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Native Languages of the Americas:
Oneida Indian Legends, Myths, and Stories

This is our collection of links to Oneida 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 Seneca, Onondaga, Cayuga, Mohawk, and Oneida Indians), since the traditional stories of those tribes are very similar.

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

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Important Oneida Mythological Figures

Sky-Woman: The mother goddess of the Iroquois tribes, said to have fallen through a hole in the sky.

Twin Gods: Sky Woman's twin grandsons, creators and culture heroes of the Iroquois people. Sky-Holder was the god of life and light, and created many things to help humankind; his twin Flint was the god of death and darkness and primarily caused destruction. In many Oneida versions of the myth, the two brothers created humans together, explaining why people have both good and evil nature.

The Creator (Shukwaya'tisu, in Oneida): The high god of Iroquois mythology, a benevolent teacher and caretaker of the world. In some traditions the Creator is referred to as Orenda or the Great Spirit.

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 Oneida legends and spirituality and are typically portrayed as honorable and fair.

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

Drum Dancers (Tehotikal:luhe', in Oneida): Little people of Iroquoian folklore. They are dwarf-like nature spirits about 2 feet tall.

Stone Coats (Atnayalho, in Oneida): Mythological giants of the Iroquois tribes, with skin as hard as stone.

Flying Heads: Monsters in the form of a giant disembodied head, usually created during particularly violent murders.

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

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

Oneida Indian Folklore

*Oneida Oral Tradition:
    Collection of traditional Oneida tales from Wisconsin.
*Haudenosaunee Creation Story * Sky Woman:
    Oneida stories about the creation of the world and the origin of the Haudenosaunee tribes.
*The Birth of Good and Evil:
    Oneida myth about Sky Woman's twin grandchildren.
*The Warrior Maiden:
    The legend of Aliquipiso, an Oneida girl who sacrificed herself to save her tribe.
*Godasiyo the Woman Chief:
    Legends about a female Iroquois chief.
*How the Turtle Flew South for the Winter:
    Oneida legend about Turtle's impatience getting him into trouble.
*Tree of Peace:
    Oneida story about the pine tree and the formation of the Iroquois League.
*Rabbit Dance:
    Oneida legend about the origin of the Rabbit Dance.

Recommended Books on Oneida Mythology
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Oneida Iroquois Folklore, Myth, And History:
    Excellent book of Oneida legends and oral history.
The Oneida Creation Story:
    Detailed account of the Oneida myth of creation, in both Oneida and English.
Skywoman: Legends of the Iroquois:
    Terrific illustrated collection of Iroquois Indian legends, by Oneida and Mohawk authors.
Iroquois Indian Myths And Legends:
    Collection of legends from the Oneida and other Iroquois tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Oneida religion and expressive traditions
 Oneida Indians
 Oneida language
 Indian beliefs and customs
 Iroquois Indians
 New York Native American tribes
 Eastern Woodlands cultures
 Native American Indian tribe names

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