Corn

Andrea Carmen is a member of the Yaqui Indian Nation of Arizona and Mexico. Forty years ago, she visited her tribal chief.

Carmen: “He showed me a whole room full of these little black ears of corn and he said, ‘This is Yaqui corn. This is our seeds. The corn knows how to grow with hardly any water and the time’s gonna come when we need this corn back again, so I’m keeping it for us.’ And he gave me an ear.”

Carmen says indigenous people around the world have saved seeds and preserved knowledge of traditional farming practices.

Carmen: “We had seeds for dry weather and wet weather and cold and hot, and our elders and our ancestors knew what kind of seeds to plant.”

She says this knowledge can help tribes adapt to more frequent droughts and extreme weather.

'This is a way of resiliency that comes from our own people, from our own traditions.' Click To Tweet

Carmen now directs the International Indian Treaty Council. Her group organizes community trainings and international conferences so people can share their seeds and methods.

Carmen: “We’re bringing indigenous people together – even from different continents – that have similar food systems to talk about what has been passed down, what are some practices that are being successful. This is a way of resiliency that comes from our own people, from our own traditions.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo source: Maxpixel.