- A tall hardy grass now cultivated both for its grain and as forage for
cattle. Maize, which comes form the Haitian word mahis or
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.
within this Site
][ Feasts ][ Food ][
Hominy ][ Maple Sugar
][ Paper Bread ][ Parched
Corn ][ Pawnee ]