Oneida Corn Husk Dolls
Artificial sinew: Waxed thread.
Is there something that your family does that shows it’s part of a larger group?
Why do you think making corn husk dolls was so special to Kim’s ancestors and still is so special to Kim and her family today?
Have you ever been in an art class where everyone had to make something out of a certain material, like wood or paint or paper? Did everyone’s project turn out exactly the same? Can you describe how the projects were different? How do the differences reflect the creativity of the people in the class?
Think of something that you learned to do from someone else. How have you changed it with your own ideas?
Can you think of an item from your culture that’s changed in meaning or use over the years?
Remember Kim’s story of why corn husk dolls have no face? Think about a favorite toy of yours. Tell a story of its long ago history.
The Oneida Nation governments in both Wisconsin and New York maintain very informative websites. They’re worth a visit!
Oneida Nation (Wisconsin) website tells of the clans, history, culture and reservation community.
The Oneida Nation Arts Program features several Oneida artists, including Kim.
TeachersFirst.com gives step-by-step illustrated directions for children to make a corn husk doll.
Iroquois Corn In a Culture-Based Curriculum: A Framework for Respectfully Teaching about Cultures
Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal
You can read about Kim’s mom, Amelia Cornelius on this page from the Oneida Nation Artist Directory.
This page from the Oneida Nation Art Museum gives good information about the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin.
Learn about the three Oneida clans (family groups), the Bear, Turtle and Wolf clans, from the Oneida Nation website.
Want some great corn, bean, or squash recipes? Then visit the Three Sisters Cookbook from the Oneida Nation in New York.
Do you wonder what the Oneida language sounds like? Listen to samples from the Oneida Nation Language Project (New York).
The Shako:wi Cultural Center of the Oneida Nation (New York) has many on-line exhibits. Visit their website to see dolls, baskets, beadwork, carvings, pipes, rattles, and much more.
The Oneida Nation is part of the Haudenosaunee, a group six Indian nations known as the Iroquois Confederacy, or the Six Nations. “Haudenosaunee” means “People of the Long House.” Learn about the other Iroquois nations by visiting these sites:
Text written by Jamie Yuenger, edited by Anne Pryor.
Sources consulted include tape recorded interviews with Kim Cornelius Nishimoto by Michael Kline (7/3/98) and Barbara Lau (9/2/97), with the tapes housed at the Wisconsin Arts Board. Also, Iroquois Corn In a Culture-Based Curriculum: A Framework for Respectfully Teaching about Cultures by Carol Cornelius, State Univ. of NY Press (1999; and these websites: Iroquois History and Oneida Nation Arts Program Artists Directory.
Video footage from Wisconsin Folks (1998) produced by Dave Erickson for Wisconsin Arts Board and Wisconsin Public Television.