PRAYER FOR THE CORN
On August 4, 2001, I witnessed a Ke-Wa Indian “Corn Danc”e at the Santo Domingo Pueblo, South of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Standing in silence, I seemed to travel backing time as I watched hundreds of these people (men, women and children) dance as their people have danced for centuries. On one occasion, I stood watching this dance when it started to rain. With water, six inches deep, the dance continued. I was welcomed into the home of every Indian I met. I feel both fortunate and privileged to have witnessed this dance of “prayer” for a successful crop.
—The dominating feature for the women of the Corn Dance is the unique
headdress that adorns all of their heads. It fastens to a piece of tie string
that is secured under the neck and to the hair in back.
Feathers plume off of the headdress from the sides.
—All of the dresses are black.
—Under each dress the women wear a white tunic garment that appears to
drape off the shoulder to mid-calf.
—Turquoise and Shell and necklaces are worn around the neck.
—The women dance in a slow rhythmic pace. Usually not looking up but
keeping their eyes downward – for they are “dancing a prayer”.
Everyone who saw the dance was warned against photographing, video taping, sketching, painting or reproducing the dancers ‘on location’. I could only stand in awe and marvel while mentally memorizing their ceremonial dress. Fortunately, after sculpting this piece, and Indian, who was a “Corn Dancer” and a maker of ceremonial dress saw the clay piece and critiqued it for accuracy. Her desire was for me to represent her people as accurately as possible.