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Native American Legends: Maple Sapling (Ioskeha, Little Sprout)

Name: Maple Sapling
Tribal affiliation: Huron, Iroquois
Native names: Ioskeha, Yoskeha, Juskeha, Iouskeha, Joskeha, Djuskaha, Juskaha, Yoscaha, Jouskeha, Tijuskeha, Tijus-keha, Tijus-kaha, Tijuska'a, Toskeha; Tse'she-howngk', Tseh-seh-howh-hooh-nyk, Tseh-stah, Tsisehauhon; Okwiraseh; Otentonnia, Odendonnia; Tsentsa
Also known as: Sapling, Little Sprout, The White One, Dear Little Sprout, Right-Handed Twin
Type: Culture hero, Native American god
Related figures in other tribes: Sky Holder (Iroquois), Good Spirit (Cayuga), Nanabozho (Anishinabe)

In Huron mythology and the mythology of many Iroquois communities, Ioskeha or Maple Sapling is one of the twin grandsons of Ataensic, the Sky Woman. Ioskeha was born normally, while his brother Tawiscara (Flint) burst through his mother's side and killed her.

Ioskeha and his brother are always depicted in opposition to each other, but the nature of their opposition varies. In some stories, Flint is a pure antagonist, committing crimes, sabotaging his brother's work, and using lies and manipulation to turn their grandmother against the long-suffering Ioskeha. In other stories, Ioskeha and Flint exist in natural balance with each other, with Ioskeha representing creation, life, day, and summer, while his brother represents destruction, death, night, and winter. In any case, Ioskeha is nearly always described as a friend and helper of the people, who brought good things to the world, taught them the arts of civilization, and protected them from his brother's excesses. According to many stories Ioskeha is the creator of humans. (In some stories Ioskeha and Flint created humans together, explaining why humans can have both good and bad nature.)

Maple Sapling Stories

* Three versions of the Iroquois Creation Story:
    A comparison of three Iroquois myths about the birth of Sapling and Flint.
*Iroquoian Cosmogony:
    The Onondaga creation myth and the story of Sapling's gifts to humanity.
*The Creation:
    Cayuga myth about Sky Woman and her sons Sapling and Flint.
*Iroquois Creation Myth:
    Another version of the Cayuga origin story, in which Sapling defeats and imprisons his brother.
*Huron Creation Myth:
    A Huron version of the myth about Tawis-karong and Tijus-kaha.
*The Woman Who Fell From The Sky:
    The Seneca myth about Djuskaha (Little Sprout) and Othagwenda (Flint) creating the natural world.

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Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

The Oneida Creation Story:
    Several versions of the Oneida myth of creation.
Legends of the Iroquois:
    Legends and traditional stories told by a Mohawk elder.
The Woman Who Fell from the Sky:
    Children's picture book telling the story of Sky Woman, Flint, and Sapling.
Legends, Traditions and Laws of the Iroquois:
    Collection of Iroquois legends and oral history told by a Tuscarora chief.
Iroquois Indian Myths And Legends:
    Traditional stories from the Iroquois tribes.

Additional Resources

 People of the Longhouse
 Iroquois mythology
 The Iroquois
 Iroquois languages
 Cayuga words
 Mohawk words
 New York Indian
 Eastern Woodlands Native Americans



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