Sowing and Sharing Heirloom Seeds: Embracing Culture, Continuing a Family Tradition
JOSH FOURKILLER Multimedia Specialist
03/30/2020 09:00 AM
STILWELL – Cherokee Nation citizen Natalie Yeager is using her gardening knowledge to bring together family, food and culture. Yeager is one of many Cherokee gardeners who received heirloom seeds from the Cherokee Nation this growing season and will be sharing her journey through a series of videos documenting the process from seed to table.
“I applied for Cherokee Nation seeds probably around the first of February, and I got a notification that I was going to be getting some,” Yeager said. “I was super excited about that. I’ve been researching history and things about these seeds. The reason I applied for White Eagle Corn was because I thought how cool would it be to make corn meal just the way that our Cherokee ancestors had.”
Yeager was first introduced to her love of gardening by her grandparents at a young age.
“Both of my grandparents were gardeners. My mom’s mom was a canner. She grew lots of food, and she loved preserving it. My dad’s mom, she loved cooking from scratch. Everything at her table was homemade. Food was just a love language between my whole, entire family. My grandparents have passed away. Food has kind of been this sentimental connection that I have with them.”
Yeager is planning to sow the seeds into the ground around the first or second week of May. Once the White Eagle Corn is grown and harvested, Yeager plans to mill the corn herself to make corn meal in connection to traditional gardening done by her Cherokee ancestors.
Multimedia Specialist Josh Fourkiller currently lives in Tahlequah, Oklahoma but calls Stilwell his hometown. He began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in February of 2020. Born and raised in Oklahoma, Josh always knew he wanted to work for the Cherokee p ...