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4,000 Years of Indigenous Michigan Horticulture


Michigan's First Farmers
4,000 Years of Indigenous Michigan Horticulture
Entry Hall
Sept. 23 - November 30, 2012 
--presented in conjunction with the 2012 Midwest Archaeological Conference, hosted by Michigan State University 
Changing Our Knowledge About the Origins of Native American Food Production in Michigan
When Europeans arrived in the western Great Lakes in the seventeenth century they encountered local Native American populations who were growing tropical plants including what we now commonly call ‚ÄúThe Three Sisters‚ÄĚ ‚Äď corn, beans, and squash, in addition to local plants such as sunflower. ¬†The people living in some parts of what is now Michigan, primarily the southern parts, were more reliant on domestic crops than were their northern counterparts.¬†
How Long Were Corn, Beans, and Squash Being Grown Here?
This is the question that is still being asked by archaeologists around Michigan and the Great Lakes, the answer is constantly changing, and it is a topic most of the people now living in Michigan have no idea about.   It is also the central question being asked by the exhibit 4,000 Years of Indigenous Michigan Horticulture.    
The 4,000 Years of Indigenous Michigan Horticulture exhibit will explore what we know about the origins of native horticulture in Michigan, particularly the appearance and adoption of corn (maize), as well as squash, beans, and native seed and grain plants. It will also explain how new technologies in this field help researchers understand this past ‚Äď the changes in knowledge that come from the application of new methods.