Mankato in Blue Earth County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Amos Owen Garden of American Indian Horticulture
The relationships between people and plants, particularly food plants, are among the most sacred and important relationships that exist in any culture. Names and stories about plants help create and maintain the central beliefs of a people, and growing the plants continually reinforces and re-enlivens meaning for the people. We hope that our efforts will result in restoration of these plants to active cultivation by Native communities across the region, and will help reawaken the sleeping knowledge of past lives.
East: wiyohiyaåpata (where the sun arrives) Yellow: zi
South: itokayata (where to face) Black: sapa
West: wiyohpeyata (where the sun retires) Red: duta
North: waziyata (where the pines are)
Plantings. The plants in this garden represent very few of the types that Native American peoples have used over the last 13,000 years of their life in this region. Thousands of different plants were used for food, medicine and technology.
By 4,000 years ago, Native Americans in North America had independently domesticated four unique crops: squash, sunflower, manhelder and goosefoot. Over the next several thousand years, they intensively utilized many others (such as panic grass, little barley, barnyard grass, wild rice and maygrass some of which were domesticated. Maize and tobacco were introduced to North American around 2,500 years ago, followed by beans (ca 1500 years ago) all from Central America.
Over time, groups developed many distinct varieties of their crop plants and grew them in ingenious systems that prevented crossbreeding. Eventually, the “Three Sisters” of maize, beans and squash became a stable crop grouping.
Many of the impressive accomplishments of Indian agriculture are now lost; most of the varieties are extinct, and others lay dormant in museum collections, such as the seeds from which these plants were germinated. We ask that you help us protect and preserve the plants in this garden. Do not pick or disturb the specimens in any way.
Location. Touch for map. It is near the Ostrander Bell Tower on the Minnesota State University campus. Marker is in this post office area: Mankato MN 56001, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Highland Park (approx. 0.6 miles away); Civil War Monument (approx. one mile away); Lincoln Park (approx. one mile away); Hubbard House (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Lorin & Lulu Cray Home (approx. 1.2 miles away); Sinclair Lewis House (approx. 1.2 miles away); Washington Park / Fourth Street Route Depot Grounds (approx. 1½ miles away); Ho-Chunk / Winnebago (approx. 1½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mankato.
Additional keywords. Minnesota State University, Mankato, Dakota, Amos Owen, Archaeology, Anthropology
Categories. • Horticulture & Forestry • Native Americans •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 12, 2009, by Sheryl and Bruce Dowlin of Boise, Idaho. This page has been viewed 1,516 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 12, 2009, by Sheryl and Bruce Dowlin of Boise, Idaho. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.