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Native Languages of the Americas:
Mohawk Indian Legends

This is our collection of links to Mohawk folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Indian stories section by tribe to make them easier to locate; however, variants on the same legend are often told by American Indians from different tribes, especially if those tribes are kinfolk or neighbors to each other, so you may also want to visit our page comparing the stories from the Iroquois tribes (which include the Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Mohawk Indians), since the traditional stories of those tribes are very similar.

Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Mohawk legend for this page or think one of the ones on here should be removed, please contact us and let us know.

Important Mohawk Mythological Figures

Sky Woman (Iotsitsisonh or Atsi'tsiaka:ion, in Mohawk): The mother goddess of the Iroquois tribes, said to have fallen through a hole in the sky.

The Twin Gods: Sky Woman's twin grandsons, Maple Sapling (Okwiraseh) and Flint (Tawiskaron.) These twin deities were the creators and culture heroes of the Iroquois people. Maple Sapling was the god of life and created many things to help humankind; his twin Flint was the god of death and primarily caused destruction.

Sky-Holder (Tharuhyawa:ku, in Mohawk): The high god of Iroquois mythology, a benevolent teacher and caretaker of the world. In many Mohawk communities Sky-Holder is considered the same entity as Maple Sapling, while in others, they are considered to be distinct.

The Thunders: Powerful storm spirits who live in the sky and cause thunder and lightning. Although they are dangerous beings and their gaze can bring death to mortal men, they usually play a positive role in Mohawk legends and are typically portrayed as honorable and fair. The thunder god Hinon is their eldest brother and leader.

Onatah: Spirit of the Corn, a fertility goddess and one of the Three Sisters of Mohawk agriculture.

Stone Throwers (Yakonenyoya'ks, in Mohawk): Little people of Iroquoian folklore. They are dwarf-like nature spirits about 2 feet tall.

Stonecoat (Atenenyarhu, in Mohawk): Mythological giant of the Iroquois tribes, with skin as hard as stone.

Flying Head (Kanontsistóntie's, in Mohawk): Monster in the form of a giant disembodied head, usually created during a particularly violent murder.

Monster Bear: A giant, hairless bear monster. Some people associate them with mammoths.

Onyare: A dragon-like horned serpent of the Great Lakes, feared for its habit of capsizing canoes and eating people.

The Great Peacemaker (Skennenrahawi) and Hiawatha: The legendary founders of the Iroquois Confederacy and architects of the Great Law.

Mohawk Indian Folklore

*Sky Woman:
    Mohawk myth about the origin of the Haudenosaunee tribes.
*The Birth of Good and Evil:
    Mohawk myth about Sky Woman's twin grandchildren.
*Aientsik the Skywoman:
    Mohawk legend about Sky Woman and her family.
*The Monster Bear:
    Mohawk legend about the origin of the Big Dipper constellation.
*How The Eagle First Came To The People:
    Mohawk legend about a boy who turned into an eagle.
*Why the Turtle Has a Broken Shell:
    Mohawk legend about how Turtle broke his shell.
*The Story of Corn:
    Mohawk legend about the origin of corn.
*How Muskrat Created The World:
    Legends about Muskrat from the Blackfoot, Ojibway, Mohawk, and Potawatomi tribes.
*How Fire Came to the Six Nations:
    Mohawk version of this typical Iroquois legend about the origin of fire.

Recommended Books on Mohawk Mythology

Skywoman: Legends of the Iroquois:
    Wonderful illustrated collection of Iroquois Indian legends, by Oneida and Mohawk artists.
Legends of the Iroquois:
    Another good book of Iroquois stories, told by a Mohawk elder.
Tyendinaga Tales:
    Another collection of Mohawk Indian stories.
Owl Eyes:
    Picture book based on a light-hearted Mohawk legend about why owls are nocturnal.
Iroquois Indian Myths And Legends:
    Collection of legends from the Mohawk and other Iroquois tribes.
The Deetkatoo:
    Great collection of traditional tales about little people from the Mohawk and other tribes.

Additional Resources

 Mohawk religion and expressive traditions
 Books of Native American legends
 Native beliefs
 Mohawk words
 Indian reservations in New York
 Woodland Native Americans
 Iroquois Confederacy
 Mohawk history
 Native American Indians culture



Back to the Native American god list
Back to the Native American animal spirits meanings
Learn more about the Mohawk tribe.



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