The Tuscarora have a story of a hunter who happened to come across a massive rattle snake eating a deer fawn. This man then witnessed the mother doe come back in a fury and kill the snake in revenge. The man in awe by all this, decided to build a high platform of wood which on top he would then lay the bodies of the snake and fawn. It wasn't until fall did the man return and in the place of the bodies grew a beautiful white corn that developed two heads per ear and at its base grew a squash that did not vine. The hunter then carried this corn back to the clan mothers who discovered many significant properties that helped the people. This story is significant as it gives us a more indigenous origin of this corn, as well as the origin of the bush squash which many non-native scholars believe only came via the Europeans. Some Tuscarora elders today recollect seeing this corn as a child, however have not seen it in a long time up until recently. Its name and story were recorded between 1888-1889 by JNB Hewitt, an ethnographer and linguist of Tuscarora descent. JNB Hewitt recorded the name as Kanú·ta·ʔ.
This particular strain of popcorn was kept by Glenn Thomson of Vermont, where he grew it between the 1930s and the mid-1960's. The ears split at the silk end which is often thought to resemble a bear paw.
Corn, Kanú·ta·ʔ (Bearpaw)
- Ears develop pearl white popcorn kernals with double heads per each ear, giving an apperance of a "bear paw"
- Grows 4-5 feet tall
- Ears grow to 4-5 inches
- 70-80 days
- 100 Seeds/Packet