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Áhsen Nikontate’kèn:’a

The Three Sisters

The story of the Three Sisters is very old. It comes from Tsi Tsyotáhsawe, our Creation Story. It goes that when Yotsio’tsíson, the being we call Sky Woman, came to this world when she was pregnant. When the time came, she gave birth to a daughter; the very first person to be born here.

Sky Woman’s daughter grew up on Turtle Island and eventually she became pregnant with twins. The twins had opposite personalities. The right-minded twin was called Tharonhiawà:kon and the wrong-minded twin was called Shawískara. Shawískara was very argumentative, and always fighting. Even from the beginning he wanted to beat his brother at everything.

When it came time to be born Shawískara saw that Tharonhiawà:kon was going to be first to come in the normal way, so Shawískara used the sharp hair on his head to cut through his mother’s armpit, killing her. Sky Woman was devastated by the loss of her daughter. She took her body and buried it in a mound. Sky Woman’s daughter was the first mother to be in this world. In her death she became our Mother the Earth.

Some time after the burial, Sky Woman noticed some new plant life sprouting from the mound. She watched as the plants matured and grew into different foods and medicine plants. Some of these plants were the ones we call the Three Sisters. From her heart grew the corn, straight and tall. It was followed by the beans, which grew from her fingers and used the corn to climb up high. From her womb the squash grew and spread out its broad leaves to shade the earth and keep it moist.

Each of these plants helps the others to grow, so that’s why we call them the

Three Sisters and it’s the reason we plant them together every year.