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Meskwaki tribe's traditional corn threatened by cross-pollination from GM corn crops

Posted: September 20, 2012 |   Comments

In Iowa, corn is king. In summer, one can drive hundreds of miles in all directions - east, west, north, and south - and see vast green fields of corn, along with soybeans, planted fence row to fence row.

To some Iowa natives, corn is more than king. It's sacred. The Meskwaki Native Americans, based in Tama, have grown corn for centuries, making today's massive industrial corn production a small dot in the timeline by comparison.

The Meskwaki's traditional corn is called Tama Flint, which is known for its hardness and red color.

But today the corn is threatened by cross-pollination from genetically modified corn, which now dominates U.S. agriculture.
Meskwaki tribe member Jerry Young Bear is trying to preserve the genetic purity of his tribe's corn. "Corn has significant value to the Meskwaki people in our culture, tradition, religious ceremonies, and as a major food source," he says. "We want to take care of our corn to make sure it is viable for future generations."

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