Fall is here and the farmers are busy bringing in their crops. Kankakee Historical Society volunteers Cindy Deardorff and Judy Judge have been harvesting and gathering seeds from the Collier Lodge gardens too.
The three sister’s garden and native plant medicine wheel garden did fairly well considering the hot dry summer we had. Cindy and Judy watched the gardens carefully and watered them when needed. They planted seeds associated with the native tribes known to live in northern Indiana.
In 2020 they added the following new plants: Prairie Blazingstar, Rough Blazingstar, Royal Catchfly, Partridge Pea (pictured above) and Bearberry bush to their wheel garden.
Miami White flour corn, The Miami were known for growing white seed corn. When ground it resembled wheat flour. This corn is white of the same size as the other midwest tribes with much finer husks and much whiter flour.
Eariv Yellow Summer Crooknec, This is one of the oldest documented varieties of squashes. Dating back from around the 1700’s and possibly earlier. Thomas Jefferson raised this squash at Monticello. It is the only squash that can be documented to the Lenape People.
White & Yellow Bush Scallop or Patty Pans – Date from pre-Columbian times. This is another early known squash grown by the American Indians of the eastern United States. The natives called this “Symnel” or Cymling” Very popular during colonial times. It has even appeared in a painting from 1591.
Potawatomi Lima Beans (Pole) – Lima beans are a very old documented New World bean traceable to Mexico and Peru. The Spanish brought this bean to Florida and traded among the Indian nations and probably traded up to the Potawatomi.
Seneca Indian Bear Paw (Pole),-This is a runner bean that has red flowers attracting humming birds. It is also known as the Scarlet runner bean dating back to 1750. This variety is known to come from the Iroquois nation, Seneca.
Potawatomi Rabbit Bean (Pole) – native name “Owamawin” This seed is actually in the cow-pea family. From the Potawatomi Reservation in Kansas. It may have come from the Potawatomi scouts that went into Mexico in the 1800’s or from the Spanish bringing it from Africa and traded to the native nations.
Potawatomi/Miami Bean (Pole) –18th, early 19th century Indiana shell bean. This bean is in the same family as the speckled cranberry beans which is a very common native bean from the East coast to the Great Lakes region with slight variations in sized and coloration of beige & red markings.
Seneca Sunflower – A sunflower with medium to large seed heads with seeds in mixed sizes and colors. The Seneca traditionally crushed the seeds in a mortar and boiled them to extract the oil. The darker seeds were used in dyes. Seeds were used in many native food dishes.
Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes) – These are in the sunflower family and are native to North America. Samuel Champlain, a French explorer was given them to eat in 1605 by natives. Tubers are the best to harvest after the first frost. The tubers look like small knobby potatoes that can be eaten raw, boiled and baked. Some native sites have been found because these were found growing in the area.
Do you like the postings like this from the KVHS historical society website page? Do you enjoy reading the amazing stories of the Kankakee River? If you would like to support KVHS and be part of their mission to promote Kankakee River, they would love for you to join. The best way to help us is to become a KVHS member.
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