One of humans most treasured plants, it has always been a great source of nutrition as well as providing medicine. It is closely related to the sun, harvest, health and the earth goddess.
Corn, also known as maize, is the most important food crop of the Americas, cultivated by hundreds of different tribes. Even some tribes who were too nomadic or lived too far north to grow it themselves had corn as part of their diet, since they traded extensively with corn-farming neighbors. Corn is one of the Three Sisters of the northeastern tribes, so called because corn, squash, and beans were traditionally planted together by Native American farmers.
Corn played an important mythological role in many tribes as well– in some cultures Corn was a respected deity, while in others, corn was a special gift to the people from the Creator or culture hero. In addition to its importance as a food source, corn also played a ceremonial role in many tribes, with sacred corn pollen or cornmeal being used as ritual adornment and spiritual offerings.
Corn is a common clan symbol in many Native American cultures. Tribes with Corn Clans include the Muskogee Creek tribe (whose Corn Clan was named Atchialgi or Vce’vlke in the Muskogee language), the Navajo, the Mohave, and the Pueblo tribes of New Mexico (many of whom have multiple Corn Clans such as the Blue Corn Clan and Yellow Corn Clan.) Many tribes, such as the Caddo and the Pueblo tribes, also have a Corn Dance among their tribal dance traditions.