Corn Husk Dolls
Cornhusk dolls are one of the oldest forms of dolls known in the Americas. The Iroquois have a legend about the “faceless doll.” It seems that the first cornhusk doll was made to be the companion for a little Indian girl.
The story tells us that the Iroquois people have what they call the three sisters, the “sustainers of life”. These sisters are called corn, beans, and squash. The corn Spirit was so thrilled at being one of the sustainers of life that she asked the Creator what more she could do for her people. The Creator said that a beautiful doll could be formed from the husks. The Creator set to work to form the doll. When finished he gave the doll a beautiful face, and sent it to the children of the Iroquois people to play with, and to make them happy.
The doll went from village to village playing with the children and doing whatever she could for the children. Everywhere she went everyone would tell her how beautiful she was, so after a while she became vain. The Creator spoke to her and explained that this was not the right kind of behavior, and she agreed not to be this way anymore. The Creator told her that if she continued with this behavior he would punish her, but he would not tell her how he would do it. She agreed not to act that way again, and things went on as before.
One afternoon she was walking by a creek and she glanced into the water. As she admired herself, she couldn’t help thinking how beautiful she was, because indeed she was beautiful. At this time the Creator sent a giant screech owl out of the sky and it snatched her reflection from the water. When she looked again, she had no reflection. This was the punishment the Creator put upon her.
When an Iroquois Mother makes a doll for her child, she tells them this legend which is to remind the child that it is wrong to think they are better then any one else, and they must know that the Creator has given a special gift to everyone.