However, one of the things that are the same is the circumstances in which this story emerges from. From the fourteenth century to the early seventeenth century between the Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, and Oneida war was enforced within these nations as a seemingly endless cycle violence and vengeance. There was a practice of replacing fallen warriors from their tribe with warriors from other tribes taken captive. This practice was meant to help the mourners (family and friends) of the fallen cope with their grief. Instead, this tradition exacerbated the conflict because it typically caused more death, violence and therefore grief by further aggravating the other tribes. It aggravated the other tribes because their warriors was taken captive, so they wanted revenge on the tribe that had taken their warriors captive and they people who took the people from the other tribe captive gladly joined the fight, seeking vengeance on these people who killed their warriors and because of this more people would be taken captive and more people would die, further worsening the situation even more. It is this situation when the legend of Hiawatha takes place.
The Legend Of Hiawatha
There are three primary characters in this legend. #1 Is Hiawatha, a Mohawk or Onondaga warrior (depending on which sources you look at) who is a victim of these cycles of violence, having lost not only his wife to war but also his daughters. It is said that following their deaths he was in a deeply depressed state, thinking of vengeance against Athatotarho/Atotarho/Tadodaho. In this depressed state, he was said to have wandered the lands of the Iroquois one day coming upon an island to rest. it is on this island that the following morning he met the Peacemaker.
#2 is the "evil villain " in the story. In this legend, the "evil villain" is an Onondaga chief named Athatotarho/Atotarho/Tadodaho. in some stories, he is said to have dark magic powers causing the other tribes to fear him. According to some sources, in the end, he became the protector of the six nations and sided with the other tribes.
#3 is the Peacemaker, also known as Deganawida who came from the north, of the lands of the Huron people, in order to bring the five nations together in an effort to make peace. Some variations of the peacemaker are Jigonsahseh (Jigonsaseh), also known as the peace queen who is a woman descended from the sky mother.
It is said that this was the men met, and discussed the war, each sharing about how they wanted to end it. It is said that given the state of deep depression he was in, he was not clear minded, so the peacemaker conducted a ceremony of condolence. Only those with clear minds could conduct ceremonies of condolences.first, he dried Hiawatha's eyes, so he could see. Next, he cleared the ears of him, to hear. Finally, he cleared his throat, so that he could talk. After this ceremony, Hiawatha's sense of reasoning returned and his grief eased. It is said that the peacemaker sought Hiawatha out as his disciple because Hiawatha had a strong voice. After this they traveled from one tribe to the other, convincing each of them to form this alliance. In the end, all the tribes other than the Onondaga tribe agreed to form an alliance for peace and unity. It is with this group that they approached athatotarho/atotarho/tadodaho and asked him and his tribe to form an alliance. His reply was no, as he still had a lust for violence and bloodshed. Representatives from the four nations approached Hiawatha, asking him why they could not simply force him into the alliance. Hiawatha believed that this would be hippocratic to the formation of the alliance, as this alliance was formed for peace, so it would be best to do it peacefully. Hiawatha believed there was a better way to convince him. Again they approached athatotarho/atotarho/tadodaho and offered him the central role in this alliance, the great chief (chief sachem) athatotarho/atotarho/tadodaho agreed. The alliance was formed.