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Blood And Stone

A Hiawatha Story

Blood And Stone

A Hiawatha Story By Renee Mcilwain

 

The dark smoky air is filled with ashes only to be illuminated by the flames of burning houses and fortresses. Out of the smoke came a wail,  slowly a figure appeared. The great Hiawatha of the Mohawk tribe returning from battle to find his home and his family gone. Burned to the ground by the great chief Tadodaho of the Onondaga tribe. Hiawatha, heartbroken and seeking revenge ran into the forest beside the shores of Lake Superior. Hiawatha wandered the forest in despair with a heavy heart and a want for revenge. His judgment was deeply clouded. Hiawatha was not thinking straight.

One day Hiawatha was on the shoreline when he saw a strange sight, the mist on the lake was separating almost as if it was creating a path on the lake. Then a strange man started to appear almost as if he was created by the mist. The man blew on the palm of his hand and under him, a white stone canoe appeared. The man began to paddle to shore. When he arrived the man climbed from his canoe of which amazed Hiawatha with its ability to float, but still be made of stone. The man walked ashore and gave Hiawatha an offering of wampum shells. After Hiawatha carefully placed the string of the beautiful wampum shells around his neck the man introduced himself as “The Peacemaker”. The peacemaker explained his mission to spread the great law of peace amongst the five tribes. He politely asked if Hiawatha would like to join him and learn to forgive people who have caused harm to you. Hiawatha reluctantly replied “yes” and their long journey began.

 

Traveling in the peacemaker’s beautiful stone canoe the two brave men traveled along the shores of lake Superior to the other tribe's settlements. As the two men traveled the peacemaker told tales of the great law spreading peace amongst other groups that were at war. The sun was setting as Hiawatha and the Peacemaker spotted a place to set up camp, in the morning they would go talk to the Oneida chief.

As the sun rose, the animals could hear huffing and puffing coming from the shoreline as Hiawatha packed the canoe and the peacemaker made some food to eat. Soon the animals heard a boom and then silence as Hiawatha and the Peacemaker set off to the Oneida village. The two great warriors traveled very little time before they arrived at the settlement. Everywhere they looked they could see young children and women with fear in their eyes as they watched Hiawatha and the peacemaker step ashore. With very few warriors to protect them, they were all very worried. Huddled in the corners covering their heads and their children's heads they slunk away in fear. The only remaining people were the tribe mothers and the chief. The tribe mothers welcomed them into their main fortress as the chief began to speak.

The chief said “What brings you to our land?”

The peacemaker placed his hand on Hiawatha’s back slowly Hiawatha started to feel he is obligated to speak.

He said, “We are here to spread the great law of peace and to join the tribes and end the war.”

The chief surprised refused to believe peace in between the tribes was possible.

“You mustn't believe such foolish tales, peace in between the tribes is impossible for Chief Tadodaho is too powerful, we will fail miserably.” He replied ‘I will not risk the lives of my men and people for a mission that will fail miserably.”

When the chief mentioned the Great Tadodaho Hiawatha was reminded of his pain, he knew the mission was pointless but he had to try so he fought the feeling away and continued to work alongside the peacemaker.

 

Traveling once again in the white stone canoe Hiawatha and the peacemaker set off. On the long journey to the Senecas’ land. Hiawatha noticed the white stone canoe had small engravings in the sides. When Hiawatha touched them he felt like he was seeing the engraving in real life, he touched one that looked like a war field and he immediately saw a battlefield with smoke and arrows. While touching the engraving Hiawatha could feel the pain of the injured. Even though the picture showed the Mohawk defeating the Onondaga tribe he did not feel happy that his tribe won the battle. He only felt the pain of the injured. The  peacemaker noticed that Hiawatha looked like he was far far away in a different time and said: “We are almost at the Senecas’ land.” At the sound of the peacemaker's voice Hiawatha returned to the present. Dazed and confused by the recent image in his mind Hiawatha asked the peacemaker “What are the carvings on the canoe from?”

“They are from battles that people have fought and not used forgiveness in.” Replied the peacemaker “after these Battles, everybody dreaded each other and lived governed by fear. We are almost there. We will talk about this later”

When Hiawatha and the peacemaker pulled the canoe up onto the shoreline they were immediately surrounded by guards and warriors. Each warrior had a weapon in hand, some held spears and some held arrows. Each warrior had a unique design on their small amount of clothing and tattoos, the leader of the group of warriors was wearing a beautiful headpiece made of deer skins and eagle feathers. On it, there were designs made of beads and animal tendons. The warriors escorted them up to the chiefs fortress. Hiawatha saw this as a normal village but the peacemaker thought of it as a village governed by fear and the future if their quest did not succeed. When they arrived at the chief’s hut the chief’s deep voice bellowed “ Sit warriors we know of your quest and would like to support the cause”. The peacemaker and Hiawatha faces lit up, they finally had some hope.

” But we question your plan what are you going to do when we arrive at chief Tadodaho lair?” questioned the chief

“Well” replied Hiawatha “We will try to persuade him that evil is no way to live.”

“Very well. I will join your cause,” said the Chief

 

All together as two tribes joined they traveled up the beautiful majestic deep waters of lake Superior. As they traveled along the Seneca chief shared stories from battles that they received victories or how they found survivors in deadly battles. “The journey was long.” The chief said, “ But when we returned to the village we were greeted happily back from the latest battle”. He told Hiawatha about when he first joined the tribe's army when he was only twelve years old, he also told the story of his name, Sagoyewatha. (Red Jacket in English.)

After the long ride in the canoe, the great warriors were grateful to be able to set foot on land and stretch their bodies. The Cayugas’ land was beautiful and rich perfect for farming and agriculture before the tribes went into war. Now the land was destroyed and abandoned.The brave warriors walked along the once beautiful land searching for any sign of life When they found none they began to move on when they heard a rustle, suddenly a young child ran from the bushes that surrounded the abandoned camp. The child was caught after running for a few seconds. “I think something is behind those bushes” said Hiawatha suspiciously. The men surrounded the opening in the bushes as if they were going to find a bear, after waiting a few minutes the chief emerged from the bushes scared and injured before he could speak he fainted into Sagoyewatha arms. The peacemaker and the clan mothers began to nurse the Cayuga chief of which the clan mothers called Hadoda-he-ha meaning heron.

 

Once Hadoda-he-ha was healthy again he said to the peacemaker “I will do any one thing you say for helping nurse me back to health”. Hiawatha replied and said,

”We want you to join our group of tribes that is dedicated to the great law of Peace.”

‘I will I will join your group thank you so much for your service!” Hadoda-he-ha said enthusiastically

“Please bring your canoe down to the shore so we can set off at sunrise,” instructed Hiawatha.

“Yes yes.” Replied Hadoda-he-ha.

 

The next day the men left in their canoes as three tribes united ready to take on the rules of the great law of peace. Hadoda-he-ha sang traditional Cayuga songs and told the traditional legends of the Cayuga ways of life. One legend was:

“In the beginning, there was an island floating in the sky that was lit by a glowing tree. Sky Woman lived there. One day, Sky Woman found out that she was bearing twins. She told her husband and he flew into a rage. He grew so angry that he tore the glowing tree out of the ground, leaving a hole. Sky Woman looked through the hole, amazed by the partially created world below. Then her husband pushed her through the hole and she tumbled toward the Earth. But two birds, fascinated by Sky Woman, caught her on their wings and brought her to the sea animals (that was all there was at the time). The animals took pity on her and started diving to the Ocean floor for mud, but none of them could make it. Eventually, Little Toad tried and came up with a mouth full of mud. The animals sprinkled it on Big Turtle's back, and the mud grew and grew until it was North America. Sky Woman stepped onto the land and started creating things. First, she created stars, then she created the sun and the moon. After that she gave birth to her twin sons; Sapling the Good Spirit, and Flint the Bad Spirit. The two spirits went on creating things, and a great rivalry was formed. If one made something, the other would try to destroy it or change it somehow. But Flint had to be stopped, he was causing to much trouble. So Sapling and Sky Mother captured him and forced him to live on Big Turtle's back (because he can not die), his anger is sometimes felt as volcanoes.

 

Soon the tribe leaders Hiawatha and the Peacemaker were Paddling to shore that belonged to Hiawatha’s home tribe, the Mohawk. Hiawatha felt the pain of his loss stronger and stronger, with every inch closer Hiawatha was his homeland he felt the pain stronger. Soon he felt like a volcano that was ready to erupt with bad feelings and evil towards everybody. He was about to hurt the other chiefs but he stopped himself. What good will hurting the other tribe chiefs do for our cause? No good, no good at all. He thought.

 

The men were greeted happily by the Mohawk tribe leader, Kaianerekowa and surprisingly the Oneida chief, Scarouady. The Mohawk chief spoke “We have heard of your quest and I would like to allow my tribe to join. Our tribe is suffering through this war and we would all I am sure wish for it to end.”

“ I thought it would never work at the beginning but now I understand that peace is needed and can beat any man who believes violence is the answer to their problems. I join.” Said  Scarouady.

Hiawatha was amazed that it had been that easy to convince the majority of the tribes to join together, but he knew the hardest tribe to convince was yet to come. As the four tribes that were now united as one were traveling across the beautiful eerie waters of lake superior. Even with the comfort of the other tribes' leaders and the peacemaker, Hiawatha could not stop worrying about the dreaded tribe that ruled way over the other tribes. The men were about to walk into the most dreaded towers with no weapons to defend themselves.

When Hiawatha, Sagoyewatha, Hadoda-he-ha, Kaianerekowa, Scarouady and the peacemaker arrived at the darkened shores of the Onondaga's land. The men walked through the village and with every step they received mean and rude looks, but all the men stayed calm except for Hiawatha. Hiawatha felt like a pot full of water with the water starting to boil. He felt like he was going to over boil with anger. By the time they arrived at Tadodaho fortress  Hiawatha felt like he was tied to a burning tree. As soon as the men took their first step onto the long path to Tadodaho’s fort they were confronted by guards and escorted to the door then dispersed.

The somber towers that surrounded the men worried and frustrated Hiawatha he felt the pain of his family as if he was stuck in a cage watching them die. But he had no ability to change anything like he was tied to a tree. He heard a sudden scream, a fight had broke out in between the four united tribes and Tadodaho’s warriors.

The world went black and a song began to rise over the hills the sun slowly began to shine again, but something had changed. The fight was over and Tadodaho was standing in the corner, his robes black with grease and beads shades of gray and black. He had snakes in his hair that hissed and draped over his shoulders. “We must bring light to the dark. If we sing the song of our hearts than we shall cure the Shadowman of his evil.” Said the peacemaker.

 

Song broke out as people sang the song of their heart, the only person who was not singing was Tadodaho. Tadodaho was slinking away in silence, hoping not to be spotted. But slowly the snakes in his greasy black hair slunk away leaving dark brown hair, the ashes on his clothes began to fall away leaving the traditional skin coat and pants with bright beautiful beads. “I will join your group.’ Said Tadodaho slowly.

The five united tribes searched for the tallest tree in the woods and buried all their weapons under it. Than Tadodaho said, “I will become an eagle and sit atop this tree and watch over the land.” So from then on the Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, and the Onondaga tribes are united and watched over by the great eagle Tadodaho.

The end!