This is the story of Hiawatha.

 Choose your own adventure: Hiawatha's tale

If you want Hiawatha’s perspective, go to the odd numbers. If you want the Peacemaker’s perspective, go to the even numbers.

 

Adapted by Clara Xu from a story by Robbie Robertson

 

Hiawatha Chapter One Page One

I was shaking with anger and fear. My home had just been burned down and everyone I loved had been taken away to face tortures, even death. And yet I could not have done anything. Only one person could have done this. Tadodaho, the evil chief of the Onondaga tribe. I fled deep into the woods. There was nothing left for me in my former home. I lived in the woods for weeks, barely eating, barely doing anything except feeling my rage for Tadodaho, my want, no, need, to destroy Tadodaho. Then one day, I was hunting, and I saw a blinding white canoe, with a single passenger. He was dressed in a white robe and a headdress with a single eagle feather on it. I approached him cautiously. This man seemed peaceful, but he might attack. He gave a gift of shells and said a silent message and somehow I could hear him. He said that there was a new Great Law for peace and this war was tearing us apart. He said that he could help heal me and that we must spread the word to the other tribes. I was dubious, but I agreed to help. We went on the Peacemaker’s stone canoe (that managed to float) and he said we would first travel to the Seneca tribe. I asked him, “What is your name?” and he said, “Just call me Peacemaker.” And together we sailed.

 

 

Peacemaker Chapter One Page Two

 

I approached the man, Hiawatha, slowly, I did not want him to attack me and the process of healing is slow. I could sense his pain and inside hunger. But he would be perfect to raise the message of peace. I gave a gift of shells and spoke my message in my head. I explained about my quest for peace and how we could heal the people like him that were hurting so much inside. He doubted it, but he agreed to help me. We went on my canoe and traveled to the Seneca tribe.

 

Hiawatha Chapter 2 page 3

 

We reached the Seneca tribe. They welcomed us and we sat down the peacemaker put his hand on my shoulder, and somehow he had the ability to make me talk. I told the Seneca tribe about the Peacemaker’s quest. There were murmurs and gasps. A few people looked dubious, but the Chief agreed with us. He joined us and together we sailed as a newborn nation. We had a newfound courage from the joining of the Seneca people. I asked the Peacemaker, “Where next?” and he said in his mind, “The Mohawk tribe. Your home.” But before long, we were stopped by the Oneida tribe, who seemed aggressive at first, but they explained that the wind had carried his message. But a man stepped forward and said, “We have been through so much, how can we know if your words are true? What if we just want revenge?” he said, with an expression of both inner pain and rage. Hearing these words made me burn, and the same feeling of rage that the Peacemaker had contained surged inside me again. I turned to the peacemaker and shouted, “WE WILL NEVER GET PAST THIS!” The peacemaker turned to me and allowed me to sit with the council to calm myself. He explained that I had gone through loss too and I still hadn’t fully recovered. After a while, when I had calmed down, the Oneida tribe chief agreed to go with us. Elated, we went on as two nations in one. I asked the Peacemaker, “Where next? And he said, “We will continue on to  the Mohawk tribe.”

 

 

 

Peacemaker Chapter 2 page 4

 

As we approached the Seneca tribe, I sent out peace vibes so they wouldn’t attack. They welcomed us and we joined them. I put my hand on Hiawatha’s shoulder and willed him to talk. He did and explained our task. I observed a few people shake their heads, but the chief agreed with us. “We must stop this violence.” We went on together and I sensed Hiawatha’s newfound trust in the peace. We wanted to sail to the Mohawk but were stopped by the Oneida. In the Oneida, many people were dubious, although the chief agreed to try peace. But a man stepped up and spoke his doubt, fueled by a sense of pain and fury. Hiawatha’s rage returned with these words, the calm that I had created for a day gone. I had not expected it to stay, for the pain was too great. I inclined for him to sit down, and I explained that he had experienced loss and was healing, but still had some anger left. This convinced some more people, I think because it showed people could heal over time. The Oneida joined, and we sailed to the Mohawk tribe.

 

Hiawatha Chapter 3 page 5

 

I was nervous for my reunion with the Mohawk tribe. Would they approve of my new quest for peace? Would they drive me out? My tribe was the biggest enemy of Tadodaho’s tribe, and they would most likely to refuse to take our offer. But I knew some people who would take it. I hoped they would help our cause. We arrived and were greeted warmly by the Mohawks. They sat down and listened to us. The other chiefs stood respectfully behind. Once we were done, the chief told us, “No. It is too hard.” Some women looked like they yearned to go with us, but the chief’s word is law. I was dejected but the peacemaker did not seem depressed. He said, “ I hope you will reconsider after a day or two.” and we left. I said, “Cayuga?” and the Peacemaker said “Yes.” We went on and the Cayuga went with us happily. My spirits were lifted as we went to gather all the citizens of the tribes for a day and then went back to the Mohawk tribe.

Peacemaker Chapter 3 page 6

 

I could sense Hiawatha’s anxiety as we went. I was even a little bit myself. I soothed myself but there was no doing it to Hiawatha. The Mohawks listened to us but refused. I wished them a good day and told them I hoped they would reconsider after a day. Hiawatha led us to the Cayuga tribe and they accepted happily. They were so enthusiastic it lifted my spirits and Hiawatha’s. We went to the other tribe members for a day to let the Mohawks cool down, think about our offer and decide what they wanted to do.  We came back with some of the members of the tribes and the chiefs.

 

Hiawatha Chapter 4 page 7

 

I think the Mohawk chief was impressed, but he still refused. The Oneida chief made an angry step forward, but I stopped him. I was about to say something, but the Peacemaker raised his hand. He spoke with a tinge of annoyance, “I can show you the power of peace. I will climb the tallest tree on this island and you can chop it down. The next morning, I will still be alive and well. Then will you have faith?” The Mohawk chief merely nodded, looking as though he doubted the Peacemaker would do such a thing. But he did. I watched in horror as he sat on top of the tree, and the Mohawk chief chopped it down. I let out a guttural scream as the tree fell, but did nothing. It was what the peacemaker would have wanted. A woman grabbed the chief and quietly, but strongly, said “I cannot believe you did that. You saw the effects of it and still you wear that smug, proud smile on your face. Still you are blind to what needs to be done. I am going to join, even if no one else is with me! She looked around her, and people were nodding at what she said. The chief had to agree to join, but the peacemaker was still gone. The next morning, we saw fire smoke rising up in the air. We rushed to see and the Peacemaker was there! I was overjoyed to see him alive and well. The Mohawk people joined us and we set sail for the final destination. The Onondaga tribe, home of Tadodaho.

Peacemaker chapter 4 page 8

 

The Mohawk chief was impressed, but still refused to come. The Oneida chief was angry, but I held him back. I asked them, “I can show you the power of peace. I will climb the tallest tree on this island and you can chop it down. The next morning, I will still be alive and well. Then will you have faith?” The chief nodded but looked dubious. But I was friends with nature, and I was safe as I drifted away. But I was so touched by Hiawatha`s scream after I fell, more than he would ever know. We were becoming friends. I heard a woman talking to the chief, but not what she said. I drifted upon an island and made a meal, then curled up to sleep. The next morning, the others found me. The Mohawk were finally convinced to join, but now the challenge was even bigger. We were sailing to the Onondaga people and Tadodaho.

 

 

Hiawatha chapter 5 page 9

 

We arrived at Onondaga land and were immediately approached by hostiles. Without a word, they bound us and took us to the central camp. It looked like a war fortress, and it was. Everybody stopped what they were doing and stared at us. There was a ringing silence, and they attacked. We countered, and soon, it was a full blown fight. The sadly familiar anger was awakened in me again, and even though the Peacemaker called out in his croaky but calming voice, Stop! Stop! The fight still continued. Then suddenly, a solar eclipse happened. The sky turned dark, and in the little moonlight left I could see heads turn. A beautiful sound rang out into the silence, the closest thing to phoenix song that can exist. It soothed me, and everywhere people sang with it. It was filling, and it was at that point where I realized that I had to move on. I had to live my life without being weighed down by my family's death. Then the eclipse moved past, leaving the sun shining brighter than ever. It felt like a symbolic way of showing pain. He approached me and told me to make medicine for Tadodaho. I entered Tadodaho’s hut and gasped. He has snakes in his hair, and his skin was peeling off. He could not speak, but moaned as he shook himself and snakes fell out of his hair, dying. I was horrified, but I  concentrated on the medicine. Tadodaho watched with interest, wondering why I had suffered so much from him and yet was making this medicine. The answer was: I knew I had to. There was still a great man underneath the sickness. I finished and the Peacemaker said, We will return in three days. After the three days had passed, we went back and Tadodaho shook the last snake off to the forest, and he was healed.

 

The Peacemaker said, Now the fighting shall end. We will be one nation, with five tribes. We shall bury our weapons under this tree, he gestured to a fallen tree, and replant it. This will be the Tree of Peace. There will be an eagle that is the guardian of the Tree, and that shall be you, Tadodaho. We can settle and build new relationships, new families, new homes. We shall live in unity as five tribes in One Nation. Everybody looked up. Tadodaho had flew on the top of the tree and gave a great cry. They walked of into the beautiful sunset together, rejoicing as the Five Nations.

 

Peacemaker chapter 5 page 10



We arrived at Onondaga land and in a second I sensed hostiles. Then they came out and silently escorted us to the main camp. I was uneasy about their smoothness. They did not seem to have much personality. But in the main camp, there were bigger troubles. The Onondaga people attacked and the others countered. A full on fight broke out and I cried for them to stop but they didn't. I could sense Hiawatha, his pain and fear greater than ever before. I could only do one thing. I created an solar eclipse and held it. I sang a song, clear and ringing in the silence. I sensed pain being accepted and washed away, I felt Hiawatha's heart filling, I felt acceptance and healing. I ended the eclipse, leaving the sun shining brighter than before. I told Hiawatha to make medicine for Tadodaho, and I watched him do it. We came back after three days to let the medicine take effect, and Tadodaho was healed.

 

I told the united people the fighting would stop, we would bury our weapons under a tree and replant it (for me it represented new beginnings), we could rebuild homes, relationships, families, and lives, and the tree would be the Tree of Peace. Tadodaho would guard the tree and guard us as an eagle, and we would be five tribes in One Nation. We heard a cry from Tadodaho the eagle, who was perched, wings spread, at the top ot the Tree of Peace, and we walked off in the beautiful sunset, rejoicing as Five Nations.  



Notes

 

The real name for the unity of tribes is the Five Nations. Also, the Tuscarora tribe joined later, making it the Six Nations. The name of the Peacemaker was Deganawida or Deganawidah in some records. The time he and Hiawatha lived was thought to be the 14th century.

The story of Hiawatha was mistaken in a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, he was writing about Nanabozho, another Indigenous hero.

Thanks for listening! 

The End!!!