Oneida Stories

The oral tradition of the Iroquois is embedded with stories of tribal history, events, and protocols for behaviour which are passed on from one generation to the next through the telling of stories. There is no one, single official version as stories change to suit the particular reason for telling them. Committing the telling of a story to written form restricts the freedom and movement of the story (with the exception of the Creation Story, which forms the basis of most Iroquoian teachings).


Find the transcripts below for each story. The link will take you to the “slideshow” the audio will play when you click on the green audio arrow. The Oneida words are not shown in the slideshow, if you wish to see the written Oneida, check out the corresponding pdf below.

Buying Snacks

Seven Dancers

Strawberry Jam Making

The Giant Bear and The Big Dipper

Cradle Me Female

Cradle Me Male

Snow Story

Fun Activity for Storytelling

Create a story telling pouch made of deerskin, and prepare 5 wooden tokens made by slicing a tree branch. Paint, draw or etch a picture symbol representing a story onto the token and put them in the storytelling pouch. There are many ways to use this, the simplest one is to have a student reach in and choose a token. Then the story is told while the students listen for  the teaching. Students offer possible morals to the story and are told how the Iroquois often use story to model appropriate behaviour without really telling the listener what to do. Once the students are familiar with the stories they can have a turn choosing a token and telling it themselves.  It is fulfilling to hear them spontaneously adapt their telling to address something that is happening in the classroom!