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Native Languages of the Americas:
Seneca Legends, Myths, and Stories

This is our collection of links to Seneca folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our American 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 stories from the the Iroquois tribes (which include the Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Mohawk, and Seneca Indians), since the traditional stories of those tribes are very similar.

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

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Important Seneca Mythological Figures

Sky Woman: The mother goddess of Seneca mythology, said to have fallen through a hole in the sky.

The Twin Gods: Sky Woman's twin grandsons, Sky Holder (Djuskaha) and Warty (Othagwenda.) These twin deities were the creators and culture heroes of the Iroquois people. Sky-Holder was the god of life and created many things to help humankind; his twin Warty was the god of death and primarily caused destruction.

Hawennio: The high god of Seneca mythology, a benevolent teacher and caretaker of the world.

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 Seneca myths and are typically portrayed as honorable and fair. The thunder god Hine is their eldest brother and leader, often called "Grandfather" by the Senecas.

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

Drum Dancers (Jogeon, in Seneca): Little people of Seneca Indian legends. They are dwarf-like nature spirits about 2 feet tall.

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

Flying Head (Dagwanoeient, in Seneca): Monster in the form of a giant disembodied head, usually created during a particularly violent murder.

Naked Bear (Niagwahe, in Seneca): A giant, hairless bear monster. Some people associate them with mammoths.

Doonongaes: 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.

Godasiyo: Legendary female chief of the Seneca tribe.

Dry Hand: Disembodied mummified arm of Seneca ghost stories.

Seneca Indian Folklore

*Seneca Indian Myths:
    Online collection of Seneca myths and legends.
*The Powerful Boy:
    Seneca legend of a mythical boy hero.
*The Woman Who Fell From the Sky * Seek Your Father:
    The Seneca myths of Sky Woman, her daughter and grandsons.
*Godasiyo the Woman Chief:
    Seneca story about a legendary Iroquois leader.
*Bear's Race With Turtle * Turtle's Race With Bear:
    Seneca folktale about Turtle teaching Bear a lesson.
*Niagara Falls * The Sacrifice at Niagara Falls:
    Seneca folklore about Niagara Falls and the Maiden of the Mist.
*Brothers Who Followed The Sun:
    Seneca legend about three mythical brothers.
*Dagwanoenyent * The Flying Head:
    Seneca legends about the whirlwind monster Dagwanoenyent.
*Thunder Boy:
    Seneca stories about the life of the hero Híno'Hoháwank.
*The Origin of Stories:
    Seneca legend about where storytelling came from.
*Chipmunk and Bear * How Chipmunks Got Their Stripes:
    Seneca legends about the origin of chipmunks.
*Fox and Rabbit:
    Seneca legend about how Rabbit escaped from Fox.
*Spring Defeats Winter:
    Seneca tale about the passing of the seasons.

Recommended Books on Seneca Mythology
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Turtle's Race With Beaver:
    Lively picture book illustrating a Seneca legend about Beaver.
Brother Wolf: A Seneca Tale:
    Another good picture book based on a Seneca legend about Wolf and Raccoon playing tricks on each other.
Maiden of the Mist: A Legend of Niagara Falls:
    Children's book based on the Seneca legend of Lelawala, the spirit of the waterfalls of Niagara.
Skunny Wundy: Seneca Indian Tales:
    Book of Seneca legends and folktales.
Seneca Myths and Folk Tales:
    Classic collection of Seneca Indian legends.
The Deetkatoo:
    Great collection of traditional tales about little people from the Seneca and other tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Longhouse Religion
 Iroquois mythology
 Native Indian beliefs
 Seneca Indians
 Seneca language
 Reservations in New York
 Iroquois Indians
 Woodlands Native Americans
 Information on American Indians

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