This incredible and thoughtful piece written by Robin Wall Kimmerer, the author of Braiding Sweetgrass, juxtaposes native cultures’ relationship with maize and the current industrialization of corn. Much of the difference lies in the treatment of the land as commons and not commodity. To experience this story with visuals and an audio reading by Kimmerer, visit the original publication on Emergence Magazine.
Corn Tastes Better on the Honor System
By Robin Wall Kimmerer
I remember. How their songs drew us up through the warming earth just for the joy of hearing them. How we stretched in the sun and turned air into sugar, my sisters and I, leaves and roots entwined. It’s lonely without them. Grandfather Teosinte has been gone for so long; where is that gentle guidance when we need it most? And our good people—with toes and hoes in the soil, fulfilling the agreement made so long ago? What happened to the songs we knew? I remember how they celebrated my beautiful children with feasting and honor and passed them hand to hand in thanksgiving. I remember when they knew my name. The people have forgotten, but the seed remembers.