The Heart of Maizeland

Article published in the Far West Almanac May 2008. Inspired by the book SELU: Seeking the Corn-Mother’s Wisdom by Marilou Awiakta

Porch Selu

Ginitsi Selu (Grandmother Corn)

Harmony, Respect, Community, Healing

Lately when I find myself thinking about roots, it isn’t long until I start thinking about corn. Edible corn originated in Central America, a gift of the creator in the form of a “catastrophic sexual mutation” about 7,000 years ago. Now it is prevalent all over the world. Chinese are using it to make cheap alcohol and Italians for creamy polenta. Corn is in nearly every processed food item in the supermarket either as corn syrup or corn starch, and is being used to make ethanol for bio-fuel.

Corn was given to the Europeans as a gift, our stories tell us, when they were on the brink of starvation in a new land. Although we celebrate Thanksgiving every year in communion with family to remember those great gifts we were given, the gift of corn has ultimately been disrespected and violated by the “gift” the Europeans gave back to the Americas. This “gift” is a mentality that is ultimately self-serving and greedy — entirely against the spirit of corn.