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 Chief Hiawatha

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Chief Hiawatha

  • Birth 1525
  • Death 1595
  • Burial Body lost or destroyed
  • Memorial ID 6872698

Legendary co-founder of the Iroquois League. Most legends place him with the Mohawk or Onondaga people after 1390 where he was known as Heowenta or Ayenwatha. With co-founder, De-ka-nah-wi-da, he traveled from village to village among the Mohawk, Onondaga, Seneca, Oneida, and Cayuga to spread what were known as the Tidings of Peace and Power. When their peace proposal was accepted at last and the League was formed, Hiawatha was named Lawgiver and Chief Spokesman for the Council. He was the first to consider a subject and to give his opinion and open debate among the member nations until a unanimous decision on any given topic was reached. Hiawatha was also Keeper of the Wampum, responsible for the wampum belts representing the Great Law and the confederacy as well as those assigned by the council to remind the Iroquois of treaties, or to announce a decision reached by the Grand Council of Chiefs. The 1855 poem by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow "The Song of Hiawatha" had nothing to do with the Iroquois leader but rather an Ojibwa hero named Nanabozho. Longfellow apparently borrowed the name Hiawatha as being more euphonious than Nanabozho. As a result the poem created over a century and a half of historical confusion.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 23 Oct 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6872698
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Chief Hiawatha (1525–1595), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6872698, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Body lost or destroyed.