An archaeological dig on the First Nation’s Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin yielded, and stun to see unexpected results when a clay vessel about the size of a tennis ball was discovered. Therefore, after carbon dating, it was exposed that the pot was more than 800 years old and enclosed a variety of seeds from a species of squash thought to be extinct. A group of Canadian students decided to test the viability of these ancient heirloom seeds that had been buried for many centuries. An ancient, extinct squash was grown!
The squash named “Gete-okosomin” which incompletely translates into “Big Old Squash” or “Really Cool Old Squash” the largest specimen grown from the seeds was an inspiring three feet and 18 pounds. Moreover this “cool” squash symbolizes much more than just a vegetable though it represents a time in history and a community where food was a right of citizenship. As a result, it serves as a reminder that the vegetables and fruits seen in the grocery store nowadays are just a fraction of the varieties that exist, and cataloguing seeds is a great way to ensure that these plant varieties continue to survive. However, many thanks to the ancient native people who put the seeds in the vessel, hundreds of years ago, this squash variety will not be lost to history. Thus, the effective cultivation of Gete-okosomin shows that heritage seeds can live over centuries and still remain a viable food source; we can learn a lesson in long-term food storage from Native American forefathers.