From a traditional hogan in a remote area on the Utah-Arizona line, Cynthia Wilson spent much of her spring sourcing drought-resistant seeds, packing them in small manila envelopes and labeling them to ship to families across the Four Corners.
Seeds for corn – white, blue and yellow. For squash. For melons. For many of the foods that long sustained her Navajo ancestors, before their land was carved into a reservation and the government started shipping in commodities. And long before the Covid-19 pandemic emptied grocery store shelves of necessities.
Wilson’s upbringing was immersed in Diné culture. Her grandfather was a medicine man, her mother an herbalist. Wilson is a nutritionist who directs the traditional foods program for Utah Diné Bikéyah, a nonprofit that promotes the healing of people and the Earth through conservation of tribal lands.