Stephen Silverbear McComber a longhouse faith keeper from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. He has been collecting seeds throughout the Iroquois confederacy for the last 30 years, and is very well known and recognized as a keeper of Iroquois seeds both in Canada and the USA. Silverbear has represented the Six Nations Confederacy at Oaxaca Mexico’ 2012 conference on Corn. He is an Elder working with inmates at corrections Canada for the past 10 years, which includes traditional teachings, native ceremonies and even some traditional gardening practices, where inmates grow Indigenous food. This allows inmates to find pride in their work, develop self-esteem and allows for enhanced rehabilitation, just another wonderful aspect of seed saving and knowledge. Silverbear is an avid gardener who protects and shares the knowledge of his people through the techniques and ceremonies that follow the natural cycles of the earth and the moon.
Dr. Frederick M. Wiseman was trained as a paleo-ethnobotanist at the University of Arizona. He taught and did research at Louisiana State, MIT’s Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology, and Johnson State College in Vermont, where he retired as Department Chair in 2014. He has published extensively on tropical fieldwork in Belize, Honduras, Yucatan and arid-lands research in Arizona and Sonora Mexico. Over the last twenty years he has focused on the culture and ecology of the Wabanaki people of northern New England, Quebec and the Canadian Maritimes, completing books and films, scholarly and popular articles and presented papers on Wabanaki culture & ecology. Fred is the director of the Seeds of Renewal Project, an inter-tribal effort to restore the traditional Indigenous food systems, including crop plants, agricultural technology, ceremony and cuisine. The Project is helping Abenaki, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy communities from New Brunswick, Quebec, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont to reconnect with their ancient food systems. New directions for the project include teaming up with regional museum, schools and botanical gardens to bring this information to the general public, as well as studying the implications of 1000 year old cropping systems for food security in an era of climatic change. Fred lives in the house his grandfather built at Missisquoi (Swanton VT) over 100 years ago and tends many sub-tropical food and ornamental plants varieties including peaches, wisterias, edible cacti, and fourteen types of magnolias