This afternoon I took a break from grading final exams to check on our corn, which students from the University of Illinois planted last week. As many of you know, we are filming this corn for a film by Victor Masayesva, Jr. titled “Maize.”
When I arrived at the plot, I was glad to see that our corn was coming up.
The first photo is of Hopi sweet corn (twaktsi), and the second one shows Tzeltal corn (teosinte) of southern Mexico. They are planted next to each other.
I also added a few photos to give readers a sense of the plot and surrounding area.
Last week we began filming the University of Illinois portion of Maize, a film by Hopi filmmaker Victor Masayesva, Jr. of Hotevilla. In the first photo, taken by my colleague John McKinn, I am filming a group of UofI graduate students from the Department of Crop Sciences planting four rows of Hopi sweet corn.
The second photo is of Professor Stephen Moose as he explains the different varieties of corn that his students planted in the plot, including Tzeltal Maya (southern Mexico), Nahua (central Mexico), Hopi, and genetically modified corn.
The corn should be up by the end of the week. We’ll continue filming throughout the summer.
This week Victor Masayesva, Jr., from Hotevilla spent time at the University of Illinois. He is in the process of making a hemispheric film on indigenous corn. On Wednesday I went with Masayesva and my colleagues in American Indian Studies Robert Warrior and John McKinn to look at a university field (see below) that we are using for the film. In the photo above, Masayesva is talking to me about where to place different varieties of corn, including Hopi and “modern” corn, which will be planted in the plot. Planting will begin soon. Masayesva’s visit also coincided with a workshop on campus titled “Corn and Indigenous Communities in the Americas.” I’ll write more about the film as the project unfolds.
Masayesva is known throughout the world as an accomplished Hopi photographer and filmmaker. Some of his award winning films include Hopiit, Itam Hakim Hopiit, Ritual Clowns, Imagining Indians, and one of my favorites, Paatuwaqatsi: Water, Land & Life, a film on Hopi running, the sacredness of water, and Hopi relationship with the indigenous people of Mexico.