Indigenous American languages
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Native American Pumpkin Mythology
Pumpkins are technically a type of squash and are considered as such by some Native American tribes,
where pumpkins were grown alongside corn and beans as one of the mythological Three Sisters of
agriculture. Pumpkins are one of the earliest known food crops in the Americas, with ancient containers of
stored pumpkin seeds from Mexico dating back as far as 7000 BC. Pumpkin flesh and seeds were both popular
food items among many Native American tribes. Pumpkins were especially important to the diet of the
Tohono O'Odham people, who ground pumpkin seeds into flour and mixed it with corn meal to make flavorful
breads. Some Mexican tribes believe pumpkin seeds give exceptional energy and endurance to the people that
eat them, and the Cocopa tribe of Arizona considers pumpkin seeds protection against the cold.
Pumpkins are also a clan symbol in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Pumpkin Clans include the Navajo,
Hopi, and Pueblo tribes. Some Pueblo tribes also have a Pumpkin Flower Dance
among their tribal dance traditions.
Native American Legends About Pumpkins
Huron Creation Myth:
Huron Indian tale about the origin of pumpkins, corn and beans.
Recommended Books of Pumpkin Stories from Native American Myth and Legend
Princess Scargo and the Birthday Pumpkin:
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Children's book illustrating a Native American pumpkin story of New England.
The Sun's Daughter:
Picture book for kids based on an Iroquois legend about the three sisters Maize, Red Bean, and Pumpkin.
Native Plant Stories:
Excellent collection of Native American folklore about plants, by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden:
Interesting book about Native American farming traditions narrated by a Hidatsa woman.
Native American Food Plants:
Comprehensive book on the names and traditional uses of food plants throughout Native North America.
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