ERIC Number: ED164199
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1974
Reference Count: 0
Myths and Legends of the New York Iroquois. Museum Bulletin 125.
Converse, Harriet Maxwell
Education Department Bulletin, n437 Dec 15 1908
Adopted for 22 years into the Seneca nation, Harriet Maxwell Converse devoted much of her life to the study and defense of the Indians of New York. The position of friendship and trust she enjoyed enabled her to record extensive information on the customs and institutions of the Iroquois. Material for this volume was taken from her notes found after her death in 1903. The manuscript as found included 22 legends; 14 additional ones were revised from her rough notes. The tales are written in a graceful, poetic style and reflect great understanding and knowledge of the culture. Parts I and II record the myths and legends of the Iroquois. These deal with the story of the creation of the earth, good and evil, sun, stars, and animals. Other stories explain the forces of nature--the spirits behind the winds, thunder, drought, rain, seasons, and death. Some tales relate how certain constellations came to be or explain how the bear lost his tail or the frog his teeth; still others tell of the journey of the soul, the legend of the tall pine, the invisible little people, and the spirits of corn, rock, and lake. Part III includes miscellaneous papers found among her notes. These describe aspects of Iroquois history and culture, including women's rights, wampum belts, the game of lacrosse, the Secret Medicine Society, and Mrs. Converse's initiation into the Seneca Medicine Lodge. The forward to the book includes an account of Harriet Converse's life and her work among the Iroquois. (DS)
Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: New York State Museum, Albany.; New York State Education Dept., Albany.
Identifiers: Converse (Harriet Maxwell); Iroquois (Tribe); New York