ARC researcher Laura Flood participated in Earth Rising, an Eco Art festival at IMMA that took place on 21-23 October 2022
Research context for The Three Sisters, Turtle Éiriú, 2022:
My research into the development of native American agricultural wisdom led me to discover the strong links to Irish ecological folklore. This forms the subject of the text work on both the hanging cotton and the repurposed barrel that housed the Three Sisters vegetables. “16. C An Spainneach Geal (the potato) reaches Ireland.” The inner circle of the stamp on the barrel reads Mother Earth in Cherokee language.
In Native American creation myths, Turtle Island was the name given to the land of North America. Ireland’s original namesake comes from the Goddess Éiriú. The Three Sisters agriculture originated from central Mexico and spread throughout the Americas by 1,000 CE. We give thanks to the native tribes who spread this tradition. Scientifically speaking, there’s many benefits to planting corn, beans and squash together, like the increase of 30% in yields. My main interest however is in the survival of folklore to understand food sovereignty. Here, there is a softer thread of wisdom revealing itself to us rather than a scientifically or culturally approved hard-cold-fact.
Haudenosaunee peoples of North-East America planted corn at the time of year when the dogwood leaves were the size of a squirrel’s ear. This tallest sister- corn is planted in the soil first. She becomes the oldest sister and gives a strong vertical support for the middle sister- beans to climb. They’re also shaded from the sun by the corn’s wide green leaves. A few weeks later the youngest sister-squash is sown and grows her prickly leaves across the ground, protecting her older siblings.