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Heirloom vegetables and fruits of Illinois from Native Americans and European settlers.

 
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Greetings! I'm looking for more kinds of crops that used to be grown from Native Americans and early settlers who once resided in the Illinois country centuries ago till Abraham Lincoln's time. So far for Illinois, I got a white crookneck from Lincoln's family, a red seed watermelon from one of the Illinois Indians, Tamaroa white and red stripe flour corn and a couple of others, but don't know or remember what they are. I'm searching for more help in tracking down heirloom seeds and plants from the Indians and settlers who once lived in Illinois years ago. I'm continuing to grow for Native Americans and European settlers to this day. If there are any savvy seed savers or extremely acknowledgeable ones out there, please join in to help me exchange some ideas and stuff in order to restore traditional foodways in the state in this present time. Drop in for feedback or questions if you all have anything. Take care!
 
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I have these two books on my wish list:

"Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America"
"The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region"

I'm really curious about North America before Europeans arrived. So far, the books I've read are terribly skewed toward a pro-civilization message and less about the land as it was before it was converted into a machine. I'm a little far north to be of any help to you, but I hope these books might be of interest.  

 
Blake Lenoir
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Mike! Why did you ask me to read these books? Do they talk about crops?
 
Michael Helmersson
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Blake Lenoir wrote: Mike! Why did you ask me to read these books? Do they talk about crops?



I don't know if either discusses crops, but it seems likely. As I mentioned, I'm having difficulty finding an Indigenous-focused perspective on this time period.
 
Blake Lenoir
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The crops I know are Illinois red seed watermelon from the tribes who use to live in the state, Tamaroa white and red stripe flour corn, Kickapoo bush bean, Illinois cushaw or white crookneck squash from Lincoln's family and pink solider bean. That's all I know about the crops from Indians and early settlers from the state. Anybody know more types of corn and stuff from the Indians and settlers who settle in Illinois centuries ago?
 
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Nelson Algren wrote about the historical foodways of the native people and European colonists in Illinois for the WPA back in the 1930s. According to his account, the earliest European farmers here grew cabbage, turnips, and potatoes that they stored overwinter in straw-lined trenches or pits. They also dried pumpkins, apples, peaches, and peppers. In addition to wooden and metal dishes, they used gourds. They ate "corn dodgers," a simple heavy cornbread learned from Native Americans, and also white-corn hominy from wood-ash lye.  They made tea from Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey Tea or red root), and also drank sour milk. They used the herbs sage, sasparilla, and pennyroyal.  Rutabaga, parsnips and lettuce are also mentioned.

As far as the vegetables are concerned, not too different from what people currently grow in their gardens here.
 
Blake Lenoir
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M.K! Did Nelson mention which types of corn and stuff the Illinois, Miami and Potawatomi grew back during their time? The Gete Okosomin squash for instance, used to be grown by each tribe that lived around the Great Lakes, as well as navy, orca, pinto runner and lima beans, some have been brought by the French and Spainish settlers who came to the Illinois country centuries ago. I've just know that there was northern flint corn was grown among the tribes in the Great Lakes. I wanna find out which types are and the truth to these matters.
 
Mk Neal
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Blake, no named varieties in the writings I saw, just general description of the crops.  The Illini are described as harvesting the “river oats” like Dani Tippman showed us from the Myaamia.  

I do think that one difficulty is that many of the crops mentioned cross-pollinated easily so it is hard to say how similar the cabbages and corn that we grow today are to those of 150 years ago.
 
Blake Lenoir
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Were there any types of wheat, oats, barley and rye left from the French settlements in Illinois centuries ago in the 1700s?
 
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Mk Neal wrote: The Illini are described as harvesting the “river oats” like Dani Tippman showed us from the Myaamia.  



Really? Not that I blame them for harvesting the biggest native wild grain I know of, but I didn't think there was any evidence of that in the written record. Do you think that became a practice after contact with whites, or were they always having done that?
 
Blake Lenoir
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Don't know, but I'm sure they did somehow.
 
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