Native American Historical Information about Huron Creation Story, De-Ka-Nah-Wi-Da and Hiawatha, Keteri Tekakwitha, Jsoeph Bryant, The Story of Creation - Six Nations Beliefs, Tekakwitha, Sawiskera, Longhouse Religion (The Gaiwi:yo of Sganyadai:yoh), Six nations Confederation, SYMBOLISM OF THE LONGHOUSE, Mohawk Nation Life and Culture, clan mothers, Sachems, war chiefs, clans, men's and women's councils.
fell from a torn place in the sky. She was a divine woman, full of power. Two loons flying over the
water saw her falling. They flew under her, close together, making a pillow for her to sit on. The
loons held her up and cried for help. They could be heard for a long way as they called for other
animals decided the woman needed earth to live on. Turtle said, "Dive down in the water and
bring up some earth." So they did that, those animals. A beaver went down. A muskrat went down.
Others stayed down too long, and they died. Each time, Turtle looked inside their mouths when
they came up, but there was no earth to be found. Toad went under the water. He stayed too long,
and he nearly died. But when Turtle looked inside Toad's mouth, he found a little earth. The woman
took it and put it all around on Turtle's shell. That was the start of the earth.
holds up the earth. Time passed, and the divine woman had twin boys. They were opposites, her sons.
One was good, and one was bad. One was born as children are usually born, in a normal way. But the
other one broke out of his mother's side, and she died. When the divine woman was buried, all of the
plants needed for life on earth sprang from the ground above her. From her head came the pumpkin vine.
Maize came from her chest. Pole beans grew from her legs. The divine woman's sons grew up. The evil
one was Tawis-karong. The good one was Tijus-kaha. They were to prepare the earth so that humans
could live on it. But they found they could not live together. And so they separated, with each one taking
his own portion of the earth to prepare.
and bears, and snakes of giant size. He made mosquitoes huge, the size of wild turkeys. And he made
an enormous toad. It drank up the fresh water that was on the earth. All of it. The good brother, Tijus-kaha,
made proper animals that were of use to human beings. He made the dove, and the mockingbird, and the
partridge. And one day, the partridge flew toward the land of Tawis-karong. "Why do you go there?" Tijus-kaha asked the partridge. "I go because there is no water. And I hear there is some in your brother's land," said the partridge.
He saw all of the outlandish, giant animals his brother had made. Tijus-kaha didn't beat them down.
And then he saw the giant toad. He cut it open. Out came the earth's fresh water. Tijus-kaha didn't
kill any [more] of his brother's creations. But he made them smaller, of normal size so that human beings
could be leaders over them. His mother's spirit came to Tijus-kaha in a dream. She warned him about his evil brother. And sure enough, one day, the two brothers had to come face to face.
They decided they could not share the earth. They would have a duel to see who would be master
of the world. Each had to overcome the other with a single weapon.
The evil brother could be killed only by using the horn of a deer or other wild animal. then the
brothers fixed the fighting ground where the battle would begin. The first turn went to the evil brother,
Tawis-karong. He pounded his brother with a bag of beans. He beat him until Tijus-kaha was
nearly dead. But not quite. He got his strength back, and he chased Tawis-karong. Now it was his turn.
He beat his evil brother with a deer horn. Finally, Tijus-kaha took his brother's life away. But
still the evil brother wasn't completely destroyed. "I have gone to the far west," he said. "All the
races of men will follow me to the west when they die." It is the belief of the Hurons to this day.
When they die, their spirits go to the far west, where they will dwell forever.
an Algonquin mother (a Christian). At age four (4) a smallpox epidemic killed her parents, her
baby brother, and left her scarred with pock marks and nearly blind for the rest of her life. She was raised
by her two aunts and her uncle, who was also a Mohawk chief. The Auriesville shrine stands
on a hill overlooking the Mohawk River. Many Jesuits were killed here during their missionary work. The
shrine attracts thousands of pilgrims, both white and Native American.
had her first encounter with Christianity. To resist her uncle's attempts to marry her off, Tekakwitha was
baptized on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1676, into the Christian Church and was given her name Kateri
(Catherine). There is a wooden shrine at Fonda and a Native American Museum under the Church. Her
new religion was not accepted by her relatives, and they refused her food on Sundays, her Christian
"day of rest."
fled in July 1676. The Jesuit mission shielded her from the non-Christian Mohawks. Her remains
are at the St. Francis- Xavier Mission on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Kateri walked 200 miles
to reach St Francis Xavier. This trip took her two months, as she was very weak most of her
life. But because of her faith in God, she somehow made it there.
three years, in Kahnawake. She died at age twenty-four (24), in 1680. Her last words were: "Jesus,
I love you." Witnesses to her death say that when she died her pockmarks left her face, and she looked
very serene and at peace.
July 14th in the U.S.A.
my relatives in Montreal Quebec.
MOHAWK NATION/LIFE & CULTURE
given the Six Nations many ceremonies and customs to bring them closer to their natural environment.
Ceremonies -- like the Sap Ceremony, the Moon Ceremony, the Strawberry Ceremony, and the
Midwinter Festival -- are all practiced to show thankfulness to the Creator.
beginning at dusk when the Pleiades are directly overhead (usually around the New Year).
The purpose of the festival is to celebrate the struggle between Teharonhiawako (Holder of the Heavens)
and Sawiskera (Mischievous One); it is an opportunity to give thanks to the Creator and hail the new
solar cycle. At the beginning of the festival, the participants extinguish all household fires and then
rekindle them. Many other traditional Six Nations ceremonies take place during the Midwinter Festival:
the Great Feather Dance,
the Drum Dance, the Ceremony of Chanting, and the Great Betting.
Everyone gives thanks for the dreams that have provided them with guidance in the previous year and
they discuss dreams they have difficulty understanding.
she was considered a Indian Princess...however, princess was a term given in part by the whites
denoting any women single women without a husband particularly a daughter of a chief. Among the
native Americans there is no such title given.
t means a troublesome child who gets into everything.
had her first encounter with white men and the legendary Captain John Smith and here the story
of the romance the two of them shared was born. Whether it was in his eyes or hers that this
existed the story goes that he was captured by natives and brought to Powhatan.
and later was grabbed and was about to be beaten with clubs by the Indians when a little girl rushed
to his side, this of course being Pocahontas, and saved him from certain death. Then once again
the story takes a twist and it would seem because of Powhatan's daughters actions he adopted
Captain John Smith as a son. Soon afterwards Pocahontas and the Captain became friends.
with her father or would bring messages from her father with other members of the tribe when they
went to town to trade goods. By today's standards she was a bit of a tomboy and totally uninhibited as young children were at that time. This endearing her to the young men with her antics, is what also
attracted Capt. John Smith to her.
she had wit, charm, and was a bit
of necessity still continued but it was less often as the hostilities increased. Her visits to Jamestown became
less frequent because of these things. Somewhere along the line Capt. John Smith also became injured
and had to return to his homeland England, and when finally Pocahontas returned to Jamestown she was
told he was dead.
though that her encounters with the English was not yet over.
Pocahontas and hold her for ransom. With the assistance of a lesser chief of the Patowomeck Indians,
Argall was able to lure her onto his ship, and was told she would not be able to leave the ship. After
a period of adjustment to captivity she eventually became calm and got accustomed to her fate.
Word was sent to Pocahontas father his daughter would be returned, if he would release the English prisoners he was holding,
he goods they had stolen and some corn to boot.
she eventually moved to a new settlement. It was in this new place her education began and she
learned of the Christian faith. She also met John Rolfe, a successful business man here, and she was allowed certain freedoms in this new settlement. A year had passed since Pocahontas was captured
and 150 armed men brought Pocahontas into Powhatans territory to demand the rest of the ransom.
The Englishmen were attacked by the Indians and during the confrontation burned many houses, and destroyed many villages and killed many of the native men. Pocahontas was eventually reunited with
her two brothers and spoke of John Rolfe to them saying she was in love with him and wanted to
marry him. Powhatan gave his blessings to his daughter and the prospect that this marriage would
finally bring some peace to the area again.
They never did receive the full ransom.
tried to decide what to do about it all. He finally decided to marry Pocahontas because she had been converted to Christianity. Pocahontas was baptized and named Rebecca and married John Rolfe on
April 5, in the year 1614. As was hoped by all...a general peace returned between the English
and the Indians.
who was in charge of the settlement where Pocahontas now lived, set sail on a voyage back to England
hoping to gain some financial support, bringing with him the Algonquins to make a impression to his
would be supporters. Pocahontas husband and their young son accompanied them. Their arrival was
anticipated with much publication of the voyage and its purpose. She was there presented to King James
the first, the royal family, the whole of the cream of the crop to society. At the same time Capt. John Smith
was there whom she had not seen for eight years and thought dead. When she first saw him again she
was in shock and was unable to even speak. After a time, she would speak of old times with him, and
at one point addressed him as "father" and when he objected to that she became defiant and said...
"Were you not afraid to come into my fathers country and cause fear to all the people? And fearing you
here, I shall call you father, and you shall call me child, and so it will be forever and ever your countryman.
This was their last meeting.
Along the way, Pocahontas became seriously ill from pneumonia and it became apparent she would not
survive the trip. She was taken ashore, and as she lay dying, she confronted her husband saying,
"all must die. Tis enough that the child liveth." She was buried in a churchyard in Gravesend England.
She was only 22years old.
always saw to it that the strangers ..Englishmen received food from the Indians. She intervened
on more than that one occasion with Capt. John Smith to save lives of individual colonist. In her behalf,
John Smith later wrote, "Pocahontas was the instrument to preserving this colony from death, starvation,
and utter confusion." She was a vital link between Indians of Virginia and the colonist.
between the Indians and the English colonist.
Canagaraduncka, an influential Mohawk leader. In 1753, Joseph Brant's sister, Molly, met and married
William Johnson, a British agent for Indian Affairs. Their relationship would have a profound impact on
Brant's life. Joseph Brant was 13 when he first met William Johnson. Following fighting in the war against
the French, Brant spent much of his time at the Indian Charity School in Lebanon, Connecticut.
There he learned how to speak English and studied Western history. He left school after a year to
do some work as a translator for the Anglican Missionary. Soon after, he began working for
Johnson, as his secretary.
death of William Johnson, Brant became secretary to Johnson's nephew and successor - Guy Johnson.
Brant soon began playing a crucial role in Mohawk-British relations. He traveled to England with Johnson to negotiate the return of Mohawk land. In exchange, they offered native support throughout the U.S. Revolution.
The English received Brant well for various reasons including his familiarity with Western culture and his
command of the English language.
British appointed him captain of the allied native forces. Brant spent much of his time trying to
amass the support of his people, but many natives resented his fidelity to the British Crown.
In fact, revisionists often hold Brant accountable for dividing his people and destroying the Six Nations.
While nations such as the Mohawks and the Seneca sided with Britain; the Oneida and
the Tuscarora supported the Americans throughout most of the Revolutionary period.
and his people land along the Grand River. Haldimand left office before the land grant was legal.
STORY OF CREATION
giving birth to male twins; the right-handed twin was named Teharonhiawako (Holder of the
Heavens) and the left-handed one was named Sawiskera (Mischievous One). Teharonhiawako
was the more righteous of the two. Sawiskera had a great capacity for evil and was deceitful
enough to convince his grandmother that he was really the righteous one. When their grandmother died,
the twins could not agree on what to do with her body. Sawiskera just wanted to discard it, but Teharonhiawako had other plans; he honored his grandmother by placing her up in the night
sky; this is how the Moon came to be.
creatures -- Sawiskera worked hard trying to undo his brother's accomplishments. One day they
decided to battle to determine who would be Ruler of the World. The long and grueling fight ended with Teharonhiawako disabling his brother. Instead of eliminating him, Teharonhiawako's righteousness
prevailed and he generously offered his brother half the world, the nighttime. After the brothers split up, Teharonhiawako created four types of beings: whites, yellows, blacks, and
reds. They all began fighting amongst themselves so Teharonhiawako separated them
throughout the world, leaving the red beings (the
ancestors of the Six Nations) in their place of origin.
series of visions between 1799 and 1804. Four Messengers -- the spirits of the four cardinal
points -- brought the Gaiwi:yo to Sganyadai:yoh when he lay in a coma as a result of his excessive
drinking habits. These four guardians, sent by the Creator, gave Sganyadai:yoh messages that
would emancipate his people from the
stranglehold of the Europeans.
The remaining three told Sganyadai:yoh that he was to be in charge of disseminating the
Gaiwi:yo - the words of which encouraged people to return to more traditional ways. The Gaiwi:yo
outlawed - among other things - alcohol, witchcraft, and abortion. While all of these were
raditionally permitted, they were threatening the
survival of the community.
Christianity gained popularity among the Six Nations people, the Gaiwi:yo was no longer
revered; people began regarding it as heresy. Those who remained devoted to the Longhouse religion generally had political motivations; it became an act of protest against European domination.
At present, less than one-third of the Six Nations people on reservations still acknowledges the word
of the Gaiwi:yo.
had made it for the use of the Indians. He had created the Buffalo, the Deer, and other animals for food.
He had made the Bear and the Beaver. Their skins served us for clothing. He has scattered them over the country, and taught us how to take them."
SYMBOLISM OF THE LONGHOUSE
smoke holes in the roof. The artist does this to symbolically represent the founding of the Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois) Confederacy, which originally included Five Nations. The Five Nations are as follows: The Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. These Five Nations accepted the Great Law of Peace from the Peacemaker and joined together, in peace, like one longhouse. Actually the Peacemaker, in approximately 1140 AD, told the Five Nations that he envisioned the coming together of the Five Nations, in peace, as one long house. In approximately 1714, the Tuscarora Nation joined the Haudenosaunee and made the Confederacy Six Nations strong. The Mohawk people are the eastern door keepers while the Seneca are the western door keepers. This in accordance with how the lands were laid out for each tribes use. Interestingly
enough, even the land plots were laid out in longhouse fashion for each tribe. ie:the designated areas
given to each tribe were longer rather than wider and ran from north to south with each area having their
own water supply so that none would have to venture from their own
lands for even water.
NATIVE DEMOCRACY EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI
the shaping of the Constitution of the United States.
Gayanashagowa or the Great Binding Law of the Iroquois / Six Nations Confederation.
A key basis of Mohawk community structure rested with Clan Mothers. The Clan Mothers are
known as Gontowisas. It was they who met in council to decide which of their male relatives would
become Sachem (Chief). If the chosen Sachem proved unworthy, the Clan Mothers had the power
to chastise him. They could also take his title away and bestow it upon another male relative.
to their mother's clan. The women eligible to become Clan Mothers were called "Royaneh," a term
best translated as "noble." Royaneh women passed down their title to their daughters.
the Clan Mothers appointed a War Chief.
and he served as a check to the Sachem's power. He listened to people's concerns and brought them
to the Sachem's attention. Furthermore, if the Clan Mothers were displeased with the Sachem, it was the War Chief's duty to tell him so. If the Clan Mothers became unhappy with the way the War Chief carried
out his duty, they could take away his title and give it to another male relative.
clans were Great Bear, Painted Turtle, and Standing Rock. All the members of a clan were considered
close relatives. One couldn't marry a member of one's own clan. This taboo applied to members of the
same name clan within the Six Nations Confederacy.
attend. They discussed matters relating to the welfare of the clan. The councils relayed their
decisions to the War Chief, who made sure they were taken up with the Sachem or the Federation
council. The men's and women's councils also had the power to remove the Sachem and the War Chief
if necessary. If this happened, the Clan Mothers chose the replacement.