What is the Southeastern American Indian Garden?

Sponsored by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians nation and the Cherokee Nation, SAIG is a garden planted with crops of cultural significance to American Indian nations native to the Southeastern United States.

What is the Southeastern American Indian Garden for?

As we grow, we aim to do three things:

Cultivation of crops: 

Through growing these heirloom varieties, we seek to preserve and make available foods that have been significant to Native diets and communities.  By continuing to grow these crops and keep their seeds, we contribute to ongoing efforts to save these heirloom varieties into perpetuity.

Cultivation of community

More than a demonstration garden, we seek to offer a space for Native and non-Native students and community members to work with, taste, and explore the cultural heritage of these plants, offering a connected and connective space to engage with issues of food sovereignty, displacement, and ecological justice.

Cultivation of research

We offer students the opportunity to contribute to a growing body of research around sustainability that is rigorous, integrated and connected to real communities and stories, offering opportunities for hands-on learning beyond the classroom.

What the SAIG is NOT:

Growing food can be a spiritually-centering experience.  While we have certainly experienced this in a range of ways at the Duke Campus Farm, we want to expressly name that this food is not inherently magical or spiritual simply because it is a part of American Indian cultural heritage.  The food grown in this garden is meant to be touched, worked with, and tasted, just like food grown by Native people around the world for millennia.