Thursday, January 15, 2009

Strawberry Corn/

I was in a local store sometime in December, and picked up some dried strawberry corn ears. They are red and shaped sort of like strawberries, and were right next to the Indian corn. What exactly the heck is "Indian" corn, as opposed to sweet corn or field corn? I suppose that the tricolor ears of dried corn were all that the poor natives could grow, having no giant factory farms to do all of the work of sorting all of the colors out in each ear. (You may detect a small amount of facetiousness here) Hybrid corn is one thing, but to call a particular strain of mutt corn Indian corn is a bit misleading. All corn started out as Indian corn. Native American corn. Actually, and most probably South American Indian corn. There is evidence that corn was adapted to almost every environment on both Americas. There are heritage varieties that have more protein and less sugar than current corns, whose genetics are owned by Monsanto or ADM or some other world farming and seed conglomerate. These older and less manipulated corns may be better food stock than the newer ones, but aren't they grown commercially? Too much manual labor. Not easy to convert to harvest by machine. Too short. Not enough product per plant.

2 comments:

yootin said...

The Cree term for corn is Mah-tah-min, Mahtahminh literally translated means 'mysterious plant'. I was once drving from Montana to Kansas City Missouri in the month of May. Toward the end of the first travel day I stopped in Mitchell SD. There they have an auditorium called the Corn Palace. The exterior walls of this "corn palace" are decorated with a mosaic of geometric patterns of corn stalks. The next day as I drove from Sioux Falls SD to Kansas City I kept looking for fields of corn seedlings. Toward mid day I saw a freeway exit labelled "Mondamin" I thought sounds like "Mah-tah-min" Just as I had this thought I glanced to the right and there was a field of corn seedlings just sprouting from the ground.
One of my favorite stories is the origin of 'Mahtahmin' from the song of Hiawatha.

the un cheesy Bree said...

hi there, i just found your blog after googling indigenous science. i'm the science teacher on the spokane reservation and am looking for resources that show the process for indigenous science or framework. i'm going to add a link to your blog on my schools science page and my blog.