Date of this Version
Published in Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, Volume 4 (1977) pp. 209-211.
Many of us, particularly in this bicentennial time, hear many references to pioneers, civilization, and farmers, often with such references directed in the Plains area to people who have inhabited the area for a period of less than two hundred years.
I'm sure that we are all aware that there were earlier Indian pioneers, at least ten thousand years ago. "Civilization" and "culture" are both somewhat vague terms, meaning different things to different people. There can be little doubt that the American Indian possessed the ability to adapt readily to the Plains environment, just as the later white settler had to adapt to survive. In historic times, such tribes as the Dakota Sioux and the Cheyenne, in moving west to the Plains, greatly changed their lifestyles.
The area that I would like to review in somewhat greater detail is that of agriculture, or more specifically horticulture. Every school child is aware that our ancestors received many of our present plant products from Indian sources. Such a list is long and diversified and ranges from tobacco to com.