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My Story

Shelley is an enrolled member of the Meskwaki tribe and lives on the Meskwaki Settlement with her two sons. The Meskwaki are unique in that their land based community is a settlement, not a reservation. Established in 1857 with the purchase of 80 acres near Tama, Iowa, the Meskwaki Settlement has grown to over 8,600 acres.  Here’s a link to learn more about the Meskwaki: https://www.meskwaki.org/history/

Shelley joined Seed Savers Exchange for the 2021 growing season as a Seasonal Seed Steward.  She now works for Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) through the Americorps VISTA program.  Her service assignment with SILT is to build capacity through farmer outreach by recruiting more farmers of color and more farmland donors, with the goal of enhancing local food security and access to affordable farmland.

Shelley served her community recently in coordinator roles at Red Earth Gardens and with Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative. It was through this work that Shelley found the healing power of rematriation by becoming a seed keeper.