Native Village Youth and Education News

March 1, 2009 Issue 195 Volume 3


Cherokee Nation Offering Heirloom Seed Exchange
Condensed by Native Village

Cherokee Nation, Okla.: Many gardeners are looking to to the past and planting and growing heirloom plants. Now the Cherokee Nation is offering heirloom Cherokee seeds to its tribal citizens.

  “The idea behind the seed exchange was to let Cherokee Nation citizens become part of the heirloom plant project by giving seeds out so people could grow their own bit of Cherokee history,” said Pat Gwin.  “More than twenty plants that have been identified as historically being with the Cherokee people for generations, from beans that resemble snakes to giant squash.”

For several years, the Cherokee Nation Natural Resources Department has grown a variety of heirloom Cherokee plants.  Although the seed stock was gathered from throughout the U.S, all originated from the Cherokees' ancestral lands in the Southeast.

“We have several varieties of corn, gourds and beans, as well as a few specialized plants such as tobaccos and squashes.  Many of these plants represent our living ancestors and make delicious table fare. Others are great for art,” Gwin said.     

 The Nation is asking participating gardeners to send a few seeds back to the tribe after harvest. This will help keep the Cherokee Nation’s seed bank supplied and ensure these heirloom plants for future generations.       

 Few seeds are available, so each participant is limited to one species of plant.  The seeds are available only to Cherokee Nation citizens.


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