A film by Ryan Koons

This documentary film details the two winter ceremonies celebrated by a Muskogee-Creek Native American community located in the American Southeast. The first ceremony, the Harvest Busk, focuses on the relationships between the community, Creator, and the world. The Soup Dance, in contrast, celebrates the relationships between the community as a whole, and the families and individuals that comprise it. The film is based on ethnographic research conducted between 2008 and 2010. Community narrators describe the chronologies of Harvest Busk and Soup Dance, and explain the ceremonial significance of each celebration.
Harvest Busk
Please note: the research that formed this documentary was conducted with a number of restrictions. Those restrictions require that the film may never be posted on the Internet.

In addition, this Native American community is located in the Bible Belt and has had a number of negative interactions with fundamentalist Christian groups. Because Harvest Buskof this, World Community Productions does not include the name of this community in our web-based publications. In so doing, we hope the community will not experience any negative interactions as a result of this research.

However, more information and resources (including the documentary itself and an extensive archive) are available to community members and researchers. Please contact us for more information.

Harvest Busk

Documentary Specifications

1-Opening Credits
3-What is the Community?
7-Closing the Grounds
8-Feather Dance
9-Ribbon Dance
10-Taking Medicine and Scratching
11-Buffalo Dance
12-Feeding the Fire
13-Cry Time
14-Turtle Dance
15-Owl Dance
16-Recounting the Humiliation
17-Striking the War Post
18-Harvest Dance
20-Work Day
22-Hooping Ceremony
23-Seed Sorting
24-Bench Dancing
25-Bench Dancing Music
27-Star Stories
28-Closing Credits

Produced in association with the community, as well as The Community Studies Center, Dickinson College. We are very grateful to the Community Studies Center for funding this project.

WCPDVD0001 | 2010 | Approx. 40 minutes | Not Rated | NTSC

Specifications for Researchers

Where many southeastern Native American communities were removed to Oklahoma during the Trail of Tears, this community is one of the few still remaining in the Southeast with, according to community oral history, an unbroken line of tradition that predates contact with Europeans. Its survival is due in great part to a tradition of privacy. However, an equally strong tradition of education permitted World Community Productions and Ryan Koons to conduct the research that resulted in this documentary.
Harvest Busk
The community places importance on continuing its traditional teachings of its worldview to both cultural insiders and interested outsiders, especially academics. Community Elders now regularly incorporate modern technologies and current educational methods in their ancient but formalized learning processes which include all facets of their cosmological and cultural views, arts, crafts, healing, music, and star lore. Some teach both locally and nationally.

Unlike a number of related Native American communities, this community maintains all four major seasonal ceremonies observed within the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex rather than just the comparatively well-known Green Corn Busk or Dance. The community's observances begin with an Arbor Dance in early spring, continue with the Green Corn Dance in early summer, a smaller Corn Festival in late summer or early fall, and finally a Harvest Ceremony near the beginning of winter.

If you are a researcher or community member and wish more information or access to the documentary film and/or archival collection, please contact us here.