Seed Distribution Program

Throughout the years, Gun Lake Tribe has been fortunate enough to have acquired a wonderful seed accession. A lot of hard work, networking and bartering went into the building of our collection. Now, we have the privilege of offering some of these rare and unique seeds with our Citizens. This process helps us to ensure the survival and enrichment of the rare and culturally unique seeds stewarded by Gun Lake Tribe.
We aim to continue the progress our ancestors made by strengthening and preserving our people’s unique agricultural genetics. This will empower our Citizenship and establish greater food sovereignty at our Tribal household level. To continue those efforts we kindly ask, please do not commercially use these seeds or gift/sell these seeds to anyone interested in patenting, licensing or restricting other’s use of these seeds. We ask that Citizens look after and care for these seeds as if they were a member of your family, loved one or someone you genuinely care for as these small gifts of life were created through generations of love and care and will continue to bring beautiful life for future generations as well. 
For any questions regarding the Seed Distribution Program, including application requests or growing and harvesting questions, please contact James Day, Language and Culture Director, at 269.397.1780 or via email at
The Tribal Historic Preservation Office maintains and stewards the Tribe’s Seed Collection under its Archives and Collections Program. As part of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant received in 2020, the Department is developing a digital archives website that will be accessible to Citizens to explore the Tribe’s archival and collections materials. One of the first collections being digitized and uploaded to the digital archives website is the Tribe’s Seed Collection with a subsection dedicated to Potawatomi Heritage Seeds.

Some of the seeds in the Collection include

  • Bodéwadmi Nensema (Pottawatomi Tobacco),
  • Mshwe Modesek (Pottawatomi Rabbit Bean)
  • Wapeshkigwat (Pottawatomi White Flint Corn)

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about the various types of seeds that are included in the Tribe’s Seed Collections, please contact Rebecca Rupe, Archives/Collections Coordinator, at 269.397.1780 or via email at

Program Forms and Resources 

2022 Seed Grow Guides include the following: 

  • Nokomis Kosmin Squash
  • Pottawatomi Pole Beans
  • Walpole Island White Flour Corn

Please Note: All 2022 seeds require full sun for best results. 

Resources for Participants

Gardening supplies you may need:

  • Trowel, hoe or shovel to help you dig into the ground
  • Sticks, strings or fencing for the beans to climb onto when they sprout

Soil Types: Clay, Sandy, Loam

Clay – Retains moisture well, susceptible to compaction, sticky, slippery, clings to garden tools


  • Sphagnum peat moss: Aeration, Adds mass
  • Organic compost: Adds structure, aeration, and nutrients
  • Composted leaves, grass, woodchips: Adds texture, aeration, and drainage

Sandy – Drains quickly, doesn’t retain moisture or nutrients, course, doesn’t hold together


  • Composted organic materials (composted manure, grass clippings, leaves, etc.): Water retention, increased nutrients
  • Sphagnum peat moss: Water and nutrient retention

Loam – Ideal texture, moisture retention and soil drainage for gardening, holds shape when squeezed, easy to dig

Soil pH

Another common issue with soil is pH. This issue requires testing to understand where your soil is at.   Soil Ph tests can be purchased at most hardware stores, farm stores, and department stores (seasonally). Once you know where your soil Ph is, you can add amendments to adjust it.  

  • High Ph level (Alkaline) – Add peat moss, leaf compost, and composted manures to add more acidity to the soil. Sulfates are the non-organic method to lowering Ph levels in soil.  
  • Low Ph level (Acidic) – Add Lime to soil to raise its Ph level. Finer particles will take effect faster than bigger particle limestone amendments.