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INDIAN GAMES AND DANCES
9
THE LIFE OF THE CORN
A DRAMA
IN
FIVE DANCES
Introduction. — These Dances in their purport and music are taken from the sacred rituals of the Omaha, the Osage and the Pawnee tribes. The richness and beauty of symbolism in the original language suffer a loss of native naivete in their English interpretation.
The American food plant known by the general term "Corn" was developed ages ago from certain native grasses. The Euchlaena luxurians found in Guatemala is probably an ancestor of the maize. The word "maize" belongs to the language of a people living by the Carib­bean Sea and never was a universal term for corn among the Indians of our country. The tribes to which maize was known gave it a name derived from their own lan­guages. So very many centuries have passed since corn was a grass that there is no way now of finding out when in the remote past the natives of this continent began the task of developing from a grass a staple article of food like the corn. The process required years of care­ful observation, manipulation and culture. Not only did the Indians accomplish this task but they took the plant from its tropical surroundings and acclimated it throughout the region east of the Rocky Mountains up to the country of short summers in the North; Cartier, in 1534, found it growing where the city of Montreal now stands.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III