Dekanawida Myth & the Achievement of Iroquois Unity (ca 1500s)

Dekanawida Myth & the Achievement of Iroquois Unity (ca 1500s)

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The document reproduced below is a translation of the story of Dekanawida, the great leader who founded the Iroquois Confederacy, or the Five Nations. Comprised of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Seneca, Oneida, and Cayuga people, the Iroquois Confederacy went on to create the Iroquois Constitution, which many historians believe significantly influenced the U.S. Constitution. This story was handed down orally from generation to generation and was not written down until years later. Therefore, the date of its creation is only an estimate. . . . North of the beautiful lake [Ontario] in the land of the Crooked Tongues, was a long winding bay and at a certain spot was the Huron town, Ka-ha-nah-yenh. Near by was the great hill, Ti-ro-nat-ha-ra-da-donh. In the village lived a good woman who had a virgin daughter. Now strangely this virgin conceived and her mother knew that she was about to bear a child. The daughter about this time went into a long sleep and dreamed that her child should be a son whom she should name Dekanawida. The messenger in the dream told her that he should become a great man and that he should go among the Flint people to live and that he should also go to the Many Hill Nation. . . . The Ongwe-oweh had fought long and bravely. So long had they fought that they became lustful for war and many times Endeka-Gakwa, the Sun, came out of the east to find them fighting. It was thus because the Ongwe-oweh were so successful that they said the Sun loved war and gave them power. All the Ongwe-oweh fought other nations sometimes together and sometimes singly and, ah-gi! ofttimes they
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Dekanawida Myth & the Achievement of Iroquois Unity (ca 1500s)

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