Soaring Eagles Dance Group Activities

By Roy Cook

Mark your calendars for the Soaring Eagle, Tonkawa and the American Indian Warriors Association Tribute to Women during Earth Mother and Earth day April 2014.

In traditional Haudenosaunee culture, corn, beans, and squash are the “three sisters.” Although these three vegetables were grown in many Native American cultures, the term “Three Sisters” originated with the Haudenosaunee . In the Haudenosaunee story of Creation, the Three Sisters grew on Turtle Island and were considered the life sustainers.

When planting corn, beans, and squash, Haudenosaunee gardeners rely on the natural relationships between the three plants. The bacteria that occur naturally in beans absorb nitrogen from the air and convert it to nitrates, which fertilize the soil for the corn and squash. Beans are supported by winding around the corn stalks and the squash leaves provide ground cover between the corn and beans preventing weeds from growing and increasing the amount of rain that soaks into the ground.



Corn was first domesticated by Native Americans over 6,000 years ago, in that part of North America today called Mexico The job of growing the corn and other crops was carried out mainly by women. Today flint corn continues to be grown in many of the Haudenosaunee communities, mainly for use within the community. Corn exists today, not just as a plant, but also as a symbol. It stands for Haudenosaunee identities. It stands for life. And it stands for spirit.



"Corn Spirit", moose antler by Stanley Hill, Mohawk



Beans were as highly regarded as corn by Native Americans. Cooking with a combination of corn, beans, and squash provided many of the nutrients needed for a healthy life. Many varieties and colors of beans were cultivated and they were prepared in a number of ways. They were soaked, flattened, fried into cakes, used in salads, stews and soups and ground into flour. beans are often used in combination with white corn to make cornbread and corn soup.



"Bean Spirit", moose antler by Stanley Hill, Mohawk


Squash was also very important to Haudenosaunee people because it is very nourishing and can be cooked and eaten in a variety of ways. The winter squash such as acorn or butternut were often baked whole and flavored with maple syrup or honey. squash is also important to the Iroquois ceremonially.



"Squash Spirit", moose antler by Stanley Hill, Mohawk