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Hiawatha by Thomas Eakins, c. 1874

Hiawatha (also known as Ayenwathaaa, Aiionwatha, or Haiëñ'wa'tha [ha.jẽʔ.waʔ.tha] in Onondaga)[1] was a precolonial Indian leader and co-founder of the Iroquois Confederacy. He was a leader of the Onondaga people, the Mohawk people, or both. According to some accounts, he was born an Onondaga but adopted into the Mohawks.

Hiawatha was a follower of the Great Peacemaker (Deganawida), a Huron prophet and spiritual leader who proposed the unification of the Iroquois peoples, who shared common ancestry and similar languages, but he suffered from a severe speech impediment which hindered him from spreading his proposal. Hiawatha was a skilled orator, and he was instrumental in persuading the Senecas, Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and Mohawks to accept the Great Peacemaker's vision and band together to become the Five Nations of the Iroquois confederacy. The Tuscarora people joined the Confederacy in 1722 to become the Sixth Nation.


  • Hiawatha, a sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1872-1874).
  • Hiawatha Council, former name of the Longhouse Council, BSA in Onondaga County (succeeded by Hiawatha-Seaway Council after merger with Seaway Valley Council)
  • Hiawatha Boulevard is a street in Syracuse NY, in Onondaga County.
  • Hiawatha Lake, in Onondaga Park in Syracuse, NY
  • In 1950, plans for a film about the historical Hiawatha by Monogram Pictures were scrapped. The reason given was that Hiawatha's peacemaker role could be seen as communist propaganda.[2][3]
  • A film was released in 1997 based on the Longfellow poem. It was a joint production of the U.S. and Canada, filmed in Ontario, Canada.[4]
  • The 26.66-mile (42.91 km) Hiawatha bike trail in northern Idaho and Montana is over a former railroad right-of-way on old bridges and through old tunnels.[5]
  • A 52-foot (16 m) tall, 16,000 lb (7,300 kg) fiberglass statue of Hiawatha was built in 1964 and stands in Ironwood, MI. It is billed as the "World's Tallest and Largest Indian".[6]
  • Hiawatha National Forest is a 894,836-acre (362,127 ha) National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
  • Amtrak, a railroad serving the continental United States and parts of Canada, has a train called "Hiawatha Service", which runs several times daily between Chicago, IL and Milwaukee, WI.[7] It was named for a series of trains formerly operated by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad.
  • The Metro Blue Line in Hennepin County, Minnesota was formerly known as the Hiawatha Line. The line runs largely along its namesake Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis.
  • The Island of Hiawatha is the former name of the Toronto Islands.[8]
  • Hiawatha appears as a playable leader for the Iroquois in the video games Sid Meier's Civilization III, Age of Empires 3, and Sid Meier's Civilization V, and serves as the visual representation of the Iroquois in Europa Universalis IV
  • Hiawatha Elementary School in Essex Jct. VT.
  • Hiawatha Park, Chicago Park District park, northwest City of Chicago
  • Hiawatha Beach neighborhood was established in 1926. These homes surround Buck Lake and line the Huron River in Hamburg Township, MI.
  • The Links at Hiawatha Landing. A golf course in Apalachin, NY.
  • The USS Hiawatha is the name of several ships of the United States Navy, as well as a Starfleet starship that appeared on a 2019 episode of Star Trek: Discovery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American Place Names of the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, ISBN 0-8061-3576-X pg. 166
  2. ^ Wallechinsky, David (1975). The People's Almanac. Garden City: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-04060-1. p. 239
  3. ^ "Digital History: Post-War Hollywood". uh.edu. Archived from the original on 2010-11-29.
  4. ^ The Song of Hiawatha film https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120163/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_1
  5. ^ "Route of the Hiawatha (Official Website) > The Trail". www.ridethehiawatha.com.
  6. ^ Hiawatha statue description from Roadside America http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/11874
  7. ^ Amtrak Route Hiawatha Retrieved 2013-5-3
  8. ^ "Toronto Historic Maps". peoplemaps.esri.com.

Further reading[edit]

Juvenile audience

External links[edit]