Why Corn Husk Dolls Have No Faces

It is said that in the old days the unmarried Seneca men lived in a separate Longhouse.  One of the strict rules of their life was not to have any women inside this longhouse.

Well, it happened that one night a young man awoke to see what appeared to be a young woman walking through the longhouse.  He told everyone the next day, but no one believed him.

A few nights later, the same young man saw the woman again and this time he yelled and woke the rest of the men up.  All of the young men saw her and ran after her, but she ran off before they could reach her.

They set a trap for her for the next few nights.  Each young man took turns pretending to sleep and keeping watch for the young woman.

Finally, she came and the young man shouted and all the other men blocked all the exits.  They rushed toward the young woman.  She struggled with them until dawn.  As the light of day increased, the smaller and weaker she became.  So, she became a cornhusk doll with a face.

The young men took her to the elders of the longhouse.  The oldest man held the doll in his hands and he shook it back and forth.  As he did this he said, "someone of our own people her on Earth has put this face on this doll.  This is not to be!  Our Creator is the only one who can put a face on these dolls."

This is why corn husk dolls have no faces.


Courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society