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Legendary chief (c. 1450) of the Onondaga people of the northeastern U.S. He is regarded by tradition as the founder of the Iroquois Confederacy. His story is told in Henry W. Longfellow's popular poem Song of Hiawatha (1855), though Longfellow perpetuated an error of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's that placed Hiawatha in a Midwestern tribe.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Hiawatha, visit Britannica.com.