The Food Legacy of Native Americans

Corn, beans, squash: all three have been renowned as the Sustainers of Life or the Three Sisters among Native Americans. As long as the Three Sisters are plentiful, good food, good health and a full tummy follow. For thousands of years, these three vegetables have nourished Native American tribes throughout the continental United States. European [...]


The Food Legacy of Native Americans: Corn, Beans and Squash

Corn, a centerpiece of the Native American diet, was a marvel of biotech engineering before the European settlers arrived. Native Americans encouraged the formation of ears or cobs on maize, a rather grass-like plant. While pre-European corn was self-sustaining, the varieties we grow now need human intervention to flourish. It needs continual replanting. Today we [...]


The Food Legacy of Native Americans: Variations

Not all corn has the same nutritive value: different hues indicate different nutrient levels. For instance, yellow corn contains a wealth of nutrients including protein, fiber, folate, magnesium, calcium, selenium, Vitamin C and Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Blue corn is even higher in protein, while being rich in the amino acid lysine [...]


The Food Legacy of Native Americans: Bean Benefits

Beans contain potent proteins as well as a wealth of B vitamins. The available types of beans seem almost endless: snap beans, shelly beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, red beans, navy beans, white beans – beans of all shapes and sizes. When eaten together, beans and corn provide complete protein for human nutrition [...]


The Food Legacy of Native Americans: The Mighty Squash

Squash comes in many colors, shapes and sizes and includes summer squashes, pumpkin and winter squashes. These potent foods pack a powerful punch of antioxidant activity, support liver function and are high in a variety of nutrients. A one cup serving of winter squash contains 182% of our daily requirement for pro-Vitamin A or beta-carotene, [...]


The Food Legacy of Native Americans: The Legacy

According to Kibbe Conti, a registered dietitian, the disruption of Native food systems has contributed to the increase in degenerative, chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes among Native Americans, especially on reservations (J Transcul Nur 2006. 17(3):234-245). 
By developing nutrition models that reflect traditional food patterns but uses modern foods, Kibbe believes that Native [...]