Tracing our rich Native American farming legacy
The Indians that roamed Cherokee County which were Cherokees and Creek tribes primarily were some of our first farmers.
They cultivated corn (maize), beans, squash, pumpkins, melons and probably cucumbers. They supplemented these vegetables with wild game and the gathering of wild foods.
Corn, beans, squash, and melons came north from Mexico in the early years of habitation in this area. Dried beans and corn could be stored for winter foods. Corn was cracked or ground and used in soups and corn meal cakes. Deer, turkeys, birds, small mammals, fish, mussels, crayfish, and turtles provided protein in their diets.
Deer meat could be dried over a smoky fire into a type of jerky. Bear meat was highly prized by the native Indians because of the fat content. Bear fat was used to cook with, mixed in paint, and put on their skin to repel mosquitoes.
Tribe gatherers could pick wild sunflowers, amaranth, honey locust, crabapples, persimmons, plums, paw-paws, blackberries, huckleberries, blueberries, mulberries, elderberries, and wild strawberries.
Other plants like Queen Anne’s lace roots, clover, cattail roots and dandelions can also be eaten.
The Europeans and Africans who came and populated the southern states later adopted many of these foods into their diets and survived from the things they learned from the Indian tribes that lived here in Cherokee County.
Sadly these Indians were killed or moved by force to Oklahoma where they were put on the poorest land by our government.