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Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, Inc. (Official)
Enjoy your family and friends as we share a little history about "The Three Sisters" with you on this Thanksgiving Day:
The Iroquois were farmers. Corn, beans, and squash were their main crops. If you look closely, you can find the red blossoms of the climbing bean plants and the broad leaves of the squash plants.
In the Iroquois village of 400 years ago there was a strict division of work by gender. Although men created the fields in the forest by cutting down the trees and burning the unwanted wood and brush, farming was "women's work." Women planted, cultivated and harvested the crops, assisted by their children whom they brought to the fields with them. Elderly men also might assist them in the harvest.
Corn, beans, and squash are known today by the Iroquois as "Our Life Supporters," or as "The Three Sisters." Like sisters who worked together in the fields and who shared the same longhouse living space, corn, beans and squash were often planted together in the same spot or "hill". Here they grew together and provided strength and nourishment to one another.
Cornstalks provided a place for the vines of beans to climb; beans replaced some of the nitrogen in the soil, which the corn depleted; and the large, broad leaves of the squash and pumpkin plants shaded the ground, holding moisture in and discouraging weeds from growing.
"The Three Sisters" - The Growing Field, A Mohawk Iroquois Village, c.1600. New York State Museum, Albany, NY. (source)
Bless and Happy Thanksgiving, Ward and Mary.
Certified SFG Instructor
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Also, the squash vines' prickly stems discouraged deer and raccoons from raids on the beans and corn. Deer are leery of anything that can tangle their legs, and 'coons don't like pushing through the scratchy squash vines.
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This is a nice bit of history. I enjoyed it.
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