Michigan's First Farmers
(Exhibits (Museum, Gardens, ...))
4,000 Years of Indigenous Agriculture more information...
In school, students this time of year often learn about how Native Americans shared their fall harvest - "Three Sisters," or, beans, corn and squash, and of course, cranberries - with the European settlers at the first Thanksgiving nearly 400 years ago. While these were new foods for the Europeans, Native Americans had been cultivating some of them for many thousands of years in Eastern North America.
Archaeologists at Michigan State University are researching early Native American agriculture, particularly in Michigan, presenting key new findings on 4,000 years of indigenous agriculture for a new exhibition at the MSU Museum, "Michigan's First Farmers."
The familiar expression, 'farming is our bread and butter' tells a lot about how we rely on farming, but in fact the earliest farmers were the native peoples in Michigan who had a vibrant economy that included early agriculture thousands of years before European settlers arrived.
Learning more about this part of our past gives important insights into the different paths that societies around the world took toward food production and illustrates the contributions these societies made in the eventual establishment of large-scale production practices.