CN again offering heirloom seeds

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
01/08/2013 08:42 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
In this 2009 photo, Caidlen Dunham of Jay, Okla., stands in front of Cherokee Colored Flour Corn that she and her father planted. The seeds came from the tribe’s seed bank project. COURTESY PHOTO
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Former Cherokee Nation Natural Resources intern Jamie Loy holds a Cherokee heirloom Georgia Candy Roaster Squash growing in the tribe’s garden in Tahlequah, Okla., in this 2009 photo. COURTESY PHOTO
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Cherokee Nation’s Seed Bank Planning Guide COURTESY PHOTO
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Cherokee Nation’s Seed Bank Planning Guide COURTESY PHOTO
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Natural Resources Department is again offering Cherokee gardeners a chance to grow a bit of the tribe’s history and culture in their respective gardens using heirloom seeds from its seed bank.

This year 13 seed varieties are being offered. The seeds are free, but participating gardeners are asked to help restock the seed bank by sending seeds from their crops to the tribe.

“To me, that’s a really cool thing. It’s Cherokees helping Cherokees,” administration liaison Pat Gwin said. “As far as we know we are the only Indian tribe that grows our own heirloom seeds and distributes them to our own citizens, so that’s pretty cool too.”

He said requests for seeds were down in 2012 because draught and the extreme heat during the summer of 2011 caused a difficult growing season. In 2012, about 2,500 seed packets were distributed.

During the four years the seeds have been given away, the highest number of seed packets given during a year was 6,000, Gwin said. Some packets have been sent as far away as Nigeria, Africa.

“But I really think by far the vast majority of them go to California and the Tennessee area,” he said.

Gwin said the popularity of particular seeds varies annually, but White Eagle Corn and Native Tobacco seeds are always really popular.

Because of the difficult past summer, crop yields were nominal. Subsequently some seed varieties are not available this year because growers were not been able to send back as many seeds. However, the seed bank maintains a genetic stock of seeds that do not get intermingled with seeds that are sent back to Natural Resources.

“We’ve been able to supply some of the giveaway seeds because other parts of the country haven’t been as hot as here and people have sent us seeds we are able to send back out,” Gwin said. “They work really hard at this. A lot of people think they’re not doing enough to fulfill their end of the bargain if they don’t grow enough to send some back, so they’re always sending some back.”

The heirloom seeds are for plants that have been researched and are historically related to the tribe. Seeds available this year include Georgia Candy Roaster Squash, Job’s Tears (beads) and Jewel and Dipper Gourds. Other species available include Cherokee Flour Corn, which is large flour corn that includes white, yellow and colored (multi-colored) varieties; Cherokee White Eagle Corn; the Trail of Tears bean (small, jet black bean); Cherokee Long Greasy bean; Turkey Gizzard bean; and Native Tobacco, which is a ceremonial tobacco. It’s not a smoking tobacco and is restricted to citizens at least 18 years old.

Most of the seeds are rare cultivars not widely available through commercial means.

For more information about the seed bank, call Mark Dunham at 918-453-5336 or visit the Natural Resources webpage at www.cherokee.org. Seed requests can be emailed to pat-gwin@cherokee.org or mark-dunham@cherokee.org.

Requests should include a name, scanned copy of CN citizenship card (blue card), a mailing address where the seeds should be sent, and if requesting tobacco seeds, proof of being at least 18.

The CN has a limited supply of these seeds, and every request may not be granted. Recipients are limited to two seed varieties. Only one variety of corn and gourds may be requested due to hybridization issues, so recipients should include one or two alternate seed varieties. Also, alternate seed varieties should be chosen because there is a limited supply of certain species.

will-chavez@cherokee.org


918-207-3961

ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏂᎬᏩᏍᏛᏊ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᏏᏊ ᎤᏂᏍᎪᎸᏓ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᏂᎶᎩᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏛᎯᏍᏔᏅᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᏂᏧᎵᏍᏔᏅᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ ᏠᎨᏏ ᎤᎾᏛᎯᏍᏔᏅᏅ ᎤᎦᏘ ᏂᏓᏳᏓᎴᏅ ᎠᏍᏆᏂᎪᏔᏅᎯ.

ᎯᎠ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏓ ᎾᎿ ᏦᎦᏚ ᎢᏳᏓᎴ ᎠᏍᎪᎸᏓ ᎤᎦᏘ. ᎯᎢᏃ ᎤᎦᏘ ᎠᏌᏊᎢ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎤᎩᏓ ᎤᎦᏘ ᏗᎦᎶᎩᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᏂᏔᏲᏎ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎤᎾᎵᏏᏅᏙᏗ ᎤᎦᏘ ᎤᏂᏲᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎲ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ.

“ᎠᏰᏃ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏍᏓ. ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏍᏕᎵ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒ ᎦᏙᎩ ᏚᎾᏓᏢᎬᎢ Pat GwinᎢ. “ᎠᏆᏅᏛᏃ ᎢᎬᏌ ᎢᏗᏴᏫᏯ ᎢᏗᏅᏍᏓᏢ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎬᏌ ᎢᏓᏛᎯᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᎵᏏᏅᏔᏅᏒ ᎤᎦᏘ ᎠᎴ ᏙᏗᏁᎰ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏁᎳ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏍᏓ .”

ᎠᏗᏍᎬᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏔᏲᎯᎯ ᎤᎦᏘ Ꮭ ᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᏱᎨᏎ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏔᎳᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎢᎦ ᏧᎧᏲᏛ ᎨᏒ ᎤᏗᏢᎦ ᎾᎿ ᎪᎦ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏌᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ Ꮭ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎬᏛᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎾᎯᏳᎢ. ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏔᎳᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎤᏛᎾ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎯᏍᎩᏧᏢ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ ᏕᎦᎶᏛ ᏚᏂᏯᏙᎸᎢ.

ᎾᏍᎩ ᏅᎩ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎤᎦᏘ ᎣᏣᏓᏁᎲ, ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴ ᏎᏍᏗ ᏕᎦᏅᏛ ᎤᎦᏘ ᎣᎦᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏍᏒ ᏑᏓᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Gwin. ᎢᎦᏓᏃ ᎤᎦᏛ ᏕᎦᏃᏛ ᏬᎩᏅ ᏩᏅᎯᏴ ᎾᎿ Nigeria, Africa.

“ᎠᏎᏃ ᎦᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏕᎳ ᏧᏢ ᎠᎴ ᏔᎾᏏ ᏫᏗᎦᎶᏍᎪ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ. Gwin ᏃᎴ ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎤᏂᎲ ᎤᎦᏘ ᏂᏓᏕᏘᏴᎯᏒ, ᎤᎪᏛᏍᎩᏂ ᎤᏁᎦ ᎤᏬᎭᎵ ᏎᎷ ᎠᎴ ᎡᎯᏯ ᏦᎳ ᎤᎦᏘ ᎠᎾᏑᏰᏍᎪᎢ.

ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏦᏎᏍᏗ ᏓᎦᎶᎯ ᎪᎦ, ᏠᎨᏏ ᎤᏛᏒᏅ Ꮭ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏱᎨᏎ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᏍᎬ ᎢᎦᏓ ᎤᎦᏘ Ꮭ ᏯᎭ ᎠᎾᏛᎯᏍᏗᏍᎩ Ꮭ ᏂᏛᎬᏩᏂᏗ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎤᎦᏘ ᎦᏲᏟᏊ. ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎦᏘ ᎠᎲ ᏂᎦᏯᎢᏐ ᎠᎴ Ꮭ ᏱᏚᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎰ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏅᏓᎤᏂᏅ ᎤᎦᏘ ᎾᎿ ᏂᎬᏩᏍᏗᏊ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ.

“ᎡᎵᏊᏃ ᎣᎩᎭ ᎢᎦᏓ ᎤᎦᏘ ᎣᎦᏓᏁᏗ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᏐᎢ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏫᏛᏳᎪᏛ Ꮭ ᏙᎯᏳ ᏳᏗᏢᎦ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏗᎠᏂᎲᏍᎪ ᎤᎦᏘ ᏃᎴ ᏙᏥᏁᎰ ᎠᏂᎷᎬᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ GwinᎢ. “ᏍᏓᏯ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎰ ᎯᎠᎴ ᎢᎦᏓ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ Ꮭ ᎡᎵ ᎢᎦ ᏱᏂᎦᏛᏁᎭ ᎠᎾᎵᏍᎪ ᎾᎿ ᏂᏛᎤᏂᏗ ᎤᎦᏘ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᏗᎠᏂᎲᏍᎪᎢ.”

ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎵᏏᏅᏔᏅ ᎤᎦᏘ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏫᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᏂᎶᏒ ᎤᎾᏛᎯᏍᏔᏂ. ᎤᎦᏘ ᎠᎮᏍᏗ ᎯᎠ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏓ ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᏣᏥ ᎧᎵᏎᏥ Roaster Squash, Job’s Tears (beads) ᎠᎴ Jewel ᎠᎴ Dipper Gourds. ᏗᏐᎢ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ ᏚᏂᎮᏍᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏌ ᎪᏢᏙᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏔᎾ ᎢᏌ ᎪᏢᏙᏗ ᏎᎷ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏁᎦ, ᏓᎶᏂᎨ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎵᏑᏫᏓ (ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ-ᎤᎵᏑᏫᏓ) ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᏳᎾᏓᎴᎢ; ᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᏁᎦ ᎤᏬᎭᎵ ᏎᎷ; ᏗᎨᏥᏱᎸᏫᏛᎲ ᏚᏯ (ᏧᎾᏍᏗ, ᎤᎵᏏᎦ ᎠᏂᎬᎾᎨ ᏚᏯ); ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏅᎯᏓ ᎠᏂᎪᎯᎭ ᏚᏯ; ᎬᎾ ᎤᏳᏘ ᏚᏯ; ᎠᎴ ᎡᎯᏯ ᏦᎳ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᏂᎳᏫᎬ ᎤᏅᏙᏗ. ᏝᏃ ᏙᎯ ᎪᎦᏍᏗ ᏦᎳ ᏱᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᏅᏍᏓ ᎠᏁᎳ ᎩᎳ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏱᎩ.

ᏂᎦᏓᏊ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ ᏍᏓᏱ ᏗᏩᏛᏗ ᏓᎾᏛᎯᏍᏗᏍᎬ Ꮭ ᏂᎬᏊ ᏱᎩ.

ᎤᎪᏛ ᎠᏕᎶᎰᎯᏍᏗ ᏲᏚᎵ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ ᏓᏍᏆᏂᎪᏛ, ᎯᎵᏃᎮᏙᏗ Ꮎ Mark Dunham 918-453-5336 ᎠᎴᏱ ᏪᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏂᎬᏩᏍᏛᏊ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ webpage ᎾᎿ www.cherokee.org. ᎤᏂᎧᏘ ᏗᏂᏔᏲᎯᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎢᎺᎵ ᎾᎿ pat-gwin@cherokee.org ᎠᎴ mark-dunham@cherokee.org.

ᏗᏔᏲᎯᎯ ᎠᏎ ᎪᏪᎶᏗ ᏚᏚᎥ, ᏗᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅ ᎮᏟ ᎨᏒ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ (ᏌᎪᏂᎨ ᎠᏆᏂᏲᏍᏗ), ᎪᏪᎵ ᏗᎦᏁᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ ᏂᏙᏓᏳᏂᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᎢᏳᏃ ᏦᎳ ᏯᏔᏲᎯᎯ, ᏗᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅ ᎪᎯᏗᏍᎩ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎶᏒᏍᏗ ᎢᏣᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎨᏒᎢ.

ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎦᏲᏟ ᏗᏂᎭ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ, ᎠᎴ ᏗᏂᏔᏲᎯᎯ Ꮭ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏗᎬᏩᏂᎦᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ. ᏱᏚᏂᎩᏏ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏔᎵᏊ ᎢᏳᎾᏓᎴ ᏧᏂᎩᏍᏓ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ. ᏌᏊ ᎢᏳᏓᎴ ᏎᎷ ᎠᎴ ᏩᎫᎩ ᏗᎬᏩᏂᏔᏲᏍᏗ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᏓᎴᏂᏍᎬ ᏓᎾᏛᎯᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏙᏗ, ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏠᏯᏍᏙᏗ ᏌᏊ ᎠᎴ ᏔᎵ ᏗᏓᏁᏟᏴᏍᏓ ᏱᎩ ᏛᎩᏍᎬ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ. ᎠᎴᏗᏍᏊ ᏗᏓᏁᏟᏴᏍᏓ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ ᏧᎾᏓᎴᏂᏓ ᏚᏂᎲ ᏗᏑᏰᏍᏗ ᏗᏂᎩᏍᎩ ᏗᏎᎸᏊ ᎦᏲᏟ ᎨᏒ ᎢᎦᏓ ᎤᏂᎦᏘ ᏑᎾᏓᎴᎩ.

About the Author
Will Chavez is a Cherokee/San Felipe Pueblo Indian who has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 25 years. During that time he has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a writer, reporter and photographer for the Cherokee Advocate and Cherokee Phoenix newspapers. 

For many years h ...
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will Chavez is a Cherokee/San Felipe Pueblo Indian who has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 25 years. During that time he has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a writer, reporter and photographer for the Cherokee Advocate and Cherokee Phoenix newspapers. For many years h ...

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