A different kind of heirloom

Heritage corn and squash

Heritage corn and squash

My relative Leaf gave us an heirloom while we were visiting Oklahoma.

It’s the sort of heirloom whose value unfolds in a material way.

I’m not talking about materialism—the need to acquire stuff.

Rather, this heirloom recalls the past in a somatic fashion.

She gave me a small handful of corn kernels and squash seeds, descendants of crops American Indians grew in that part of the country.

Packed lovingly in a piece of Pendleton blanket cloth, some of the seeds will be planted in our garden this year and we will save the others for next spring.

The corn and squash will be our reminders of the June homecoming in Grayhorse, where Osage relatives gather to share meals, stories and dances.

It’s the best kind of memory—one that binds the present with the past.

That’s why they’re called heritage seeds.


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in american indian, authenticity, human origin, Indian, Indian relocation, native american, native press, Native Science, Osage, science, science communication and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A different kind of heirloom

  1. That’s a beautiful tradition. Thanks for sharing a great story. I hope the seeds grow well in your yard for many seasons to come.


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