The Great Seal of the Creek, or Muscogee, tribe has as its center a sheaf of wheat and a plow. The Creeks were agriculturalists from their earliest days. After coming to Indian Territory the Creeks grew small grains, especially wheat, oats and rice, and large crops of corn in the rich lands bordering the Canadian and Arkansas rivers and their tributaries. Their success with these crops brought prosperity to the tribe. The Green Corn Dance was celebrated in summer as a thanksgiving celebration.
Before the Pilgrims had their famous Thanksgiving feast in 1621, native people all over the continent had been holding their own feasts of thanksgiving for the harvest for thousands of years.
Students read about farming among the Cherokees and compare farming before and after the removal to Indian Territory from their home lands in the east. Students will make a timeline of the foods adopted by the Cherokee. Students will research to learn more about the Cherokee. Students will conduct experiments with heirloom seeds.
Students learn about the Indian Allotment Act of 1887, which paved the way for opening Indian land to homesteading.
What was it like to be a child - Indian or settler - in the early days of Oklahoma Territory? Includes games played by settler children and Indian children.
Students identify countries in South and Central America where corn originated, research the importance of corn to the suvival of early civilizations of the Americas, research and compare the myths and legends about corn and use their creative abilities to act them out.
Resource: Pioneer Indian Agriculture in Oklahoma (Chronicles of Oklahoma)
Pashofa is a soupy dish made from cracked white corn, also known as pearl hominy. The dish is one of the most important to the Chickasaw people and has been served at ceremonial and social events for centuries. Pashofa is also used in specific healing ceremonies.
Traditionally, dried corn was ground in a mortar into cornmeal and cooked in a pot with water. Finely cut pieces of pork or beef was added. The dish was served cold and could keep up to a month.
Specialized paddles and spoons, carved from wood or animal horns, were used in stirring, serving, and eating pashofa. Pashofa was cooked in giant bowls, often over an open fire outdoors.
The Timeless Dish of Pashofa (video from Chickasaw.net)
Bruchac, Joseph, and Murv Jacob, The Circle of Thanks: Native American Poems and Songs of Thanksgiving, Troll, 2003. (Grades 1-5)
Glatzer, Jenna, Native American Festivals and Ceremonies, Mason Crest, 2002. (Grades 5 and up)
Grace, Catherine O'Neill, 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving, National Geographic Children's, 2004. (Grades 3-5)
Nielsen, L. Michelle, Biography of Corn, Craptree, 2007. (Grades 4-6)
Tingle, Tim, and Jeanne Rorex Bridges, Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom, Cinco Puntos, 2006. (Grades 2-6)
Waldman, Stuart, We Asked for Nothing: The Remarkable Journey of Cabeza de Vaca, Mikaya, 2003. (Grades 4-6)
Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom is a program of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.