Fremont Indians May Have Liked Pumpkin Spice As Much As You Do... Maybe
Hundreds of years before pumpkin pie and jack-o-lanterns, the Fremont Indians grew corn, beans, and types of squash that may have included pumpkin.
Fremont Indian State Park Museum curator Amy Ramsland says they’ve dated seeds to 1200 AD, a time when the Fremont were most prolific, though she's unsure if there’s pure evidence that they are pumpkins. Gourd and squash seeds from a variety of granaries at Fremont sites around Utah grace collections at the state park and museum, located in the vicinity of Five Finger Ridge and Clear Creek Canyon.
It’s widely believed pumpkin seeds — pepitas — were shared by native Mexicans. Ramsland says the growing conditions today are similar to those which challenged the Fremont. Their farming method's weren't much different than the way modern tribes grow food today, either. The Fremont engaged in dry farming, wherein the natives hoped for rain to irrigate.
Later evidence of pumpkin growing is cited in A History of Millard County, where the Corn Creek band of Pahvants coaxed the gourds to thrive in the early 1800s.
The Fremont Indian State Park Museum was born of discoveries in Clear Creek and the Five-Fingered Ridge. Ancient pantries with artifacts including seeds were unearthed during a major excavation to build Interstate 70 in the late 80s.