HIAWATHA AND THE PEACEMAKER

RETOLD BY SASHA ADAMOVA

Children gathered in the tipi of the Mohawk elder, Kariwas. It was time for learning about their culture. The Mohawk children started begging Kariwasto tell them the story of Hiawatha  and The great peacemaker.”Hen”*said KariWas. I will tell you the story of  Hiawatha and the peacemaker. Then  he began:

 

* Hen means yes in Mowhawk

“Once a long time ago, when the six nations weren't united. There Lived an evil chief named Tadodaho. He killed and attacked people during the great mourning wars”. Kariwas sighed. “He had snakes coming out of his hair and was all twisted because of a disease resulting from his evilness. He had just attacked a city of the Mohawk. Many Tipis were burned down and many people were killed. One of the only remaining people was Hiawatha, the brave  Mohawk warrior. Hiawatha’s mind was clouded with sorrow when he found out that his family was killed. He lived in the forest for a few days mourning his family.

Then a miracle happened.  A man floated slowly down the river in a  strange white canoe which shined in the sunlight. and stopped right beside Hiawatha. The unknown man started speaking in an unfamiliar language but seeing that Hiawatha didn’t understand switched to hand gestures. Hiawatha understood only that his name was the peacemaker. Hiawatha asked in his own language, “What do you want?” The Peacemaker, seeing that Hiawatha was talking in the language of the Mohawk Repeated what he said in a trembling voice: “ I-I-I have come from the Great Oj-j-Ojibway nation, I know of the sufferings th-th-that your people have faced.I have c-c-come to m-m-make peace among your people. Hiawatha noticed that the peacemaker stumbled on almost every word. Hiawatha came into his tipi and brought the peacemaker some water. The peacemaker drank it and seemed to talk easier. “I need someone to talk for me,” he said. “ you have a strong voice, and even your name means strong speaker”. Hiawatha thought for a while and said: “  I have nowhere to go, all my friends are dead.Hiawatha will go with you”. The peacemaker, seeming  very satisfied with this said: “ Thank You, my canoe is at the shore, come with me.” Hiawatha followed and soon came to a stone canoe. “ this can’t float” Hiawatha  said, “ how did you get here?” Peacemaker stepped in the boat with a smile. The boat held him! Hiawatha slowly followed the peacemaker’s example and they were off.

 

They soon arrived at the land of the Mohawk, from which Hiawatha so recently fled. The homes were now more or less rebuilt. And the people welcomed them to the city. The council gathered and Hiawatha looked to the peacemaker. Hiawatha didn’t know what to say, but the peacemaker put his hand on Hiawatha’s shoulder and Hiawatha told the Mowhawk about the great law of peace about the violence and the suffering. The chief didn’t seem to believe him. “ If we put down our weapons Tadodaho will destroy us! The chief said. The peacemaker suddenly spoke up: “ we will return to bring you proof”. And he calmly walked out of the building.

Next, The peacemaker and Hiawatha went to the tribe of the Cayuga. Even though the peacemaker persuaded  Hiawatha that forgiveness was better than violence. Hiawatha still wanted revenge on Tadodaho. No Matter What.

When they arrived at the land of the Cayuga people they found out that they had just suffered an attack from Tadodaho. Hiawatha remembered his family and what sorrow he suffered. He suddenly turned to the peacemaker and yelled: WE WILL NEVER BE FREE!”. To try to calm Hiawatha down The peacemaker calmly put his hand on Hiawatha’s shoulder. Hiawatha felt much better. When they came to the council of the Cayuga.   they were listened to and welcomed. The Cayuga tribe accepted the union at once.  The chief of the Cayuga even decided to accompany them on their long journey.

 

The next tribe they visited was the Seneca. When the peacemaker, Hiawatha, and the Cayuga chief stepped on Seneca soil, ten braves jumped out of the bushes. Hiawatha quickly grabbed his spear and was about to throw it. But the peacemaker stopped him.   They were led to the Seneca village where the Seneca chief explained to them that he had heard of the great law of peace. And that the Seneca people wanted to join the union. Hiawatha was very relieved to hear this. Now two chiefs were traveling with them.

 

Hiawatha, the peacemaker, the Cayuga chief, and the Seneca chief all traveled towards the land of the Oneida.  They traveled through a deep dark forest. Suddenly Hiawatha and the Seneca chief, who were talking together fell into a trap! The peacemaker and the Cayuga chief bent over the rim of the trap and tried to help them out. But they too fell in.

After a few tries, Hiawatha figured out that there was no way to get out. The peacemaker, Hiawatha, and the two chiefs waited until someone would come and hopefully help them. After they waited for about two hours they heard footsteps. Above them showed the face of the Oneida chief. “ why have you come to my land?” thundered the Oneida chief. Hiawatha answered that they came to tell of the great law of peace. The Oneida thought about that. He finally agreed to join the union and to accompany the peacemaker, Hiawatha, and the chiefs.

 

Now they had to return to the Mohawk and tell them about the success of the union. It took Hiawatha, the peacemaker, and the three chiefs two days to get back to Hiawatha’s tribe. But again  the Mohawk chief said that they didn’t believe in peace. The peacemaker replied “I will prove to you that peace is the right way”. “I will climb onto a tree and you will chop it down, The river will carry me to safety”. The Mohawk chief thought that that was impossible. And if the peacemaker made it the creator would be helping him.

 

So the peacemaker climbed onto a tree standing beside the cold, fast running river.  The Mohawk chief quickly chopped down the tree. The tree fell. The peacemaker was gone.Hiawatha spent a worried night praying for the peacemaker. Sometimes Hiawatha thought that he was beside him. And Hiawatha Heard his voice. But when Hiawatha reached his hand out he was gone.Hiawatha went out early in the morning to try and find the peacemaker’s body. But when he was passing the rapids he saw a fire. Hiawatha quickly dashed to it and there sat the peacemaker. Hiawatha was so relieved that he cried in joy. Then they both came to the Mohawk chief for him to join the union.  The Mohawk chief momentarily agreed.

now, It was the hardest part for the united nations. They had to make Tadodaho join.   The chiefs, the peacemaker, and Hiawatha quickly came to the Onondaga land. There they were met by 100 braves. All of the chiefs and Hiawatha started fighting. They didn’t listen to the peacemaker. Until he started singing. The melody was so strange and beautiful that everyone felt calm and satisfied.

 

The braves lowered their weapons and let the small group through. Only Tadodaho didn’t stop fighting. The Seneca chief was already wounded and Tadodaho lunged at the peacemaker. But the peacemaker stopped and started speaking to him. He told him of the great law and about how the tribes would be better united.  His words seemed to have an effect on Tadodaho.  The snakes on Tadodaho head seemed to turn into normal hair. He straightened out and became a different person. Tadodaho now agreed to join the union.

 

There was a great celebration as the  Warriors buried their weapons under a big white pine. Then the peacemaker said he had to leave. But as the last word he trusted Tadodaho to be the keeper of the fire. He would be one of the most important people in the council.  All the waved as his canoe sailed away. Hiawatha’s memory returned to his family. Though he still missed them terribly he forgave himself for losing them.

“ The end,” said KariWas. The children sat motionlessly. Then one child asked, “ what happened to the peacemaker?”. Kariwas thought a bit and then replied: “ the peacemaker sailed back to his tribe.” “ he lived happily the rest of his life and visited often”.




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