Corn was a staple for many tribes, as were beans and pumpkins. In fact, these three crops were grown together and called "The Three Sisters." They compliment each other on more than just the dinner table.
Corn is a grass that grows on a sturdy frame and needs plenty of nitrogen to prosper. Beans are a legume, taking nitrogen from the air and depositing it into the soil. But beans need something to support them as they grow. Both corn and beans thrive best when their roots are kept modestly moist and partially shaded. Pumpkins have broad, prickly leaves that provide shade and also help repel certain pests, like raccoons, who do not like to walk over them.
Learning how to work with nature to provide for their survival is what kept the early settlers alive. But it also change the world. Foods found native here, like The Three Sisters, were carried back across the ocean and cultivated there as well. And while many people think of potatoes belonging to the Irish, in fact, they were taken back to Ireland from our own Colonial shores.