Peacemaker is set in North America at some point prior to the arrival of European colonists, possibly in the early 1500s. Okwaho is a young Onondagan boy who left his village of Onontaka with his parents and fourteen other families. They turned their backs on the war-fighting life of Onontaka and wanted to live in peace. This earned the rage of their former chief, Atatarho, who wore snakes in his hair and routinely ordered murderous raids against other villages. But now Okwaho’s best friend has been captured by a raiding party, and the villagers wonder if they ever can truly escape wars. Then a stranger named Carries visits Okwaho’s village. Carries brings news of an amazing man, The Peacemaker, who will soon visit their territory. The village is excited at the prospect of peace, but Okwaho still harbors anger at the loss of his friend. Is peace possible?
I truly enjoyed this book and the many Iroquois legends it shares. The stories are fascinating, and I was captivated by the Peacemaker. The idea of a man called the Peacemaker, who cannot be destroyed, convincing five tribes, the Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Onondaga, to turn to peace and unite as the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) is inspiring. The author uses a fictional character, the young Okwaho, and intersperses his story with Iroquois legends to bring a true message of peace for all to this time. The story of Hiawatha is also part of this tale. I especially enjoyed the legend of the Twins and the story of the snake and the frog. This book is recommended for everyone, as the message of peace is universal.