Hello I am part Cherokee and am interested in planting a small section of my yard according to what my ancestors did.
Can anyone give me adive on where to start looking for what they planted?
There's a book called "Native American Gardening." You might start with that. Also, "Brother Crow, Sister Corn," and "In the Three Sisters Garden."
Has the Cherokee part of yur family always been in AR?
The reason I ask is exciting to me becasue a JD Green of Tenn gave seeds of a tomato to a friend of mine called Cherokee Purple and John said that that variety had been grown by the Cherokee Nation tribes in that area for about 100 years.
And then last year a friend of mine was vising relatives in AR and came upon a tomato variety called Indian Stripe or Indian Zebra and she says its a dead ringer for Cherokee Purple. I then did quite a bit of Google searches to determne if there was an indigenous Cherokee population in AR and decided there was, but would be interested in your input.
The reason this find is exciting is because it would be independent confirmation of a Cherokee origin quite independent of J D Green from Tenn.
I'm growing it this summer and sent seeds to my frind Craig, in NC, who was the recipient of those seeds and named the variety Cherokee Purple.
But as regards your larger interest in Cherokee veggies, I don't know of any book that discusses this. Most of the books written about native Indian varieties are centerd on the upper midwest and the Mandan and other agrarian tribes. But Vera just suggested some titles and you can check them ut at Amazon or whatever, to see if any Cherkee info is therein.
Once one gets beyond the three sisters type of growing with beans, squash and corn, the going gets rougher, and to attribute varieties to a particular Native Indian nation gets even rougher. I live in upstate NY where the Iroquois Nation held sway and yes, we nmow some of the ones they used, and some, like Black Mexican corn ( don't ask, LOL) are still available as are the squash.
There are many varieties of beans and corn that are Cherokee in origin, many associated with the Trail of Tears event and they are listed in the various SSE Annuals but one has to be a member of SSE in order to request varieties from other members.
But a few of those varieties can be had outside of SSE.
Have you done a Google search in this area of Cherokee vegetables? I did a little when trying to find out about a Cherokee presence in AR, but I haven't looked this year.
You may want to contact some of the elderly members of the Cherokee community where you live. Ask them what they grew and what their parents grew. Not everything can be found in books or on the internet. In many cultures the oral tradition is in danger of extinction, keep it alive.
Greenwitch~I do not know any elderly Cherokee people. There isn't a large Cherokee population here.
Carolyn~We don't really know where my family came from. My great-great grandmother was taken from her "village" and wouldn't speak much of it. So most of the details have been lost. From bits and pieces that have been put together through the years we think we came from Tn. My family is almost certain their info is right. And when we checked there was a large Cherokee population in Tn around the correct timeframe.
Cherokee purple tomatoes are on the top of my list to find! When I did my searches all I came up with was NC cherokees. That isn't really going to help me much. Does your friend have any other traditional Cherokee plants. It doesn't have to be veggies. Since we have somewhat traced my roots back to Tenn. I think any info he may have would help.
Vera~I will find the books and read up.
Thank you all so much.
Seeds for Cherokee purple are widely available. I'd be glad to send you some if you e-mail me.
There is no such thing as NC Cherokee Purple.
As I said above, my friend Craig, who lives in Raleigh NC was given seeds for what he named Cherokee Purple, by John Green of Tennesee who said they had been grown for over 100 years by the local Cherokees.
Craig does not specialize in Cherokee veggies. Nor does John Green in Tennesee who was given these seeds by a neighbor.
As I said above, I'm really interested in this Arkansas variety called Indian Stripe or Indian Zebra, which may well be the same as Cherokee Purple, yet independtly found in Arkansas.
I'm growing out the plants this summer and will be saving seed.
So if you'd like some, please contact me in the Fall when the seeds have been fermented. I'd be most happy to share with you. Actually I could send along the Cherokee Purple seeds at the same time. Your choice. if you think you can plant seeds now and still get something this summer then I can give you the Cherokee Purple seeds now. Again, your choice. You can e-mail be just by clicking on my name in blue in this post.
And I'm glad to hear from you, independedntly, that Cherokee did migrate from Tennessee to Arkansas, for it makes this Indian Stripe find yet more interesting, so thanks for that history of your family.
Carolyn I'm sorry my last message didn't come out right. When I searched for Cherokee gardens all I got where link to what the NC tribes grew. Sorry.
I would LOVE the seeds! Thank you so much. I'll be contacting you.
BTW, my mom's name is Carolyn. *S*
I have grown Cherokee Purple since 1997. It is still the king of my garden. Have not found anything in the tomato world I like better.
Easy to grow, not prone to disease, tough, sturdy plant and the taste is so good.
Now when I have grown as many varieties as Carolyn, perhaps I will change my mind, but that has not happened yet.
Have you checked the local garden stores/nurseries in your area for Cherokee Purple starts? Today I found C.P. starts at my favorite garden store. They have the best selection of heirlooms in the county, thank goodness. If I have any problems with my own starts, I always check them out for extra plants. Just a thought.
Best wishes and hope you have a great garden year.
Carolyn, I would love to get some of these Cherokee purple seeds too, if you have anymore. I too have Cherokee on my dad's side of the family (my great grandfather), still have been unable to track down anything other than that. I'm starting an organic heirloom garden, and love tomatoes, and would love to try some of these!
I have some information you may be interested in. I got intersted in heirloom vegetables a couple years ago. That along with bee keeping keeps me busy.My family also has Cherokee ancestry and hails from western Noth Carolina. Last year I planted a variety of bean called the "Cherokee Trail Of Tears". I purchased them from the Seed Savers Exchange,(www.seedsavers.org), aguably one of the top heirloom seed suppliers in the country.The folks at Seed Savers were given the seeds in 1977 by a Dr. John Wyche from Hugo Oklahoma. Dr. Wyche's Cherokee ancestors carried this bean over the "Trail Of Tears", the infamous winter death march in October 1838 in North Carolina, Tennesse etc and ended March 1839 in Indian Territory that is now Oklahoma. Thousands died along the way thus the name "Trail Of Tears". It is a delicious and beautiful shiny black bean. I told my wife that they are so pretty that they should be used for decorative jewlry or something else other than eating. You can e mail me andI would be glad to send you some seeds. My only concern is that I grew a couple other heirloom bean varieties and cannot guarantee that some cross pollination didn't take place. I am sure you can contact the Seed Savers Exchange and they would be happy to help you out. Good Luck, Gabrial.
Reciently I posted a question on this forum titled "growing corn three sisters" and got a lot of good information. I also posted it on the vege forum and the organic gardening forum and got some slightly different info. You may want to look at those. One of the strings, I think it was on the vege forum, had a link to "buffalo bird woman's garden" which I am reading on line. It's really good, however she was a Mandan(as mentioned above).
I purchased them from the Seed Savers Exchange,(www.seedsavers.org), aguably one of the top heirloom seed suppliers in the country.The folks at Seed Savers were given the seeds in
As a long time Lifetime member of SSE I hope you don't mind if I amend what you wrote just a bit.
SSE is not one of the top suppliers of seeds in the country.
As I explained above, there are several corn and bean Cherokee varieties listed in the SSE Annual, and those seeds are restricted to members, listed by members, and those members are SSE members but SSE itself is not involved.
SSE does have a public seed catalog and that's what you're seeing online and that's what you've referred to. And anyone wanting to order seeds from the public catalog can and they don't have to be members.But the nukmber of varieties listed in the public catalog.website, is but a small percentage of what is availablt to member in the yearly Annual listings.
I am sure you can contact the Seed Savers Exchange and they would be happy to help you out. Good Luck, Gabrial.
If you contact SSE they will suggest that you join SSE because that's the only way you'll have access to the corn and bean varieties I've referred to, other than what is listed in the public catalog, which is just the one Cherokee bean variety.
SSE is not a seed company. Their mission is the preservation of heirloom varieties, as accomplished by the many listed SSE members who list those varieties in the Annual. SSE also grows out varieties that we as SSE members deposit for permanent storage at Decorah. And in this way keep those varieties going in case any of us are unable to do so in the future.
I happen to be primarily an heirlom tomato person myself, although I grow a wide range of heirloom veggies and have for many many years.
But as to crossing with your bean seeds, that seldom happens since beans have perfect blossoms and usually self pollinate.
>It's really good, however she was a Mandan(as mentioned above). Catrina,
Buffalo Bird Woman was a Hidatsa. Although the Mandan and Hidatsa (along with the Arikira) are ethnologically related, they are different peoples.
What makes the book so special is that it was the first time that a trained anthropologist actually spent enough time with an agricultural people to record how things were done. And he spent it was somebody who's life spanned the pre-reservation, early reservation, and late-reservation period, so includes insights into how methods changed.
Why is this so important? Much of our information about Three Sisters plantings, for instance, comes from insufficient observation by casual commentators. Thus, we don't really know whether the Algonquian and Iroquisian peoples actually interplanted all three (as is commonly reported); grew them similarly to the Hidatsa; or used some other method.
Personally, I've never seen a description of how the southern woodland tribes planted their Three Sisters, but suspect a totally different system based on what their "fields" were like. And, with the Cherokee especially, it's hard to focus on methods because they assimilated so early that nobody knows for sure what is traditional, what was adopted from the Europeans, and what is an amalgum of the two cultures.
John Green still lives in Sevierville, Tennessee - just spoke to him a few months ago. I really must remind myself to call him to get the name of the neighbor family who received the seeds for the tomato that I named Cherokee Purple from the Cherokee Indians "100 years ago" - meaning around 1890 or so...though who knows how precise that is!
I received a few Cherokee Trail of Tears bean seeds from a "BlueFlint" and the first beans were wonderfully delicious. However, unlike rest of country central Florida has had no rain in weeks and plants died quickly in our 95+ hot, dry days and I was unable to save any mature beans for next seasons crop Have tried unsuccessfully to reach Blueflint as he/she had several varieties of seeds that I wanted to try. For now my garden is over until August as it is just too hot and dry. But spending time getting new area ready and I too want to grow Native American varieties of veggies and herbs if available.
The University of Arkansas might be able to assist you. They have a Native American symposium annually. This might also be an excellent student project that they might be interested in helping you with.
Also, here is a link to Arkansas Cherokee Genealogy information: http://www.comanchelodge.com/chickamauga-cherokee.html
Do a search on google for Cherokee Indians in Arkansas and you may find more of interest.
Here is a link that might be useful: U of A Symposium
If you contact the anthropology department at the U of Tenn, or another good Tenn school, and talk to whoever is doing local Archaeology, he or she will be able to give you information on what was planted.
You want a Tennessee University Anthropology department. Then you want the Archaeology prof. You can usually find that proffessor's e-mail addy on line, but you usually can't find his or her information on line. If I were you, I'd contact at least three different Archaeologists.
(And if any of them have Maya Agriculture info, send them to me!)
There are bean Varities that where grown by the cherokee people as well as corn and squash varites that where grown by them. I am also part cherokee and find this interesting corn beans and squash are called the 3 sisters.
Instead of googling for your search, I suggest going through a large university library's on-line search (or, if there's a university near you, go in person). Use a keyword search rather than a "subject" search because "subject" typically means "Library of Congress subject heading" and you have to have just the right terms for those. Keyword is more flexible. Make a list for yourself of terms to search: garden, horticulture, Cherokee, Native-American, etc. The more synonyms you come up with, the more stuff you can locate. And contact the reference desk for a univ. library--I'll bet they'd like to help you.
The other thing to do is, again, starting with university websites, look for depts. of anthropology, horticulture, Native-American studies, multi-cultural studies, American studies. Then scroll through the faculty to see if anyone is combining your interests. Then email your question. Professors love to talk about their field of study; you are asking an interesting and intelligent question, so I am sure you will get some good responses.
I see this has been posted for a while but just came across this post. So.. you live in Arkansas which is very historically significant to the Cherokee.... Have you found the cherokee.org web site which can lead to much cultural and political input? Perhaps one of the most significant refs to 'Cherokee Plants' is a book "Cherokee Plants", by Paul B. Hamel and Mary U. Chiltoskey. Have also seen this online and it has been available at the Cherokee gift shop in Tahlequah. Have used it as ref for years and shared copies as gifts. Had pleasure of meeting Mary about 20 years ago when she worked as librarian and researcher in NC. Here within the political service area of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma , tradition is still very much in evidence. Our 'locals' celebrate any occaision with a 'hog fry' and all kinds of good food. Historically, the strawberry is very significant, and locally, huckleberries are available. In spring time Cherokee gather the wild green onions and enjoy them in various ways, especially in scrambled eggs. Corn, beans and squash are the 'three sisters' of most Native American areas. Cherokee made wide use of the pumpkin, in historical ref. They also had orchards, and ancient plum trees still exist in this area. Much tradition is based on legend. The book "Cherokee Plants" is based on journals of early journalists and includes plants introduced during the colonial era.. Plant some corn, plant some beans to climb the corn, plant some pumpkins around the corn to protect it from the coons, plant some green onions.. and you have a start of a 'Cherokee' garden and some good food too!
This gives me an opportunity to share with you that the Indian Stripe/Indian Zebra seeds from Arkansas are indeed looking more and more like Cherokee Purple re plant habit, etc, for me, and Craig's fruits are looking close as well.
And another candidate re Cherokee Purple has also surfaced, but I can't give you all the background info ( forgot it without recheking, LOL) other than a Cherokee source was cited.
IT WAS INTERESTING TO READ THE HISTORY OF THE CHEROKEE PURPLES AND ABOUT THE HISTORY....DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY CP SEEDS THEY WOULD SHARE? THANKS... PLEASE EMAIL ME.
DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY CP SEEDS THEY WOULD SHARE?
You might wish to check the Exchange area in the Tomato Forum. The link to that Forum is at the top of this page and on the first page of the Tomato Forum above the first thread you'll see Exchange written as a blue link.
Obviously from the above thread you can see that I have seeds for CP but I get bombarded with seed requests b/c of writing a book on heirloom tomatoes, and add to that I don't ever trade seeds , for many reason, and I've had to make a decision, actually made many years ago, that I cannot send seeds to others when the variety is readily available commercially. For rare and hard to find varieties I do try to help out.
Thanks for you understanding in advance.
The exchange area becomes very active in the Fall after folks have had a chance to ferment their saved seeds.
didn't Blueflint post on aol awhile back?Been awhile 1-2 yrs.
cejaysau-Carol may be able to get ahold of blueflint there.
didn't Blueflint post on aol awhile back?Been awhile 1-2 yrs.
cejaysau-Carol may be able to get ahold of blueflint there.
No Bill, not that I rememeber since 1991.
I've seen Blueflint posting somewhere here recently, but I don't remember where.
A quick look at the GW member list should be done.
I too am part Cherokee and I think it would be neat to plant a native garden!
Blueflint hasn't been real active on the forums because he started a new job, after being out of work for awhile, and moved to a new town.
He did give a great presentation on Native American varieties (particularly Cherokee) at the Appalachian Heirloom Seed Conservency (AHSC) fall conference back in September. And he intends getting more active again, as soon as things settle down.
Native American varieties of the region are, of course, one of the things AHSC is vitally concerned with.
Carol: If you're still trying to reach him, contact me off-list and I'll give you his email address.
As GardenLad stated, I am still around but have been quite busy this past year (or two). I still grow a variety of rare Cherokee crops and am slowly building enough stock I will be able to spread them around in the future. Everyone needs to remember that the Cherokee nation was quite large, estimated at 135,000 square miles in size. There was an estimated 200 villages within the Cherokee Nation in the mid 1500's. There were common crops thru out the nation but there were corn and bean varieties limited to single villages too. Selective breeding for color, markings, shape, flavor, growing habits, spirituality, etc. all came into the many varieties of beans (and corn to a lesser extent), most of which are no longer with us. I am always looking to add more rare varieties to my garden, spercially Cherokee related. ~Blueflint
My ancestors were Choctaw and Cherokee mixed with White Blood.
My great great Grandmother on my mothers side full-blooded Choctaw.I can remember all the great stories she told me about her life and the ones that lived before her.They called themselves Black Dutch.That's a whole topic in itself.But,the most important crops were the corn,beans and squash.They grew sunflowers and collected seeds from the wild gourds that grew here.My Great Great Grandfather and Grandmother on my Dad's side...Full Blooded Cherokee.I collect and grow heirloom Native American vegetable seeds.
Some dating from the 1700's.Mostly corn seeds that i have.
I hope to continue to grow a few of these out and be able to pass them along to other collectors when my seed stock is built up enough.
As far as the person looking for the seeds in the first post.There are several varieties available in seed catalogs.
The Cherokee White Eagle corn is listed this year.
Does anybody know what garden crops the Cherokee and Choctaw planted? Also what strains were brought with them on the Trail of Tears?
Where can a person find these seeds?
Has anyone hear of the Cherokee Blue Corn? What beans did the Cherokee plant? I know they planted the "Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans".
Love to hear from you,
The Cherokee grew a wide variety of Corn, Beans and Squash. The Cherokee covered a wide range of landscapes resulting in some variety of crops within the Nation. Since the Cherokee mostly lived in the rich river bottoms, most towns were fairly small (up to 50 buildings) and wide spread. Their corn crop (culture) was mostly based on their white flour corn, which they are well known for and this was grown through out the Cherokee lands. Also grown were white and yellow flint corns. Some of these were for the early Green Corn Dance while other flints were used for hominy and grits type foods. Grown to a much lesser extent were red flints and blue and white flints. The smallest villages would plant 200+ acres of corn per year. When it comes to beans, the most commonly known is the Trail of Tears. This is a prolific, drought tolerant, highly productive bean producing decent quality green beans (when small) and high quality slim shiny black dry beans. Another good but much, much lesser known bean is PriceÂs Cherokee. This bean has been traced back to the 1830Âs, came over the Trail of Tears and later the family then moved to California (1920Âs) where it was later collected by the U.C. Davis Seed Saving Project of the 1980Âs. This is a nice cream colored dry bean of good production. A very good green bean is the Cherokee Greasy Bean, highly productive, has a white dry seed and is still grown in western North Carolina. A good dry bean of larger size is the October Bush Bean, a nice cream bean with purple flecking, great for shelly beans of dry beans. There are many good eastern Tennessee and Kentucky Cherokee heirlooms. Cherokee Cornfield is a good example, a beautiful mixture of seed types that has been traditionally grown together for hundreds of years. Then there is the Cherokee Butterbean, actually a true Runner bean (P. coccineus) still grown in Cherokee, N.C. today. Squash of the Cherokee is known to a lesser extent but they did grow Yellow Crooknecks (c. pepo) along with Cherokee Candy Roaster (c. maxima), forefather to the Georgia Candy Roaster. The Choctaw grew a great winter squash known as the Choctaw Sweet Potato Squash (c. moschata), a favorite of mine.
Most of these items are very rare today, mostly still grown by isolated families or being preserved by seed savers.
I think the above information actually raises more questions than it answers.
I have also been growing the 'Cherokee Trail of Tears' beans for quite a few years now. My husband and I think it is by far the best bean we have ever eaten. I save seed every year and share them with friends.
aftermidnight, do you eat them as green beans or do you let them grow on and eat the black beans? I'm asking because I'm curious as to which form is "the best bean you've ever eaten."
addictedtoroses, we eat them as green beans and much to my surprise they stay tender for a long time, even after the beans have started to form.
I got my first seed many years ago from a offering from a local magazine The Island Grower. I started with 5 bean seeds. Maybe it's our climate, everyone I have given seed to say the same thing, very tasty.
western north carolina university has cherokee gardens. Their ethnobotanist might be able to help you out. He may know what was being grown in the east before Indian removal.
Here is a link that might be useful: cherokee ethnobotany
I have a Cherokee friend that said she remembers seeing corn grow on a bush in Cherokee NC. Does anyone know anything about this type of corn?
There are several types of heirloom Native American corns that are heavily tillered...that is there are more than one stalk per plant. Some have quite a bush like appearance. My late friend Wade Wofford had told me several times of growing Quapaw Red and that it was heavily tillered, up to 15 tillers per plant and could actually produce 120 bu./acre.
This is a long shoot I have found a collection of rare corn seed , at a second hand store ,I have never seen these variety's before , all large kernels - each packet has completely different colours or colour combinations they were pack away in a large glass jar. I couldn't believe what I found , with the corn were also beans, rice, wheat, quinoa, and some seeds I have no ideal what they are.
Can anybody help me - I would like to know what I have ,, is there a master list of corn seed somewhere I could check to see what I have. If these are what I think they are , someone family heirloom seed bank , with very old variety's of vegetable seeds . I want to get them to somebody who could keep them safe and have the experience to grow them out. But first I need to find out more about them.