"There will always be a part of the Cherokee Nation in the world," declares the Native American tribe, which will be the first to store its heirloom seeds in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, better known as the "doomsday vault." In a statement, Senior Director of Environmental Resources Pat Gwin says he was invited to deposit the heirloom seeds in the vault on a remote island in Norway after giving an NPR interview about the tribe's own seed bank, which is accessible to any Cherokee, though each is limited to two varieties, per CNN.
"This is a tremendous opportunity and honor," says Gwin. "Knowing the Cherokee Nation's seeds will be forever protected and available to us, and us only, is a quite valuable thing indeed." "This is history in the making," adds Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. Nine varieties of Cherokee heirloom crops, all predating European settlement, will be deposited in Svalbard on Feb. 25, along with other 2020 additions. They include Cherokee White Eagle Corn, Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans, and Cherokee Candy Roaster Squash. (Read more Svalbard Global Seed Vault stories.)