Four Seasons of Corn: A Winnebago Tradition

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For almost 20 years, Sally and her family have processed corn in the backyard of their city home.


For almost 20 years, author Sally M. Hunter and her Hochunk family have processed corn in the backyard of their city home. The labor intensive tradition has been a curiosity to her neighbors in St. Paul so this book, writes Hunter, “will solve the mystery of what those Indian neighbors have been doing in the yard all these years.” That is, teaching her children and grandchildren to value the old ways as well as the modern by carrying on the tradition of harvesting corn.

The process of growing and harvesting corn takes all four seasons and is an integral part to the Hochunk food culture. The corn cycle begins in the spring when the family travels to their country farm to plow the soil. Hunter’s book details preparing the earth, planting corn seeds, harvesting them in the fall, and then driving the crop back to St. Paul to blanche, dry and store it. But Four Seasons of Corn is not just a gardening or cookbook. It carefully explains the importance of the Winnebago food tradition, adding Hochunk words and related stories. The story is told through the lens of Hunter’s family, including her grandson Russell, a student, athlete and heartfelt participant in Winnebago tradition.

The book is accompanied by beautiful photographs of the family’s corn harvesting process on every page.



Author: Sally M. Hunter

Illustrations: Color photos by Joe Allen

Binding Availability: Paperback out of print

Published: 2006

Tribes/Ethnic Groups: Hochunk, Winnebago