Cherokee Nation to disperse rare heirloom seeds Feb. 1

January 24, 2019

Traditional Cherokee White Eagle corn seeds and Jewel gourds.Traditional Cherokee White Eagle corn seeds and Jewel gourds.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation will begin dispersing its limited supply of heirloom seeds Feb. 1 to tribal citizens who are interested in growing traditional Cherokee crops.

In 2018, the Cherokee Nation distributed 4,905 packages of seeds to tribal citizens.

“Cherokee Nation’s seed bank program helps us keep alive our Cherokee tradition of harvesting seeds and passing them down for new generations of tribal citizens,” said Pat Gwin, Cherokee Nation senior director of Cherokee Nation Environmental Resources. “The heirloom seeds available in our seed bank are varieties that the Cherokee people harvested long before European contact. For Cherokee citizens who are looking to make a cultural connection to our history, planting and sustaining these crops is a great way to do so.”

Cherokee Nation citizens are limited to two varieties of seeds, and each applicant must submit a copy of his or her Cherokee Nation tribal citizenship card, proof of age and address.

Among this year’s available heirloom seeds are Cherokee White Eagle corn, Trail of Tears beans, Georgia Candy Roaster squash, a variety of gourds, Indian Corn Beads and native plants such as the American Basket Flower, sunchoke and two new seed varieties, including Trumpet Vine and Green Dragon, a medicinal plant.

Citizens can submit order requests by visiting https://secure.cherokee.org/seedbank. Create an account and follow the instructions to see a complete list of available seeds and to place and track orders. Previous participants of the tribe’s seed bank program can also use this link to log in and update their shipping address before submitting orders.

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 918-453-5336.