The Stranger

The False Face Society is a medicinal society of the Iroquois peoples, known for their use of wooden masks in their rituals. The masks represent the stranger, a mysterious figure that met the creator of the world when it was freshly made. These days, Corvidae of the society recommend the use of more fitting masks when out and about to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Shonkwaia’tison and the Stranger

From Iroquois Myth

After Shonkwaia’tison created the earth he roamed the land, admiring his handiwork. What did he see, but a stranger walking towards him. Shonkwaia’tison asked the stranger who he was, and the stranger replied that he was the creator of the world and was just admiring his handiwork. Shonkwaia’tison was taken aback and argued that no, he had created the world and was admiring his own handiwork. They argued for a while until Shonkwaia’tison proposed a test. Whoever could move the mountain in the distance the furthest had better claim on being the creator. The stranger agreed, adding one more rule. They would turn their backs and turn back around after each one had taken their turn.

Shonkwaia’tison agreed and let the stranger go first. He turned his back, and when the stranger had finished, he turned and saw that yes, the mountain had moved somewhat. This time the stranger turned around, and when Shonkwaia’tison said he had finished, the stranger turned around, only to break his nose on the side of the mountain! When the stranger realized that Shonkwaia’tison had moved the mountain right to them, he apologized profusely and begged for forgiveness. He promised that once Shonkwaia’tison created people, that he would come to them and heal them whenever they called upon him. And so the stranger comes to those who learned to use a mask made of his image, and listens to their words spoken in the burning tobacco.

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