Hiawatha

North American - A 16th C. Sage of the Iroquois. Son of Mudjekeewis and Wenonah. Husband of Minnehaha. He was reared by his maternal grandmother, Nokomis. His wife and daughter were killed by the magician Atotarho but the two men later became reconciled and founded the Confederacy of the Five Tribes. He was regarded as a culture-hero who taught the tribes the arts of agriculture and medicine, killed the corn-spirit Mon-da-moin to give mankind maize, overcame the great strugeon Mishe-Nahma and killed the evil magician Megissogwon. He was helped by a pair of mittens which enabled him to split rocks when he wore them and a pair of moccasins in which he could cover a mile at each step. When his work was done, he sailed off to Ponemah in the west in his magic canoe. In another version, Tatenyawagon took pity on the suffering tribes and came to earth as a man, Hiawatha. He led the tribes to a cave where they recovered their strength and then led them to their own homelands, separating them into the five tribes, the Cayuga, Mohawks, Onondaga, Oneida and Seneca, each with its own language and character. When they were attacked by wild tribes from the north the five appealed to Hiawatha for help. He sacrificed his daughter Minnehaha to the Great Spirit and she was taken up to heaven on the back of a great eagle. Hiawatha united the tribes into the Five Nations who repelled the invaders and brought peace to the land. Hiawatha himself entered his white canoe which then rose into the sky and disappeared. In some lore, occasionally called Hiawatha, Hai-en-Wat-ha, Hai-en-Wat-ha, Haiowatha, Haiowatha, Hayowentha, Hayowentha, Hy-ent-wat-ha, Hy-ent-wat-ha, Manabozho, Manabozho, Manabosho, Manabush, Manibozho, Michabo, Minabozho, Nanabozho, Winabozho, Great Hare, Minabozha, Nanaboojoo, Nanabush, Abnaki Gluskap, Iroquois Ioskeha, Menominee Manabush or Montagnais Messou.

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