People on the Plains and Plateau have always harvested roots and berries, drying and storing them for later use. Groups such as the Nueta/Nuptadi, Hidatsa and Sahnish were also farmers, growing corn, beans, squash and other crops. Corn had also been an important crop among the Dakota. Such knowledge and experience proved to be extremely useful when government policy forced Native peoples to make the transition to farming and ranching.
As non-Native groups settled in the West, Native people began harvesting wild grasses for their animals and selling the surplus to their neighbours. For some communities, this introduction to an economy based on haying encouraged people to buy and plant imported seeds and to find work in the hay fields on non-Native ranches.
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