Tag Archives: Ongweh’onweh

Elshender:A Tale of a Poor Man

Artwork by Billy Frank Alexander

Artwork by Billy Frank Alexander


‘I will tell you how my ancestors in the spirit world first encountered the white man and had no reason to fear him for he needed protection and so we protected him. This land is good to people in the summer months but spring, autumn and winter can be hard. We teach the white man how to survive and we like what the white man brings with him. My ancestors saw a clever man in the white man and were happy to learn from him. The white man was happy to learn from my ancestors but then they grow tired and think that they know better. Conflict starts and the white man and Ongweh’onweh start to see things different. More white man come and build settlements for the white man on lands that my ancestors have lived on for a long time. We natives are no longer welcome in our own land. This is how the Six Nations begins because we seek peace with the white man – not war. We are happy to share our land for there is room for all but white man does not want to share. Together our brothers and sisters are strong and the white man finds it hard to treat us bad and take more of our lands. They still want to find ways to treat us bad but our unity keeps us safe. Long ago the six nations fight against each other as separate tribes and peace did not exist between us. Then the Peacemaker came and set out on his journey and met Hayo’wetha – you might know him as Hiowatha?’


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