Thankful Farmers

For hundreds of years, the Wyandotte have been farmers. Like all the native peoples of the Eastern Woodlands region, their staple crop was corn. The importance of corn and other key foods—such as beans and squash— is reflected in the annual Green Corn Feast. This ceremony serves in part as a collective expression of thanksgiving with the giving of names, speeches, rituals, songs, dances, games, and a bountiful feast universally shared. Green Corn Feasts are part of an annual series of special observances that give thanks to the Creator and acknowledge the importance of food crops, including wild foods gathered directly from nature.

The importance of farming to the Wyandotte is evident in the objects Barbeau collected. Many of the baskets he collected are workbaskets used in harvesting and processing corn and other crops. Similarly, the mortar and pestle exhibited here directly evoke the work of raising and preparing corn to feed Wyandotte families.

While most tribal members today are not directly involved in farming, this heritage remains important. It is reflected not only in ceremonial life but also in favorite foods and connection to family and place.

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