Cherokee citizen grows symbolic seed corn
By Adam Johnson
BARNSDALL, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Andy Vann has been an educator in Barnsdall for 34 years. He coached football, taught math and has always been an important member of this Osage County community.
At the 2008 Cherokee National Holiday, Principal Chief Chad Smith challenged tribal citizens to prepare for the future with respect, tradition and appreciation as well as education and learning. Symbolizing that challenge, tribal officials gave out packets of seed corn to holiday guests. Vann, among others, received such a packet.
Earlier this spring, Vann planted those seeds, and he said all but one stock grew upright.
“It was my idea (to plant the seeds), but it was the leadership of Chief Chad Smith, who when he gave us the seeds, challenged me to do so. I brought home the packet of seeds from the 2008 Cherokee Holiday celebration, and said, ‘I’m going to plant these seeds next spring,’” he said.
Four of the corn stalks eventually grew and sprouted corn, while one received damage during a windstorm.
“When the stalks were much higher than my head, a storm came up one night and blew one of the stalks over,” he said.
Vann said he braced the other stocks with broom handles to ensure their survival over the stormy summer. His plan succeeded and the corn stocks survived. As of Oct. 1, the remaining stocks were about 8-feet tall and healthy, he said.
Vann said his tall corn plants shocked his neighbors. “It surprised them to see them up above my head.”
Vann said he learned about corn from his grandfather, and being a longtime educator, he likened his experience growing the corn to teaching.
“When we teach, we address our students in much the same manner that we do when we plant a garden,” he said. “We carefully prepare, plant the seeds, cultivate, water and tend with care and watch while they grow taller than we are.”
He said harvesting the corn is similar to children who take what they have learned and make the world a better place.
ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎨᎳ ᏓᏛᎯᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᏍᎩᏯ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏎᎷ
Barnsdall, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ- ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎨᎳ Andy Vann ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᏕᏲᎲᏍᎦ ᎨᏒ Barnsdall ᎾᎿ ᏦᏍᎪᎯ ᏅᎩ ᏧᏕᏔᏴᏓ. ᏍᎪᏝᏍᏗ ᎠᎾᎳᏍᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᏗᏘᏂᏙᎯ, ᏚᏕᏲᏅ ᏗᏎᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎪᎯᎸ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗ ᎨᎳ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ Osage ᏍᎦᏚᎩ.
ᎾᏍᎩ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏧᏁᎳ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏍᏒ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᏂᏍᎪᎸᎡᎲ, ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ ᎤᏥᏣᏘ ᏚᏂᎳᏕᎴ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏁᎳ ᎤᎾᏛᏅᏫᏍᏙᏗ ᏫᏗᎦᏛ ᎬᏔᏅ ᎪᎯᏳᎯ, ᏂᏧᎾᏛᏁᎸᏍᏔᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᎾᏍᏊ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ. ᏍᎩᏯ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏚᏂᎳᏕᎸ, ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᎠᎬᏯ ᎠᏂᏙᎾᎢ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᏚᏂᏁᎴ ᎤᏍᏗ ᏕᎦᏅᏛ ᎤᎦᏓ ᏎᎷ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏁᏙ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᎸᎡᎲᎢ. Vann, ᎾᏍᏊ ᏚᎩᏒ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏎᎷ ᏕᎦᎸᏛ. ᎪᎨᏯ ᏥᎨᏒ, Vann ᏚᏫᏒ ᎯᎠ ᏧᎦᏔ, ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎤᎾᏟᏰᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎾ ᎢᏗᎾᏘ ᎨᏒ ᏌᏊ ᎤᏩᏌ Ꮭ.
“ᎠᏯ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏖᏓ ᎨᏒᏒ(ᎯᎠ ᏗᎩᏫᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᎦᏔ), ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᏓᏘᏁᎦ ᎨᏒ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ ᎤᏥᏣᏘ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᏁᎸ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ, ᎠᎴ ᎠᎩᏂᎳᏕᎸ ᏯᏆᏛᏗᎢ. ᏓᎨᏲᏢ ᏗᏇᏅᏒ ᎯᎠ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ ᏂᏓᏳᎾᏓᎴᏅ ᏔᎵ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏟᏌᎲ, ᎤᏛᏅ, “ᏙᏓᏥᏫᏏ ᎯᎠ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ ᎪᎨᎢᏴᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ.
ᏅᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏎᎷ ᎤᏴᏗᏅᏒ ᎨᎳᎯ ᎤᎾᏛᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏎᎷ ᎤᏂᎳᏛᎢ, ᏌᏊ ᎡᏍᎦ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏍᏓᏯ ᎤᏃᎸᏅᎢ.
“ᎤᎪᏛ ᎤᎾᏛᏒ ᏌᏊ ᎤᏒ ᎤᏃᎸᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏃᎸᏔᏅ ᏌᏊ ᎤᏴᏗᏅᏒ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ.
Vann ᎤᏛᏅ ᏚᏩᎫᏍᏛᏅ ᏫᏚᏩᎪᏛ ᎬᏃᏌᏍᏗ ᎫᎭᎵᏔᏅ ᏓᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬ ᎤᎾᏛᎯᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎪᎦ. ᏄᏍᏛ ᎤᏓᏅᏖᎸ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏎᎷ ᎤᎦᏛᎴᏒᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᏕᏂᏅᏛ ᎢᎬᏱ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏎᎷ ᎤᏴᏗᏅᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᏁᎳ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᏂᏕᎦᏛ ᎠᎴ ᏙᎯ ᎨᏒ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.
Vann ᎤᏛᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎾ ᎢᎦᏘ ᏎᎷ ᎤᏰᎬ ᎠᏂᏍᏆᏂᎪᏍᎬ ᎾᎥ ᎠᏂᏁᎳ.”ᎠᏂᏍᏆᏂᎪᏍᎬ ᏧᏍᎪᎳ ᎦᎸᎳᏗᏝ ᏂᏕᎦᏏ ᎤᏰᎬᎢ.”
Vann ᎤᏛᏅ ᎤᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᏎᎷ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏚᏓ, ᎠᎴ ᎪᎯᏓ ᏗᏕᏲᎲᏍᎦ ᎨᏒ, ᎤᎸᏉᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᏛᎯᏍᏔᏅ ᏎᎷ ᎠᎴ ᏚᏕᏲᏅᎢ.
“ᏱᏙᎦᏕᏲᎾ, ᏙᏤᏲᎲᏍᎪ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏠᏯᏊ ᏦᏥᏫᏒᏍᎪ ᎠᏫᏒᏗᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ. “ᎣᏍᏎᏍᏗ ᎣᏣᏛᏅᎢᏍᏗᏍᎪ, ᏦᎩᏫᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ, ᎦᏓᎷᎪᏗ, ᎠᎹ ᏗᏍᏚᏟᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏗᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏛᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎦᎸᎳᏗᎨ ᎢᏗᎾᏘ ᎾᏃ ᎠᏯ ᏂᏙᏣᏛᎢ.”
ᎤᏛᏅ ᏗᏍᏆᏂᎪᏙᏗ ᏳᏟᎶᏠ ᏎᎷ ᎤᏠᏯᏊ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎠᏂᏫᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏫᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᏩᏂᎶᏍᎪ ᏓᏤᏢ ᎠᏕᏗ ᏫᎾᏅᏁᎰᎢ.