WELCOME TO SCHEMITZUN: FEAST OF GREEN CORN AND DANCE
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.
"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
THE GREEN CORN DANCE
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”.
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.
Indian and Colonial Research Center