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Resource sheets

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Native Food

The survival of our ancestors depended on a reliable food supply.  Jöhehgöh or the Three Sisters are precious gifts from the Creator that sustained them year after year.

When the settlers first arrived in the northeast area of North America, they saw the Hodinöhsö:ni´ women practicing a form of horticulture that involved the growing of onëö´ (corn), oeä´ge:ka´(beans) and onyöhsa´ (squash).  The women also cultivated sunflowers, artichokes, gourds, and a native tobacco.  Following European contact, the list of food varieties grown by the Hodinöhsö:ni´ (People of the longhouse) increased in a short period of time to include apples, peaches, pears and potatoes.

The women cultivated a number of fields grouped closely together around the village for general purposes, such as food for councils or for ceremonies.  The fields are held in common for the women of the village or tribal group.  Aside from planting purposes, the men in the village used the fields for hunting.

Women along with the help of the elderly men and women tended the fields.  Children served as lookouts to keep birds and other pests from the fields.  Raising and harvesting the crops as well as storage of the produce is generally considered by the men as "women's work".  Some crops though required group efforts for storage, such as braiding of corn ropes and shelling of beans.

People generally ate one regular meal a day or ate when they felt hungry.  The women in the village prepared a large pot of soup in the morning along with several wheels of corn bread.  Dried or cured meat and fish replaced scarce fresh meats.  Women picked berries, ground-nuts, chesnuts, butternuts, beechnuts, walnuts and some edible roots for use as well.



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