Hands of Three Sisters

The beginning of Cherokee culture is identified with the cultivation of corn by the native people in the Southern Appalachians more than a thousand years ago.

From the earliest times in Cherokee history, the raising of corn was interwoven with the spiritual beliefs of the people. Indeed, the Cherokee name for corn—”selu”—is also the name of the First Woman in Cherokee creation stories.

Cherokee villages were surrounded by vast cornfields while gardens were planted beside rivers and streams. In addition to corn, the Cherokee grew beans, squash, sunflowers, pumpkins, and other crops. Cherokee women were the primary farmers.  “The Three Sisters” were staples in the Cherokee diet–corn, beans and squash.

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