To a seed geek like myself, Carl L Barnes was a hero. We were sad to hear of his passing on April 16th, 2016.
"Family, friends, and the seed saving community mourn the passing of Carl
‘White Eagle’ Barnes, who died in Grove, Oklahoma on Saturday morning,
April 16. Carl was known for his years of work with heritage corn,
enabling many Native tribes to recover and reunite with their sacred
From Mother Earth News,
"Carl is of half Cherokee, half Scotch-Irish ancestry and was born in
the family’s original farmhouse about a half-mile from his current home.
His father had moved the family west, where they acquired land and set
up farming on the High Plains. Carl spent his childhood on this
homestead, and the family lived through the 1930s Dust Bowl years,
staying to survive the ordeal rather than leaving as many did at that
time in our history.
As a youth, Carl began to seek out his
Cherokee roots, exploring the knowledge of his own ancestors and of
Native American traditions in general, by learning from his grandfather.
Much of this quest centered on the ceremonies surrounding planting,
harvesting, and honoring seeds. Carl went on to earn a degree in
Agricultural Education, and later in his adult years worked with the
Cooperative Extension Service. He also spent several years serving with
the Kansas Highway Patrol. Carl continued working the farm, along with
his wife Karen, and they raised a family.
In the course of growing
some of the older corn varieties still being farmed at that time, Carl
began noticing ancestral types of corn re-appearing in his crops. As he
isolated these, he found many of the variants to match up with
traditional corns that had been lost to many of the Native tribes –
particularly those peoples who had been relocated during the 1800s to
what is now Oklahoma. Thus, he was able to re-introduce specific corn
types to the elders of those tribes, and this helped their people in
reclaiming their cultural identities. The corn is, to them, literally
the same as their blood line, their language, and their sense of who
What are some of the Heirloom Corn varieties that Carl worked to "Back to Life"?
The Glass Gem Corn is probably the most popular variety at the moment. A few others include the Painted Mountain Corn and the Cherokee Long Ear Popcorn. These are some of the most stunning heirloom corn varieties I have ever seen!
This week we'll be highlighting our Heirloom Corn varieties. If you have additional questions please ask!
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