Cherokees become the first US-based tribe to deposit traditional heirloom seeds in the Arctic vault
CNN – No Native American tribe has ever received an invitation to store its traditional heirloom seeds in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The seed vault, commonly known as the “doomsday vault,” stores copies of the world’s seeds and was created in case catastrophe strikes — like disease, pests or war. It holds nearly 1 million packs of seeds from almost every country in the world, storing everything from the endangered Bermuda bean to everyday ingredients like wheat and rice. And now, the vault will hold an additional nine samples of Cherokee heirloom crops — making the Cherokee Nation the first tribe to receive the honor.
“It is such an honor to have a piece of our culture preserved forever,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. in a statement. “Generations from now, these seeds will still hold our history and there will always be a part of the Cherokee Nation in the world.”
The nine varieties chosen are Cherokee White Eagle Corn, the most sacred corn to the tribe, Cherokee Long Greasy Beans, Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans, Cherokee Turkey Gizzard black and brown beans, Cherokee Candy Roaster Squash and three other varieties of corn, according to the Cherokee Nation.