CHEROKEE NATION TO DISPERSE RARE, TRADITIONAL SEEDS
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — The Cherokee Nation will begin dispersing seeds on February 1 from its limited supply of heirloom seed bank inventory to tribal citizens interested in growing traditional Cherokee crops and plants.
The Cherokee Nation keeps an inventory of seeds from rare breeds of corn, beans, squash, gourds, Trail of Tears beads and tobacco traditionally used for Cherokee customs. The seeds distributed are generally not available in stores.
In 2014, the tribe distributed seeds to more than 1,500 Cherokee Nation citizens. This year the Cherokee Nation has the largest inventory of heirloom seeds since the program began in 2006 to meet demands.
“THESE ARE VARIETIES OF HEIRLOOM SEEDS THAT CHEROKEES PLANTED AND SUSTAINED LONG BEFORE EUROPEAN CONTACT. THE VARIETIES WE ARE OFFERING THROUGH THE SEED BANK PROGRAM ARE HEALTHY, STRONG AND UNIQUE TO THE CHEROKEE PEOPLE. THAT CULTURAL CONNECTION TO OUR HISTORY IS CRITICAL,” SAID CHEROKEE NATION PRINCIPAL CHIEF BILL JOHN BAKER.
“The process of harvesting seeds and passing them down has kept these specific crops sustainable to Cherokee people. It is an essential part of Cherokee heritage, and today it is extremely popular with a new generation of Cherokee growers.”
Cherokee citizen Randy Duncan, of Stilwell, received Georgia candy roaster and corn seeds last year and said growing traditional crops offered an opportunity for him to connect with his roots.
“It’s rewarding to grow and harvest a crop that came directly from our ancestors,” Duncan said.
Citizens are limited to two varieties. To get the seeds, citizens can either make an appointment to pick them up or email their request to firstname.lastname@example.org to have them sent by mail. Individuals must include a copy of his or her Cherokee Nation tribal citizenship card, proof of age and address.
For more information, contact Pat Gwin at 918-453-5704.
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