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Corn of the Potawatomi nation

 
Blake Lenoir
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Greetings folks! I wanna find out if any of you heard of a calico sweet corn according to Huron Smith who made a book about Potawatomi ethnobotany and does the corn still exist? I also wanna find out if the Red Lake and Calico flint are still around and the Potawatomi still use them. I'm growing blue popcorn, white flint and red dent all belong to the Potawatomi at my community farm. I'm not only looking for that red sweet corn, but also that strain of strawberry popcorn, calico flint and few other Potawatomi types. Anybody know of any strains that have originally grown in the Chicago area and down in Mexico where the Potawatomi once lived in exile from government relocation?
 
Blake Lenoir
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Hello! Anybody home? I'm looking for some help in tracking down some Potawatomi calico sweet corn as being recorded from Huron Smith's book " The Ethnobotany Of The Forest Potawatomi", Potawatomi calico flint corn which is a parent to the Mskgiwat corn, Red Lake flint, another type of flour corn or more Wapole Island white flour corn, Anishinabe or Potawatomi strawberry popcorn, and some type of Potawatomi green corn to help complete my Potawatomi corn collection for my region. I'd like to learn more about Potawatomi corn history in the Great Lakes and beyond. Love!
 
D Tucholske
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I researched it &, apparently, it may be possible that the Onondaga have that variety. I found what is either an article or poem about planting native corns & it included the line "The Red Lake variety, I was given by such & such from the Onondaga," (I paraphrase).

Hope that helps.
 
Blake Lenoir
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You sure the Potawatomi used Red Lake Flint corn? I'm also looking for some popcorn and early sweet corn that have been grown and eaten by the Potawatomi just as in centuries past to help restore their horticultural history in my community and region.
 
D Tucholske
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Personally, I don't know where or how they came across it, but if tribes were growing multiple strains of these plants before, it's most likely that if a tribe has one & it's of the same name, then it's probably the same as what another tribe had.

Of course, all this posting you've done asking for these plant strains has brought up some interesting thoughts, for me. The Iroquois once conquered all the way west to the shores of Lake Michigan during the Beaver Wars, as well as from the St Lawrence River to Lake Huron in Canada. So, it's possible that they took some of these home with them in their dealings with the Anishinaabeg, but I wonder just as much if this is just how it had always been. That tribes had always traded varieties around & grew multiple strains at once. It's either that, or it was a later practice, to preserve the seeds, which they found abhorrent to simply allow to go to waste, so when they moved around or conquered people's, they just kept adding more & more strains to their gardens over time.
 
Blake Lenoir
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Do that mean that the black sweet corn, cornfield bean, cranberry bean, bear paw bean, white and red popcorn and others all at once use to be widespread from the eastern seaboard all the way to the Great Lakes? I've grown pre-Columbian types such as the Striped Maycock pumpkin and genuine cornfield bean all use to be widespread throughout the eastern woodlands centuries ago. I wanna make about the others that I mentioned so far to confirm their historic range. Thanks!
 
D Tucholske
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Could have been. I really have no way of knowing either. It's just that, between you asking for all these corn, bean & squash varieties & seeing how much the Iroquois today have, it makes me wonder.
 
Blake Lenoir
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I've grown some striped Maycock so far, and gotten four squashes, by far with more maturing. I've learned the history of the Striped Maycock from Stephen Smith from Roughwood Seed in Philadelphia about its historic range and use by Native Americans east of the Mississippi in the woodland complex. I might share with you after I've grown enough this year. By the way you tribal descent?
 
D Tucholske
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Iroquois & Saponi. And thanks, but I don't have the land for a garden. I've mostly been trying to strengthen the area's habitat by reintroducing rarer native species that are missing around here.
 
Blake Lenoir
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Could you show me some rarer species that you're trying to bring back? I'm working on reintroducing some plants wild and domestic back into my community and region that the Potawatomi and Miami had centuries ago as well as early settlers arrived here by ship. I'm trying to teach everybody the importance of growing heirloom and feasting on them from not just on a health and environmental standpoint, but also on an ethnic and cultural standpoint as well for all remember our family's and forefathers past, but also pass it on to the coming generations to come.
 
D Tucholske
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Well, what is rare for where I am might be pretty laughable for some places even a county or so away, but, with you living in Chicago, you've probably in a similar predicament.

So far, what I've gathered together are:
--Allegheny Plum @ (I think you guys would have a different species of wild plum, though)
--American Cranberrybush Viburnum/ Highbush Cranberry*
--American Spikenard*
--Atlantic Camas/ Wild Hyacinth*
--Beech (self harvested)
--Blueberry@
--Buttonbush@
--Eastern Red Columbine*
--Eastern Sweetshrub/ Carolina Allspice$
--Black Elderberry*
--Red Elderberry*
--Fire Pink*
--Fringed Bleeding Heart/ Turkey Corn $ +
--Great White Trillium*
--Illinois Rose*
--Indian Paintbrush*
--Ohio Buckeye (self harvested)
--Red Puccoon/ Bloodroot$
--Scarlet Bergamot/ Oswego Tea+
--Smooth Solomon's Seal*
--Wapato/ Duck Potato*
--American Wintergreen+
--American Hophornbeam (self harvested)
--Black Cherry✓
--Black Chokeberry✓
--Black Tupelo✓
--Cardinal Flower*
--Celendine Poppy*
--Common Hop✓
--Wild Cranberry✓
--Cream Gentian*
--Downy Wood Mint*
--False Indigo Bush*
--Goat's Rue/ Rabbit Pea*
--Honey Locust✓
--Jack in the Pulpit/ Indian Turnip*
--New Jersey Tea/ Snowball Bush*
--Purplestem Angelica*
--Ramps*
--Serviceberry (self harvested)
--Steeplebush*
--Strawberry Blite*
--Virginia Persimmon✓
--Wafer Ash/ Hoptree*
--Wild Cucumber*
--Wild Ginger*
--Wild Kidney Bean*
--Wild Trailing Bean*

* = Prairie Moon Nursery
$ = Seedville USA
+ = Outsidepride
✓ = Hobbyseed
@ = Amazon, third party

I was also hoping to get Kentucky Coffeetree, Yellowwood Tree, Inkberry Holly/ Appalachian Tea, Winterberry Holly, American Lotus, Indian Potato/ Groundnut/ Hopniss, Hogpeanut, Starflower, Papaw, Ghost Flower, Northern Bayberry, American Butterfly Pea, the Eastern variety of Sand Cherry & a bunch more wildflowers over the next couple of years.

What I do already have a lot of here is Spicebush, Bigtooth Aspen, Basswood, several species of Maple, Elm, Fern, Oak & Ash, Butternut, Sassafras, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Canada Sanicle, Jewelweed, Ironweed, Black Raspberry, Dewberry, Strawberry, Mulberry, Chokecherry, Pokeweed, Elkhorn Sumac, Cutleaf Toothwort, Bellwort, Springbeauty, Wild Geranium, Nannyberry, Mayapple, Catalpa & a bunch of invasives. There are a few rare plants I've identified, like Musquash Root, but I'm hoping to bring in just as many, if not more species & take out as much of about six invasive plants that are really pissing me off as I can.

With edible foods, I was also putting together another thread called "Edible Plants of the Continental US," on which I've managed to assemble quite a lot. So far, I think I have about 130 native plants from the Great Lakes region & just as many from across the rest of the country too. So, that's probably including all the plants that were common in our ancestors diets, at this point. Chicago is also a great spot for Plains plants.
 
Blake Lenoir
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My Calumet region of my hometown has already have some of the richest plant life anywhere in the entire Midwest, if not among the richest in the country. It once had a plant that was endemic to the region, and it was called a thismia or Trinity flower which was never found in more than 90 years or so. We had An annual hunt each year, but no luck. The plant was considered almost extinct after 1918 when it was scarce. You can look up more on it of your own to learn more.
 
D Tucholske
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That's good, at least. Not about the Thismia.

My area needs a ton of work, though. I think we used to be extremely biologically diverse in our area because our valley is a relatively large swamp that sits directly in between mountains to the east, plains to the West & Appalachian plateau to the south, but people started moving in around 1800. This city was originally intended to be the capitol of the state, so a lot of people moved here, bought huge tracts of land on the cheap, converted it to farms & slowly but surely, over the last 200 years, the farms were broken up, bought out by the cities & converted into suburbs. There is honestly barely anywhere that I know of that wasn't altered by people at some point. I've lived here my entire life-- 30 years-- and a good chunk of what I've bought to reseed, I've never even seen before or heard of.
 
Blake Lenoir
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Which types of wildlife that inhibit your area? The rarest animals in my area are black crown night heron, least bittern, pied bill grebe, red head woodpecker, common mud hen, American bittern, Virginia rail, Blanding's turtle, sand lizard, box turtle, red squirrel, wild turkey, and many others. The ones that aren't seen as much no more are yellow head blackbird, Marsh hawk, Karner Blue butterfly, and countless others.
 
D Tucholske
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I don't know specific names of a lot of species, but what we're missing here are bobcats, red wolf, mountain lion, buffalo, porcupine, moose, elk & some extinct species, like passenger pigeon & Appalachian mountain goat.

I know we've gotten a lot of animals coming back in the last 30-odd years-- owls, otters, muskrat, beavers, eagles & hawks. Just in the last 10 years, we've started getting black bears. The bobcats should be back soon too. This winter, we got proof of one sighted two counties away.

But, we do have several species of butterflies, I think we have the endangered native bees here, preying mantis, stag & tiger beetles, a whole bunch of other insects.

Birds, we have robins, sparrows, crows, seagulls, mourning doves, mockingbirds, cardinals, bluejays, turkey, pheasant, duck, vulture, goose, & some others I'm not sure of the names of.

We have four snakes & no other lizards-- water moccasin, garden snake, garter snake & Mississauga Rattler.

We allegedly have salamanders, though I've never actually seen one. And toads, bullfrogs, leopard frogs & some kind of tree frog. In the water, there's mussels, crayfish, crawdads & snapping turtles. I'm not even getting into the fish. I'm not a fisherman.

Deer, rabbits, apparently mink weasels, though I've never seen one of them either, squirrels, chipmunks, gophers, something like a prairie dog whose name I'm not too sure on, possums, skunks, foxes. And invasive coyotes & possibly badgers soon. The badgers were recently being seen in the next county over.
 
Blake Lenoir
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That sound like you're from the middle of the southern U.S especially in Tennessee where there's a range of habitats. Speaking of the mountain goat, could you show me what it look like then? Back to the corn, you heard of Potawatomi white flour corn both Walpole and a Kansas type that the Prairie band use? You also know couple of types of red corn a Mskgiwat and an orangish red calico which was the parent type from Michigan?
 
D Tucholske
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No I don't, but I can look & see if I can find any leads.

With the goat, I have looked a few times & I can't find any evidence of it anywhere aside from the fact that Nannyberries are also called Sheep berries. Either it goes by a weird name that I'd have to know in order to find, or it's existence is not recognized. From what I read in a document of stories put out by the Lenape, they never used to hunt the things before Europeans came because they were too awkward to chase & there was easier game. But, after the fur trade hunted out a lot of the species they relied on for food & they got their hands on firearms, they began hunting the goats. My best guess is Natives probably hunted that animal to extinction themselves through overreliance back in the 1600s or 1700s, before there were many white people living in the mountains.
 
Blake Lenoir
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I'm looking for more by places to find groundnut, hog peanut and trailing wild bean as potted plants and wild sweet potato as a root if anybody has some for fall. Know anybody besides the companies you know?
 
D Tucholske
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I don't know with the Hogpeanut, Groundnut or Trailing wild bean. The Hogpeanut & Groundnut I have been trying to find myself. You need to buy tubers for those & they seem like they're going to be out of stock for another few months from most of the accredited sources I've been able to find. I can't find any place selling the whole plants.

With the Sweet Potato, though, you are in luck. I later ended up finding out that those are just morning glories, albeit not all species are safely edible. But, a native Ipomoea Pandurata can be purchased at kollar nursery, here:

https://www.kollarnursery.com/ipomea-pandurata

And I'll keep an eye out for those others you were looking for.
 
Blake Lenoir
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I'm also looking for sweet and pearly everlasting in gallon or quart pots, both important herbs to Native American gardens, as well as with prairie and western white sage, highbush or lowbush blueberry, large cranberry not the highbush one, russet buffaloberry and few more jewelweed to help advance my gardens to a higher level. Know any native wild mushrooms that I could grow for the Potawatomi or Miami?
 
D Tucholske
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Out of places I've bought from before, Prairie Moon has the Pearly Everlasting plants & Morning Sky Greenery carries the Sweet Everlasting & the Sage. The blueberry bush you may be able to get from Lowe's-- they have a listing for Vaccinium Corymbosum. Special order it, if they don't have any in stock.

The rest showed up from a couple other places. For the cranberry, a place called Van Burkum Nursery popped up in relation to a WSU, but I don't know what school that is. They have it, though. If you search the scientific names of the plants with 'plant' & 'sale' they ought to come up.

I also looked all morning for your corn varieties & couldn't find anything direct, although if you meant Mesquakie Corn, for the one, the Fox & Sauk still have some, though the article I found is concerning how hard it's been for them to keep the stock pure lately. It's the only one that came up. There is Mesquakie Corn for sale, but they are direct in the fact that it isn't pure. Only orange corn I could find that wasn't Argentinian were two varieities that were new cultivars & one other red one called Floriani Red Flint that was Italian. It says it was sourced from North America in the 1600s, but they don't seem to have any clue where.
 
Mk Neal
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Blake, for hopniss/groundnut you can get it from Greg Mosser here on permies.  I got some from him this year and they are all going strong in Chicago. Mine need to grow another year I think before they are established enough to harvest and share.

If you want a blueberry, I was thinking to give mine to a better home; they have never really thrived.   I think I can't keep the soil acid enough.  If you grow in raised beds maybe you will have better luck.  I have a good number of the plants described earlier, mostly from Prairie moon.  Maybe you can pick out some you like and I'll drive them down to the Southside for you.
 
Blake Lenoir
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Mk! Are them same groundnuts that have edible root and have pea pods to help feed folk just as Native Americans had back in the day? And speaking of blueberries, are they straight highbush or lowbush?
 
D Tucholske
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Took me a minute to work out how searching on this site works, but I found Greg Mosser's page. Unfortunately, he's sold out until fall, but we both appreciate the message MK. I'd definitely like some of these too.

https://permies.com/t/154432/SALE-Apios-americana-Groundnut-select#1263170
 
Mk Neal
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Yes, it is the "groundnuts" that are really tubers, and that get a bean, what native people in North America grew before Europeans came.  

My blueberries are "half high" cross btw high bush and low bush.  I think one is "top hat" and one is "northblue" varieties.

 
G May
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Hi Blake,
No idea if this is still relevant but I am Native American and from Michigan, though I don't live there anymore.  We had a few good resources when it came to researching and obtaining traditional vegetables. I know there is a project growing these species at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that is affiliated with the University of Michigan. There is also the Ziibiwing Center, I would look them up and reach out asking about the species you're looking for. They're the best resource for Anishinaabe culture, including traditional farming. Good luck!
 
Blake Lenoir
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What's happening! I'm currently doing some restoration gardens horticulturally for the Anishinnabe, Myaamia, Inoka, Kickapoo and Sauk all from my Calumet region of Chicago and Indiana at my community farm. I'm also doing an 1830s Cherokee garden to honor one of my grandparents from my dad's side from Oklahoma in the 1800s. Are you Potawatomi by origin? If you are, then is there a calico early corn that exists today according to historic records and documents? You know any folks personally who are Potawatomi and are active in farming?
 
G May
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I am not Potawatomi, but I am Anishnaabe. I actually do know some Potawatomi folks who are actively doing cultural restoration farming, but I think reaching them would be best done through tribal departments - the Gun Lake band in Michigan is who I'm specifically thinking of. If you go to their website I bet there is a contact listed for restorative farming. I was once given Potawatomi watermelon seeds but I gave them to my grandpa to grow, unfortunately don't have any left. Same with squash, gave it to my mom and we grew some very nice squashes but I don't think we saved the seeds.

Another great contact is actually going to powwows and talking to the committee members, that is where I was given some heritage squash seeds as a gift, too. It's a great place to meet people and most people kind of know each other or know who to point you to.
 
Blake Lenoir
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Here's some of the corn I already have from the Potawatomi. 1. Miskwat (red) flint, 2. White flour or Walpole Island, 3. White flint, 4. blue popcorn, 5. Mix or another type of white flour corn from Kansas and 6. Red dent also from Kansas. I'm looking for early ones including the sweet types, a couple more flour or dent types and another type of popcorn from the Potawatomi and whether they still use those today. Please let me know if anybody found any traces or things of that nature. Love!
 
Blake Lenoir
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Back again! I'm looking for recipes for my young harvested corn.
 
Mk Neal
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This year I grew "painted mountain" corn. It is waxy kernels, not so soft like the hybrid sweet corn you buy at the market.

I made a kind of succotash salad all from what was ripe in the garden:

Boiled the ears of corn about 5 minutes,  then threw in green beans snapped into bits.  Drained and cooled just enough to handle the corn.  Corn shelled of the cob real easy.  Mixed in chopped purslane, chives, just a splash of cider vinegar and some pumpkin seed oil.  You could use other oil or other herbs.
 
Blake Lenoir
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I've harvested a young Potawatomi white flint corn in its soft stage and also a young Kickapoo blue flour corn.
 
Mk Neal
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How is the Potawatomi corn, texture-wise?  Do you think is is good eating young?
 
Blake Lenoir
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I'm trying to figure out the recipes for young corn. Who know the origins of regular rainbow Indian flour corn?
 
bruce Fine
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I saw something a while back about heirlooms being kept alive in Mexico many of the ancient varieties. google search might find info on it
Content minimized. Click to view
 
Ginger McKee
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I live in Wabash county Indiana and listen quite s bit to The urban farm podcast as Im a townie at this time. I often hear interesting conversations from seed savers that say if you plant any corn, and save seeds from them, they will adapt genetically to your unique microclimate. This really isn't an answer to your question but I thought it very interesting. So if you have a season with lots of rain the survivors that didn't die of rot will be adapted next year to survive this. If  next year it is s drought (for example) then the survivors will be potentially resistant to drought and rot. Not a perfect science but nature does adapt and survival of the fittest is strong. You can also save seed from the ones that you think are the best color, tallest,shorter  etc.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Ginger,

Welcome to Permies.
 
Blake Lenoir
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Back! I wonder if anybody has any idea of which corn grow or mature less than 100 days for the Potawatomi. I'm looking for sweet or early corn from the tribe if anybody kept a look out for some. Any of you covered or witnessed Captain Jonathan Carver's writings of Potawatomi crops?
 
Blake Lenoir
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Back again! I've just found out from an Iroquois woman from New York that the Potawatomi had a red flour corn and a Red Lake flint corn which the Potawatomi used to grow from the east coast all the way to the Great Lakes where they now reside, and this is according to Robin Wall Kimmerer who's Potawatomi. Y'all heard one of her books called Braiding Sweet Grass? I've never read it before, but I read one of her other books which is about tall grass prairies. Just something to update you with today!
 
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