Cherokee Nation to disperse rare heirloom seeds beginning Feb. 3

The Cherokee Nation will begin dispersing its limited supply of heirloom seeds Feb. 3 to tribal citizens who are interested in growing traditional Cherokee crops.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation will begin dispersing its limited supply of heirloom seeds Feb. 3 to tribal citizens who are interested in growing traditional Cherokee crops.

In 2019, the Cherokee Nation distributed 9,568 packages of seeds to tribal citizens

“It’s important that we continue to distribute these seeds every year,” said Feather Smith, cultural biologist with Cherokee Nation. “These plants represent centuries of Cherokee cultural and agricultural history. They provide an opportunity for Cherokees to continue the traditions of our ancestors and elders, as well as educate our youth in Cherokee culture.”

Cherokee Nation citizens are limited to two varieties of seeds, and each applicant must either confirm their citizenship via the website or submit a copy of his or her Cherokee tribal citizenship card, proof of age and address.

Among this year’s available heirloom seeds include Cherokee Colored Corn, Trail of Tears Beans, Georgia Candy Roaster Squash, a variety of gourds, Indian corn beads and native plants such as the American Basket Flower, Jewelweed and Wild Senna.

“Every year we have a new crop of seeds locally grown and preserved for new generations of Cherokee citizens,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “There’s a reason our heirloom crops have lasted for so, and it’s because of the care and determination of our citizens to keep our history and culture alive.”

Citizens can submit order requests by visiting https://secure.cherokee.org/seedbank. Create an account and follow the instructions to see a complete list of available seeds and to place and track orders. Previous participants of the tribe’s seed bank program can also use this link to log in and update their shipping address before submitting orders.

For more information, email seedbank@cherokee.org or call 918-453-5336.

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