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We are Indigenous & non-Indigenous people sharing, celebrating, & creating space for Indigenous art & culture along the north shores of Lake Ontario. 

 

Founded & managed by local Indigenous people from varying Nations, we are based in South Mississauga.

 

• Art Exhibitions

• Teaching of Arts and Crafts

• Authentic Education on Indigenous Studies in the school system

• Indigenous Educational Walks in south Mississauga

• Working in tandem with the non-Indigenous local community

 

www.eaglespirits.ca

The Spirit of the Corn

Remember who we are and the stories we learn from our grandparents.

 

Iroquois story

There was a time , says the Iroquois Grandmother, when it was not needed to plant the corn seed nor to

hoe the elds, for the corn sprang up of itself, and lled the broad meadows.

Its stalks grew strong and tall, and were covered with leaves like waving banners, and lled with ears of

pearly grain wrapped in silken green husks.

In those days Onatah, the spirit of the corn, walked upon the earth. The sun lovingly touched her dusky

face with the blush of the morning, and her eyes grew soft as the gleam of the stars on dark streams. Her

night-black hair was spread before the breeze like a wind-driven cloud.

As she walked through the elds, the corn, the Indian maize, sprang up of itself from the earth, and lled

the air with its fringed tassels and whispering leaves.

With Onatah walked her two sisters, the Spirits of the Squash and the Bean. As they passed by, squash vines

and bean plants grew from the corn hills.

One day Onatah wandered away alone in search of early dew. The evil one of the earth, Hahgwehdaetgah,

followed swiftly after.

He grasped her by the hair and dragged her beneath the ground down to his gloomy cave. Then, sending

out his re-breathing monsters, he blighted Onatah's grain and when her sisters, the Spirits of the Squash

and the Bean, saw the ame-monsters raging through the elds, they ew far away in terror.

As for poor Onatah, she lay a trembling captive in the dark prison-cave of the evil one. She mourned the

blight of the cornelds, and sorrowed over her runaway sisters.

"O warm, bright sun!" she cried, "if I may walk once more upon the earth, never again will I leave my corn!"

And the little birds of the air heard her cry, and, winging their way upward, they carried her vow and gave it

to the Sun as he wandered through the blue heavens.

The Sun, who loved Onatah, sent out many searching beams of light. They pierced through the damp

ground, and entering the prison-cave, guided her back again to her elds.

And ever after that she watched her elds alone, for no more did her sisters, the Spirits of the Squash and

Bean, watch with her. If her elds thirsted, no longer could she seek the early dew. If the ame -monsters

burned her corn, she could not search the skies for cooling winds. And when the great rains fell and injured

her harvest, her voice grew so faint that the friendly Sun could not hear it.

But ever Onatah tenderly watched her elds and the little birds of the air ocked to her service. They

followed her through the rows of corn, and made war on the tiny enemies that gnawed at the roots of the

grain. And at harvest-time the grateful Onatah scattered the rst-gathered corn over her broad lands.

Joyfully partook of the feast spread for them on the meadow-ground.

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Paintings by Lynn Taylor

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Painting By Lynn Taylor

Maid of the Mist

The most fantastic story of them all is the story of a young Seneca girl named Lelawala who would become immortalized in the history of Niagara Falls. The true maid of the mist.

 

A tragedy for the ages

The traditional Iroquois legend States that Lelawala was immensely saddened by the recent death of her

husband. This initial loss started an avalanche of misfortune in Lelawala's life, anq she quickly lost hope of

overcoming her current sorrows. Thus, one day, Lelawala boarded her canoe and paddled into the middle

of the roaring Niagara River. Singing a time-honored death hymn, the girl allowed the canoe to be caught

by the rushing current, and soon Lelawala and her canoe were thrown over the edge of the enormous falls.

 

However, instead of nding the sweet release of death in the deep waters below, Lelawala was caught

mid-decent by Heno, the God of Thunder. Heno brought Lelawala to his home behind the falls, where he

and his son nursed Lelawala back to health. Once again happy and condent in her life, Lelawala fell in love

with and married Heno's youngest son, and together the family lived behind the falls.

Yet Lelawala had one regret in her magical life behind the thundering water: she wished to see the people

of her past once more. Unfortunately, she gained this opportunity all too soon. Heno informed the girl that

a great snake was traveling down the river with plans to poison the waters from which Lelawala's people

drank. Her people would die, and the great snake would feast on them. Lelawala was granted permission to

warn her people, and she was able to save them from disaster before returning to her watery home.

When the sake nally visited the village, it was enraged to nd the people ed to higher country. It sought

to nd them and carry out its devilish deed, but Heno rose up out of the crashing water and struck the

beast dead with a single lighting bolt. However, the great snake's body obstructed the river's ow, and

water began rushing directly into Heno's home behind the falls. Heno was able to evacuate his family,

Lelawala included, before the damage was complete, and they relocated to a new place in the sky.

 

From their new home, Lelawala could watch her people every day, but she never again could visit with the

people of her past.

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STURGEON - By Don Chretien

BEAVER - By Don Chretien