Green Corn Dance Ceremony
(selu', "corn.") This is also the proper name of the mistress of corn, known
as Corn Woman.
The male singer at one side of the circle has a gourd rattle but no drum.
The men sing antiphonic responses to the leader. The woman behind the leader
wears turtle leg-rattles.
First movement---While advancing with a shuffling trot behind the leader,
the men and women circle counterclockwise around the mortar in the center of
the circle, making motions with their hands as though dipping and pouring
corn or meal into a basket or bowl held in
the other hand.
Second movement---At a change in the song the women separate from the line,
led by the woman with turtle leg-rattles. They circle the mortar and dance
sideways, facing outward, surrounded by the men's line. The men face the
women and, moving sideways, dance around the mortar for two or three turns.
All continue the hand motions.
Third movement---The men and women change places and, continuing the hand
motions, make two or three circuits.
Fourth movement---The lines of men and women mingle again and repeat the
In pouring corn from a bowl or "basket of plenty," the dancers express
supplication and thanks for abundant corn crops. At one of these dances Will
Pheasant took off his hat and, holding it in his left hand, motioned as
though ladling corn into it with his other hand. He was one of the rare
younger persons who participated in the dances in a creative way.
The Corn Dance is reserved for performance until toward morning in the night
series, and is also a part of the night performances during the green corn
ceremony in August. It follows the Friendship Dance. It can be celebrated at
any time, but it was formerly customary to rehearse it in early spring on
the night before planting-the occasion they (the community) are going to
From Blue Panther Keeper of Stories