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The Bee Mother – Anishinabek News

Reviewed by Alex Hebert

The Bee Mother by Hetxw’ms Gyetxw (Brett D. Huson) and illustrated by Natasha Donovan is a beautiful book about the life cycles of different kinds of bees through beautiful imagery.

This is the seventh book in the award-wining series that connects science with Indigenous knowledge. It highlights the traditional knowledge of Gitxsan Nation in northwestern B.C.

Nox Ap, the bee mother, emerges from her winter sleep as the flowers and trees begin to bud and bloom. I imagine that in B.C., they have a head start on those found in our territory. To the Gitxsan people, Nox Ap is nature’s gardener and is known for her pollination. Her efforts as a pollinator help with the growth of the strawberry and huckleberry plants. This book follows her life from spring thaw to fall.

The book also focusses on the roles of the bumblebee, honeybee, and yellow jacket wasp in the Xsan ecosystem.

The book is filled with definitions of terms and the vibrant illustrations are just so eye-catching. It also has a short history of the Gitxsan Nation and even includes some of the language, which is neat to read about. The book also includes a guide to the 13 moons, which are specific to this territory with names like K’uholxs (Stories and Feasting Moon) in January and Lasa gwineekxw (Getting-Used-to-Cold-Moon) in November.

The multi award-winning author is a research associate at the Prairie Climate Centre at the University of Winnipeg who has a passion for his culture, land, and politics of his people, and a desire to share their knowledge and stories, which is evident in his storytelling through his books.

I highly recommend this series of books for young nature learners and lovers.

Hetxw’ms Gyetxw (Brett D. Huson), illustrated by Natasha Donovan, The Bee Mother. Winnipeg: Highwater Press, 2024.

ISBN: 978-1774920800

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