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Maize - A tall hardy grass now cultivated both for its grain and as forage for cattle.  Maize, which comes form the Haitian word mahis or mahiz, is usually designated as "Indian corn," or simply "corn."

The early explorers found this grain under cultivation from Canada to Chile, and the Spaniards introduced it into Europe whence it spread all over the world.  It is estimated today that more people throughout the world are nourished by corn than by any other grain, except rice.

Columbus spoke of the Indians making an intoxicating drink from maize.  Champlain left the first record of the cultivation of corn in New England.  The Pilgrims, soon after landing, were taught to cultivate it by Chief Massassoit.

The Indians have many legends about the origin of corn.  Some believed it was the gift of their gods.  Some termed it "Mother Corn," the "Giver of Life."  The Pawnee believed that Corn had visited the earth first as a beautiful, fair haired young woman, whose locks were preserved in the corn silk.  The Six nations held a Corn Festival each year.  The Creek held a Green Corn Dance.

The time of planting, ripening, and harvesting corn were times of festivities among many tribes.  Corn has long been used as food.  Recent excavations in new mexico have shown that corn was grown in that area several centuries before the birth of Christ.

From the Indians the white man got his ashcake, hoecake (Algonquian nokake), samp, hominy, roasting ears, and popcorn.  Even the farmer's corn cribs, elevated on posts, are patterned after those of the southern Indians.

Related Information within this Site
[ Dance ][ Feasts ][ Food ][ Hominy ][ Maple Sugar ]
[ Metate ][ Paper Bread ][ Parched Corn ][ Pawnee ]