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People of the Hemp, Part 1: Losing Land, Culture, Tradition

People of the Hemp, Part 1: Losing Land, Culture, Tradition

Alysa Landry  9/26/14

The way Tracy Johnson tells it, the plateau of land overlooking Niagara Falls and nestled among the Finger Lakes of northwestern New York once was covered in fields of hemp.

The natural herb, interspersed with rows of corn, was evidence of centuries of inhabitation by the Tuscarora, now a dwindling tribe on a tiny sliver of land.

The Tuscarora, or Ska-ru-ren, are the “people of the hemp,” “hemp gatherers” or “shirt-wearers,” so-named because they traditionally wore shirts made of woven hemp, said Tracy, who is one of about 660 enrolled members of the tribe. He and his brother, Crandy Johnson, live on the small reservation, which straddles the line between Lewiston, New York, and the neighboring town of Sanborn.

A hunter/gatherer tribe, the Tuscarora also planted a wide variety of crops, Tracy said. The area once was covered in rich farmland and orchards.

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/09/26/people-hemp-part-1-losing-land-culture-tradition-157074






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