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American Indian Gardening on the northern plains title image

Hoeing with a scapula hoe
Gardening with a scapula hoe SHSND# 0086-281
Before contact with European Americans and for a while afterward as well, Hidatsa and Mandan women used hoes made from a stout stick with the scapula of a bison attached to it. They had rakes with an ash stick that might have been bent to form a rake or a rake made with deer antlers attached to a stick. The women used digging sticks to work the ground (as well as many other tasks). After contact, metal hoes were widely used. (Independence, p. 35, 37)

Each woman went to her own field, perhaps with other women of her family, early in the morning while it was still cool. (Elderly men often helped their wives in the fields. (Buffalo Bird Woman, p. 115)) The garden was a sacred spot where the women avoided quarreling. First they planted several varieties of sunflowers in early spring. After the gooseberry leaves emerged in late May or early June, the women planted corn. Then the squash was planted from sprouted seeds. Finally, the women planted as many as five varieties of beans. (Hidatsa, p. 47-48)

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