Legends of the Longhouse

SKU: 0919645135

Jesse J. Cornplanter
Grade Levels:
Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Adult Education, College, University
Iroquois, Seneca, Woodland
Book Type:

Sale price$13.14


Legends of the Longhouse is a reprint of the 1938 original published by Lippincott. Jesse Cornplanter (1889-1957) wrote a series of letters to Mrs. Walter Hendricks during 1936-1937 in which he told her 17 traditional Seneca stories. In the letters he cautions the reader that there are several versions of each story and his retelling is based on what he heard from his father and others from the Tonawanda Reservation. The first story explains creation and is illustrated by the author. In this drawing, the Firedragon or Blue Panther assists Skywoman as she falls toward the water by supplying her with corn and a corn pounder. The remaining stories explain the origin of medicine masks, ohkiweh ceremony, and other sacred dances. In each letter, the author adds personal notes and illustrations. One of the longest stories and one that the author indicates is his personal favourite is The Naked Bear, a Seneca Legend of Peace. This story explains the meaning behind the phrase, burying the hatchet, and how long ago the Seneca established peace between warring villages. Other stories tell about supernatural events relating to Stone Giants, Little People, and the Flying Head. Each story contains a moral or teaching and Cornplanter often points this out to the reader. This edition includes a biographical sketch of Jesse Cornplanter by Seneca scholar George Abrams. Jesse Cornplanter grew up hearing these traditional stories told during winter months and he realized their significance for future generations. His English translation of these stories that are told in his own style makes this reprint an important contribution to Iroquois/Haudenosaunee literature.

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