NEW TOWN, N.D. (KXNET) — Agriculture is an important pillar of North Dakota’s economy.
It’s harvesting time at the Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College’s Four Sisters Greenhouse and Garden.
The traditional garden, which used traditional seeds from the Three Affiliated Tribes, has already been harvested.
“The garden behind me and some of the produce here, are all from our traditional seeds of the Nueta people and the Hidatsa people and the Arikara,” said Bernadine Young Bird, a Native American Studies faculty, at the college.
Traditional gardening has been around for a long time.
The practice is very important for Indigenous people.
“It was our sustenance for thousands of years, not only as food and a way to survive, but also it was an economic boom for our people. We were a trades market also. We were a central trade market in the Plains for all the other natives that were not sedentary and gardened. So they came to us to get that produce,” said Young Bird.
And while Young Bird does teach some contemporary gardening practices, she says traditional gardening is very different.
“The major difference for us is how we look at our plants. They’re considered our relatives. They are not here for us particularly. We are grateful for them and we treat them as relatives. And so the spirituality, the connection we have to our plants and to all living things, is very different from some other cultures,” said Young Bird.
There is also a community garden where people are allowed to grow their own crops.
Some of the plots have begun to be harvested.
“We have a big variety growing out here. Anything from tomatoes to peppers, corn, squash, garlic, beets, carrots, pumpkins, beans,” said Jessica Uran, the garden manager.
Uran says around 25 of the 30 plots were used this growing season.
The produce grown in the garden is sold at the Farmers Market at the New Town Civic Center on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.