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Things that Sustain Us, The Three Sisters

Seneca Name


Common Name


Three Sisters Garden

GPS Coordinates

Although the Seneca were successful hunters and gathers, they were famed for their horticulture. Up until colonial times Seneca cultivators were primarily women, and the plant world was associated with their aspect of life. Central to Seneca material and spiritual well-being were crops: corn, beans, and squash.

The Seneca believe these crops, termed the Three Sisters, sustain human life. The ceremonial year is heavily associated with their growth and harvest. Planting time and harvests of corn are celebrated with great enthusiasm among traditional Seneca.

Huge stores of corn and beans were discovered in the picketed granary on Fort Hill during the Denonville Campaign of 1687. Denonville estimated his soldiers destroyed over 440,000 bushels of old and new corn that summer in the four major Seneca towns.

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