Iroquois Legend Of the Faceless Doll

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I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July.  I certainly did.

A few years ago, Bob and I visited the Oneida Nation Headquarters, in Oneida, New York (central New York). I must say it was one of the most enjoyable trips I’ve ever made.  I ended up fascinated with Indian legends.

I’ve been in California and Kansas for the last six weeks for graduations and birthdays, so I decided to rerun one of my oldest blogs due to computer problems and traveling.  I hope you enjoy the one I selected — Iroquois no-face doll that I extrapolated from a handout I received at the Oneida Nation Headquarters.

As the legend goes, the Corn Spirit was so thrilled at being one of the sustainers of life that she asked the Great Spirit if doll for granny's blogthere was anything ‘veore she could do for her people. The Great Spirit told her that a doll could be formed from her husk. So, she made the doll and gave it a beautiful face. Then, the doll went from Indian village to Indian village and played with the children.  Everywhere she went she was told how beautiful she was. So, it wasn’t long before she became conceited.

One day, the Great Spirit called to her. But, before she went into the Great Spirit’s lodge, she looked into a pool of water and admired herself, thinking how beautiful she was. The Great Spirit told her that if she kept thinking that she was better than everyone else a terrible punishment would come upon her, but he wouldn’t tell her what it was.

So, again the doll went from village to village playing with the Indian children and still everyone kept telling her how beautiful she was. It wasn’t long before she became conceited again. The Great Spirit called to her again and like the first time, she looked into the pool of water before the Great Spirit’s lodge to admire herself.

Upon entering the lodge the Great Spirit said to her, “I have given you one warning now a great punishment will come upon you.” But, he still wouldn’t tell her what it was. When she left the lodge she again looked into the pool of water to admire herself but this time she didn’t have a face. The Great Spirit had taken it away.

Since that time the Iroquois people do not put a face on the corn husk dolls. This is to remind children, never to think they are better than anyone or a punishment as great could fall upon them.

Isn’t this a great legend?  Do you have one you’d like to share?

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A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

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12 thoughts on “Iroquois Legend Of the Faceless Doll”

    • Hi Rosie. I totally agree with you on that, but we’re fortunate to having great gals like you who has a smiling face, if your comments are any reflection of your personality. Hugs, Phyliss

  1. Hi Janine. You are so right. I believe many of the legends throughout history have a definite underlying lesson. Have a great day. Hugs, Phyliss

  2. Phyliss, what s great post! I love Native American lore, and have a special place in my heart for the Iroquois. I didn’t know until I taught American Lit that the U.S. Constitution is based on theirs! Another important thing I never learned in school. Sheesh.

    Hope you get some rest after your wonderful but busy travels. I’ve been having computer issues, too. Sigh.

  3. Hi Tanya, I didn’t know that our Constitution is based on the Iroquois. Great information. Hope you get your computer up and going. I got hacked and then from there forth, I’ve had issues. I wrote a great blog, or at least I think it’s great, on one of the Missions near Lompoc but couldn’t use it. At least it’s still there for next time. I can hardly wait to get home later this week and get settled down. I love being with our girls and the families, but read for home and hubby. Big hugs, Phyliss

  4. Phyliss- I truly loved your little article what a fabulous story. That is a beautiful story to tell children hi am going to tell some of my friends who have young children this story. Hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July, I had a very relaxing one.

  5. Hi Tonya, thanks so much for dropping by. Like you, I think this is a great lesson for children. It’s stayed on my mind since I learned about it. We had a fantastic 4th of July. This little town outside Wichita, Kansas, allows fireworks in town. The street (which is short) coordinated the fireworks here, blocked off the street and went to town on fireworks last night. You not only could see the neighbors’ fireworks, but those around you and the ones from the park. I had all but one of my grandchildren here, so we all had a blast. My wonderful son-in-law coordinated the fireworks with my two Boy Scouts and got the job done. I was sure tired when I did hit the bed. I’m glad you had a relaxing holiday. Big hugs to you, Tonya. Phyliss

  6. Well, I have learned something today! Thanks so much for this. I must have missed the post the first time around, so I’m glad you re-ran it!

    We had a good 4th–I got too much sun, though. :((( Been slathering on the aloe vera. We didn’t want to cook out–so hot–have you ever tried to find a good restaurant open on the 4th of July? LOL We DID end up going to Olive Garden, and it was just wonderful. Glad you had a good holiday, and that you are on the road to recovery!

  7. Not a legend, but a piece of history. I grew up in Northern New York, part of the Six Nations (the Iroquois Confederacy was the name the french gave to it), in the Mohawk section. I remember learning about it in high school, but I don’t think many places outside of NY knew about it at the time (1950-60’s). The connection between the U.S. Constitution and the Confederacy agreements wasn’t really brought out much until relatively recently. It was worked out to curtail constant raiding and warfare and to establish the rights of the people. These tribes comprise the oldest living participatory democracy in the world, having lasted over 800 years. Our young democracy has a long way to catch up. Too bad colonization and the wars between the French and English and the Indians destroyed it.

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