Hopi Corn




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by Ernest Thompson Seton

The first of these attractive dances symbolizes the planting of corn and the second its gathering, husking and shelling. Each dance is complete in itself, but they are often given in sequence. 

The dancers should be in ceremonial costume, or all in white, and any number from 4 to 12 or more can take part, according to the size of the Council Ring. Eight is perhaps best. 

The "grain of corn" and the "ear of corn" are imaginary. 

The "Sun and shimmer sign" indicates the sunshine pouring down by holding up high the outside hand, usually the right, with fore-finger and thumb forming an "O," at the same time moving the other hand with the fingers straight and a little spread to and fro in a direct line from the "O" to the earth, gentle waving or quivering the fingers of the second hand to symbolize the shimmering beam of sunlight. 

The "rain sign" is made by holding up both hands high in front, palms down, and allowing the fingers to slightly spread out, hanging down, and in time with the music the fingers are raised and quickly and sharply dropped again, as if sprinkling water from the tips. 

The hop-step is the principal step in these Indian dances. It is a step and a hop on each foot, that is two beats. The hop is very slight. Sometimes only the heel is raised and the knee action is emphatic to jingle the bells or rattles that are often used attached to the knee, much as Morris Dances. 

The side-step is done very slowly, the right foot taking a long sidewise step on the heavy beat of the drum, and then the left foot slides slowly up to the right foot on the light beat of the drum; then repeat. Note the ankles are never crossed. 

In the Corn Dance when the dancers sit down they must all sit at the same moment and in the same fashion, the same foot must be in front and the same hand used to support each in rising. A good plan is to have the right foot over the left and use the left hand as support in getting up. The dancers go the opposite way of the sun, or to the right. They form a complete circle with equal distance between each. The one who comes in first is the leader. This one always goes out first, and, in fact, directs the dance, although it is done in unison. The leader should be the best dancer and should also be tall and well costumed. 

The usual accompaniment needed is the regular beat in double-time of a drum. 

The "wind murmur" is a continuous soft sound made by prolonging the "oo" of "whoo" in unison and softly, rising and falling a little in intensity. 

The Indian whoop is made by singing the sound of "Oh" and at the same time rapidly tapping the lips with flat right-hand finger tips. 

The "fire" means the center. 

The Birch Bark Roll






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Storm Cloud ] Lone Scout ] Shoshoni Dog ] Caribou Dance ] Animal Dance ] [ Hopi Corn ] Spring Dance ] Fall Dance ] Snake Dance ] Courtship Eagles ] Peace Pipe ] War Dance ] Refference ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Native Skills ] Totem Poles ] Indian Sign Language ] Indian Ceremonies ] Indian Dance ] Indian Songs ] Birch Bark Dances ] Birch Bark Songs ] Birch Bark Plays ] Indian Games for Boys ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.