Updated: Oct 6, 2021
(Two Haudenosaunee Cornhusk Dolls Made by Mohawk Artist, Angel Doxtater, Purchase your own here https://www.facebook.com/whitecornhusk) Traditionally our cornhusk dolls could be made to look very simple, or they could be made to be elaborate complete beautiful regalia and beadwork, and what is or isn't done is completely up the the artist and their skills. However, one rule is always observed and that rule is they are always left without a face. The reasoning for this can be found in an old Haudenosaunee story.
Our people look towards the 3 Sisters (Corn, Beans, and Squash) with great admiration as they hold some of the most important responsibilities of the spirits which is to sustain the people. One day when the leader of those sisters, the Corn Sister succeeded in her task of sustaining the people, Cornsister then asked Skyholder if there was anything else she may do for the people. Skyholder responded that she could use her husk to create a doll for the people which shall then bring them much joy. Excited to take on this new task, Corn Sister constructed a beautiful doll from her husk and finished her off with a gorgeous face and with her breath, the cornhusk doll came to be alive.
From then on, everywhere Cornhusk Doll went, the people would praise her for her incredible beauty. Unfortunately however, as the people continued to praise her, Cornhusk Doll began to become conceited and cruel towards those who so loved her. Immediately, Skyholder called onto Cornhusk doll as to help guide her back to her duty to bring joy to the people. Along the way to Skyholders lodge, Cornhusk Doll stopped to look upon her own reflection in a pool of water. Cornhusk Doll began to admire herself and talk about how much prettier she was in comparison to the people which of course caused great disgust and hurt amongst those nearby.
When Cornhusk Doll finally made it to the lodge of Skyholder, Skyholder told her that if she did not return to her duty, and if she did not stop bragging about herself, and if she did not stop saying terrible things about the people, a terrible punishment would be laid unto her. Curious with Skyholders threat, Cornhusk Doll asked Skyholder what this punishment might be, Skyholder gave her no answer and told her to leave and go back to her duty.
So again, Cornhusk Doll returned to each village where she continued to play with the children. And still the people would tell her how beautiful she was. It wasn't long before Cornhusk Doll went back to disobeying Skyholders words and began once again to act conceited and cruel to the people.
Skyholder summoned back Cornhusk Doll to to deliver punishment, and once again on her way to Skyholders lodge, Cornhusk Doll stopped at the pool of water to admire herself and to say cruel things about the people. Once she was done praising herself, Cornhusk Doll finally made it to the lodge of the now very angry Skyholder. Skyholder with a bellowing voice told Cornhusk Doll, "I have given you a warning and you have failed to listen, you've continued to hurt the people and now you must accept your punishment!" Once again Cornhusk Doll asked what this punishment might be and still Skyholder would ignore her questions.
As Cornhusk Doll left the lodge of Skyholder, she felt the same as she did before. Scoffing at her so called "punishment", Cornhusk Doll made it a point to return to the pool so she may admire herself yet again. However as she leaned over to search for her reflection, she discovered that her face had been taken from her.
Since then, Haudenosaunee children have been taught the importance of never thinking they were better than others, that being seen as beautiful is fine, however do not allow it to get to your head where you may abuse others. For if you do, then you too may suffer a similar fate.