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Native American Legends: Raweno
Tribal affiliation: Mohawk,
Alternate spellings: Rawenniyo, Raweni'yo, Raweni:yo, Raweniio, Ha-Wen-Neyu, Ha Wen Neyu, Hahgwehdiyu, Hawenniyo, Hah-gweh-di-yu, Haweniyo, Hawonio, Hawen:ni:yo:, Ha-wah-ne-u, Rawenni:yu
Pronunciation: Varies by language: in Mohawk, it is pronounced lah-wun-nee-yoh. The Anglicized form is usually pronounced rah-wen-noh.
Also known as: Shonkwaya'tihson/Shonkwaia'tishon/Shukwaya’tisu/Shongwayadihsonh/Songweadiiso/Sogweadi’so/Sonkwiatisu/Sone-yah-tis-sa-ye, Everything-Maker, Creator of the World, Great Spirit
Type: High god,
Related figures in other tribes: Tabaldak (Abenaki),
Kitchi Manitou (Ojibway),
Raweno is the great creator god of the Mohawk and Huron tribes. The name "Raweno" comes from words meaning "great voice"
or "great ruler" in the Iroquois languages.
Sometimes Raweno is also referred to as Shonkwaya'tihson, which means "the one who made us," or
which means "he holds up the heavens." In more modern times, the English phrase
Great Spirit (a literal translation
of the name for the Creator god in the neighboring Algonquian tribes) has also become more popular.
In any case, Raweno is always portrayed as a just, benevolent caretaker and teacher of the Iroquois people.
"Raweno" (or one of its many variant spellings) was used as a translation for "God" in early translations of the Bible into the
Iroquois languages, and most Iroquois people today consider the Creator and the Christian God to be one and the same.
Why the Owl has Big Eyes:
Iroquois legend about Raweno creating the animals.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
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Picture book based on a Mohawk legend about Raweno punishing Owl for his his nosiness.
The Oneida Creation Story:
Detailed account of the Oneida myth of creation, including discussion about Hawennio's origins.
Skywoman: Legends of the Iroquois:
Wonderful illustrated collection of Iroquois Indian legends, by Oneida and Mohawk authors.
New York Indian tribes
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