HOME ALGONQUIN CALIFORNIA CHEROKEE CHEYENNE CHINOOK CHOCTAW
CHUMASH COMANCHE CREEK HOPI IROQUOIS LAKOTA LENAPE
MOHAWK NAVAJO SENECA SIOUX LIBRARY LINKS FORUM

MOHAWK SYMBOLS


Haudenosaunee designs have featured recurring designs for centuries; these symbols have been passed on through generations, and have deep cultural significance.

The Tree of Peace is a tall white pine that has been planted by the Onondaga, representing the great binding law, or Gayanahsagowa, which unified the five Nations.

The cardinal points for north, south, east, and west are represented by four white roots growing from the Tree of Peace. The number four has great significance in Haudenosaunee lore, also representing the four beings who help the Creator, and the four winds that blow.

An eagle sits atop the tree of peace, watching over the five Nations, ready to cry out at the first sign of approaching danger. The eagle is considered to be a messenger sent by the Creator.

The next symbol is that of a circle, representing unity and the cycle of life. According to Haudenosaunee lore, the Peace Maker made the Iroquois chiefs gather around the Tree of Peace, forming a circle by holding hands in order to keep the peace.

The next symbol is a bundle of five arrows, each representing one of the five founding tribes of the Iroquois League. The Peace Maker demonstrated that one arrow could easily be broken, while a bundle five would remain strong.

All life is believed to have come from the Sky World, which is represented as a dome, or arch.

In addition to the Tree of Peace, the Haudenosaunee often make references to the Celestial Tree, from which all lights in the Sky World originate.

The Earth itself is represented by Turtle Island a giant turtle whose carapace features thirteen plates, each of which represent one of thirteen moons that make up an entire year. North-America (Mother Earth) is often represented as a turtle.

The dark side of Haudenosaunee lore is known as The Underworld, and it is represented by (amongst other things) snakes, and a horned panther with a long serpentine tail which lives underwater in eth great lakes.


Contact: webmaster@indianlegend.com
Design and layout 2003 http://www.indianlegend.com All legends have been
edited from historical documents and are believed to be in the public domain.
Last modified: May 13, 2003