Cherokee food - what Cherokee people ate, and how they cooked it.
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Cherokee Food

corn on the cob
Corn on the cob

March 2017 - People who lived in the Cherokee nation were mostly farmers. They ate mainly corn and beans and squash (the "Three Sisters") that they grew in their fields. They made the corn into flat breads like tacos and tortillas and they made the beans into refried beans, soups and stews. They also made popcorn for special treats! Cherokee people also grew and ate a lot of sweet potatoes and peanuts, and they grew sunflowers for their seeds.

drawing of men broiling fish
Broiling fish

Cherokee people also ate a lot of meat, especially deer and rabbits and turkey, and a lot of fish and turtles. It's possible that they were raising tame turkeys by about 1200 AD. They kept some small dogs and ate them, too. Cherokee people did not live entirely from farming and hunting like the Mississippians to their west, though - Cherokee people kept on getting a lot of their food from gathering as well. They gathered shellfish, because they lived near the coast, but also blueberries, blackberries, acorns, chestnuts, and wild onions. This is probably mainly because of differences in the environment.

Learn by doing: making succotash
American food after the Europeans invaded

Bibliography and further reading about Cherokee food:

More about the Cherokee
More about Native American Food
Native Americans
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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