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Native American Bean Mythology

Beans are one of the Three Sisters of the northeastern tribes, so called because corn, squash, and beans were traditionally planted together by Native American farmers. Beans are also used as a clan symbol in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Bean Clans include the Hopi tribe, whose Bean Clan is called Murzibusi. Some eastern tribes, like the Lenape, Shawnee, and Iroquois, also have a Bean Dance among their tribal dance traditions.

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Native American Legends About Beans

The Three Sisters:
    Indian legends from the Northeast Woodlands about the cooperation of Corn, Squash and Beans.
*Ottawa Corn and Bean Story:
    Ottawa Indian legend about why corn and beans are always planted together.
*Potawatomi Indian Beans and Corn Story: * The Origin of Corn and Other Crops:
    Potawatomi stories about the first bean.
*The Coming of Corn Spirit:
    Sauk legend about the origin of corn, beans, and tobacco.

Recommended Books of Bean Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden:
    Interesting book about Native American farming traditions narrated by a Hidatsa woman.
The Sun's Daughter:
    Picture book illustrating an Iroquois Indian story about the three sisters Maize, Red Bean, and Pumpkin.
Heetunka's Harvest:
    Children's storybook based on a Dakota Indian legend of a woman who stole ground beans from a mouse.
Native Plant Stories:
    Excellent collection of Native American stories about plants and their meanings, by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
Native American Food Plants:
    Comprehensive book on the names and traditional uses of food plants throughout Native North America.



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