Historical Indigenous Food Preparation Using Produce of the Three Sisters Intercropping System Academic Article uri icon

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  • For centuries, some Indigenous Peoples of the Americas have planted corn, beans and squash or pumpkins together in mounds, in an intercropping complex known as the Three Sisters. Agriculturally, nutritionally and culturally, these three crops are complementary. This literature review aims to compile historical foods prepared from the products of the Three Sisters planting system used in Indigenous communities in the region encompassing southern Quebec and Ontario in Canada, and northeastern USA. The review does not discuss cultural aspects of the Three Sisters cropping system or describe foods specific to any one Indigenous group, but rather, gives an overview of the historical foods stemming from this intercropping system, many foods of which are common or similar from one group to another. Some of the methods of food preparation used have continued over generations, some of the historical foods prepared are the foundation for foods we eat today, and some of both the methods and foods are finding revival.


  • Ngapo, Tania M
  • Bilodeau, Pauline
  • Arcand, Yves
  • Charles, Marie Thérèse
  • Diederichsen, Axel
  • Germain, Isabelle
  • Liu, Qiang
  • MacKinnon, Shawna
  • Messiga, Aimé J
  • Mondor, Martin
  • Villeneuve, Sébastien
  • Ziadi, Noura
  • Gariépy, Stéphane

publication date

  • March 3, 2021

published in