Constitution of the Iroquois Nations:
THE GREAT BINDING LAW, GAYANASHAGOWA
1. I am Dekanawidah and with the Five Nations' Confederate Lords I plant
the Tree of Great Peace. I plant it in your territory, Adodarhoh, and the
Onondaga Nation, in the territory of you who are Firekeepers.
I name the tree the Tree of the Great Long Leaves. Under the shade of this
Tree of the Great Peace we spread the soft white feathery down of the globe
thistle as seats for you, Adodarhoh, and your cousin Lords.
We place you upon those seats, spread soft with the feathery down of the
globe thistle, there beneath the shade of the spreading branches of the Tree of
Peace. There shall you sit and watch the Council Fire of the Confederacy of the
Five Nations, and all the affairs of the Five Nations shall be transacted at
this place before you, Adodarhoh, and your cousin Lords, by the Confederate
Lords of the Five Nations.
2. Roots have spread out from the Tree of the Great Peace, one to the
north, one to the east, one to the south and one to the west. The name of these
roots is The Great White Roots and their nature is Peace and Strength.
If any man or any nation outside the Five Nations shall obey the laws of the
Great Peace and make known their disposition to the Lords of the Confederacy,
they may trace the Roots to the Tree and if their minds are clean and they are
obedient and promise to obey the wishes of the Confederate Council, they shall
be welcomed to take shelter beneath the Tree of the Long Leaves.
We place at the top of the Tree of the Long Leaves an Eagle who is able to
see afar. If he sees in the distance any evil approaching or any danger
threatening he will at once warn the people of the Confederacy.
3. To you Adodarhoh, the Onondaga cousin Lords, I and the other Confederate
Lords have entrusted the caretaking and the watching of the Five Nations Council
When there is any business to be transacted and the Confederate Council is
not in session, a messenger shall be dispatched either to Adodarhoh,
Hononwirehtonh or Skanawatih, Fire Keepers, or to their War Chiefs with a full
statement of the case desired to be considered. Then shall Adodarhoh call his
cousin (associate) Lords together and consider whether or not the case is of
sufficient importance to demand the attention of the Confederate Council. If so,
Adodarhoh shall dispatch messengers to summon all the Confederate Lords to
assemble beneath the Tree of the Long Leaves.
When the Lords are assembled the Council Fire shall be kindled, but not with
chestnut wood1, and
Adodarhoh shall formally open the Council.
Then shall Adodarhoh and his cousin Lords, the Fire Keepers, announce the
subject for discussion.
The Smoke of the Confederate Council Fire shall ever ascend and pierce the
sky so that other nations who may be allies may see the Council Fire of the
Adodarhoh and his cousin Lords are entrusted with the Keeping of the Council
4. You, Adodarhoh, and your thirteen cousin Lords, shall faithfully keep
the space about the Council Fire clean and you shall allow neither dust nor dirt
to accumulate. I lay a Long Wing before you as a broom. As a weapon against a
crawling creature I lay a staff with you so that you may thrust it away from the
Council Fire. If you fail to cast it out then call the rest of the United Lords
to your aid.
5. The Council of the Mohawk shall be divided into three parties as
follows: Tekarihoken, Ayonhwhathah and Shadekariwade are the first party;
Sharenhowaneh, Deyoenhegwenh and Oghrenghrehgowah are the second party, and
Dehennakrineh, Aghstawenserenthah and Shoskoharowaneh are the third party. The
third party is to listen only to the discussion of the first and second parties
and if an error is made or the proceeding is irregular they are to call
attention to it, and when the case is right and properly decided by the two
parties they shall confirm the decision of the two parties and refer the case to
the Seneca Lords for their decision. When the Seneca Lords have decided in
accord with the Mohawk Lords, the case or question shall be referred to the
Cayuga and Oneida Lords on the opposite side of the house.
6. I, Dekanawidah, appoint the Mohawk Lords the heads and the leaders of
the Five Nations Confederacy. The Mohawk Lords are the foundation of the Great
Peace and it shall, therefore, be against the Great Binding Law to pass measures
in the Confederate Council after the Mohawk Lords have protested against them.
No council of the Confederate Lords shall be legal unless all the Mohawk
Lords are present.
7. Whenever the Confederate Lords shall assemble for the purpose of holding
a council, the Onondaga Lords shall open it by expressing their gratitude to
their cousin Lords and greeting them, and they shall make an address and offer
thanks to the earth where men dwell, to the streams of water, the pools, the
springs and the lakes, to the maize and the fruits, to the medicinal herbs and
trees, to the forest trees for their usefulness, to the animals that serve as
food and give their pelts for clothing, to the great winds and the lesser winds,
to the Thunderers, to the Sun, the mighty warrior, to the moon, to the
messengers of the Creator who reveal his wishes and to the Great Creator who
dwells in the heavens above, who gives all the things useful to men, and who is
the source and the ruler of health and life.
Then shall the Onondaga Lords declare the council open.
The council shall not sit after darkness has set in.
8. The Firekeepers shall formally open and close all councils of the
Confederate Lords, and they shall pass upon all matters deliberated upon by the
two sides and render their decision.
Every Onondaga Lord (or his deputy) must be present at every Confederate
Council and must agree with the majority without unwarrantable dissent, so that
a unanimous decision may be rendered.
If Adodarhoh or any of his cousin Lords are absent from a Confederate
Council, any other Firekeeper may open and close the Council, but the
Firekeepers present may not give any decisions, unless the matter is of small
9. All the business of the Five Nations Confederate Council shall be
conducted by the two combined bodies of Confederate Lords. First the question
shall be passed upon by the Mohawk and Seneca Lords, then it shall be discussed
and passed by the Oneida and Cayuga Lords. Their decisions shall then be
referred to the Onondaga Lords, (Fire Keepers) for final judgement.
The same process shall obtain when a question is brought before the council
by an individual or a War Chief.
10. In all cases the procedure must be as follows: when the Mohawk and
Seneca Lords have unanimously agreed upon a question, they shall report their
decision to the Cayuga and Oneida Lords who shall deliberate upon the question
and report a unanimous decision to the Mohawk Lords. The Mohawk Lords will then
report the standing of the case to the Firekeepers, who shall render a decision
as they see fit in case of a disagreement by the two bodies, or confirm the
decisions of the two bodies if they are identical. The Fire Keepers shall then
report their decision to the Mohawk Lords who shall announce it to the open
11. If through any misunderstanding or obstinacy on the part of the Fire
Keepers, they render a decision at variance with that of the Two Sides, the Two
Sides shall reconsider the matter and if their decisions are jointly the same as
before they shall report to the Fire Keepers who are then compelled to confirm
their joint decision.
12. When a case comes before the Onondaga Lords (Fire Keepers) for
discussion and decsion, Adodarho shall introduce the matter to his comrade Lords
who shall then discuss it in their two bodies. Every Onondaga Lord except
Hononwiretonh shall deliberate and he shall listen only. When a unanimous
decision shall have been reached by the two bodies of Fire Keepers, Adodarho
shall notify Hononwiretonh of the fact when he shall confirm it. He shall refuse
to confirm a decision if it is not unanimously agreed upon by both sides of the
13. No Lord shall ask a question of the body of Confederate Lords when they
are discussing a case, question or proposition. He may only deliberate in a low
tone with the separate body of which he is a member.
14. When the Council of the Five Nation Lords shall convene they shall
appoint a speaker for the day. He shall be a Lord of either the Mohawk, Onondaga
or Seneca Nation.
The next day the Council shall appoint another speaker, but the first
speaker may be reappointed if there is no objection, but a speaker's term shall
not be regarded more than for the day.
15. No individual or foreign nation interested in a case, question or
proposition shall have any voice in the Confederate Council except to answer a
question put to him or them by the speaker for the Lords.
16. If the conditions which shall arise at any future time call for an
addition to or change of this law, the case shall be carefully considered and if
a new beam seems necessary or beneficial, the proposed change shall be voted
upon and if adopted it shall be called, "Added to the Rafters".
Rights, Duties and Qualifications of Lords
17. A bunch of a certain number of shell (wampum) strings each two spans in
length shall be given to each of the female families in which the Lordship
titles are vested. The right of bestowing the title shall be hereditary in the
family of the females legally possessing the bunch of shell strings and the
strings shall be the token that the females of the family have the proprietary
right to the Lordship title for all time to come, subject to certain
restrictions hereinafter mentioned.
18. If any Confederate Lord neglects or refuses to attend the Confederate
Council, the other Lords of the Nation of which he is a member shall require
their War Chief to request the female sponsors of the Lord so guilty of
defection to demand his attendance of the Council. If he refuses, the women
holding the title shall immediately select another candidate for the title.
No Lord shall be asked more than once to attend the Confederate Council.
19. If at any time it shall be manifest that a Confederate Lord has not in
mind the welfare of the people or disobeys the rules of this Great Law, the men
or women of the Confederacy, or both jointly, shall come to the Council and
upbraid the erring Lord through his War Chief. If the complaint of the people
through the War Chief is not heeded the first time it shall be uttered again and
then if no attention is given a third complaint and warning shall be given. If
the Lord is contumacious the matter shall go to the council of War Chiefs. The
War Chiefs shall then divest the erring Lord of his title by order of the women
in whom the titleship is vested. When the Lord is deposed the women shall notify
the Confederate Lords through their War Chief, and the Confederate Lords shall
sanction the act. The women will then select another of their sons as a
candidate and the Lords shall elect him. Then shall the chosen one be installed
by the Installation Ceremony.
When a Lord is to be deposed, his War Chief shall address him as follows:
"So you, __________, disregard and set at naught the
warnings of your women relatives. So you fling the warnings over your shoulder
to cast them behind you.
"Behold the brightness of the Sun and in the brightness of the Sun's
light I depose you of your title and remove the sacred emblem of your Lordship
title. I remove from your brow the deer's antlers, which was the emblem of your
position and token of your nobility. I now depose you and return the antlers to
the women whose heritage they are."
The War Chief shall now address the women of the deposed Lord and say:
"Mothers, as I have now deposed your Lord, I now return to
you the emblem and the title of Lordship, therefore repossess them."
Again addressing himself to the deposed Lord he shall say:
"As I have now deposed and discharged you so you are now
no longer Lord. You shall now go your way alone, the rest of the people of the
Confederacy will not go with you, for we know not the kind of mind that
possesses you. As the Creator has nothing to do with wrong so he will not come
to rescue you from the precipice of destruction in which you have cast yourself.
You shall never be restored to the position which you once occupied."
Then shall the War Chief address himself to the Lords of the Nation to which
the deposed Lord belongs and say:
"Know you, my Lords, that I have taken the deer's antlers
from the brow of ___________, the emblem of his position and token of his
The Lords of the Confederacy shall then have no other alternative than to
sanction the discharge of the offending Lord.
20. If a Lord of the Confederacy of the Five Nations should commit murder
the other Lords of the Nation shall assemble at the place where the corpse lies
and prepare to depose the criminal Lord. If it is impossible to meet at the
scene of the crime the Lords shall discuss the matter at the next Council of
their Nation and request their War Chief to depose the Lord guilty of crime, to
"bury" his women relatives and to transfer the Lordship title to a
The War Chief shall address the Lord guilty of murder and say:
"So you, __________ (giving his name) did kill __________
(naming the slain man), with your own hands! You have comitted a grave sin in
the eyes of the Creator. Behold the bright light of the Sun, and in the
brightness of the Sun's light I depose you of your title and remove the horns,
the sacred emblems of your Lordship title. I remove from your brow the deer's
antlers, which was the emblem of your position and token of your nobility. I now
depose you and expel you and you shall depart at once from the territory of the
Five Nations Confederacy and nevermore return again. We, the Five Nations
Confederacy, moreover, bury your women relatives because the ancient Lordship
title was never intended to have any union with bloodshed. Henceforth it shall
not be their heritage. By the evil deed that you have done they have forfeited
The War Chief shall then hand the title to a sister family and he shall
address it and say:
"Our mothers, ____________, listen attentively while I
address you on a solemn and important subject. I hereby transfer to you an
ancient Lordship title for a great calamity has befallen it in the hands of the
family of a former Lord. We trust that you, our mothers, will always guard it,
and that you will warn your Lord always to be dutiful and to advise his people
to ever live in love, poeace and harmony that a great calamity may never happen
21. Certain physical defects in a Confederate Lord make him ineligible to
sit in the Confederate Council. Such defects are infancy, idiocy, blindness,
deafness, dumbness and impotency. When a Confederate Lord is restricted by any
of these condition, a deputy shall be appointed by his sponsors to act for him,
but in case of extreme necessity the restricted Lord may exercise his rights.
22. If a Confederate Lord desires to resign his title he shall notify the
Lords of the Nation of which he is a member of his intention. If his coactive
Lords refuse to accept his resignation he may not resign his title.
A Lord in proposing to resign may recommend any proper candidate which
recommendation shall be received by the Lords, but unless confirmed and
nominated by the women who hold the title the candidate so named shall not be
23. Any Lord of the Five Nations Confederacy may construct shell strings
(or wampum belts) of any size or length as pledges or records of matters of
national or international importance.
When it is necessary to dispatch a shell string by a War Chief or other
messenger as the token of a summons, the messenger shall recite the contents of
the string to the party to whom it is sent. That party shall repeat the message
and return the shell string and if there has been a summons he shall make ready
for the journey.
Any of the people of the Five Nations may use shells (or wampum) as the
record of a pledge, contract or an agreement entered into and the same shall be
binding as soon as shell strings shall have been exchanged by both parties.
24. The Lords of the Confederacy of the Five Nations shall be mentors of
the people for all time. The thickness of their skin shall be seven spans --
which is to say that they shall be proof against anger, offensive actions and
criticism. Their hearts shall be full of peace and good will and their minds
filled with a yearning for the welfare of the people of the Confederacy. With
endless patience they shall carry out their duty and their firmness shall be
tempered with a tenderness for their people. Neither anger nor fury shall find
lodgement in their minds and all their words and actions shall be marked by calm
25. If a Lord of the Confederacy should seek to establish any authority
independent of the jurisdiction of the Confederacy of the Great Peace, which is
the Five Nations, he shall be warned three times in open council, first by the
women relatives, second by the men relatives and finally by the Lords of the
Confederacy of the Nation to which he belongs. If the offending Lord is still
obdurate he shall be dismissed by the War Chief of his nation for refusing to
conform to the laws of the Great Peace. His nation shall then install the
candidate nominated by the female name holders of his family.
26. It shall be the duty of all of the Five Nations Confederate Lords, from
time to time as occasion demands, to act as mentors and spiritual guides of
their people and remind them of their Creator's will and words. They shall say:
"Hearken, that peace may continue unto future days!
listen to the words of the Great Creator, for he has spoken.
people, let not evil find lodging in your minds.
"For the Great Creator
has spoken and the cause of Peace shall not become old.
"The cause of
peace shall not die if you remember the Great Creator."
Every Confederate Lord shall speak words such as these to promote peace.
27. All Lords of the Five Nations Confederacy must be honest in all things.
They must not idle or gossip, but be men possessing those honorable qualities
that make true royaneh. It shall be a serious wrong for anyone to lead a Lord
into trivial affairs, for the people must ever hold their Lords high in
estimation out of respect to their honorable positions.
28. When a candidate Lord is to be installed he shall furnish four strings
of shells (or wampum) one span in length bound together at one end. Such will
constitute the evidence of his pledge to the Confederate Lords that he will live
according to the constitution of the Great Peace and exercise justice in all
When the pledge is furnished the Speaker of the Council must hold the shell
strings in his hand and address the opposite side of the Council Fire and he
shall commence his address saying: "Now behold him. He has now become a
Confederate Lord. See how splendid he looks." An address may then follow.
At the end of it he shall send the bunch of shell strings to the oposite side
and they shall be received as evidence of the pledge. Then shall the opposite
"We now do crown you with the sacred emblem of the deer's
antlers, the emblem of your Lordship. You shall now become a mentor of the
people of the Five Nations. The thickness of your skin shall be seven spans --
which is to say that you shall be proof against anger, offensive actions and
criticism. Your heart shall be filled with peace and good will and your mind
filled with a yearning for the welfare of the people of the Confederacy. With
endless patience you shall carry out your duty and your firmness shall be
tempered with tenderness for your people. Neither anger nor fury shall find
lodgement in your mind and all your words and actions shall be marked with calm
deliberation. In all of your deliberations in the Confederate Council, in your
efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self interest shall be cast
into oblivion. Cast not over your shoulder behind you the warnings of the
nephews and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but
return to the way of the Great Law which is just and right. Look and listen for
the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but
also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface
of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation."
29. When a Lordship title is to be conferred, the candidate Lord shall
furnish the cooked venison, the corn bread and the corn soup, together with
other necessary things and the labor for the Conferring of Titles Festival.
30. The Lords of the Confederacy may confer the Lordship title upon a
candidate whenever the Great Law is recited, if there be a candidate, for the
Great Law speaks all the rules.
31. If a Lord of the Confederacy should become seriously ill and be thought
near death, the women who are heirs of his title shall go to his house and lift
his crown of deer antlers, the emblem of his Lordship, and place them at one
side. If the Creator spares him and he rises from his bed of sickness he may
rise with the antlers on his brow.
The following words shall be used to temporarily remove the antlers:
"Now our comrade Lord (or our relative Lord) the time has
come when we must approach you in your illness. We remove for a time the deer's
antlers from your brow, we remove the emblem of your Lordship title. The Great
Law has decreed that no Lord should end his life with the antlers on his brow.
We therefore lay them aside in the room. If the Creator spares you and you
recover from your illness you shall rise from your bed with the antlers on your
brow as before and you shall resume your duties as Lord of the Confederacy and
you may labor again for the Confederate people."
32. If a Lord of the Confederacy should die while the Council of the Five
Nations is in session the Council shall adjourn for ten days. No Confederate
Council shall sit within ten days of the death of a Lord of the Confederacy.
If the Three Brothers (the Mohawk, the Onondaga and the Seneca) should lose
one of their Lords by death, the Younger Brothers (the Oneida and the Cayuga)
shall come to the surviving Lords of the Three Brothers on the tenth day and
console them. If the Younger Brothers lose one of their Lords then the Three
Brothers shall come to them and console them. And the consolation shall be the
reading of the contents of the thirteen shell (wampum) strings of Ayonhwhathah.
At the termination of this rite a successor shall be appointed, to be appointed
by the women heirs of the Lordship title. If the women are not yet ready to
place their nominee before the Lords the Speaker shall say, "Come let us go
out." All shall leave the Council or the place of gathering. The
installation shall then wait until such a time as the women are ready. The
Speaker shall lead the way from the house by saying, "Let us depart to the
edge of the woods and lie in waiting on our bellies."
When the women title holders shall have chosen one of their sons the
Confederate Lords will assemble in two places, the Younger Brothers in one place
and the Three Older Brothers in another. The Lords who are to console the
mourning Lords shall choose one of their number to sing the Pacification Hymn as
they journey to the sorrowing Lords. The singer shall lead the way and the Lords
and the people shall follow. When they reach the sorrowing Lords they shall hail
the candidate Lord and perform the rite of Conferring the Lordship Title.
33. When a Confederate Lord dies, the surviving relatives shall immediately
dispatch a messenger, a member of another clan, to the Lords in another
locality. When the runner comes within hailing distance of the locality he shall
utter a sad wail, thus: "Kwa-ah, Kwa-ah, Kwa-ah!" The sound shall be
repeated three times and then again and again at intervals as many times as the
distance may require. When the runner arrives at the settlement the people shall
assemble and one must ask him the nature of his sad message. He shall then say,
"Let us consider." Then he shall tell them of the death of the Lord.
He shall deliver to them a string of shells (wampum) and say "Here is the
testimony, you have heard the message." He may then return home.
It now becomes the duty of the Lords of the locality to send runners to
other localities and each locality shall send other messengers until all Lords
are notified. Runners shall travel day and night.
34. If a Lord dies and there is no candidate qualified for the office in
the family of the women title holders, the Lords of the Nation shall give the
title into the hands of a sister family in the clan until such a time as the
original family produces a candidate, when the title shall be restored to the
No Lordship title may be carried into the grave. The Lords of the
Confederacy may dispossess a dead Lord of his title even at the grave.
Election of Pine Tree Chiefs
35. Should any man of the Nation assist with special ability or show great
interest in the affairs of the Nation, if he proves himself wise, honest and
worthy of confidence, the Confederate Lords may elect him to a seat with them
and he may sit in the Confederate Council. He shall be proclaimed a 'Pine Tree
sprung up for the Nation' and shall be installed as such at the next assembly
for the installation of Lords. Should he ever do anything contrary to the rules
of the Great Peace, he may not be deposed from office -- no one shall cut him
down -- but thereafter everyone shall be deaf to his voice and his advice.
Should he resign his seat and title no one shall prevent him. A Pine Tree chief
has no authority to name a successor nor is his title hereditary.
Names, Duties and Rights of War Chiefs
36. The title names of the Chief Confederate Lords' War Chiefs shall be:
Ayonwaehs, War Chief under Lord Takarihoken (Mohawk)
War Chief under Lord Odatshedeh (Oneida)
Ayendes, War Chief under Lord
Wenenhs, War Chief under Lord Dekaenyonh (Cayuga)
War Chief under Lord Skanyadariyo (Seneca)
The women heirs of each head Lord's title shall be the heirs of the War
Chief's title of their respective Lord.
The War Chiefs shall be selected from the eligible sons of the female
families holding the head Lordship titles.
37. There shall be one War Chief for each Nation and their duties shall be
to carry messages for their Lords and to take up the arms of war in case of
emergency. They shall not participate in the proceedings of the Confederate
Council but shall watch its progress and in case of an erroneous action by a
Lord they shall receive the complaints of the people and convey the warnings of
the women to him. The people who wish to convey messages to the Lords in the
Confederate Council shall do so through the War Chief of their Nation. It shall
ever be his duty to lay the cases, questions and propositions of the people
before the Confederate Council.
38. When a War Chief dies another shall be installed by the same rite as
that by which a Lord is installed.
39. If a War Chief acts contrary to instructions or against the provisions
of the Laws of the Great Peace, doing so in the capacity of his office, he shall
be deposed by his women relatives and by his men relatives. Either the women or
the men alone or jointly may act in such a case. The women title holders shall
then choose another candidate.
40. When the Lords of the Confederacy take occasion to dispatch a messenger
in behalf of the Confederate Council, they shall wrap up any matter they may
send and instruct the messenger to remember his errand, to turn not aside but to
proceed faithfully to his destination and deliver his message according to every
41. If a message borne by a runner is the warning of an invasion he shall
whoop, "Kwa-ah, Kwa-ah," twice and repeat at short intervals; then
again at a longer interval.
If a human being is found dead, the finder shall not touch the body but
return home immediately shouting at short intervals, "Koo-weh!"
Clans and Consanguinity
42. Among the Five Nations and their posterity there shall be the following
original clans: Great Name Bearer, Ancient Name Bearer, Great Bear, Ancient
Bear, Turtle, Painted Turtle, Standing Rock, Large Plover, Deer, Pigeon Hawk,
Eel, Ball, Opposite-Side-of-the-Hand, and Wild Potatoes. These clans distributed
through their respective Nations, shall be the sole owners and holders of the
soil of the country and in them is it vested as a birthright.
43. People of the Five Nations members of a certain clan shall recognize
every other member of that clan, irrespective of the Nation, as relatives. Men
and women, therefore, members of the same clan are forbidden to marry.
44. The lineal descent of the people of the Five Nations shall run in the
female line. Women shall be considered the progenitors of the Nation. They shall
own the land and the soil. Men and women shall follow the status of the mother.
45. The women heirs of the Confederated Lordship titles shall be called
Royaneh (Noble) for all time to come.
46. The women of the Forty Eight (now fifty) Royaneh families shall be the
heirs of the Authorized Names for all time to come.
When an infant of the Five Nations is given an Authorized Name at the
Midwinter Festival or at the Ripe Corn Festival, one in the cousinhood of which
the infant is a member shall be appointed a speaker. He shall then announce to
the opposite cousinhood the names of the father and the mother of the child
together with the clan of the mother. Then the speaker shall announce the
child's name twice. The uncle of the child shall then take the child in his arms
and walking up and down the room shall sing: "My head is firm, I am of the
Confederacy." As he sings the opposite cousinhood shall respond by
chanting, "Hyenh, Hyenh, Hyenh, Hyenh," until the song is ended.
47. If the female heirs of a Confederate Lord's title become extinct, the
title right shall be given by the Lords of the Confederacy to the sister family
whom they shall elect and that family shall hold the name and transmit it to
their (female) heirs, but they shall not appoint any of their sons as a
candidate for a title until all the eligible men of the former family shall have
died or otherwise have become ineligible.
48. If all the heirs of a Lordship title become extinct, and all the
families in the clan, then the title shall be given by the Lords of the
Confederacy to the family in a sister clan whom they shall elect.
49. If any of the Royaneh women, heirs of a titleship, shall wilfully
withhold a Lordship or other title and refuse to bestow it, or if such heirs
abandon, forsake or despise their heritage, then shall such women be deemed
buried and their family extinct. The titleship shall then revert to a sister
family or clan upon application and complaint. The Lords of the Confederacy
shall elect the family or clan which shall in future hold the title.
50. The Royaneh women of the Confederacy heirs of the Lordship titles shall
elect two women of their family as cooks for the Lord when the people shall
assemble at his house for business or other purposes.
It is not good nor honorable for a Confederate Lord to allow his people whom
he has called to go hungry.
51. When a Lord holds a conference in his home, his wife, if she wishes,
may prepare the food for the Union Lords who assemble with him. This is an
honorable right which she may exercise and an expression of her esteem.
52. The Royaneh women, heirs of the Lordship titles, shall, should it be
necessary, correct and admonish the holders of their titles. Those only who
attend the Council may do this and those who do not shall not object to what has
been said nor strive to undo the action.
53. When the Royaneh women, holders of a Lordship title, select one of
their sons as a candidate, they shall select one who is trustworthy, of good
character, of honest disposition, one who manages his own affairs, supports his
own family, if any, and who has proven a faithful man to his Nation.
54. When a Lordship title becomes vacant through death or other cause, the
Royaneh women of the clan in which the title is hereditary shall hold a council
and shall choose one from among their sons to fill the office made vacant. Such
a candidate shall not be the father of any Confederate Lord. If the choice is
unanimous the name is referred to the men relatives of the clan. If they should
disapprove it shall be their duty to select a candidate from among their own
number. If then the men and women are unable to decide which of the two
candidates shall be named, then the matter shall be referred to the Confederate
Lords in the Clan. They shall decide which candidate shall be named. If the men
and the women agree to a candidate his name shall be referred to the sister
clans for confirmation. If the sister clans confirm the choice, they shall refer
their action to their Confederate Lords who shall ratify the choice and present
it to their cousin Lords, and if the cousin Lords confirm the name then the
candidate shall be installed by the proper ceremony for the conferring of
55. A large bunch of shell strings, in the making of which the Five Nations
Confederate Lords have equally contributed, shall symbolize the completeness of
the union and certify the pledge of the nations represented by the Confederate
Lords of the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Onondaga, the Cayuga and the Senecca, that
all are united and formed into one body or union called the Union of the Great
Law, which they have established.
A bunch of shell strings is to be the symbol of the council fire of the Five
Nations Confederacy. And the Lord whom the council of Fire Keepers shall appoint
to speak for them in opening the council shall hold the strands of shells in his
hands when speaking. When he finishes speaking he shall deposit the strings on
an elevated place (or pole) so that all the assembled Lords and the people may
see it and know that the council is open and in progress.
When the council adjourns the Lord who has been appointed by his comrade
Lords to close it shall take the strands of shells in his hands and address the
assembled Lords. Thus will the council adjourn until such time and place as
appointed by the council. Then shall the shell strings be placed in a place for
Every five years the Five Nations Confederate Lords and the people shall
assemble together and shall ask one another if their minds are still in the same
spirit of unity for the Great Binding Law and if any of the Five Nations shall
not pledge continuance and steadfastness to the pledge of unity then the Great
Binding Law shall dissolve.
56. Five strings of shell tied together as one shall represent the Five
Nations. Each string shall represent one territory and the whole a completely
united territory known as the Five Nations Confederate territory.
57. Five arrows shall be bound together very strong and each arrow shall
represent one nation. As the five arrows are strongly bound this shall symbolize
the complete union of the nations. Thus are the Five Nations united completely
and enfolded together, united into one head, one body and one mind. Therefore
they shall labor, legislate and council together for the interest of future
The Lords of the Confederacy shall eat together from one bowl the feast of
cooked beaver's tail. While they are eating they are to use no sharp utensils
for if they should they might accidentally cut one another and bloodshed would
follow. All measures must be taken to prevent the spilling of blood in any way.
58. There are now the Five Nations Confederate Lords standing with joined
hands in a circle. This signifies and provides that should any one of the
Confederate Lords leave the council and this Confederacy his crown of deer's
horns, the emblem of his Lordship title, together with his birthright, shall
lodge on the arms of the Union Lords whose hands are so joined. He forfeits his
title and the crown falls from his brow but it shall remain in the Confederacy.
A further meaning of this is that if any time any one of the Confederate
Lords choose to submit to the law of a foreign people he is no longer in but out
of the Confederacy, and persons of this class shall be called "They have
alienated themselves." Likewise such persons who submit to laws of foreign
nations shall forfeit all birthrights and claims on the Five Nations Confederacy
You, the Five Nations Confederate Lords, be firm so that if a tree falls on
your joined arms it shall not separate or weaken your hold. So shall the
strength of the union be preserved.
59. A bunch of wampum shells on strings, three spans of the hand in length,
the upper half of the bunch being white and the lower half black, and formed
from equal contributions of the men of the Five Nations, shall be a token that
the men have combined themselves into one head, one body and one thought, and it
shall also symbolize their ratification of the peace pact of the Confederacy,
whereby the Lords of the Five Nations have established the Great Peace.
The white portion of the shell strings represent the women and the black
portion the men. The black portion, furthermore, is a token of power and
authority vested in the men of the Five Nations.
This string of wampum vests the people with the right to correct their
erring Lords. In case a part or all the Lords pursue a course not vouched for by
the people and heed not the third warning of their women relatives, then the
matter shall be taken to the General Council of the women of the Five Nations.
If the Lords notified and warned three times fail to heed, then the case falls
into the hands of the men of the Five Nations. The War Chiefs shall then, by
right of such power and authority, enter the open concil to warn the Lord or
Lords to return from the wrong course. If the Lords heed the warning they shall
say, "we will reply tomorrow." If then an answer is returned in favor
of justice and in accord with this Great Law, then the Lords shall individualy
pledge themselves again by again furnishing the necessary shells for the pledge.
Then shall the War Chief or Chiefs exhort the Lords urging them to be just and
Should it happen that the Lords refuse to heed the third warning, then two
courses are open: either the men may decide in their council to depose the Lord
or Lords or to club them to death with war clubs. Should they in their council
decide to take the first course the War Chief shall address the Lord or Lords,
saying: "Since you the Lords of the Five Nations have refused to return to
the procedure of the Constitution, we now declare your seats vacant, we take off
your horns, the token of your Lordship, and others shall be chosen and installed
in your seats, therefore vacate your seats."
Should the men in their council adopt the second course, the War Chief shall
order his men to enter the council, to take positions beside the Lords, sitting
bewteen them wherever possible. When this is accomplished the War Chief holding
in his outstretched hand a bunch of black wampum strings shall say to the erring
Lords: "So now, Lords of the Five United Nations, harken to these last
words from your men. You have not heeded the warnings of the women relatives,
you have not heeded the warnings of the General Council of women and you have
not heeded the warnings of the men of the nations, all urging you to return to
the right course of action. Since you are determined to resist and to withhold
justice from your people there is only one course for us to adopt." At this
point the War Chief shall let drop the bunch of black wampum and the men shall
spring to their feet and club the erring Lords to death. Any erring Lord may
submit before the War Chief lets fall the black wampum. Then his execution is
The black wampum here used symbolizes that the power to execute is buried
but that it may be raised up again by the men. It is buried but when occasion
arises they may pull it up and derive their power and authority to act as here
60. A broad dark belt of wampum of thirty-eight rows, having a white heart
in the center, on either side of which are two white squares all connected with
the heart by white rows of beads shall be the emblem of the unity of the Five
The first of the squares on the left represents the Mohawk nation and its
territory; the second square on the left and the one near the heart, represents
the Oneida nation and its territory; the white heart in the middle represents
the Onondaga nation and its territory, and it also means that the heart of the
Five Nations is single in its loyalty to the Great Peace, that the Great Peace
is lodged in the heart (meaning the Onondaga Lords), and that the Council Fire
is to burn there for the Five Nations, and further, it means that the authority
is given to advance the cause of peace whereby hostile nations out of the
Confederacy shall cease warfare; the white square to the right of the heart
represents the Cayuga nation and its territory and the fourth and last white
square represents the Seneca nation and its territory.
White shall here symbolize that no evil or jealous thoughts shall creep into
the minds of the Lords while in Council under the Great Peace. White, the emblem
of peace, love, charity and equity surrounds and guards the Five Nations.
61. Should a great calamity threaten the generations rising and living of
the Five United Nations, then he who is able to climb to the top of the Tree of
the Great Long Leaves may do so. When, then, he reaches the top of the tree he
shall look about in all directions, and, should he see that evil things indeed
are approaching, then he shall call to the people of the Five United Nations
assembled beneath the Tree of the Great Long Leaves and say: " A calamity
threatens your happiness."
Then shall the Lords convene in council and discuss the impending evil.
When all the truths relating to the trouble shall be fully known and found
to be truths, then shall the people seek out a Tree of Ka-hon-ka-ah-go-nah,3, and when they shall find it they
shall assemble their heads together and lodge for a time between its roots.
Then, their labors being finished, they may hope for happiness for many days
62. When the Confederate Council of the Five Nations declares for a reading
of the belts of shell calling to mind these laws, they shall provide for the
reader a specially made mat woven of the fibers of wild hemp. The mat shall not
be used again, for such formality is called the honoring of the importance of
63. Should two sons of opposite sides of the council fire agree in a desire
to hear the reciting of the laws of the Great Peace and so refresh their
memories in the way ordained by the founder of the Confederacy, they shall
notify Adodarho. He then shall consult with five of his coactive Lords and they
in turn shall consult with their eight brethern. Then should they decide to
accede to the request of the two sons from opposite sides of the Council Fire,
Adodarho shall send messengers to notify the Chief Lords of each of the Five
Nations. Then they shall despatch their War Chiefs to notify their brother and
cousin Lords of the meeting and its time and place.
When all have come and have assembled, Adodarhoh, in conjunction with his
cousin Lords, shall appoint one Lord who shall repeat the laws of the Great
Peace. Then shall they announce who they have chosen to repeat the laws of the
Great Peace to the two sons. Then shall the chosen one repeat the laws of the
64. At the ceremony of the installation of Lords if there is only one
expert speaker and singer of the law and the Pacification Hymn to stand at the
council fire, then when this speaker and singer has finished addressing one side
of the fire he shall go to the oposite side and reply to his own speech and
song. He shall thus act for both sidesa of the fire until the entire ceremony
has been completed. Such a speaker and singer shall be termed the "Two
Faced" because he speaks and sings for both sides of the fire.
65. I, Dekanawida, and the Union Lords, now uproot the tallest pine tree
and into the cavity thereby made we cast all weapons of war. Into the depths of
the earth, down into the deep underearth currents of water flowing to unknown
regions we cast all the weapons of strife. We bury them from sight and we plant
again the tree. Thus shall the Great Peace be established and hostilities shall
no longer be known between the Five Nations but peace to the United People.
Laws of Adoption
66. The father of a child of great comliness, learning, ability or
specially loved because of some circumstance may, at the will of the child's
clan, select a name from his own (the father's) clan and bestow it by ceremony,
such as is provided. This naming shall be only temporary and shall be called, "A
name hung about the neck."
67. Should any person, a member of the Five Nations' Confederacy, specially
esteem a man or woman of another clan or of a foreign nation, he may choose a
name and bestow it upon that person so esteemed. The naming shall be in accord
with the ceremony of bestowing names. Such a name is only a temporary one and
shall be called "A name hung about the neck." A short string of shells
shall be delivered with the name as a record and a pledge.
68. Should any member of the Five Nations, a family or person belonging to
a foreign nation submit a proposal for adoption into a clan of one of the Five
Nations, he or they shall furnish a string of shells, a span in length, as a
pledge to the clan into which he or they wish to be adopted. The Lords of the
nation shall then consider the proposal and submit a decision.
69. Any member of the Five Nations who through esteem or other feeling
wishes to adopt an individual, a family or number of families may offer adoption
to him or them and if accepted the matter shall be brought to the attention of
the Lords for confirmation and the Lords must confirm adoption.
70. When the adoption of anyone shall have been confirmed by the Lords of
the Nation, the Lords shall address the people of their nation and say: "Now
you of our nation, be informed that such a person, such a family or such
families have ceased forever to bear their birth nation's name and have buried
it in the depths of the earth. Henceforth let no one of our nation ever mention
the original name or nation of their birth. To do so will be to hasten the end
of our peace.
Laws of Emigration
71. When any person or family belonging to the Five Nations desires to
abandon their birth nation and the territory of the Five Nations, they shall
inform the Lords of their nation and the Confederate Council of the Five Nations
shall take cognizance of it.
72. When any person or any of the people of the Five Nations emigrate and
reside in a region distant from the territory of the Five Nations Confederacy,
the Lords of the Five Nations at will may send a messenger carrying a broad belt
of black shells and when the messenger arrives he shall call the people together
or address them personally displaying the belt of shells and they shall know
that this is an order for them to return to their original homes and to their
Rights of Foreign Nations
73. The soil of the earth from one end of the land to the other is the
property of the people who inhabit it. By birthright the Ongwehonweh (Original
beings) are the owners of the soil which they own and occupy and none other may
hold it. The same law has been held from the oldest times.
The Great Creator has made us of the one blood and of the same soil he made
us and as only different tongues constitute different nations he established
different hunting grounds and territories and made boundary lines between them.
74. When any alien nation or individual is admitted into the Five Nations
the admission shall be understood only to be a temporary one. Should the person
or nation create loss, do wrong or cause suffering of any kind to endanger the
peace of the Confederacy, the Confederate Lords shall order one of their war
chiefs to reprimand him or them and if a similar offence is again committed the
offending party or parties shall be expelled from the territory of the Five
75. When a member of an alien nation comes to the territory of the Five
Nations and seeks refuge and permanent residence, the Lords of the Nation to
which he comes shall extend hospitality and make him a member of the nation.
Then shall he be accorded equal rights and privileges in all matters except as
76. No body of alien people who have been adopted temporarily shall have a
vote in the council of the Lords of the Confederacy, for only they who have been
invested with Lordship titles may vote in the Council. Aliens have nothing by
blood to make claim to a vote and should they have it, not knowing all the
traditions of the Confederacy, might go against its Great Peace. In this manner
the Great Peace would be endangered and perhaps be destroyed.
77. When the Lords of the Confederacy decide to admit a foreign nation and
an adoption is made, the Lords shall inform the adopted nation that its
admission is only temporary. They shall also say to the nation that it must
never try to control, to interfere with or to injure the Five Nations nor
disregard the Great Peace or any of its rules or customs. That in no way should
they cause disturbance or injury. Then should the adopted nation disregard these
injunctions, their adoption shall be annuled and they shall be expelled.
The expulsion shall be in the following manner: The council shall appoint
one of their War Chiefs to convey the message of annulment and he shall say, "You
(naming the nation) listen to me while I speak. I am here to inform you again of
the will of the Five Nations' Council. It was clearly made known to you at a
former time. Now the Lords of the Five Nations have decided to expel you and
cast you out. We disown you now and annul your adoption. Therefore you must look
for a path in which to go and lead away all your people. It was you, not we, who
committed wrong and caused this sentence of annulment. So then go your way and
depart from the territory of the Five Nations and from the Confederacy."
78. Whenever a foreign nation enters the Confederacy or accepts the Great
Peace, the Five Nations and the foreign nation shall enter into an agreement and
compact by which the foreign nation shall endeavor to pursuade other nations to
accept the Great Peace.
Rights and Powers of War
79. Skanawatih shall be vested with a double office, duty and with double
authority. One-half of his being shall hold the Lordship title and the other
half shall hold the title of War Chief. In the event of war he shall notify the
five War Chiefs of the Confederacy and command them to prepare for war and have
their men ready at the appointed time and place for engagement with the enemy of
the Great Peace.
80. When the Confederate Council of the Five Nations has for its object the
establishment of the Great Peace among the people of an outside nation and that
nation refuses to accept the Great Peace, then by such refusal they bring a
declaration of war upon themselves from the Five Nations. Then shall the Five
Nations seek to establish the Great Peace by a conquest of the rebellious
81. When the men of the Five Nations, now called forth to become warriors,
are ready for battle with an obstinate opposing nation that has refused to
accept the Great Peace, then one of the five War Chiefs shall be chosen by the
warriors of the Five Nations to lead the army into battle. It shall be the duty
of the War Chief so chosen to come before his warriors and address them. His aim
shall be to impress upon them the necessity of good behavior and strict
obedience to all the commands of the War Chiefs. He shall deliver an oration
exhorting them with great zeal to be brave and courageous and never to be guilty
of cowardice. At the conclusion of his oration he shall march forward and
commence the War Song and he shall sing:
Now I am greatly surprised
And, therefore I shall use
The power of my War Song.
I am of the Five Nations
shall make supplication
To the Almighty Creator.
He has furnished this
My warriors shall be mighty
In the strength of the Creator.
him and my song they are
For it was he who gave the song
This war song
that I sing!
82. When the warriors of the Five Nations are on an expedition against an
enemy, the War Chief shall sing the War Song as he approaches the country of the
enemy and not cease until his scouts have reported that the army is near the
enemies' lines when the War Chief shall approach with great caution and prepare
for the attack.
83. When peace shall have been established by the termination of the war
against a foreign nation, then the War Chief shall cause all the weapons of war
to be taken from the nation. Then shall the Great Peace be established and that
nation shall observe all the rules of the Great Peace for all time to come.
84. Whenever a foreign nation is conquered or has by their own will
accepted the Great Peace their own system of internal government may continue,
but they must cease all warfare against other nations.
85. Whenever a war against a foreign nation is pushed until that nation is
about exterminated because of its refusal to accept the Great Peace and if that
nation shall by its obstinacy become exterminated, all their rights, property
and territory shall become the property of the Five Nations.
86. Whenever a foreign nation is conquered and the survivors are brought
into the territory of the Five Nations' Confederacy and placed under the Great
Peace the two shall be known as the Conqueror and the Conquered. A symbolic
relationship shall be devised and be placed in some symbolic position. The
conquered nation shall have no voice in the councils of the Confederacy in the
body of the Lords.
87. When the War of the Five Nations on a foreign rebellious nation is
ended, peace shall be restored to that nation by a withdrawal of all their
weapons of war by the War Chief of the Five Nations. When all the terms of peace
shall have been agreed upon a state of friendship shall be established.
88. When the proposition to establish the Great Peace is made to a foreign
nation it shall be done in mutual council. The foreign nation is to be persuaded
by reason and urged to come into the Great Peace. If the Five Nations fail to
obtain the consent of the nation at the first council a second council shall be
held and upon a second failure a third council shall be held and this third
council shall end the peaceful methods of persuasion. At the third council the
War Chief of the Five nations shall address the Chief of the foreign nation and
request him three times to accept the Great Peace. If refusal steadfastly
follows the War Chief shall let the bunch of white lake shells drop from his
outstretched hand to the ground and shall bound quickly forward and club the
offending chief to death. War shall thereby be declared and the War Chief shall
have his warriors at his back to meet any emergency. War must continue until the
contest is won by the Five Nations.
89. When the Lords of the Five Nations propose to meet in conference with a
foreign nation with proposals for an acceptance of the Great Peace, a large band
of warriors shall conceal themselves in a secure place safe from the espionage
of the foreign nation but as near at hand as possible. Two warriors shall
accompany the Union Lord who carries the proposals and these warriors shall be
especially cunning. Should the Lord be attacked, these warriors shall hasten
back to the army of warriors with the news of the calamity which fell through
the treachery of the foreign nation.
90. When the Five Nations' Council declares war any Lord of the Confederacy
may enlist with the warriors by temporarily renouncing his sacred Lordship title
which he holds through the election of his women relatives. The title then
reverts to them and they may bestow it upon another temporarily until the war is
over when the Lord, if living, may resume his title and seat in the Council.
91. A certain wampum belt of black beads shall be the emblem of the
authority of the Five War Chiefs to take up the weapons of war and with their
men to resist invasion. This shall be called a war in defense of the territory.
Treason or Secession of a Nation
92. If a nation, part of a nation, or more than one nation within the Five
Nations should in any way endeavor to destroy the Great Peace by neglect or
violating its laws and resolve to dissolve the Confederacy, such a nation or
such nations shall be deemed guilty of treason and called enemies of the
Confederacy and the Great Peace.
It shall then be the duty of the Lords of the Confederacy who remain
faithful to resolve to warn the offending people. They shall be warned once and
if a second warning is necessary they shall be driven from the territory of the
Confederacy by the War Chiefs and his men.
Rights of the People of the Five Nations
93. Whenever a specially important matter or a great emergency is presented
before the Confederate Council and the nature of the matter affects the entire
body of the Five Nations, threatening their utter ruin, then the Lords of the
Confederacy must submit the matter to the decision of their people and the
decision of the people shall affect the decision of the Confederate Council.
This decision shall be a confirmation of the voice of the people.
94. The men of every clan of the Five Nations shall have a Council Fire
ever burning in readiness for a council of the clan. When it seems necessary for
a council to be held to discuss the welfare of the clans, then the men may
gather about the fire. This council shall have the same rights as the council
of the women.
95. The women of every clan of the Five Nations shall have a Council Fire
ever burning in readiness for a council of the clan. When in their opinion it
seems necessary for the interest of the people they shall hold a council and
their decisions and recommendations shall be introduced before the Council of
the Lords by the War Chief for its consideration.
96. All the Clan council fires of a nation or of the Five Nations may unite
into one general council fire, or delegates from all the council fires may be
appointeed to unite in a general council for discussing the interests of the
people. The people shall have the right to make appointments and to delegate
their power to others of their number. When their council shall have come to a
conclusion on any matter, their decision shall be reported to the Council of the
Nation or to the Confederate Council (as the case may require) by the War Chief
or the War Chiefs.
97. Before the real people united their nations, each nation had its
council fires. Before the Great Peace their councils were held. The five Council
Fires shall continue to burn as before and they are not quenched. The Lords of
each nation in future shall settle their nation's affairs at this council fire
governed always by the laws and rules of the council of the Confederacy and by
the Great Peace.
98. If either a nephew or a niece see an irregularity in the performance of
the functions of the Great Peace and its laws, in the Confederate Council or in
the conferring of Lordship titles in an improper way, through their War Chief
they may demand that such actions become subject to correction and that the
matter conform to the ways prescribed by the laws of the Great Peace.
Religious Ceremonies Protected
99. The rites and festivals of each nation shall remain undisturbed and
shall continue as before because they were given by the people of old times as
useful and necessary for the good of men.
100. It shall be the duty of the Lords of each brotherhood to confer at the
approach of the time of the Midwinter Thanksgiving and to notify their people of
the approaching festival. They shall hold a council over the matter and arrange
its details and begin the Thanksgiving five days after the moon of Dis-ko-nah is
new. The people shall assemble at the appointed place and the nephews shall
notify the people of the time and place. From the beginning to the end the Lords
shall preside over the Thanksgiving and address the people from time to time.
101. It shall be the duty of the appointed managers of the Thanksgiving
festivals to do all that is needed for carrying out the duties of the occasions.
The recognized festivals of Thanksgiving shall be the Midwinter
Thanksgiving, the Maple or Sugar-making Thanksgiving, the Raspberry
Thanksgiving, the Strawberry Thanksgiving, the Cornplanting Thanksgiving, the
Corn Hoeing Thanksgiving, the Little Festival of Green Corn, the Great Festival
of Ripe Corn and the complete Thanksgiving for the Harvest.
Each nation's festivals shall be held in their Long Houses.
102. When the Thansgiving for the Green Corn comes the special managers,
both the men and women, shall give it careful attention and do their duties
103. When the Ripe Corn Thanksgiving is celebrated the Lords of the Nation
must give it the same attention as they give to the Midwinter Thanksgiving.
104. Whenever any man proves himself by his good life and his knowledge of
good things, naturally fitted as a teacher of good things, he shall be
recognized by the Lords as a teacher of peace and religion and the people shall
The Installation Song
105. The song used in installing the new Lord of the Confederacy shall be
sung by Adodarhoh and it shall be:
"Haii, haii Agwah wi-yoh
" " A-kon-he-watha
" " Ska-we-ye-se-go-wah
" " Yon-gwa-wih
" " Ya-kon-he-wa-tha
Haii, haii It is good indeed
" " (That) a broom, --
" " A great wing,
" " It is given me
" " For a sweeping instrument."
106. Whenever a person properly entitled desires to learn the Pacification
Song he is privileged to do so but he must prepare a feast at which his teachers
may sit with him and sing. The feast is provided that no misfortune may befall
them for singing the song on an occasion when no chief is installed.
Protection of the House
107. A certain sign shall be known to all the people of the Five Nations
which shall denote that the owner or occupant of a house is absent. A stick or
pole in a slanting or leaning position shall indicate this and be the sign.
Every person not entitled to enter the house by right of living within it upon
seeing such a sign shall not approach the house either by day or by night but
shall keep as far away as his business will permit.
108. At the funeral of a Lord of the Confederacy, say: Now we become
reconciled as you start away. You were once a Lord of the Five Nations'
Confederacy and the United People trusted you. Now we release you for it is true
that it is no longer possible for us to walk about together on the earth. Now,
therefore, we lay it (the body) here. Here we lay it away. Now then we say to
you, 'Persevere onward to the place where the Creator dwells in peace. Let not
the things of the earth hinder you. Let nothing that transpired while yet you
lived hinder you. In hunting you once took delight; in the game of Lacrosse you
once took delight and in the feasts and pleasant occasions your mind was amused,
but now do not allow thoughts of these things to give you trouble. Let not your
relatives hinder you and also let not your friends and associates trouble your
mind. Regard none of these things.'
"Now then, in turn, you here present who were related to this man and
you who were his friends and associates, behold the path that is yours also!
Soon we ourselves will be left in that place. For this reason hold yourselves in
restraint as you go from place to place. In your actions and in your
conversation do no idle thing. Speak not idle talk neither gossip. Be careful of
this and speak not and do not give way to evil behavior. One year is the time
that you must abstain from unseemly levity but if you can not do this for
ceremony, ten days is the time to regard these things for respect."
109. At the funeral of a War Chief, say:
"Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were once
a War Chief of the Five Nations' Confederacy and the United People trusted you
as their guard from the enemy." (The remainder is the same as the address
at the funeral of a Lord).
110. At the funeral of a Warrior, say:
"Now we become reconciled as you start away. Once you were
a devoted provider and protector of your family and you were ever ready to take
part in battles for the Five Nations' Confederacy. The United People trusted
you." (The remainderis the same as the address at the funeral of a Lord).
111. At the funeral of a young man, say:
"Now we become reconciled as you start away. In the
beginning of your career you are taken away and the flower of your life is
withered away." (The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of
112. At the funeral of a chief woman, say:
"Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were once
a chief woman in the Five Nations' Confederacy. You once were a mother of the
nations. Now we release you for it is true that it is no longer possible for us
to walk about together on the earth. Now, therefore, we lay it (the body) here.
Here we lay it away. Now then we say to you, 'Persevere onward to the place
where the Creator dwells in peace. Let not the things of the earth hinder you.
Let nothing that transpired while you lived hinder you. Looking after your
family was a sacred duty and you were faithful. You were one of the many joint
heirs of the Lordship titles. Feastings were yours and you had pleasant
occasions. . ." (The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of
113. At the funeral of a woman of the people, say:
"Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were once
a woman in the flower of life and the bloom is now withered away. You once held
a sacred position as a mother of the nation. (Etc.) Looking after your family
was a sacred duty and you were faithful. Feastings . . . (etc.)" (The
remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of a Lord).
114. At the funeral of an infant or young woman, say:
"Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were a
tender bud and gladdened our hearts for only a few days. Now the bloom has
withered away . . . (etc.) Let none of the things that transpired on earth
hinder you. Let nothing that happened while you lived hinder you." (The
remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of a Lord).4
115. When an infant dies within three days, mourning shall continue only
five days. Then shall you gather the little boys and girls at the house of
mourning and at the funeral feast a speaker shall address the children and bid
them be happy once more, though by a death, gloom has been cast over them. Then
shall the black clouds roll away and the sky shall show blue once more. Then
shall the children be again in sunshine.
116. When a dead person is brought to the burial place, the speaker on the
opposite side of the Council Fire shall bid the bereaved family cheer their
minds once again and rekindle their hearth fires in peace, to put their house in
order and once again be in brightness for darkness has covered them. He shall
say that the black clouds shall roll away and that the bright blue sky is
visible once more. Therefore shall they be in peace in the sunshine again.
117. Three strings of shell one span in length shall be employed in
addressing the assemblage at the burial of the dead. The speaker shall say:
"Hearken you who are here, this body is to be covered.
Assemble in this place again ten days hence for it is the decree of the Creator
that mourning shall cease when ten days have expired. Then shall a feast be
Then at the expiration of ten days the speaker shall say:
"Continue to listen you who are here. The ten days of
mourning have expired and your minds must now be freed of sorrow as before the
loss of a relative. The relatives have decided to make a little compensation to
those who have assisted at the funeral. It is a mere expression of thanks. This
is to the one who did the cooking while the body was lying in the house. Let her
come forward and receive this gift and be dismissed from the task."
In substance this shall be repeated for every one who assisted in any way
until all have been remembered.
1. Chestnut wood throws out sparks in burning, thereby
creating a disturbance in the council.
2. This is the Hiawatha Belt, now in the Congressional
3. A great swamp Elm.
4. The above ellipses and 'etc.' remarks are transcribed
directly from the text I (Gerald Murphy) copied.
Text form repared by Gerald Murphy (The Cleveland Free-Net - aa300).
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