Manataka American Indian Council












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 first movement.

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 plant corn.

From Blue Panther Keeper of Stories



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