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Native American Legends: Sky-Holder

Name: Sky-Holder
Tribal affiliation: Iroquois, Huron
Native names: Tarachiawagon, Taronhiawagon, Tarenyawagon, Tareya-Wagon, Teharonhiawagon, Tharonhiawakon, Tharonhiawagon, Tarhuhyiawahku, Teharonhiawako, Thaluhyawaku, Thaluhyawa:ku, Tharonhiaouagon, Tharenhyawa:ken, Tarenya-wa-gon, Thaenhya:wa'gih, Teharonghyawago, Tarenyawago, Ta-ren-ya-wa-go, Tau-lou-ghy-au-wan-goon; Aireskoi, Areskoui, Airesekui, Agreskwe
Also known as: Master of Breath, Holder of the Heavens, Sky-Grasper
Type: Culture hero, Creator, Native American god
Related figures in other tribes: Ioskeha (Huron), Good Spirit (Cayuga), Manabush (Anishinabe)

In Iroquois mythology, Sky-Holder (Taronhiawagon or Tarachiawagon) is the benefactor of humans and the high god of the Haudenosaunee tribes. His position in Iroquois cosmology varies greatly from telling to telling, however. In the mythology of many communities, Sky-Holder is the grandson of Sky-Woman-- either the same as or equivalent to the Huron Ioskeha, creator of the human race. In some Huron communities, Sky-Holder is instead said to be the son of Ioskeha (and thus the great-grandson of Sky Woman,) who did not create humankind or the world but rules over it kindly and fairly from afar. In some Iroquois communities, Sky-Holder is identified as the original husband of Sky Woman, creator of the world but not the human race (who were created by Ioskeha.) There are some Iroquois people who assert that Sky-Holder was the name of both Sky-Woman's husband and her grandson, and that the culture hero was either the reincarnation or namesake of the original Sky Chief. Some Iroquois people also believe that the legendary leader Hiawatha (or his ally the Great Peacemaker) was also a reincarnation or aspect of Sky-Holder. Others feel that "Sky-Holder" was simply a title of divinity and reverence, and that Ioskeha, Sky Woman's husband, Hiawatha, and the Peacemaker were all entirely distinct personages.

Sky Holder Stories

* Three versions of the Iroquois Creation Story:
    A comparison of three Iroquois myths about the birth of Teharonghyawago and Tawiskaron.
*Creation Story:
    Mohawk legend about Sky Woman and her grandson Holder of the Heavens.
*The Birth of Good and Evil:
    Oneida myth about Sky Woman's twin grandchildren.
*Sayadio in the Land of the Dead:
    Wyandot legend about Tarenyawagon trying to help a man recover his sister from the spirit world.
*Hiawatha the Unifier * Hiawatha Tarenyawagon:
    Iroquois legend about the Sky-Upholder manifesting as the peace chief Hiawatha.

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Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

The Oneida Creation Story:
    Several versions of the Oneida myth of creation.
Midwinter Rites of the Cayuga Long House:
    Book on the mythological traditions, ceremonies, and religious life of the Cayuga Indians.
Oneida Iroquois Folklore, Myth, And History:
    Book of Oneida legends and oral history.
Iroquois Indian Myths And Legends:
    Collection of legends from the Cayuga, Oneida and other Iroquois tribes.

Additional Resources

 People of the Longhouse
 Iroquois stories
 Iroquois Indians
 Iroquoian language family
 Oneida words
 Seneca words
 New York Native American
 Eastern Woodlands culture



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