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Native American Legends: First Mother

Name: First Mother
Tribal affiliation: Penobscots, Abenakis
Also known as: Corn Mother, Corn Woman
Type: Goddess, corn, first people
Related figures in other tribes: Mondamin (Anishinabe), Selu (Cherokee), Atna (Arikara), Unknown Woman (Choctaw)

First Mother or Corn Mother is the first woman in the Abenaki and Penobscot creation story. The details of First Mother's life vary greatly from telling to telling. In different communities First Mother is said to have been created by the Great Spirit, the culture hero Glooscap, or both, or simply sprung to life spontaneously from the morning dew. In some stories First Mother and her husband (sometimes identified as First Father or First Penobscot, other times simply as Corn Mother's husband) were created at the same time. In other versions, First Father had already been created to help Glooscap and First Mother joined him later. After giving birth to the Wabanaki nation, First Mother then sacrifices her life to feed them, turning her body into the first garden.

First Mother Stories

*First Mother, First Father:
    Penobscot myth about Corn Woman and the creation of the first people.
*How First Mother Saved the Penobscot :
    Penobscot story of First Mother and the origin of corn and tobacco.
Corn Mother * First People and the First Corn:
    Penobscot and Abenaki legends about First Mother and her sacrifice for her children.

Sponsored Links

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Giants of the Dawnland:
    Excellent book of Penobscot legends told by a Penobscot Indian author.
Seven Eyes, Seven Legs:
    Excellent book of myths and folktales told and illustrated by an Abenaki artist.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Rich anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Wabanaki and other Algonquian tribes.

Additional Resources

 Abenaki mythology
 Abenaki tribe
 Abenaki translation
 Penobscot Indian nation
 Maine tribes
 Woodland tribes
 Algonquian language group

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