The Haudenosaunee people respect what they call the sustainers of life, the Three Sisters - Corn, Beans and Squash. The Corn Spirit was so thrilled to be one of the sustainers of life that she asked the Great Spirit if there was anything more that she could do for her people. The Great Spirit told her that a doll could be formed from her husk. So she made the doll from her husk and gave the doll a beautiful face. Then, the doll went from village to village and played with the children.
Everywhere she went everyone kept telling her how beautiful she was. So, it wasn’t long before she became conceited. The Great Spirit called to her. But, before she went into the Great Spirit’s lodge she looked into a pool of water to admire herself. The Great Spirit talked to her and told her that if she kept thinking that she was better than everyone else a terrible punishment would come upon her, but he wouldn’t tell her what it would be. So, again the doll went from village to village playing with the children and again everyone kept telling her how beautiful she was.
It wasn’t long before she became conceited again. The Great Spirit called her and once again she looked into the pool of water to admire herself before going into the lodge. Upon entering, the Great Spirit said to her: “I have given you one warning, now a great punishment will come upon you.” But he still wouldn’t tell her what it was. When she left the lodge, she again looked into the pool of water to admire herself, but this time she didn’t have a face. The Great Spirit had taken it away.
Since that time, the Haudenosaunee people do not put a face on their corn husk dolls. This is to remind people, never to think that they are better than anyone else or a great punishment will fall upon them.
by Oneida Indian Nation
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