Native American Green Corn Festival for Kids and Teachers Illustration

Green Corn Festival
Native Americans for Kids

The Green Corn Festival was celebrated by many Native Americans in one form or another. These early people were very grateful for their harvests. Tribes held several festivals each year to say prayers of thanks to their gods. One of the most important was the Green Corn Festival. This festival was held in late summer or early fall, when the corn they had planted had ripened on the stalk. The expression "green corn" refers to ripened sweet corn, corn you could eat.

These early people were great farmers. They depended on three staples - corn, beans, and squash. In the Woodland areas, these food items were so important that they had a name. They were called "The Three Sisters". The Three Sisters were mixed together to make a vegetable dish called succotash. But corn was always special.

Even after the Green Corn Festival, some corn was left on the stalk to additionally ripen, to help the drying process. Dried corn and dried corn meal were both very important staple items to help these early people eat well through the long winter ahead.

Boiled Corn Bread: The Iroquois Native Americans made a wonderful boiled corn bread. They made flour by pounding corn into flour. To make bread, they mixed water with corn flour. Sometimes cooked beans were added, or berries or nuts. The bread was kneaded and formed into small loaves. The loaves were dropped into boiling water and cooked until the bread floated. Boiled corn bread was served both hot and cold. They also used the same bread mix to bake bread by putting it on clay tablets in the fire. They used sunflower oil to fry bread. Click here for the Recipe for Iroquois Corn Bread.

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The Three Sisters