Food Production – The Grinding Stone

Students learn about the grinding stone used by the Haudenosaunee to prepare food and reflect on the importance of caring for the tools we rely on as well as the natural materials they are sourced from.

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Food Production – The Grinding Stone


•Grinding stone video •Grinding Stone Booklet.pdf
  • White corn, traditionally, and in many community settings today, is a staple of the Haudenosaunee diet. White corn, however, is not like the sweet dent corn we are used to seeing in the supermarket. It has a hard outer shell and a soft powder on the inside. High in calcium, it can be ground down into a flour to meet many culinary needs. To do this grinding a grinding stone was traditionally used. To learn more about the cultural significance of corn to the Haudenosaunee check out Learning Activity 19: What is Seed Saving and Why is it Important from the grade 10 Food and Climate Change Bundle.
  • The following grinding stone resource was shared with QUILLS by Kahehtok:tha Knowledge Keeper Janice Brant who sits with the Bear Clan in the Kanyen’kehá:ka Mohawk Nation of the Rotinonhsyon:ni Six Nations. 
  • Students watch the movie ( and review the text resource (in the Grinding Stone Booklet.pdf)
  • In a Talking circle (see Teacher’s Guide for facilitation protocols) the class answers the following questions:
  1. What purpose does the grinding stone serve? 
  2. What are some ways in which the grinding stone is cared for (as shown in the video?)
  3. How do these practices reflect the importance of reciprocity in Indigenous ways of knowing and being? 
  4. Based on the video how are traditional Indigenous tools still relevant to people’s lives today?

Students reflect on the following questions in an exit ticket or other reflective writing piece. In Western culture things are made to be broken ie: to fuel capitalism. 

  • What is the impact of this relationship on the natural world?
  • Can you brainstorm a list of things that are still looked after in your culture? 
  • What are these things? 
  • How do you look after them?