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Legendary Native American Figures: Oniare (Oniont)

Name: Oniare
Tribal affiliation: Iroquois
Pronunciation: own-yar-eh
Alternate names: Onyare, Onyarhe, On-yar-he, O-ni-a-re, Oniares, Ohnyare, Ohnyare:kowa; Oniont, Oneyont, Angont; Donongaes, Doonogaes, Doonongaes; Jodi'gwadon
Type: Lake monster, serpent
Related figures in other tribes: Uktena (Cherokee), Maneto (Sac-Fox), Apotamkin (Maliseet)

Oniare is a dragon-like horned water serpent of Iroquois legend, lurking in the Great Lakes to capsize canoes and eat people. Its breath is often said to be poisonous. In some Iroquois traditions, the Oniare would spare travelers who made offerings to it. In others, the people could protect themselves by invoking the thunder god Hinon, mortal enemy of the Oniare. The name onyare simply means "snake" in Mohawk; Onyarekowa means "great snake."

Oniare Stories

*The Girl Who Was Not Satisfied With Simple Things * Thunder Destroys Horned Snake:
    Iroquois legend about Heno the Thunderer rescuing a girl from the horned serpents.
*Rain-Old-Man and the Horned Snake:
    Seneca legend about Henon giving three Seneca men storm power to kill a horned serpent.

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:
    Another good book of Iroquois stories, told by a Mohawk elder.
Legends, Traditions and Laws of the Iroquois or Six Nations:
    Iroquois mythology and oral history told by a 19th-century Tuscarora chief.

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Additional Resources

 People of the Longhouse
 Iroquois mythology
 Iroquois Indian tribe
 Iroquois language tree
 Seneca language
 Oneida language
 Indian reservations in New York
 Eastern Woodlands tribes



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