Monday, November 6, 2023

Native American - Green Corn Dance of Thanksgiving

1590 North American Atlantic Coast Natives by John White (c1540 – c1593). The village of Pomeiooc (Pomeiock) was a Native America settlement, designated on de Bry’s map of Virginia, Americae Pars Nunc Virginia Dicta, between today’s Wyesocking Bay & Lake Landing, North Carolina. John White designates the settlement as Pomeyoo.

Extracted from:  Myths of the Cherokee.  Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau  of American Ethnology. Washington Government Printing Office 1902  Recorded by James Mooney (1861-1921) was an American ethnographer who lived for several years among the Cherokee.


Among all vegetables the one which holds first place in the household economy and ceremonial observance of the tribe is selu, "corn," invoked in the sacred formulas under the name of Agawe'la, "The Old Woman," in allusion to its mythic origin from the blood of an old woman killed by her disobedient sons ("Kana'ti and Selu"). 

In former times the annual thanksgiving ceremony of the Green-corn dance, preliminary to eating the first new corn, was the most solemn tribal function, a propitiation and expiation for the sins of the past year, an amnesty for public criminals, and a prayer for happiness and prosperity for the year to come. 

Only those who had properly prepared themselves by prayer, fasting, purification were allowed to take part in this ceremony, and no one dared to taste the new corn until then. Seven ears from the last year's crop were always put carefully aside, in order to attract the corn until the new crop was ripened and it was time for the dance, when they were eaten with the rest. In eating the first new corn after the Green Corn dance, care was observed not to blow upon it to cool it, for fear of causing a wind storm to beat down the standing crop in the field.