What were the religious beliefs of the Iroquois?


Quick Answer

The religious beliefs of the Iroquois varied, as the different tribes lived far apart and there are few written records of their practices. However, some commonly held beliefs included worshiping certain god and goddess-like idols, including Sky Woman, Thunders, the Twin Gods and Onatah.

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Full Answer

Some of the idols that the Iroquois may have celebrated include:

  • Sky Woman - Considered the mother of the Iroquois tribes, legends state that she fell from the sky.
  • The Twin Gods - Said to be the beings that created humans, the Twin Gods were the Sky Woman's grandsons. While one twin was a good spirit who helped mankind, the other was his evil counterpart who created obstacles for them.
  • Thunders - These creatures lived in the sky and caused thunder. Their leader was a god named Hino.
  • The Great Spirit - Historians are unsure of its identity because Christian missionaries influenced the narrative. Some believe he was the good deity of the Twin Gods, while others state he was Hino.
  • Onatah - Onatah was the spirit of corn, as well as a fertility goddess.
  • Mythological creatures - These creatures included the Naked Bear, a dragon-like serpent named Oniare that lived in the Great Lakes and dwarf-like nature spirits named Jogahs.
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