Cherokee Nation to deposit crucial crop varieties in Norwegian seed bank

The Cherokee Nation will be the first indigenous community in the U.S. to deposit a variety of corn, beans, and squash in Norway’s Svalbard Seed Vault to safeguard for generations to come. The repository holds the seeds of 992,039 crops from around the world and has the capacity to preserve 4.5 million crop varieties. Nine seeds were selected by the Cherokee Nation, including the tribe’s most sacred corn—the Cherokee White Eagle Corn, used for cultural ceremonies. All nine crops predate European settlement and are central to the identity of the Cherokee Nation. These seeds are the second deposit from an indigenous community to be kept in the vault, The Guardian reports. “Generations from now, these seeds will still hold our history and there will always be a part of the Cherokee Nation in the world,” said Chuck Hoskin Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.