Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

Hiawatha (1)

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
by Robbie Robertson
Illustrated by David Shannon

Readers Theater

Book Trailer

Author Interview

Illustrator Interview

Related Activities & Resources:

Disclaimer to use discretion when sharing this folklore with young children:

Author Information:
Robertson and Shannon on HIAWATHA AND THE PEACEMAKER:

Robbie Robertson bio:                                                                            http://www.biography.com/people/robbie-robertson-20854583

Robbie Robertson homepage:

Illustrator Information:
Reading Rocket video interview with David Shannon (:35):                       http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/shannon

National Book Festival Written Interview with David Shannon:

David Shannon Biography, personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights:

David Shannon answers FAQs:

David Shannon interview transcript from Scholastic:

Interview with David Shannon created by Mackin Via Connext:

NPR audio interview with David Shannon (4:38):

Interview with David Shannon about Jangles:

Video interview with David Shannon about Too Many Toys (2:27):

Interview with David Shannon on How I Became a Pirate:

David Shannon bio from Penguin.com:

Tribe Facts:
Mohawk Indian Fact Sheet for Kids:

Mohawk Indian Tribe Facts:

Cayuga Indian Fact Sheet:

Seneca Indian Fact Sheet for Kids:

Onondaga Indian Fact Sheet for Kids:

Oneida Indian Fact Sheet for Kids:

Native American Indian Legends and Folklore:

Fly Like An Eagle Native American Song (5:06):

Lakota Dream Song Music (1:04):

Sacred Indian Chants (59:45):

Native American Healer Songs (46:09):

Directions for making an Iroquois Longhouse (scroll down the page):

Video on the Lifestyle of the People of the Iroquois Longhouse (12:08):

The Building of the Iroquois Longhouse video (11:00):

Iroquois Corn Bread Recipe:

Iroquois Bowl Game (scroll down for the game):

Bury the Hatchet Activity:
Decorate a paper shredder to look like a tree. Give students a cut out of a hatchet or arrow. Have them write on the hatchet the bad thoughts they have concerning people.  For example: They won’t play with people, or share, etc. They sign their name to the hatchet. As a class “tribe” they will one at a time shred their paper. Now their bad thought “weapons” can no longer be retrieved.

The Great Law Activity:
As a class write a Great Law to live by. Have the class pledge to follow the law and have each person tap their closed fist to their chest like the Iroquois did in the book to signify the law is in their heart.

How Indians build canoes (10:16):

How to build a dugout canoe (5:19):

Birchbark Canoe (57:08):

How to make a popsicle canoe:

How to make a cardboard canoe for the pool:                                        http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Cardboard-Canoe-for-your-Kids-in-the/

Meaning of the Eagle Symbol for Native American Indians:  http://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/native-american-symbols/eagle-symbol.htm

Bald Eagle Toilet Paper Roll Craft:

Paper Bag Bald Eagle Craft:

Eagles 4 kids craft ideas:

Slideshow from webcam of eaglets (must see):                    http://www.eagles.org/Cams/FloridaNest.html

Flight of a golden eagle in amazing slow motion (6:20):                             http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141216-flying-golden-eagle-in-slow-motion

Documentary-The American Bald Eagle-National Geographic Documentary (46:04):

Discussion Questions:

Hiawatha finds his belongings burned and his wife and daughters killed in battle. In a war is it okay to kill women and children? Explain.

Hiawatha dressed his wounds with leaves from the woods. Would you know what in nature can be used to heal? How would you find out? How do you think the Indians learned of the healing properties of plants?

Going without food for weeks can cause a person to hallucinate. Do you think Hiawatha was hallucinating when he saw the man in the stone canoe?

If your family was killed would you want revenge or would you seek forgiveness? Why?

Why did the peacemaker give Hiawatha wampum shells as an offering? Do we give gifts when we visit people and if so what are the gifts and why do we give them?

The Peacemaker stutters and has Hiawatha speak for him. If you stuttered would you find someone to speak for you or would you speak for yourself?  Why? What are the pros and cons of speaking  for yourself?

Do we as Americans have a Great Law on how to live? If we do, what is it? If we don’t, what would you create as our Great Law and why?

What does the Peacemaker’s Great Law mean?

Why do Hiawatha’s people govern through fear? What does this say about them as a people?

What does governing by fear do to morale?

Hiawatha doesn’t believe the Peacemaker. Why is it so hard to believe in peace?

The Peacemaker says that Hiawatha speaks with power and confidence and that his voice carries straight to the heart of the people. What does this mean? What is the heart of the people and how does the Peacemaker know this?

Why does seeing the stone canoe glide over the water make Hiawatha believe?

Peace, power, and righteousness shall be the new way. What is righteousness? How do we reconcile peace with power?

How does the healing through forgiveness work?

What kind of healing does Hiawatha need?

The Peacemaker says he does not see defeat. What he sees is a passage – a passage to a new way of life. Does it take a tragedy or loss of something such as a job or a person’s health to cause them to look forward and see an open door? Explain. Can you give an example?

The Seneca Chief said the wind had carried the Peacemaker’s message from the land of the Cayuga. When we are doing things good or bad does our reputation precede us? Can this be a good or a bad thing? Why is it important to know what message we are sending?

Alone we will be broken, but together we are more powerful than the greatest warrior. How is this possible? Use the example of trying to break one pencil vs. trying to break a bundle of pencils.

Why would two chiefs and two strangers be so foolish as to enter our territory in the darkness? Do you agree with this statement by the Oneida Chief? Was this a foolish thing to do? What would you have done and why? Did the Oneida Chief not hear the message in the wind?

Hiawatha is able to forgive himself as he tells his story to the Oneida Chief. What does he have to forgive himself for?

Hiawatha now remembers the joy of his family. When we are consumed by anger is it possible to feel joy? Explain.

Was it foolish or clever for the Peacemaker to fall into the river from the tallest tree? If you were from the Mohawk tribe would you have chopped the tree down?

An elder clan mother says the chiefs reject Tadodaho but act just like him. How so?

The clan mother’s words transformed the Mohawk Chief. Words are powerful things. Tell of a time when words changed your mind on something. These words came from a woman. What does that tell you about the Mohawk tribe?

All the chiefs went to confront Chief Tadodaho of the Onondaga. What emotions and thoughts do you think were going through the minds of the chiefs as they prepared to see their enemies?

The wicked Tadodaho lived separately from his people and bands of warriors stood guard day and night. Why did he live separately and need guards? What does this tell you about his character?

Tadodaho was a horrifying sight. Does being mean spirited affect our health? How so?

Why did hearing the hymn of purity and truth cause everyone to stop fighting?

Why do you think the warriors were afraid when the moon crossed in front of the sun but the chiefs with the Peacemaker were not?

The Peacemaker asked Hiawatha to make medicine for Tadodaho’s sickness. Why ask him? Why not a different chief? Would you have helped your enemy?

How do you think Tadodaho felt about drinking something made by Hiawatha? Do you think he was afraid or puzzled?

Hiawatha put his heart and soul into the potion and with this action, his anger disappeared. Does a deliberate action have to come before the heart can follow? Explain.

Why were the weapons of war buried beneath the pine tree? Why not just in a hole?

What does it mean to bury the weapons where it would be impossible to retrieve them? Do you think the tribes would have eventually dug them back up if it were possible? Why?

The tree became known as the tree of peace. Do we have a tree of peace in the United States or something similar? If so, what is it and what does it represent for us?

Have you heard the term, ‘burying the hatchet’? What do you think it means?

The women of the tribes appointed the chiefs. What does this say about the women of the tribes? Only the women did the appointing. Would this ever happen in our country? Explain.

All the voices in the tribes would be heard before a vote on any action would be taken. This is a type of democracy. Do we have this today? Give an example.

What is the meaning of the eagle?

Why is Tadodaho appointed to look over all five nations as an eagle? Why not a different chief?

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker were real people who lived in the 14th century. How is it we know their story today?

The Great Law of Peace is the oldest participatory democracy on earth and influenced the writers of the constitution of the United States. Since this is true why did our nation set about killing the Indians and calling them savages?

Robbie Robertson who is the author of this book says he heard this story when he was a child. It was told to a group of Indians in a longhouse by the wisdom keeper who knew the stories and the old ways.

Do we have a wisdom keeper for our family, relatives or country? If so, who is it? And if not, why not? How do we remember our heritage today? What can we do to preserve our past?

Book Talk Teasers:

Play Native American Indian music from one of the websites listed above as children enter.

Bring a hatchet and discuss what it means to ‘bury the hatchet’. Explain this book is about several tribes trying to bury the hatchet.

Read Alikes:

Children’s poetry, culture and customs, multicultural materials, picture books for children, poetry, poetry for kids and teens:
Bruchac, Joseph. Thirteen moons on turtle’s back. Celebrates the seasons of the year through poems from the legends of such Native American tribes as the Cherokee, Cree, and Sioux. (NoveList)

Art and music, culture and customs, picture books for children:
Baylor, Byrd. When clay sings. The daily life and customs of prehistoric Southwest Indian tribes are retraced from the designs on the remains of their pottery. (NoveList)

Canadian fiction, culture and customs, picture books for children:
Littlechild, George. This land is my land. Using text and his own paintings, the author describes the experiences of Indians of North America in general as well as his experiences growing up as a Plains Cree Indian in Canada. (NoveList)

Celebrating wild horses and the natural world of the prairies:
Yerxa, Leo. Ancient thunder. Animal books; Canadian fiction; Culture and customs; Picture books for children. (NoveList)

Biographies, biography, culture and customs, picture books for children, intricately plotted, moving:
Tingle, Tim. Saltypie: a Choctaw journey from darkness into light. Stories of the author’s Choctaw Indian family, centering particularly on his blind grandmother. (NoveList)

Art and music, biographies, biography, canadian literature, culture and customs, picture books for children:
Rivera, Raquel. Arctic adventures: tales from the lives of inuit artists. Presents stories about the lives of four Inuit artists, with biographical profiles of the four artists and descriptions of their work. (NoveList)

Culture and customs, Indians of North America:
Ancona, George. Powwow. A photo essay on the pan-Indian celebration called a powwow, this particular one being held on the Crow Reservation in Montana. (NoveList)

Ditchfield, Christin. Northeast Indians. Describes the first people to live in the Northeast region of North America, discussing their culture, customs, ways of life, interactions with other settlers, and their lives today. (NoveList)

Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane. Buffalo days. Describes life on a Crow Indian reservation in Montana, and the importance these tribes place on buffalo, which are once again thriving in areas where the Crow live. (NoveList)

Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane. Lacrosse: the national game of the Iroquois. Describes the sport of lacrosse, its origins, and connections to the Iroquois, or Haudenosaunee, peoples. (NoveList)

Nelson, S. D. Black Elk’s vision: a Lakota story. Narrates the life of the Lakota Native American, providing first-person perspectives on such topics as his childhood visions, involvement in the battles of Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee, and contributions to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. (NoveList)

Nelson, S. D. Buffalo bird girl:  Hidatsa story. Traces the childhood, friendships and dangers experienced by Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Indian born in 1839, whose community along the Missouri River in the Dakotas transitioned from hunting to agriculture. (NoveList)

Nelson, S. D. Gift horse: a Lakota story. Relates the story of a Lakota youth whose father gives him a horse in preparation for his making the transition from boyhood into manhood and becoming a Lakota Warrior. (NoveList)

Saint James, Synthia-ill. Enduring wisdom: sayings from Native Americans. A collection of quotations from American Indians throughout the continent dated from the earliest contact with Europeans to contemporary tribal persons. (NoveList)

Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk. Dancing teepees: poems of American Indian youth. An illustrated collection of poems from the oral tradition of Native Americans. (NoveList)

Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk. The Iroquois. An overview of the Iroquois people describes their history, presents their creation myth, evokes their ancient way of life, and discusses their lives today. (NoveList)

Wood, Nancy C. Spirit walker. The author’s poems reflect the deep spirituality and values of the Taos Indians and their interconnectedness to the earth. (NoveList)

Yerxa, Leo. Last Leaf, First snowflake to fall. In a story that begins with a free verse creation tale, a Native American parent and child journey in their canoe in search of winter. (NoveList)

Historical fiction, Native American Indians, picture books for children:
Tingle, Tim. Crossing Bok Chitto: a Choctaw tale of friendship & freedom. In the 1800s, a Choctaw girl becomes friends with a slave boy from a plantation across the great river, and when she learns that his family is in trouble, she helps them cross to freedom. (NoveList)

Folklore, picture books for children, Native American Indians:
Bruchac, James. Rabbit’s snow dance: a traditional Iroquois story. A long-tailed rabbit who wants a nibble of the highest, tastiest leaves uses his special snow song in the summertime, despite the protests of the other animals. (NoveList)

Schomp, Virginia. Hiawatha and the great peace. A Native American legend based in part on the true story of the founding of the Iroquois League by the hero Deganawidah and his companion Hiawatha. (NoveList)

Book Reviews:

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker.
By Robbie Robertson. Illus. by David Shannon.
2015. 48p. Abrams, $19.95 (9781419712203). Gr. 2–4.
First published September 1, 2015 (Booklist).

Though often softened in children’s books, the path to peace is an arduous one, fraught with personal turmoil and external resistance. In this stunning retelling of the ancient Iroquois legend of Hiawatha and Deganawida (the Peacemaker), this concept is made very clear. Consumed by grief at the destruction of his family by evil Chief Tadodaho, Hiawatha is chosen by the Peacemaker to override his own feelings and bring an end to violence by uniting the five warring Iroquois nations. When the nations’ chiefs join Hiawatha and confront Tadodaho, the Peacemaker reminds everyone that “where there is darkness, we must bring light, and that it is by forgiving that we are set free.” The story of Hiawatha is a timeless allegory that honors the fact that the Great Law of Peace is based on consensus and shared power among men and women. Accompanying this deep message are Caldecott Honor–winning Shannon’s (No, David! 1998) vibrant oil paintings, which pay homage to traditional Native American art and are filled with light, brilliantly capturing the texture of Hiawatha’s emotions. Musician turned author Robertson concludes with historical and author’s notes, as well as an original song on CD. This adds a much-needed, authentic Native American voice to children’s literature. The message of peace and Shannon’s incredible art make for a winning combination. Amina Chaudhri


School Library Journal:
Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
Gr 5 Up—This long overdue and stunningly illustrated work tells the story of Hiawatha, the legendary historical figure who helped form the Great Iroquois Nation. Sparked by fear, anger, and revenge, the five Haudenosaunee Nations are constantly at odds with one another other, fueled by the evil Chief Tadodaho. The Mohawk warrior Hiawatha is consumed by grief and anger, but a Peacemaker appears and enlists him to assist in joining the tribes together under the Great Law. After traveling with the Peacemaker to the different tribes and working toward peace, Hiawatha finds forgiveness within himself. Best known for his work with The Band, Robertson offers a beautifully retold version of this tale, which has been passed down through North American Indian oral tradition. An appended note describes the Iroquois Confederacy and its impact upon the U.S. Constitution, adding authenticity and emphasizing the importance of this tale. The bright colors of Shannon’s full-page spreads add depth and volume, giving readers greater understanding. VERDICT All students should know the history of the Iroquois Confederacy, and this book provides the perfect opportunity for them to do so.—Amy Zembroski, Indian Community School, Franklin, WI