The Song of Hiawatha

Song of Hiawatha cover imageThe Song of Hiawatha

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Native Americana
Godine Press
Hardcover - 304 pages
$19.95

The roots of Hiawatha, Longfellow’s epic poem, reach deep into Native American mythology and, especially, that of the Ojibwe of the upper Great Lakes. The original sources were researched and compiled by an Ojibwe woman, Bae-wa-wa-ge-zhik-a-quay, “The Woman of the Sound Which the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky,” who, when she married Henry Schoolcraft, took the more prosaic name of Jane Schoolcraft. Her work (co-authored with her mother) was published as Algic Researches and formed the base of her husband’s Myth of Hiawatha which, in turn, was reworked by Longfellow and published as the haunting poem we know so well. The compelling rhythm and measure of the work is drawn from a Finnish epic, the Kalevala, and has mesmerized family read-alouds for generations.