Return of the Corn Mothers

What is a Corn Mother?


         From Taos, New Mexico to the Hopi mesas of Arizona, the oral traditions of story continue to shape the living culture of the Pueblo peoples. Historically, one central figure in these traditions has been the Corn Mother, the giver of life.
 This legendary entity is important to the Pueblo cultures, as she is synonymous with Mother Earth and represents growth, life, creativity, and the feminine aspects of the world.

          Although her influence diminished with the coming of the Spanish conquest and the introduction of Christianity, Pueblo communities still preserve their knowledge of the Corn Mother. Some legends say that she will return one day to bring harmony and enlightenment.

          This collection of portraits and stories is about today’s Corn Mothers. They are women who live, study, and work in the Southwest: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and northern Texas. Some are native, indigenous to this region.
 Others have journeyed here, as thousands have done for centuries, from other places.
 They all share an ability to pull from the past all that is sacred and holy, and to create a future that is filled with promise. 

          This is a multi-generational and multi-cultural exhibit, which represents the continuation of a story that is always evolving. 'The show is based on the Pueblo myth of the Corn Mothers, said to have sung in the essence of creation, including the sacred Kachinas. The exhibition, a 2007 Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute award winner, features multi-cultural and multi-generational women from Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas, who embody the spirit of the Southwest. 

          One of the most unique exhibitions to come out of Colorado, the show’s focus is a photo exhibition of women who have earned accolades for community activism and creative endeavors. Each featured woman also recounts in story form her memories of the women who influenced her in her life journey. A documentary clip by C’Rodrigo gives a behind-the-scene account of this

 ten-year project.

          This project has been made possible by funding from
 the Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute and the Colorado Folk Arts Council 

Their Spirit Was Still Here.


Corn Mothers Story Map

Celebrating women from the San Luis Valley and their stories

About The Authors

Contributors to Return of the Corn Mothers Book

Ed Winograd-editor and translator

Renee Fajardo

Curator and artistic creator of the project, who dreamed for over a decade of recording music of these women.  Currently coordinator at Metropolitan State College of the Denver Journey Through Our Heritage Program.

Todd Pierson

Internationally published, award winning photographer whose career has spanned over 18 plus years.  Awarded many times over for his photojournalism, he traveled from desert to canyon to mountain top to capture these women in their home environment.


Toinette I. Brown

Graphic designer of this book, generous of mind and spirit and creativity, a great resource for anything creative.  She is a Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design graduate, currently calling South Dakota home.   

Arlette Lucero

Artist and muralist, who created the Corn Mother paintings.  Her work has also been featured in Art Gallery's such as Chac Gallery in Denver.  

Copyright Return of the Corn Mothers © 2018