On Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, the Kenhté:ke Seed Sanctuary preserves not just plants, but culture and language, too

A photo of the map of the sacred cosmology that dictates the yearly schedule of the Kenhté:ke Seed Sanctuary.

In caring for a 40-year-old collection of 300 seed varieties, the non-profit Ratinenhayén:thos aims to strengthen local food security and revitalize Indigenous connections to the land

The Kenhté:ke Seed Sanctuary is in the heart of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, just west of Kingston, Ont. It is home to a 40-year-old living collection of almost 300 seed varieties, including rare heirloom crops like blue Cayuga flint corn and ancient ones like Jacob’s cattle bean, a red and white legume dating back to the 1700s.

Since 2019, the collection has been cared for by Ratinenhayén:thos, an Mohawk-led non-profit whose name means “they are farmers of seeds” in Kanyen’kéha, chosen because it denotes a strong spiritual and cultural connection that grounds the organization’s work in community and place.

Here is the link to the rest of a beautiful article in the Narwhal about our sister organization, Ratinenhayén:thos.