In the summer on hot, humid nights, you can hear the corn grow. My great grandfather, my grandfather, and my father grew corn. I grow corn in that same rich loess soil of Northwestern Missouri. Soil laid down by Ice Age glaciers thousands of year ago. Only on a few hill tops, here and there, will you find non glacial soil. Repeatedly, daily, I walk by the sacred corn plant of life painted on my hall corner. This sacred corn corner houses three corn maiden kachinas and a drum decorated with corn maidens. I give thanks to corn for my house and the life I lead.
I sing the song of ancients:
Anazazi, Hopi, Zuni.
I sing the song of an America long gone.
Maya, Aztec, Tolmec.
I sing the song of life: colors of the rainbow
golden, red, white, blue.
I sing the song of now: thick, endless
I sing the song of hope and joy:
an ancient reclaiming,
a klaidescope of colors,
butterflies and fireflies.
I sing the eternal human song.
This is a Navaho kachina. Kachina are actually Hopi, but Navaho artists now make kachinas as well. The first corn maiden kachina I bought.
Spotted corn kachinas, on the left, are unusual. It took me years to find one. The kachina on the right was created by R Pino, who is both Hopi and Navaho.
Every year Pendleton runs an art contest among Native American students. The winner’s art work is transformed into saddle blankets. This design, created by Mary Beth Jiron, is the latest in this Student Series. There are three corn maidens on each side of the blanket, representing the different varieties of corn grown by native peoples, yellow, red, blue, white, black, and spotted.