Since I don't know how many of you are "indigenes" I couldn't know which
of our diverse linguistic groupings are being referred to in the recent
transmissions regarding "farmers", "gardeners", and so on. I can't tell
you the whole indigenous story since the neolithic and agrarian
revolutions. I can only tell you what I know and what has been told to me
by my Elders.
In the story of the Sky Woman and her daughter we are told certain plants
were given to the Earth. Two original plants were strawberries and
tobacco. These were brought to Earth by Sky Woman, who was pregnant, by
the way. She "found that baby", which turned out to be her daughter. (The
word "oweohriwatsente", which means 'she found that baby, is how Elders
refer to midwives.)
Sky Woman's daughter later became pregnant. Sky Woman's Daughter had two
sons, a left handed son and a right handed son. But she died in
childbirth. It was at this time that Sky Woman buried her daughter. And
out of the daughter's grave grew all the plants and vegetables,
especially prized was the corns, beans, and squash.
1. Sky Woman's daughter's grave story suggests women were responsible for
discovering the secrets of planting;
2. Our sustainable lifesystems have room for both wild (strawberries/tobacco)
and cultivated (corn/beans/squash) food plants;
3. Agrarian practices have been rooted in the way the indigene views
As for my sustainable practices, I thought sustainability had a lot to do
with the health of the environment where the planting takes place. There
might be some weeding and howing, but by and large, the various species
are intergrated enough, so that they are sustained by the general health
of the community (ie. garden). The soil is revitalized perennially. Thus,
in our idiom, corn/bean/squash integration makes sense. And it makes sense
that we call this planting practice "tei:ionhekwen", translated as "our
sustenance", or "what sustains us".
I guess you could say "sustain"ability is implicit to our arts and sciences.
Interesting dialogue nonetheless.
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