Last spring when Pam gave us some seeds for Cherokee Trail of Tears beans, our garden was already fully planted. Dennis found room for them in unimproved soil along the garden fence, which is 13 feet tall.
As it turns out, that site was a lucky choice. These beans are climbers that grew all the way to the top wire. Their blooms were a lovely pink color that I failed to capture in a photo. The blooms turned into green pods, at which point they could have been harvested as green beans. We had plenty of green beans, so left these to mature.
Leaving the pods to mature was another lucky choice because the maturing pods are beautiful.
Inside each pod are rather large black beans.
I had mistakenly thought the beans’ name was just a tribute to the Cherokee people who made the long and devastating forced march from the Smoky Mountains to Oklahoma. A little research taught me that seeds for this bean variety actually made the trek with the Cherokee people and have been grown in Oklahoma through the generations. In 1977 Dr. John Wyche, a descendent of the marchers, donated some seeds to Seed Savers Exchange, which has been cultivating and distributing them for all these years.
It gives me pleasure to harvest and admire these beans. I hope we will grow some Cherokee Trail of Tears beans every summer in remembrance and honor of the Native Americans who have cherished them as a part of their heritage.
These beans also serve as a reminder of the cruel means Caucasians used to take over this country The hateful screaming faces of those who protest the arrival of Latin American refugee children at the U.S. southern border today perpetuate this evil heritage. White people seem to have compassion only for those whose skin is also pale, but not always for the pale faces who are poor and starving in a so-called Christian nation. What would Jesus have to say about this selfishness?
Copyright 2014 by Shirley Domer