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Native American Legends: Onatah (Onatha, Deohako)

Name: Onatah
Tribal affiliation: Seneca, Cayuga, Iroquois
Alternate spellings: Onatha
Pronunciation: oh-nah-tah
Also known as: Deohako, Spirit of the Corn
Type: Goddess, corn spirit
Related figures in other tribes: Selu (Cherokee), Corn Mother (Arikara), Mondamin (Anishinabe), Unknown Woman (Choctaw)

In Iroquois mythology, Onatah was one of the Deohako (the Life Supporters, or Three Sisters.) Onatah represented the spirit of the corn, while her two sisters represented beans and squash. In one common Iroquois legend, Onatah was stolen by Tawiscara and hidden underground, causing a great famine until she was found and freed.

Onatah Stories

*The Spirit of the Corn:
    Iroquois legend about the corn goddess Onatah being kidnapped by Hahgwehdaetgah (Tawiscara.)

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

Skywoman: Legends of the Iroquois:
    Wonderful illustrated collection of Iroquois Indian legends, by Oneida and Mohawk authors.
Legends of the Iroquois:
    Legends and traditional stories told by a Mohawk elder.
Iroquois Indian Myths And Legends:
    Traditional stories from the Iroquois tribes.

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Additional Resources

 People of the Longhouse
 Iroquois myth
 Iroquois tribes
 Iroquoian language
 Oneida words
 Mohawk words
 New York tribe
 Eastern Woodland Native Americans

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