The year is 1620. The Mayflower has not yet landed.
As they see the warm sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean, Wampanoag people say taubotash (thank you) to Sun. Just like you, they are thankful for the warmth and beauty he brings to them each day.
Sun reminds the Wampanoag people that they are special. They are the People of the First Light, so they know that as Sun rises each morning, he warms them first each day, before traveling on to all other people.
As the weather gets colder and the days grow shorter, Wampanoag families spend more time gathered around the fire. Here, children learn many stories.
One of these is the story of corn.
Corn is a sacred plant. It grows in the four sacred colors: red, yellow, blue and white.
The first corn was a gift to the Wampanoag people, brought by Crow from the Creator’s garden in the southwest. Crow flew across the vast blue skies with a corn kernel in one ear and a bean in the other. When he arrived, the Wampanoag people planted the corn kernel and the bean. They grew into plants that gave them hundreds more.
They have been gardening ever since.
Based on information provided during our visit to the Plymouth Grist Mill, Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachussets, August 2014.
Corn is a female spirit. That is why the women are in charge of tending the gardens. They know just what to do to help it grow, because it is their relative.
Girls help their mothers in the garden, so that they will learn to be expert farmers when they grow up, too. They know they have to take special care of Crow’s precious gift. They learn special songs, prayers and ceremonies so that Mother Earth will continue to help the corn grow.
Wampanoag men and boys know this is a sacred honor for women and girls. They respect this important work, and they are thankful for the power of the female spirit.
When the sun rises over the village, it is time to wake up, eat breakfast and begin the day’s work.
The women cook the food for Wampanoag families. This is a very important job. They know just what to do to turn their sister, corn, and all the other garden plants, into delicious, filling food for everyone.
Start your day with corn for breakfast!
Nausamp is a porridge (like oatmeal), made of corn meal (ground-up corn).
- Corn meal
- Fresh water
- Maple syrup (In 1620, made from the sap of local maple trees)
- Walnuts, hazlenuts or sunflower seeds
- Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or cranberries (cranberries can be fresh or dried, but in 1620 they would not be sweetened)
- No salt! (The Wampanoag did not harvest salt before the Mayflower arrived)
This post originally appeared on 10/14/14.
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