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Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

Retold by Patrick Li

Original story written by Robbie Robertson.


A long time ago, there was a village in the woods. In the village, there was a man named Hiawatha and his village got burned down by an enormous fire. He knew that it was the evil chief, Tadodaho.

Hiawatha went by the river, filled with anger and hatred he could only think of revenge. One day when he was sitting at the riverside by his campfire he felt the sun rise. Early in the morning, a glistening white canoe appeared.

The canoe gracefully glided to shore and a mysterious white man walked toward Hiawatha. He soon learned that this mysterious man was called The Peacemaker and he is on a mission to make peace amongst the Haudenosaunee tribes.

The Peacemaker said to Hiawatha while stumbling over words, “I-I know of your pain. I know of your loss. I carry a message of healing.”. The Peacemaker wanted Hiawatha to join him on the journey to make peace amongst the tribes. Hiawatha agreed and travelled with the Peacemaker to the land of the Mohawk.

 

When they arrived, they were met by the village chief. The Peacemaker put his hand on Hiawatha’s shoulder and Hiawatha spoke for him. The village chief did not believe in peace. Next, they went to the Cayuga tribe but when Hiawatha learned that they have been devastated in an attack by Tadodaho, Hiawatha Immediately grew angry and shouted at the Peacemaker. In an attempt to sooth Hiawatha, the Peacemaker began to chat with the Cayuga council and as The Peacemaker was talking, Hiawatha could feel all of his anger wash away and getting replaced by hope and peace.

Then we went to the Seneca tribe. When they arrived, they were greeted by 15 armed braves holding up their weapons and pushed them to the middle of the village where the chief comes and waves his hand and the warriors lifted their spears but when the chief nodded they put the spears down into the dirt when the dirt finally cleared, the chief told us the message was carried by the wind and that he wanted to learn more about the great law of peace. The Peacemaker explained that together we are more powerful than the greatest warrior. The Seneca chief agreed to join them on their journey.

By then it was time to return to the land of the Mohawk people. When they arrived the Chief was impressed with the three chiefs that came with us but he told us that he could not accept because of Tadodaho “ his evil is too great, your message will only bring harm to our people”.

 

The Peacemaker decided to prove that his words are true so he climbed up to the tallest oak tree and told the people to chop it down. They did as they were told and chopped down the tree. Hiawatha was stunned by the foolish stunt. An elderly clan mother approached the circle with 4 more younger women by her side, the elder started scolding at the chief. When the elder was done speaking we were all moved by her words and they all quietly walked back to the camp.

 

When everyone awoke in the morning they saw smoke coming from the river. We hurried toward the river and saw The Peacemaker by a campfire. The elder clan mother draped a blanket over the Peacemakers shoulders. The chief was filled with emotion and agreed to travel with them to the Onondaga tribe where Tadodaho is. They were met soldiers that guarded day and night. The chiefs got pushed away but they pushed back. After a lot of fighting, the Peacemaker sang a hymn and all the fighting stopped.

The chiefs all sang along, but Tadodaho was not afraid. The Peacemaker told Hiawatha to make a medicine for Tadodaho, but how could Hiawatha help a man who has brought him so much pain. Yet he put his heart and soul into the potion and gave it to Tadodaho and told him to mix the gooey stuff with the light green stuff and then mix it all with water. Tadodaho let out a loud scream. The chiefs and their people followed The Peacemaker to a great tall pine tree and The Peacemaker put his hand on Hiawatha’s back and once again Hiawatha spoke for the Peacemaker. Hiawatha said that the tall pine that they were standing beside must be uprooted and have all the weapons of war thrown in the hole.

The people of the Iroquois did what they were told and uprooted the tall pine and threw their weapons in the hole and they replanted the tree. The Peacemaker said that the tree they just replanted will be called the Tree of Peace and there will be an eagle that sat on top the tree to guard and look after all the tribes.

The Peacemaker said Tadodaho is the eagle. Then the tribes started making music, the men and women of the Mohawk nation began clapping and stomping their feet,

Clapping from the Cayuga, a chant from the Oneida and Onondaga tribe and drums from the Seneca tribe. The rhythm sounded in-tune and on time as it grew louder and louder. “This is a great moment to remember,” said The Peacemaker “A very great one,” replied Hiawatha.