Creek Green Corn Ceremony

Creek Green Corn Ceremony

Late summer
This ceremony is a religious harvest festival, not open to the public, held in late summer by the Muskogee-Creek Indians on the ceremonial grounds in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Each tribal group conducts its own Green Corn Ceremony on one of 12 such Creek ceremonial grounds in the state.
The dances for the ceremony are performed not to the beat of drums, but to the rhythm of turtle and gourd rattles. Women are designated "shell-shakers," and they dance in groups of four with shells (or sometimes today with juice cans filled with pebbles) around their ankles. Children are included in ceremonies from the earliest age: women dancers with babies carry them into the ceremonial circle. One dance, known as the ribbon dance, honors women and is performed only by women and girls.
Other elements of the festival are stickball games and cleansing ceremonies, but the affair is essentially religious. To worship the Great Spirit, Creeks perform rituals relating to wind, fire, water, and earth.
Seminoles and Yuchis in Oklahoma also celebrate the Green Corn. In some ceremonies participants purge themselves with emetics and submit to ceremonial scratching on their legs and arms.
SOURCES:
EncyNatAmerRel-2001, p. 108
EncyRel-1987, vol. 4, p. 467
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