KE – WA CORN MAIDEN
On August 4, 2001, I witnessed a Ke-Wa Indian corn dance at the Santo Domingo Pueblo, south of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’ve never been inspired to sculpt a piece so fast in my life. By August 21st the piece was finished.
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 it and critiqued it for accuracy. Her desire was for me to represent her people as accurately as possible.
—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.
—Evergreen boughs are held in each hand.
—Turquoise and Shell and necklaces are worn around the neck.
—The moccasins are cream white (many of the women dance barefoot).
—A sash is fastened around the waist.
—Along the bottom of the dresses and the tunic under garment is a woven pattern of colored design.
—The women dance in a slow rhythmic pace. Usually not looking up but eyes downward.
Since attending this dance, I have learned that the participants in the Corn Dance are in prayer as they dance.
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. I have stood watching this dance when it started to rain. With water, 4 to 6 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 event.