to creating access for historically oppressed people to connect to their history through land, food systems & cultural practices. They believe in a vibrant future steeped in the values of access, liberation, creativity, regeneration, cultural, and intergenerational living.  

Each of these groups recognize that they exist on stolen, unceded Indigenous lands first stewarded by the Dakota, Ojibwe, and Anishinaabe people. Their work exists to also decolonize our minds and build stronger connections between communities, while centering communities of color and Indigenous communities’ connection to the land. They are all intentional about how they foster deep connection. They are open to guests and wanderers.  

We encourage you to take a few minutes to learn more about these spaces. As you join me in “winter dreaming,” consider visiting, volunteering, or donating directly to any of these unique organizations.  

Stay warm and stay curious, 

Mary Delorié 
Director of Individual Giving