A closer look at the composition of a corn kernel.
Corn on the Cob
The Post-Gazette article tells about recent developments in sweet corn.
A Zillion Uses for Corn
Wow…what a list of products that use corn compiled by the Ontario Corn Producers Association
It Begins With A Kernel
Iowa Corn Production Board presents a list of the basic products made from corn.
Uses of Starch
U.S. Department of Agriculture shows a photo of many uses of starch that will surprise you.
What is corn refining?
The Corn Refiners Association presents a brief history of the corn refining industry. This Web site also includes many other links about the corn refining process and products made from corn.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Commerce provide useful statistical information on corn refining and products made from corn.
What kinds of corn are there?
The Smithsonian Institution presents Seeds of Change, a Web page about types of corn and corn facts.
Corn Production in the U.S.
Excellent charts and maps prepared by the National Corn Growers Association
World Corn Production
Excellent charts and graphs comparing corn exports, imports, production and consumption.
What is Detasseling?
Describes the process and the importance of detasseling in growing hybrid seed corn.
Iowa Farmer Today Corn Cam
The Corn Cam records an Iowa cornfield from sunrise to sunset from spring until winter each year.
Archaeology of Maize
Provides studies on the history of maize
Includes an overview of the importance of corn to the diet of the woodland Indians of the Northeast
Native American History of Corn
An interesting illustrated history of corn that identifies its origin and Indian crafts made from the corn plant
Presents the history of corn in Latin America
Beyond Turkey: Corn Shaped History, Cuisines
Relates the history of corn to the development of our dietary tradition
Corn and the Powhatan
A history of corn as written by Chief Roy Crazy Horse of the Powhatan Renape Nation
Provides the history corn and the distinct common types found today
Maize in Oral Traditions
Provides the origin of corn from the perspective of several contrasting Indian traditions
How Corn Came to the Earth
Tells how Mother-Corn brings corn to the Earth
The Hermit, or The Gift of Corn
Another version of the Sioux tale explaining how corn was found and preserved
The Story of the Corn Husk Doll
An Iroquois story telling why cornhusk dolls have no face
The Coming of the Corn
Traditional Cherokee story telling how corn came to be
Animated Lock Demonstration
The US Army Corp of Engineers' simulation describes what happens as a barge goes through a lock and dam.
Welcome to Lock and Dam 15
Take a tour of a lock and dam on the Mississippi River with a park ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Harvest of Fear
PBS report on the risks, benefits, hopes, and fears of genetically modified food crops. Includes interviews with scientists, food industry representatives, farmers, and critics.
How a Corn Plant Develops
Iowa State University of Science and Technology Web site describes the step-by-step process of corn growth
Field of Genes
Learn how weeds, insects, and toxic agricultural chemicals affect the amount of corn grown when using genetically engineered corn seeds
From Corn-Bred Statistics to High-Tech Breeding
Describes research at the Maize Evolutionary Genomics Project.
Seeding the future describes a new variety of corn has been genetically altered to kill invading pests.Biotechnology in Agriculture
Don't miss the chart showing the improvements that are possible with biotechnology.
Are Bioengineered Foods Safe?
Discusses the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's policy on bioengineered foods
Harmony Between Agriculture and the Environment: Current Issues
USDA describes biotech corn - changing markets and the government's role
Iowa State University's Web site describes a number of farm economy issues.
National Corn Growers Association
This Web site has links including business, news, government, and research and development.
Iowa Corn Growers Association
Iowa is the number one corn producing state in the United States. Check this Web site for the latest news, markets and weather.
Agriculture news, discussion and information
Voice of Agriculture
Minnesota Corn Growers Association
Lists current news about breakthroughs in value-added products made from corn.
Crops - Corn
University of Minnesota Extension Service mega Web site on corn
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
Provides links to the latest biotech issues
A history of the Mitchell Corn Palace located in Mitchell, South Dakota. Check out the Corn Palace Web Cam.
Iowa Farmer Today's Corn Cam
Watch the corn grow. See it tassel. Cheer as the mighty cornstalks battle wind, hail and rainstorms.
The Sauk and Mesquakie Indians were living in the Mississippi valley in the 1820s and 1830s when pioneer settlers began moving west into their hunting grounds. In the summer the Indian men hunted buffalo and elk and bartered for supplies with European traders.
At first the fur trade was good for both the Indians and the Europeans. Eventually, however this trade led to conflicts over land. As these problems increased and pioneer settlers pressed farther toward Indian lands, the U.S. government moved the Indians west. But some refused to move. Chief Black Hawk of the Sauk Tribe resisted moving.
Black Hawk, the famous war chief of the Sauk tribe, was born in 1767. He grew up in Saukenuk, an Indian village on the Rock River near the Mississippi. During his lifetime he earned a reputation as a daring warrior.
When Black Hawk refused to leave his village in the spring of 1831, the U.S. army was called in to move him across the Mississippi to Iowa. He was not to return to Saukenuk on the Illinois side of the river. The next spring Black Hawk disobeyed this order and led his warriors and their families back to his village. The military was ordered to capture Chief Black Hawk.
Black Hawk led his followers north to escape, but the army followed. Three months later the remnants of his group of men, women, and children were captured in Wisconsin. Called the Black Hawk War, this conflict ended with Black Hawk being put in prison. To punish the Sauk and Mesquakie for the trouble caused by Black Hawk, the government made them sign a new treaty at Fort Armstrong selling even more of their land.
To convince Black Hawk that the Indians could not win, government officials took the chief east to see cities, army forts, and gun factories. He saw that fighting was useless when railroads could always bring more troops of soldiers. Everywhere on the tour, the train stations were crowded with people trying to get a glimpse of the chief. In Washington, D.C., Black Hawk met President Andrew Jackson.
At that meeting the Sauk chief promised not to make war again, but he was not ashamed about fighting to protect his lands. "I am a man and you are another;" he told President Jackson, but he realized that there were too many whites to fight.
Black Hawk returned to Iowa to live in a small cabin with his family. During his last years, he told the story of his life to Antoine Le Claire, a man who knew English, French and many Indian languages. He wrote down Black Hawk's memories of his life. In a letter written on October 16, 1833, Antoine Le Claire wrote the following:
|From Black Hawk's Autobiography:Indian Agency, Rock Island, October 16, 1833I do hereby certify, that Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiah or Black Hawk, did call upon me, on his return to his people in August last, and express a great desire to have a History of his Life written and published, in order, (as he said) "that the people of the United States, (among whom he had been traveling, and by whom he had been treated with great respect, friendship and hospitality,) might know the causes that had impelled him to act as he has done, and the principles by which he was governed." In accordance with his request, I acted as Interpreter; and was particularly cautious, to understand distinctly the narrative of Black Hawk throughout -- and have examined the work carefully, since its completion -- and have no hesitation in pronouncing it strictly correct, in all its particulars.Given under my hand, at the Sac and Fox Agency, the day and date above written.Antoine LeClair|
U.S. Interpreter for the Sacs and Foxes
Black Hawk's Narrative of the Yearly Cycle of the Sauk and Mesquakie Tribes is just a part of the memories of Black Hawk. He dictated them to Antoine Le Claire who wrote them down.
Chief Black Hawk graphic used by permission from the State Historical Society of Iowa.
Used by permission: Special Collections, State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City.
As told to Antoine Le Claire,
Translator and Writer
(Section titles are not part of the original manuscript)
Our village was situated on the north side of Rock River at the foot of its rapids, and on the point of land between Rock River and the Mississippi. In its front, a prairie extended to the bank of the Mississippi; and in our rear, a continued bluff, gently ascending from the prairie.
On the side of this bluff we had our cornfields, extending about two miles up, running parallel with the Mississippi; where we joined those of the Foxes, whose village was on the bank of the Mississippi, opposite the lower end of Rock Island, and three miles distant from ours. We had about eight hundred acres in cultivation, including what we had on the islands of Rock river.
The land around our village, uncultivated, was covered with blue-grass, which made excellent pasture for our horses. Several fine springs broke out of the bluff, near by, from which we were supplied with good water. The rapids of Rock River furnished us with an abundance of excellent fish, and the land, being good, never failed to produce good crops of corn, beans, pumpkins, and squashes.
We always had plenty - our children never cried with hunger, nor our people were never in want. Here our village had stood for more than a hundred years, during all which time we were the undisputed possessors of the valley of the Mississippi, from the Ouisconsin to the Portage des Sioux, near the mouth of the Missouri, being about seven hundred miles in length.
When we returned to our village in the spring, from our wintering grounds, we would finish trading with our traders, who always followed us to our village. We purposely kept some of our fine furs for this trade; and, as there was great opposition among them, who should get these skins, we always got our goods cheap. After this trade was over, the traders would give us a few kegs of rum, which was generally promised in the fall, to encourage us to make a good hunt, and not go to war.
They would then start with their furs and peltries for their homes. Our old men would take a frolic, (at this time our young men never drank.) When this was ended, the next thing to be done was to bury our dead, (such that had died during the year.) This is a great medicine feast. The relations of those who have died give all the goods they have purchased, as presents to their friends ? thereby reducing themselves to poverty, to show the Great Spirit that they are humble, so that he will take pity on them.
We would next open the caches and take out corn and other provisions, which had been put up in the fall, and then commence repairing our lodges. As soon as this is accomplished, we repair the fences around our fields, and clean them off, ready for planting corn. This work is done by our women. The men, during this time, are feasting on dried venison, bear's meat, wild fowl, and corn, prepared in different ways; and recounting to each other what took place during the winter. Our women plant the corn, and as soon as they get done, we make a feast, and dance the crane dance, in which they join us, dressed in their best, and decorated with feathers.
At this feast our young braves select the young woman they wish to have for a wife. He then informs his mother, who calls on the mother of the girl. When the arrangement is made, and the time appointed for him to come, he goes to the lodge when all are asleep, (or pretend to be,) lights his matches, which have been provided for the purpose, and soon finds where his intended sleeps.
He then awakens her, and holds the light to his face that she may know him?after which he places the light close to her. If she blows it out, the ceremony is ended, and he appears in the lodge next morning, as one of the family. If she does not blow out the light, but leaves it to burn out, he retires from the lodge.
The next day he places himself in full view of it, and plays his flute. The young women go out, one by one, to see who he is playing for. The tune changes, to let them know that he is not playing for them. When his intended makes her appearance at the door, he continues his courting tune, until she returns to the lodge. He then gives over playing, and makes another trial at night, which generally turns out favorable.
During the first year they ascertain whether they can agree with each other, and can be happy-if not, they part and each looks out again. If we were to live together and disagree, we should be foolish as the whites! No indiscretion can banish a woman from her parental lodge-no difference how many children she may bring home, she is always welcome-the kettle is over the fire to feed them.
The crane dance often lasts two or three days. When this is over, we feast again, and have our national dance. The large square in the village is swept and prepared for the purpose. The chiefs and old warriors take seats on mats which have been spread at the upper end of the square - the drummers and singers come next, and the braves and women form the sides, leaving a large space in the middle. The drums beat, and the singers commence.
A warrior enters the square, keeping time with the music. He shows the manner he started on a war party-how he approached the enemy-he strikes, and describes the way he killed him. All join in applause. He then leaves the square, and another enters and takes his place. Such of our young men have not been out in war parties, and killed an enemy, stand back ashamed-not being able to enter the square.
I remember that I was ashamed to look where our young women stood, before I could take my stand in the square as a warrior. What pleasure it is to an old warrior, to see his son come forward and relate his exploits - it makes him feel young, and induces him to enter the square, and "fight his battles o'er again." This national dance makes our warriors.
When I was traveling last summer, on a steam-boat, on a large river, going from New York to Albany, I was shown the place where the American dance their national dance [West Point] ; where the old warriors recount to their young men, what they have done, to stimulate them to go and do likewise. This surprised me, as I did not think the whites understood our way of making braves.
When our national dance is over - our corn-fields hoed, and every weed dug up, and our corn about knee-high, all our young men would start in a direction toward sun-down, to hunt deer and buffalo - being prepared, also, to kill Sioux, if any are found on our hunting grounds. A part of our old men and women go to the lead mines to make lead and the remainder of our people start to fish and get mat stuff.
Every one leaves the village, and remains about forty days. They then return: the hunting party bringing in dried buffalo and deer meat, and sometimes Sioux scalps, when they are found trespassing on our hunting grounds. At other times they are met by a party of Sioux too strong for them, and are driven in. If the Sioux have killed the Sacs last, they expect to be retaliated upon, and will fly before them, and vice versa.
Each party knows that the other has a right to retaliate, which induces those who have killed last, to give way before their enemy as neither wish to strike, except to avenge the death of their relatives. All our wars are predicated by the relatives of those killed or by aggressions upon our hunting grounds.The party from the lead mines brings lead, and the others dried fish, and mats for our winter lodges. Presents are now made by each party the first, giving to the others dried buffalo and deer, and they, in exchange, presenting them with lead, dried fish and mats. This is a happy season of the year having plenty of provisions, such as beans, squashes, and other produce, with our dried meat and fish, we continue to make feasts and visit each other, until our corn is ripe.
Some lodge in the village makes a feast daily, to the Great Spirit. I cannot explain this so that the white people would comprehend me, as we have no regular standard among us. Every one makes his feast as he thinks best, to please the Great Spirit, who has the care of all beings created. Others believe in two Spirits; one good and one bad, and make feasts for the Bad Spirit, to keep him quiet! If they can make peace with him, the Good Spirit will not hurt them.
For my part, I am of opinion, that so far as we have reason, we have a right to use it, in determining what is right or wrong and should pursue that path which we believe to be right believing that, "whatever is, is right." If the Great and Good Spirit wished us to believe and do as the whites, he could easily change our opinions, so that we would see, and think, and act as they do. We are nothing compared to His power, and we feel and know it.
We have men among us, like the whites, who pretend to know the right path, but will not consent to show it without pay! I have no faith in their paths - but believe that every man must make his own path!
When our corn is getting ripe, our young people watch with anxiety for the first signal to pull roasting ears as none dare touch them until the proper time. When the corn is fit to use, another great ceremony takes place, with feasting, and returning thanks to the Great Spirit for giving us corn.
I will here relate the manner in which corn first came. According to tradition, handed down to our people, a beautiful woman was seen to descend from the clouds, and alight upon the earth, by two of our ancestors, who had killed a deer, and were sitting by a fire, roasting a part of it to eat. They were astonished at seeing her, and concluded that she must be hungry, and had smelt the meat - and immediately went to her, taking with them a piece of the roasted venison.
They presented it to her, and she eat - and told them to return to the spot where she was sitting, at the end of one year, and they would find a reward for their kindness and generosity. She then ascended to the clouds, and disappeared. The two men returned to their village, and explained to the nation what they had seen, done, and heard but were laughed at by their people.
When the period arrived, for them to visit this consecrated ground, where they were to find a reward for their attention to the beautiful woman of the clouds, they went with a large party, and found, where her right hand had rested on the ground, corn growing - and where the left hand had rested, beans - and immediately where she had been seated, tobacco.
The two first have, ever since, been cultivated by our people, as our principal provisions and the last used for smoking. The white people have since found out the latter, and seem to relish it as much as we do as they use it in different ways such as smoking, snuffing and eating!
We thank the Great Spirit for all the benefits he has conferred upon us. For myself, I never take a drink of water from a spring, without being mindful of his goodness.
We next have our great ball play. From three to five hundred on a side play this game. We play for horses, guns, blankets, or any other kind of property we have. The successful party takes the stakes, and all retire to our lodges in peace and friendship. We next commence horse-racing, and continue our sport and feasting, until the corn is all secured.
We then prepare to leave our village for our hunting grounds. The traders arrive, and give us credit for such articles as we want to clothe our families, and enable us to hunt. We first, however, hold a council with them, to ascertain the price they will give us for our skins, and what they will charge us for goods. We inform them where we intend hunting and tell them where to build their houses.
At this place, we deposit part of our corn, and leave our old people. The traders have always been kind to them, and relieved them when in want. They were always much respected by our people and never since we have been a nation, has one of them been killed by any of our people. We disperse, in small parties, to make our hunt.
As soon as it is over, we return to our traders' establishment, with our skins, and remain feasting, playing cards and other pastimes, until near the close of the winter. Our young men then start on the beaver hunt; others to hunt raccoons and muskrats - and the remainder of our people go to the sugar camps to make sugar. All leave our encampment, and appoint a place to meet on the Mississippi, so that we may return to our village together, in the spring.
We always spent our time pleasantly at the sugar camp. It being the season for wild fowl, we lived well, and always had plenty, when the hunters came in, that we might make a feast for them. After this is over, we return to our village, accompanied, sometimes, by our traders. In this way, the year rolled round happily. But these are times that were!
Used by permission: Special Collections, State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City.