What three plant foods formed the basis of Native American Indian Agriculture?

What three plant foods formed the basis of Native American Indian Agriculture?  What protein did they supplement this with?

The foundation of Native American agriculture, particularly among the Indigenous peoples of North America, is often referred to as the “Three Sisters”: maize (corn), beans, and squash. These crops were commonly grown together because they support each other’s growth. The maize provides a structure for the beans to climb, the beans provide nitrogen to the soil that benefits the maize, and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight and preventing weeds. The squash leaves also act as a “living mulch,” creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil.

In addition to the “Three Sisters,” other crops like sunflowers, amaranth, and quinoa were also important in certain regions.

As for protein sources, Native Americans traditionally supplemented their diet with various hunted game, fish, and gathered insects. The types of protein consumed varied greatly depending on the geographic location and the resources available. For example, coastal tribes might have relied heavily on fish, shellfish, and seals, while tribes in the Great Plains might have hunted bison. Many Native American societies also gathered eggs and caught birds. Additionally, beans, one of the “Three Sisters”, are a good source of plant-based protein.

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