Corn Mask

This sculpture is 28"x32"x10"

Indian corn is shelled then ground into flour until it is very fine flour. Into a large pan you sift this flour. Then you will put the flour into boiling water. With the boiling water in there, you will add beans and mix together with the ingredients. Stir and make patties until it is solid and round. It should boil and cook one hour. Then now, take your loaves out and preserve the soup. That's what they used to take along when they go hunting. Only one swallow of it and he would not become tired or hungry all day long.

  • Told by Jonas Elm to Morris Swadesh (1939)
  • Transcribed and Taped by Maria Hinton (1-13-81)

Known as the "sustainers of life", the Iroquois consider corn, beans, and squash to be special gifts from the Creator. These three sisters, sisters who would never be apart from one another, should be planted together and celebrated together. Pole beans were interplanted with squash and corn, using the strength of the sturdy corn stalks to support the twining beans and the shade of the spreading squash vines to trap moisture for the growing crop.