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The True Message

Retold and Illustrated by



Nour Issa

There it was, the village that has once been Hiawatha’s home, nothing now but piles of ashes, and a beautiful wife and three beautiful daughters, now dead. Hiawatha sat there, looked up into the smoke and thought,” This could only be done by the evil chief Tadodaho.”


The only thing to think of, Revenge.


Then, something happened. Hiawatha saw a canoe made out of stone. How could it float?!?!?!  In the canoe was the Peacemaker. The Peacemaker came to Hiawatha and said, “I c-c-came t-t-to ask you t-t-to help me c-c-carry this m-m-message. I-I know how y-y-you f-f-feel a-a-and wh-what y-y-you l-l-lost, b-b-but y-y-you are a g-g-gifted s-s-speaker. H-h-help m-m-me c-c-carry th-this m-m-message f-f-for as y-y-you c-c-can s-s-see, m-m-my w-w-words are d-d-difficult t-t-to u-understand. S-so c-c-come with m-me t-to the land of the M-m-mohawk.”


So Hiawatha and the Peacemaker set off to the land of the Mohawk.

When they arrived, the soldiers charged at the visitors but let them go eventually to the chief.

“Who are you and why are you here?” the chief asked, surprised to have visitors.

The Peacemaker placed his palm on Hiawatha’s back and almost immediately, Hiawatha was speaking the peacemaker’s words.

“We have come to speak to you of the great law. We have to invite you to unite the nations.” said Hiawatha.

“We respect your message, but how do we know that what you’re saying is true?” asked the chief.

“We will prove to you by coming back with nations who are ready to listen to our message” said Hiawatha. And so they set off as one nation.


Soon after, they arrived to the Cayuga tribe’s village. Then the Peacemaker placed his palm on Hiawatha’s back and so Hiawatha said, “we have come to speak to you of the great law. We came to invite you to unite the nations.”


The chief didn’t believe them so he asked to hear Hiawatha’s story. Hiawatha spoke the words of pain and sorrow as he felt something wash over him: forgiveness. The chief listened so together they set off as 2 nations.



After that, they went to the Seneca and Oneida tribes and spoke the same words so the chiefs joined them and together they set off as three nations. Then they went to the Mohawk. They spoke the same word so an old woman spoke up and said, “ they are being truthful and they had shown us their proof.

 But the chief rejected.

 The Peacemaker said, “I will climb this tree and you will chop it down. I will only survive if I was truthful.”



He was there the next morning sitting by a fire. 

 After the chief saw the proof, they set off as 4 nations. 


They were going to Tadodaho in the Onondaga tribe.

An army of warriors charged toward them and took them to the chief Tadodaho. He had green scaly skin and snakes grew from his head. He was ill. The Peacemaker ordered Hiawatha to make Tadodaho a potion that will cure him. Hiawatha grew angry: how can he help Tadodaho? Hiawatha put his heart and soul into the potion anyway and with that, his anger disappeared. He made the potion and gave it to Tadodaho. As Tadodaho drank it, the scales fell off and the snakes went back to where they came from.


“Now,” said the peacemaker, pointing to a tree, “we shall bury all the weapons under this tree and call it the peace tree, and the eagle will be you, Tadodaho!”


Everyone watched as Tadodaho turned into an eagle. They looked up and saw him perched up on the tree that they buried their weapons under. Everyone celebrated, and they lived happily ever after. Or did they?