The Warrior Maiden Essay

The Oneida folk is a Native American people that belong to the Iroquois Confederacy. which settled originally in upstate New York. The name that the people give themselves is derived from “Onayotekaono” . intending the “People of the Upright Stone” . The narrative of the “Warrior Maiden” is non needfully specific to the Oneida folk. but it is really a instead common fable among the Native American peoples. However. the narrative is to be found in different versions that are. for their most portion. dissimilar and adapted to the peculiar tradition of each folk. The Southern folk. such as the Hopi people who are based in Mexico. have an about wholly different version of the “Warrior Maiden” narrative. The Oneida version of this fable offers a memorable and really beautiful illustration of a true heroine: the immature maiden. named Aliquipiso saves the Oneidas from their rival folk. the Mingos. through unexcelled bravery and selflessness. The fable has a great significance for the history and the civilization of the Iroquois and of the Oneida people particularly.

Therefore. first of all. the narrative gives an illustration of a perfect heroine of the people. a maiden that was respected non merely by those that knew her and saw her courageous bosom and her pure spirit. but besides by all the undermentioned coevalss that remembered her name. Aliquipiso literally saves her people from deceasing of hungriness. during a war with their most unsafe enemies. the Mingos. The fable is set obviously to a clip before the reaching of the white colonisers. As the narrative has it. after a annihilating invasion. the Oneida people found refuge from their enemies in the deepnesss of the woods. in caves and desolate mountains where they were so protected but where they could decease of hungriness because of the deficiency of commissariats. The lone option for the folk seemed to be either to die in their concealment topographic points by hungering or to travel out and acquire killed by their encroachers. During the council. the immature maiden named Aliquipiso came frontward and told them that she herself is willing to give her life in order to entice the Mingos up to where the Oneida people were concealing. and therefore acquire them all killed and present her people.

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The warrior maiden Acts of the Apostless harmonizing to her program. and. in order to heighten her credibleness in the eyes of the enemies. she even takes the fire anguish that the latter submit her excessively. feigning to give up in the terminal because of the intolerable hurting. Her heroism and her willingness to be sacrificed for the safety of her people are so great that she lets herself be killed in the onslaught along with the enemy folk. as it was inevitable. Therefore. the warrior maiden stands out as an illustration of wisdom. bravery. pureness ( as the fact that she was a inaugural indicates ) . moral unity and selflessness in the name of her people.

The immature adult female fits hence a form common to most of the Native American fables: she represents strength combined with pureness. as the rubric that is given to her besides indicates. She is a maiden. therefore she is morally and spiritually integral. but at the same clip. her modestness is combined with the absolute strength given by her illimitable bravery. These two indispensable qualities evidently hint at the heroic ideal harmonizing to the Oneida civilization and tradition. Besides. the warrior maiden is a theoretical account for her people and she represents national pride.

Besides the impression of epic ideal. the fable of the Warrior Maiden contains a really important allusion to the very foundations of the Oneida civilization. Therefore. the really name of the folk is derived. as already indicated. from the phrase “People of the Upright Stone” . The secret plan of the narrative becomes therefore really symbolic: the enemies are destroyed with the aid of the maiden that lures them to the secret and unaccessible concealments of the Oneidas. by oppressing them with elephantine stones fell from the mountain top. This peculiar agencies of devastation can be interpreted as a intimation to the rubric that the folk gives itself: the phrase “upright stone” has multiple readings. runing from the thought of “uprightness” . justness and rightness. to that of unbeatable and devastating strength given by the moral force and pureness of the members of the folk: “We are concealing on top of a high. sheer drop. Above us. the mountain is covered with bowlders and heavy crisp stones. You warriors wait and ticker here. I will travel to the Mingos and take them to the topographic point at the pes of the drop where they all can be crushed and destroyed. ” ( Erdoes and Ortiz. 253 ) A 3rd and even more important connexion between the fable of the Warrior Maiden and the traditional civilization of the folk is the fact that the Iroquois societies were. for their most portion. matriarchates.

Therefore. for illustration. the council of the folk was chosen by the kin female parents or materfamilias. the female leaders of the people. Furthermore. the gendered division of the labours and ascriptions of each folk member besides intimation at the strong tradition of the Oneida that gave a favorite topographic point to adult females in society: “Iroquois societies were strongly matrilinear: adult females controlled agricultural lands. the election of leaders and. to some extent. warfare [ … ] The gender-based division of labour made adult females responsible for agricultural work and housework. while work forces hunted. fished. and traded. although there were besides adult females bargainers. Government and warfare [ … ] were besides male activities although the kin female parents to a great extent influenced decision-making. ” It is indispensable to observe therefore that in the Iroquois society adult females had really of import functions: besides the fact that they were married womans. female parents and housekeepers they besides controlled agricultural work. and to some extent. warfare.

Women therefore played an active portion in society. as influential leaders. In this context. the fable is easier to construe: the Oneida. as a people that awards adult females will be expected to give them a particular topographic point in their mythology. Therefore. the warrior maiden takes here the topographic point of a true leader of the people and a commanding officer that orders the onslaught on the Mingos and therefore. in a manner. she plays the portion of a adult male besides: “The Mingos crowded together in a heavy mass with the miss in the centre. Then Aliquipiso uttered a piercing call: ‘Oneidas! The enemies are here! Destroy them! ” ( Erdoes and Ortiz. 253 ) The warrior maiden becomes a symbol of the “brave women” . as the narrative tells us: “The Great Mystery changed Aliquipiso’s hair into Virginia creeper. which the Oneidas call ‘running hairs’ and which is a good medical specialty. From her organic structure sprang honeysuckle. which to this twenty-four hours is known among her people as the ‘blood of courageous adult females. ‘” ( Erdoes and Ortiz. 253 ) The warrior inaugural hair and organic structure transform into Virginia creeper and honeysuckle severally. both of which are considered to be medicative workss that have a great mending power. As it is widely known. for most of the Native American civilizations. the workss play a really of import function in medical specialty but besides in assorted types of spiritual rites and supplications of the liquors.

Furthermore. the metabolism of the maiden into these workss is in harmony with the strong agricultural tradition of the Iroquois. The transmutation of the maiden into these two workss besides signals the position that the warrior maiden has inside the Oneida civilization: she is much more than a heroine ; she is a fabulous figure. typifying the pureness and the strength of the female. The maiden is besides. like most of the legendary heroes. an incarnation of the deity. the Great Spirit in this instance. which speaks and acts through her as the members of the kin acknowledge: “The Great Spirit has blessed you. Aliquipiso. with bravery and wisdom. ’ he said. ‘We. your people. will ever retrieve you. ” ( Erdoes and Ortiz. 253 ) The legendary figure of the maiden is therefore a symbol. something for the future coevalss to retrieve with award and to put as an illustration: “The narrative of the girl’s bravery and selflessness was told and retold wherever Oneidas sat around their campfires. and will be handed down from grandparent to grandchild every bit long as there are Oneidas on this Earth. ” ( Erdoes and Ortiz. 253 )

She is at one time the pure maiden. the matron. the chosen heroine inspired by the Great Spirit. and a brave warrior. The fact that it is a adult female who saves the whole people from diing in the custodies of the enemy folk is really important. Although adult females were non associated with physical strength or with accomplishments on the battleground. they are praised and honored for their religious qualities and their pureness. This combination between pureness and strength demonstrates that one of the most of import features of the Oneida civilization is the belief that physical or mere epic strength is non the greatest virtuousness. Perfection comes therefore from the spirit or wisdom. paired with award and bravery and the devotedness to baronial causes.

Therefore. the warrior maiden is a symbol for many different virtuousnesss that put together organize the perfect heroine. The fable itself tells really important things about the Native Indian civilizations in general and the Oneida civilization in peculiar. The narrative offers at one time intimations to the epic ideal of the Iroquois. to the cult of the female gender particular to some Native American peoples and to the metaphoric significance of the tribe’s name. The most of import decision to be derived from the analysis of the narrative is hence the fact that there is a tight connexion between the fable and the values and ideals specific to the Oneidas.

Other versions of the Warrior Maiden fable. such as the discrepancy told by the Hopi folk. besides render the image of feminine modestness combined with religious strength. In the Hopi tradition. the inaugural really battles against the enemies of her people. because she is left entirely at place with her female parent. who at the clip of the onslaught was merely combing her hair. Once more. this feminine item emphasizes the daintiness of the maiden. every bit good as her concealed strength. Therefore. although the inside informations of the secret plan differ. the chief contention of both the Oneida and the Hopi versions of the fable is that strength can come from the spirit. every bit good as from the organic structure. The fable therefore demonstrates the importance of the female cult for the Native Americans. to the extent that these people have created a mythology to explicate female courage.

Plants Cited:

Erdoes. Richard and Alfonso Ortiz. American Indian Myths and Legends. New York: Pantheon Fairy Tales and Folklore Library. 1984.

Oneida Culture. Indian Country Wisconsin. hypertext transfer protocol: //www. mpm. edu/wirp/ICW-57. htmlOneida Culture and Language. hypertext transfer protocol: //www. native-languages. org/oneida. htm