LETTER: Invitation to explore Prickly Pear Cactus

Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2022

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To the Editor:

I read your article in the July 13, edition of The Tidewater News germane to “Learning about the Eastern Prickly Pear, (Opuntia humifusa).

Please note that on our 263 acres of Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian tribal land at Cattashowrock Town in Courtland, that the Prickly Pear Cactus, “Os-ter Ra-Shee” in our tribal Iroquoian Language (Da-sun-ke), grows in abundance.

As such, we have pinpointed along our walking trails on our tribal land with signage, in our Iroquoian Language and in English, explaining the uses that our people make of this plant. We used it as a source of medicine, food, needles, water and containers. This native perennial plant bears seasonal reddish in color fruit know as pears or tunas. Natives would eat the flesh, once dethroned, inside of the leaf, and the fruit/tunas. The fruit was also juiced and drunk for energy or as an aphrodisiac.

We invite the general public to visit Cattashowrock Town and walk or bicycle the tribal walking trails and learn more about the Flora (native plants) that grown at Cattashowrock Town, all of which are depicted with signage in our Iroquoian Language and English.

For more information, or to set up a walking trail tour contact Chief Walt Red Hawk Brown at wdbrowniii@aol.com or call 757-354-6839. Information also listed on the tribe’s website: www.cheroenhaka-nottoway.org

Chief Walt Red Hawk Brown

Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe

Southampton County