All are welcome to join our annual family-friendly celebration as we usher in the 2024 harvest season and give thanks to the Creator for our rich heritage while honoring our ancestors, warriors, veterans, and Elders. Located at the Mashantucket Pequot Cultural Grounds in the heart of one of America’s oldest Indian reservations, Schemitzun features traditional and contemporary tribal dance exhibitions, drum and live music, and plenty of authentic Native American-made crafts.

A 17th century Eastern Woodland Village exhibit offers fascinating demonstrations of traditional Pequot cultural practices—including fire-pit cooking, wampum and fish net making, loom beadwork and basketry.
Authentic Native American cuisine prepared by celebrated New England Native chefs is sure to satisfy every appetite. Sample hearty chowders, local fish, wild game and seasonal fruit beverages prepared the old ways, along with contemporary fare such as Indian tacos, burgers, fry bread, unique desserts and more.

"Schemitzun takes place each year with the intention of thanking the Creator for the harvest. In the past, it brought all 26 Pequot villages together, and today brings people from near and far."

- Wayne Reels, Cultural Resources Director


There are a number of scattered references to the Green Corn Dance of Green Corn feast of the Indians in this area. It is possible to pick out some of the elements of this ceremony from local references, but one must look to other areas in which analogous ceremonies occurred to get an idea of what the complete ceremony was like.

The Green Corn ceremony was apparent the culmination of a series of ceremonies held to ensure a good harvest. It was often a prelude to war, for at that time the warriors had corn to carry along to supply their wants while raiding the enemy’s fields.

In 1669, after the Narragansett Sachem Ninegret gave a “Great Dance” at the time of the ripping of corn, it was rumored that the Indians were planning to rise up and attack their COLONIAL neighbors. Thomas Stanton said that the plot had been “hatched” at one of the winter ceremonies at Robin Cassacinamon’s (MASHANTUCKET) village in the town of Groton, when Indians from Mohegan, Long Island, Rhode Island, and Block Island had gathered there for the “dance”. He believed that the plot was to be “fully concluded when Ninegret great dance was to be, and their presently enacted when green Indian corn was high enough to make them breaded of”.
When Ninegret was questioned about the “great dance” for which his daughter had issued invitations and had planned to build three great wigwams, he answered, “ As to his present making a great dance, that it was known to us that it was not unusual practice, it being their manner of invocation in the time of the growing of their corn, until it be near ripe, that they might have a plentiful harvest.”

Tired of the questioning ninegret added that there was never a mount hope indian there; but that phillip did send to cocumscusett for an old man to teach or inform his men in a certain dance, and he wonders that it is not taken for a plot.

Ninegret’s statement as well as other references all indicate that there was no fixed date for the final ceremony. The time of the ripping of the corn undoubtable determined it. Wessener said, “ They celebrate the new August moon by another festival as their harvest then approaches”. Waterman said, “they dance all night”.

Apparently even from the earliest times, Indians from other Tribes and Colonists enjoyed attending the various dances.
Research By Eva Lutz Butler (Edited)
Indian and Colonial Research Center

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