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These plots of land will either be filled with plants or will be lying fallow, awaiting new growth in the spring and summer.
An Audio Transcript
These plots of land will either be filled with plants or will be lying fallow, awaiting new growth in the spring and summer. The museum varies the location of these plants to keep the soil healthy. This practice is based on Native traditions. During the summer, this land is alive with crops: corn, beans, squash, cotton and tobacco. Marcia Lea.
"Tobacco, at its peak when it's summer, is a very large plant -- it has leaves that are maybe 12 inches long and 6 inches wide and they're elliptical shaped, a little bit on the hairy side. And the plant itself is maybe 4 to 5 feet tall with a flower head at the top of it. It's a very bold, large plant."
The museum invites native communities to plant and harvest the tobacco crop here. Jose Barreiro who is Taino is the museum's Assistant Director of Research.
Well, the primary principles of the Native world are appreciation and respect … So there has to be respect for what is there before the human being enters the picture and that's crucial. You see that again in the planting …. There are songs that accompany that from beginning to end. There are prayers that accompany that. There are cycles of permission that are embedded in the way of that kind of farming. So, in looking at a field, there's an immediate respect and recognition that there's already a life going on.