The Great LawContents

Great Law • Original Law • Hiawatha People
Turtle Island

Handsome LakeContents

Masonic Code • Corrupt Law • Colonization


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Ka'nikonhriyo Shawi
Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton Wakhskarewake
{ Tho Gagwe’go }

{ Two Rivers }
Geetings, Thanks and Love
We Carry A Good Mind
The First People
One People
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Greetings, Thanks And Love


The Great Law


Kayoni (English, Wampum)



Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton ≈ Greetings, Thanks And Love
01 ...The Organization Of The Confederacy › 1-16
02 ...Rights, Duties, And Qualifications Of The Statesmen › 17-27
03 ...Condoled Chiefs › 28-34
04 ...The Pine Tree Chief › 35
05 ...The War Chiefs › 36-41
06 ...The Clans › 42-54
07 ...The Symbols › 55-65
08 ...Adoptions › 66-70
09 ...Emigration › 71
10 ...Land Title › 72-73
11 ...Foreigners › 74-78
12 ...War › 79-92
13 ...Rights Of The People › 93-104
14 ...Installation Song › 105-106
15 ...Protection Of The House › 107
16 ...Funerals › 108-116
17 ...Niawen Kiwahi › 117
(Rest now ~ so ends the words of the great law)
18 ...Tho, Final Decision (One River)
19 ...References (Two Rivers)
20 ...Index (Glossary)



Greetings, thanks and love

Kayanerekowa ≈ Guide

Kayoni (Law numbers) in the Kayanerekowa Guide help us to find content and may improve comprehension. Each kayoni (wampum) is provided with a unique number with First Nations and English versions.

!!   Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton (Greetings, Thanks And Love)

01   The Organization Of The Confederacy
1 deganawida › peacemaker
deganawida tahnon ne wisk nihononwetsakeh rotiyaner wahatikwirayento ne skennenkowa
deganawida and the chiefs plant the tree of peace
2 yotehraraken › tree of peace
yotehraraken ne yokwiroteh skennenkowa
the great white roots of the tree of peace
3 atotarho › caretakers
atotarho tahnon ne onondagehaga rotiyaner enhontsen hanonna ne katsenhowanen
atotarho and the onondaga chiefs caretakers of the council fire
4 rontsenhanonne › firekeepers
rontsenhanonne enhatikwenienste tsi ratitsenhayentakwa
the firekeepers to keep the council fire clean
5 nahtenhatitsenhoten › council
ahsen nahtenhatitsenhoten ne ganienkehaga
the council of the mohawks divided into three parties
6 entsakotikowanen › leaders
deganawida wasakorihonten ne ganienkehaga rotiyaner ne ensakotikowanen ne wisk nihononwentsakeh
deganawida appoints the mohawk chiefs leaders of the confederacy
7 onondakehaga › fires
onondakehaga rotiyaner enhatinotonko ne katsenhowanen
onondaga chiefs open the council fire of the iroquois
8 enhatihterontakeh › presence
akwekon tsinihatih ne onondagehaga rotiyaner onenksti enhatihterontakeh
every onondaga chief must be present
9 ganienkehaga & tsonontowanehaga › mohawk & seneca
ganienkehaga tahnon tsonontowanehaga entontierenteh enhonnohetsteh
all issues passed first by the mohawks and the senecas
10 kweyonkonhaga & onenyotehaga › cayuga & oneida
kweyonkonhaga tahnon ne onenyotehaga ne ensatikaenyon
the cayuga and oneida chiefs are next to decide
11 tiatahotinikonrayentaneh › disagreement
onenk tsi ensatikaenyon toka ya tiatahotinikonrayentaneh
case must be reconsidered if there is a disagreement
12 onondagehaga › onondaga
onondagehaga rotiyaner ennakenka tenhatiyatoreteh
the onondaga firekeepers are the last to decide
13 enhobonontewennastoteh › deliberate
rotiyaner ehhontewennastoteh nennen rotitsen hayen
chiefs to deliberate in low tones
14 sakotatis › speaker
rotiyaner enhonwayatarako ne sakotatis ne tohnon niwenniserateh
the council shall appoint a speaker for the day
15 rotiyaner › chiefs
rotiyaner kohk rotiwennayen ne katsenhowanen
only chiefs have a voice in the grand council
02   Rights, Duties, And Qualifications Of The Statesmen
16 entsitewanastahren › lawmaking
toka tihkateh oya entsitewanastahren
in case a new law is made
17 kahnistenserasonha › clanmothers
kahnistenserasonha enkontehweyenton ne rotiyaner raotisennasonha ne onekorha ohrokwasasonha
clan mothers to hold chieftainship titles via wampum strings
18 ahatkennissahana › refusal
toka ne royaner yatahatontateh ahatkennisahana kwahoksak ohya ensonwarih honten ne royaner
chief deposed if he refuses to attend a council fire
19 ensakotatias › deposed
ne tensonwanakararako ne royaner, ahsarekowa ensakotatias ne kanistensera
an errant chief deposed by clan mother through the war chief
20 enkatiok › guilty
ne royaner onkatiok ensakahonniaseh (ensakosehteh)
for the chief guilty of murder
21 niyoriwake › restrictions
tohkara niyoriwakeh enyoyatontako ne royaner
certain defects restrict a chief
22 ensatatsennarako › resignation
royaner ensatatsennarako toka enonwarihon ne rotiyaner
chief may not resign if active chiefs refuse to accept his resignation
23 aseriye › wampum
ne rotiyaner enhonnonni onekorha aseriye tokani atiatana
on chiefs making wampum strings or belts
24 tsatahniioronkarakeh › composure
rotiyaner tsata niyowirionkarakeh nenhatihnatenson
the skins of chiefs shall be seven spans thick
25 tahontahonton › dependency
ne royaner enrehsake oya tahontahonton ensonwarontiakeh
chief seeking independent authority will be deposed
26 sakotirihonnienni › guides
rotiyanerson sakotirihonnienni enhonton
the chiefs as teachers and spiritual guides
27 enhotiriwakwarision › honesty
rotiyaner akwekon enhotiriwakwarision
all chiefs must be honest
03   Condoled Chiefs
28 kahteri › pledge
royaner ratonsereh kahteri nikasehriyetakeh onekorha entatkaweh
a new chief must make pledge with four strings of wampum
29 atennatsera › celebration
ne ahseh royaner entatkawe atennatsera
the new chief shall furnish the food for the celebrations
30 enkawenanotonkeh › recitation
enwaton skatne tenhonwanakararen tahnon enkawehnanotonkeh gayanerekowa
chieftainship title can be conferred when the great law is recited
31 tensonwahnakararako › illness
ne ehso tsc rononwaktahni royaner tensonwahnakararako tsihniyore ensayehwentahne
a seriously ill chief temporarily deposed
32 enrenheyeh › death
ohyeri nihwenniserakeh enhonterisen ne katsenhowanen toka royaner enrenheyeh
no council for ten days when a chief dies
33 enhonwati › notification
nennen royaner enrenheye ahwekon enhonwati ne rotiyanereon
when a chief dies all iroquois chiefs are notified
34 yahahaweh › title
yahonka ne royaner yahahaweh ne rahosenna tsi yeyatatarion
no chief may carry his title to the grave
04   The Pine Tree Chief
35 Yohnetotahon › Chief
pine tree chef
05   The War Chiefs
36 nihkaseriyetai › five
royaner entatkaweh kayeri nihkaseriyetai eh onekorha tsihnihotihsennotens ne ahsarekowatson
the title names of the five war chiefs
37 sayahta › one
sayahta ahsarekowa ne skahnakerasera rahotiyotensera
one war chief for each nation and their functions
38 ensonwarihonten › installed
nennen enrenrenheye ne ahsarekowa oya ensonwarihont
when a war chief dies another is installed
39 enhawehnontih › against
nennen ahsarekowa enhawehnontih ne gayanerekowa
when a war chief acts against the great law
40 yenhonwatehniehteh › messenger
nennen rotiyaner yenhonwatehniehteh ne tehahratats
when the chiefs send a messenger for the council
41 teharatats › proceed
tsi nenhayereh ne teharatats
how the messenger shall proceed
06   The Clans
42 kentarasonha › clans
tsihniyotihsonnotens ne kentarasonha
titles of clans
43 sahotihtara › international
rontatehkenhokonha ne sahotihtara
members of the same clan in other nations
44 ronwatihnistenha › matriarchy
ne entehwanonton tsinihyakotaroten ne ronwatihnistenha
lineal descent of the people runs in the female line
45 kanistensera › clanmothers
kanistensera kotihaweh ne rotiynaner kahsennasonha
the clan mothers, women title holders
46 enkentowa › keepers
kanistensera enkontowa ne kasennaonwe tsinenwe
clan mothers are keepers of the authorized names
47 ahkoniwatsiraton › annihilation
toka ne kanistensera ahkontwatsiraton
in case clan mothers become extinct
48 enkontwasiraton › extinction
toka akwekon ne kanistensera enkontwatsiraton
in case all the clan mothers become extinct
49 yatahontontateh › refuses
toka ne kanistensera yatahontontateh ahosennon ne royaner
if a clan mother refuses to bestow a chieftainship title
50 tsiniyotiyotenseroton › duty
tsiniyotiyotenseroton ne kanistenserasona
clan mother’s duty if a chief holds a conference at his home
51 rahononskon › conference
ne royaner enhahnenronni rahononskon ne rotiyanerson
for a chief holding a conference with other chiefs at his home
52 ensonwatihaharateh › corrections
ne kanistensera katke ensonwatihaharateh ne rotiyaner
how clan mothers correct erring chiefs
53 ensonwayatarako › selection
tsihnenkotihyere kanistensera ne oya ensonwayatarako ne royaner
rules for clan mothers to follow in selecting a new chief
54 ohkotitsenhayen › council
kanistensera ohkotitsenhayen ne oya ensonwayatarako royaner
clan mothers hold a council to select a new chief
07   The Symbols
55 tenhatienna › contribution
akwekon ne rotiyaner tenhatienna tsi onyonnihakeh ne onekorha aseriyesonha
all chiefs contribute to the making of grand council wampum strings
56 kentoon › territories
skaseriyeta onekorha ne kentoon skanakerasa
each wampum string represents one territory of the nations
57 tekanehren › together
wisk nikon kahyenkwireh skatneh tekanehren ne kenton skayeronda tahnon skahnironikonra
five arrows bound together "united in one body and one mind"
58 tihkawennio › alienated
royaner tokani tihkawennio onka enhasere tihononwentsateh rotiyanerenserison enhoyatontakone kanonsonnikeh
any chief or other persons who submit to laws of a foreign people are alienated and forfeit all claims in the iroquois nations
59 enkowawennonti › against
toka sayata tokani akwekon ne rotiyaner enkowawennonti ne gayanerekowa toka enhonwatihrontiake tokani tensakotinonwaretsiniyoreh enhonniheyeh
in case any or all chiefs go against the great law, they may either be deposed or executed by the war chief and his men
60 kanonsonnionwe › confederacy
kayonni ahtiatanha ne yayak nihononwentiake kanonsonnionwe
wampum belt of the iroquois confederacy
61 tehyotehnonyaniton › calamity
tohka tehnen tahweh ne tehyotehnonyaniton yohteron
in case a great calamity threatens
62 enwatehwenanoton › reading
gayanerekowa enwatehwenanoton
reading the great law
63 enwatehwenanoton › recitation
ennitsi enwatehwenanoton ne gayanerekowa
how the great law is recited
64 tehsakonakaraherha › expert
ayanerensera ratehrennotakowa tehsakonakaraherha
the expert speaker or singer of the law at the installation rites
65 yontehriyostawasonha › weapons
wahahdiyatata ne ne yontehriyostakwasonha
burying the weapons ceremony
08   Adoptions
66 rohsennanien › name
rohsennanien tohkani yohsennanien
"a name hung about the neck"
67 tihotinakeraserateh › foreigner
ne ensakotisennon ne tihotihtarateah tohkani tihotinakeraserateh
giving a name to a person of another clan or a foreign nation
68 enhatiriwanonton › asking
ne enhatiriwanonton ahontiataren tsi kentarakerhon
asking to be adopted into a clan
69 tehotonwentsoni › requirements
no toka onka tehotonwentsoni ahsakoyatihnionte ne tsonkweta, skawatsira tohkanit tohka nihkawatsirakeh
for one to adopt a person, a family or a number of families
70 nennen › after
tsinenhatiyereh nennen wahontehkwetarako
what to do after adoption
09   Emigration
71 enhonneteh › about
tohka ehren enhonneteh tsi nenhatiyereh
about emigrating to a distant region
10   Land Title
72 raonawen › ownership
tsini kayanehenseroten ne howentsah raohnawen
law of ownership
73 natehatiwennotens › differences
oya na tehatiyatostens ne onkwesonha, aktehnon nihatinakareh tahnon oya natehatiwennotens
people made different, put in different lands to speak different languages
11   Foreigners
74 tieyotkontakwen › nations
ne tihatinakeraserateh ya tieyotkontakwen tsi enhontawehyateh
alien nations admitted on a temporary basis
75 ronatehwenhatie › refuges
ne tihatinakeraserateh ronatehkwenhatie tehonatonwentso yahontkontakwe tsi HAHONTAWEHYATEH
alien refuges seeking permanent residence
76 tehotiwennayen › temporary
tihononwentsateh ronwatiyatinionton ya tehotiwennayen
temporary adoptions
77 ensonwanatehkwateh › expelled
kennihkariwessa tsi ronwatiyatinonton onwaton ensonwanatehkwateh
the temporary adopted may also be expelled
78 ahatiyena › accept
tihatinakeraserateh ronwatiretsarons ne ahatiyena ne skennenkowa
foreign nations urged to accept the great peace
12   War
79 ateriyosera › about
ahteriyosera tahnon ahonatateweyehnentahon
about war and having the men ready (warrior society)
80 tentehtonwananontonse › establishing
ne tentehtonwananontonse ne ahotiyentaneh skennenkowa
establishing the great peace on an outside nation by force
81 kanikayen › warriors
ronnonkwe entonnonton kanikayen ne ahsarekowa enhanenrineh ne enhonteriyosera
the men of the league (warrior society) choose which of the war chiefs to lead them in battle
82 ronterios › approach
ahsarekowa enhaterennoten ne ronterios rahotirenna tsiniyoreh tsinon rontehiyosereh
how the war party approaches the enemy
83 tsinenwaterioserentane › after
after the war
84 yenwatasonteren › continue
ne wahonwatisenni yenwatasonteren tsinihotiyanereseroten
the conquered nations may continue their forms of government
85 tihononwentsateh › obstinate
nenne ne tihononwentsateh wahonwatiyo tsiniyoreh yatonwatihsateh
when an obstinate enemy is exterminated
86 enyakearakwake › symbolic
enyakeyarakwake enkakwetskwen enkayehronniston
a symbolic relationship established
87 enhontehriwaseronni › terms
enhontehriwaseronni tsi skennen ensehwaton
terms of peace
88 tokani › urged
enhateriwayena ne skennenkowa ne tihononwentsateh tokani tentonwananontonseh
the great peace urged on foreign nations by persuasion or by force
89 rontehriyos › diplomatic
tehniyaseh ne rontehriyos enhonne ne royaner ne rariwenhawi ne skennen
a peace chief on diplomatic mission accompanied by warriors
90 toka › remounce
en satatehrihontako ne royaner toka enhateriyosera
a peace chief must renounce his title to go to war
91 enkayenterestakwen › emblem
kayonni ahtiatahna ne kahontsi nikatsinetaroten ne enkayenterestakwen ne wisk nihati ahsarekowatson
a wampum belt of black beads is the emblem of the five war chiefs
92 rahotiokwa › driven
toka satekanakaraserihen tokani akwekon enhatiryo ne skennenkowa tahnon tenhatiriteh ne kayanerenserasona , ahsarekowa tahnon ne rahotiokwa ensakonatekwate ne onkwehonweke
if a part of a nation, a whole nation or more than a nation endeavor to destroy the great peace by violating the laws, they shall be driven from the territory by the war chief and his men (warrior society)
13   Rights Of The People
93 entsionnonton › referendum
nennen ne onkwe entsionnonton
the referendum ~ the people decide on the most important matters
94 enhatsitsenhayen › council
nennen ne ronnonkwe tsinikonkentarayen enhatsitsenhayen tehnen nahoten enhonnohetsteh, onentsi enhatikahenyon ne katsenhowanen
the men of every clan shall hold a council of the clan and their decision shall be considered by the council of chiefs
95 tsinihkon › council
ne konnonkwe enkotitsenhayen ne akwekon tsinihkon kentarayen tonihyosatstensera tsiniyot ne ronnonkwe ehatitsenhayen
the council fires of the women of every clan have the same rights as the councils of the men
96 yatenhontsesteh › council
tsinikon kentarayen ne wisk nihonwentsake enwaton yatenhontsesteh skatneh enhatitsenhayen
all the clan council fires of a nation or of the five nations may unite into one general council fire
97 oriwakayon › continue
ne oriwakayon skanakeraseratson tsi ratitsenhayenskwe yenwatasontehren
original national council fires shall continue
98 tihononkwe › ordinary
tsinihotiyanerensehroten ne tihononkwe tahnon ne konnonkwe
rights of the ordinary man and woman
99 yenwatasonterren › continue
ne yonteriwatentiatakwa tahnon ne tehontehnonwehratons yenwatasonterren
the ceremonies to continue
100 satehyoserihen › midwinter
satehyoserihen tehontehnwerraton
the mid—winter thanksgiving festival
101 tehontehonwehratons › festivals
kahnikayen ne tehontehonwehratons
list of thanksgiving festivals
102 okaserota › green
nennen ne okaserota tenhontehnonweraton
festival of the green corn
103 kayentokwen › ripe
kayentokwen tenhontehnonweraton
ripe corn thanksgiving or harvest festival
104 toriwayeri › good
ne toriwayeri
about a good man
14   Installation Song
105 atotarho › installation
atotarho enhatehrennoton ne tenhonwannakararen
installation song by atotarho
106 ahatewayensteh › learn
ne ahateweyensteh ne skennen karenna
to learn the song of peace
15   Protection Of The House
107 entioneh › protection
kanonsa entioneh
protection of the house
16   Funerals
108 royaner › chief
nennen ronwayatatahne ne royaner
of a chief
109 ahserekowa › warchief
nennen ronwayatatahane ne ahsarekowa
of a war chief
110 ratehrios › warrior
nennen enhonwayatata ne ratehriyos
of a warrior
111 kennitoyenha › youngman
nennen enhonwayatata ne kennitoyenha
of a young man
112 ahkoyaneh › clanmother
nennen enyontatiatata ne ahkoyaneh
of a clan mother
113 enktiyakonkwe › woman
nennen enyontatiatata ne enktiyakonkwe
of a woman
114 ensakotiyatata › youngwoman
nennen raksaha tohkani yeksaha ensakotiyatata
of an infant or a young woman
115 nihwenniserkeh › neonatal
nennen ohwiraha enyayiheyeh ohenton ne ahsen nihwenniserkeh
when an infant dies within three days
116 yokenrakaronteh › rights
nennen ne ahwenheyonda yenhatiheweh tsi yokenrakaronteh
the burial rights
17   Niawen Kiwahi
117 ohyotohetston › mourning
tsinahoten enhenron tsiyokenrakwaronteh tahnon nennen ohyeri niwennihserake ohyotohetston
speaking at the burial and at the tenth day of mourning
18   Tho, Final Decision (One River)
19   Kayanerekowa References
20   Kayanerekowa Index (Glossary)

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love
Nihononwentsakeh (English, Confederacy)





Ihih ne Deganawida, watiakwayena Rotiyaner ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh wahakwakwirayento ne Skennenkowa. Wahkwirayento sonwentsake Atotarho, Tanon ne Ohondagehaga Kanakerasera: tsonwentsake ne Sehwatsenhanonneh. Ne wakehnatonkwe kiken yokwirote Tsoneratasekowa, Yokwiratshani Ohnentakenra.

To waahkwayen tsiyokwiroteh kiken Skennenkowa, yohnetska, karaken yetskaronkwa tsinon nensowahtien Atotarho tahnon ne sarasetsen Rotiyanerson.

Tohnon wakwentskohtonnion tsinon yonitskwaratseranetska tsi yorakwawerhon ahnatohkonson tsiyokwiroteh ne Skennenkowa. To ensowanitskohtonnion tahnon ensowatennikorahren tsi rohnatehke ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh. Ahkwekon tsi nahoten ahotihriwayen takeh. Tohnon newateriwahseronnikeh sehwahenton. Atotarho tahnon ne Sarasetsen. Rotiyanerson Onondagehaga tahnon ne ohya Rotiyanerson ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh.




I am Deganawida, with the statesmen of the League of Five Nations, I plant the Tree of Great Peace. I plant it in your territory. Atotarho and the Onondaga Nation: in the territory of you who are the Firekeepers. I name the tree Tsioneratasekowa, the Great White Pine.

Under the shade of this Tree of Great Peace, we spread the soft, white feathery down of the Globe Thistle as seats for you, Atotarho and your cousin statesmen.

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 Great Peace. There shall you sit and watch the Fire of the League of Five Nations. All the affairs of the League shall be transacted at this place before you, Atotarho and your cousin statesmen, by the statesmen of the League of Five Nations.

Note: The term Five Nations makes it evident that all the laws were made before 1,714, at which time the Tuscarora Nation was admitted into the Confederacy... but without an equal voice, contrary to the Plan of Deganawida. Apparently, the first Grand Councils of the Iroquois Confederacy were held under the evergreen white pine, the largest tree in Eastern North America, more than 250 feet high. All cut down 200 years ago by the white men, who afterwards never let the great tree grow to full size again, in their haste and eagerness to exploit it.
Greetings, thanks and love



Yohtehronton tsi yokwiroteh ne Skennenkowa. Enska ohtorehkeh niyawehnon, enska nakon nonkwati, enska entieh nohkwati tanon enska enehken nokwati. Tahnon tsinikonnonhoten nehneh Skennen tahnon Kahsatstensera.

Tohka onka ronkwe tohkahni kanakerasera ahtstehokwati ne Wisk Nihononwentsateh enhatihsereh ne Gayanerekowa ahoyanehrensera tanon ensakotironkahten ne Rotiyanerson, enwahtonentatitehrosehreh tsiniyohreh tsitiokwiroteh. Tohka rohnatehnikonrohareh tahnon tohka enhontehwennarakwe tahnon enhatiharatsteh tsi ensahkotiwennarakwe ne Ratitsenhakwehniyo enhonwatihonkaron kati toh enhontekwasen tsi ohnatokonson ne Tsioneratasekowa.

Ohkwirakenyateh ne Skennenkowa, toh yasakwatoharen Ahkweks ne rahkwenies ihnon yahatkahtos. Tohka tehnen enhatkato tahwe ne yohtehron, ohksak ensakorori ne Rotinonsonni.




Roots have spread out from the Tree of Great Peace: one to the north, one to the east, one to the south and one to the west. These are the Great White Roots and their nature is Peace and Strength.

If any man or any nation outside of the Five Nations shall obey the laws of the Great Peace (Gayanerekowa) and shall make this known to the statesmen of the League, they may trace back the roots to the Tree. If their minds are clean and if they are obedient and promise to obey the wishes of the Council of the League, they shall be welcomed to take shelter beneath the Tree of the Long Leaves.

We place at the top of the Tree of Great Peace an eagle who is able to see afar. If he sees in the distance any danger threatening, he will at once warn the people of the League.

Note: The translator from the American to English got his tree mixed up. Tioneratasekowa does not mean a Tree of Long Leaves, but a Great Tree with ever fresh leaves meaning evergreen or the Great White Pine. The Tree of Long Leaves could not be the White Pine. Unless they had domesticated the eagles, it is an allegory meaning that the people must be very watchful.
Greetings, thanks and love



Ii tahnon ne Ratinonsonini Rotiyaner wahkwarihonten ihseh Atotarho tahnon ne Onondagehaga Rotiyaner ensowatsenhanonna tahnon ensowatennikonraren ne Wisk Nihononwantsake tsi ronahtekha.

Katkeh tehnen enkayentahneh ne kenniakayehren tahnon ya tehotitsenhéyen, rahnatsera yenhonwaton ensakoyatihsakah katioknihkayen tohka Atotarho, Honowihreton tohkani Skanawati, rahtsenhanonneh tohkani Ahsarehkowa tahnon enkarihwayerihkeh tsi henhonwatihrori nahoten rahtikaenyonneh. Tohne onen Atotarho ensakoyatahrorohkeh ronrasehokon Rotiyanerson tahnon enhatikohenyon tohka ken yehkayerih tsinihyoriwa neh katsenhowanen ahatihketsko. Tohka ken, tohneh Atotarho yensahkotohri rahtiriwenhas ahsakottihnonksa ahkwekon tsihnihati ne Rotiyanerson ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh toh ahontiatarohrohke tsi yokwiroteh Skennenkowa.

Nemen enhatiyatayehrihne ne Rotiyanerson, tohneh enwahtekahton ne Katsenhowanen, nektsi yakih ne wahtsirahtonkwas ohyenteh tahonston tahnon Atotarho enhawennohetsteh ne ohenton kahriwatehkwen. Tohneh onen ne Atotarho tahnon ne ronrahsehokon Rontsenhanonneh enhatihrihowanateh nahoten kahriwahereh.

Tsi yohyenkwaroteh ne Katsenhowanen enkarahten tanon yahtenkaronyawesteh, ne kahti enhottroritihatinakeraseratehnion, tohka tehwatenrosonha, tsi onen arch katsenhowanen yotariwahtention.




To you, the Onondaga statesmen, and Atotarho, I and the other Statesmen of the League have entrusted the caretaking and watching of the Five Nations Council Fire. When there is any business to be transacted and the Council 15 not in session, a messenger shall be sent to either Atotarho, Honowirehton or Skanawati, Firekeepers or their War Chief, With a full statement of the business to be considered Then Atotarho shall call his cousin chiefs together and consider whether the business is of sufficient importance to call the attention of the Council of the League.

If so, Atotarho shall send messengers to summon all the chiefs of the League and to assemble beneath the Tree of Great Peace. When the Statesmen are assembled, the Council Fire shall be kindled but not with chestnut wood and Atotarho shall formally open the Council. Then shall Atotarho and his cousin statesmen, the Firekeepers, announce the subject for discussion. The smoke of the Council Fire of the League shall ever ascend and pierce the sky so that the other nations who may be allies may see the Council Fire of the Great Peace.

Note: Chestnut wood throws out angry sparks. The inference here is not to inspire angry moods. Seeing "The smoke of the Council Fire ascend the sky" is to induce friendly neighbors to drop in and sit a spell.
Greetings, thanks and love



Ihseh Atotarho tahnon ne ahsenyawenreh sarasetsen ensowakwehnienstakeh tsi non nikatsenhaien, tohsa tehyotson, tohsa wahkenrayentahn. Ken watien Tsiowatstakaweh Onerahontsa ahkonhonwatha ahyesehwatatonniaten.

Kahnakareh ken wathien ne ahyesehwatsteh ehren ahyehtsiyatenhawiteh ne ohtsinonwahsonha ne kontehseres tsinon niyotekha Katsenhowanen. Tohka ya tayehsewakwehni ehren ahyehsiyatenhawitheh yontsiriwanontons ne tehsehwayehnawakon Rotiyanerson ahyehtsiyenawaseh.




You, Atotarho, and your thirteen cousin statesmen shall faithfully keep the space about the Council Fire clean and you shall allow neither dust, nor dirt to accumulate. I lay a long seagull wing (Tiowatatekowa Onerahontsa) before you as a broom.

As a weapon against a crawling creature, I lay a stick 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 Statesmen to your aid.

Note. Keeping the space around the Council Fire clean may also mean that a well conducted council is being recommended and the crawling creature may be a disrespect person or persons seeking to disrupt the Council.
Greetings, thanks and love



Ahsen nahtenhatitsenhoten ne Ganienkehaga Kanakerasera: Tiotierentakwen ne Tehanakarine, Ostawenserentah tahnon Soskoharowane. Tekehnihaton ne Tekarihoken, Ayonwatha tanon Satekariwate. Ahsenhaton ne Sarenhowaneh, Teyonhekwen tahnon Orenrekowa.

Ne tohnatierenton nekohkne enhontahonsatateh ne tenhatitsenhoten ne tehkehnihaton tahnon ne ahsenhaton tahnon tohka tenhontehrientawenrieh, tohkani yatekayeri tsinitsi onteriwatenti, ensakotironkaten kahti ki tehkentarakeh, tahnon nennen entkayerihne tsinitsi enhonnohetsteh ne tehkentarakeh, tohneh onen entehsakoteriwaniratseh ne tohnatierenton, tohne onen entehsakotiyon ne Tsonontowanehaga ne nonwa ensatikehenion. Nennen Tsonontowanehaga Rotiyanerson yatenhotiriwayentaseh ne Ganienkehaga Rotiyaner, tohne onen yatenhatitsenhiyakteh tsi nokwati ne Kweyonkoahaga tahnon ne Onenyotehaga tahtitskoton ne nonwa ensatikahenyon.




The Council of the Mohawks shall be divided into three parts: Tehanakarine, Ostawenserentah and Soskoharowane are the first. Tekarihoken, Ayonwatha and Satekariwate are the second. Sarenkowane, Teyonhekwen and Orenrekowa are the third.

The first party is to listen only to the discussion of the second and third parties and if an error is made or the proceeding 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 statesmen for their decision. When the Seneca statesmen have decided, in accord with the Mohawk statesmen, the case or question shall be referred to the Cayuga and Oneida statesmen on the opposite side of the house.

Note: The above is the procedure when the Grand Council of the Iroquois Confederacy is in session.
Greetings, thanks and love



Ihih ne Deganawida, wahkerihonten ne Ganienkehaga Rotiyaner ne ahonontsi tahnon ne ratihenteh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh. Ganienkehaga tehkentstorotakwen ne Skennenkowa tahnon kahti tehkayaks ne Gayanerekowa nahonnohetsteh tsi Kahtsenhowane nahoten Ganienkehaga Rotiyaner rotiriwayen.

Yahten gayanerensera tahonton ne Katsenhowanen tohka yahakwekon tahonatatiatinonton ne Ganienkehaga Rotiyaner.




I, Deganawida, appoint the Mohawk statesmen the head and the leaders of the Five Nations League. The Mohawk statesmen are the foundation of the Great Peace and it shall therefore be against the Great Binding Law to pass measures in the Council of the League after the Mohawk statesmen have protested against them.

No Council of the League shall be legal unless all of the statesmen of the Mohawks are present.

Note:The Mohawks were the first to accept the Great Law'. They helped the Founder, Deganawida, to gather the other nations together. Missionaries admit they went all over America and spread propaganda among the "Indians" against the Iroquois Confederacy, especially against the Mohawks because they were the "most militant and great organizers." The missionaries felt certain they checked the spread of the Great Law which "would have made it impossible for the European men to conquer America."
Greetings, thanks and love



Katkeh enhontiatarrokeh ne Katsenhowanen, Onondagehaga Rotiyaner enhatinokonko tcnsakotihnoiiweraton ne ronrasehokon Rotiyanerson tahnon enskonatatiaseh, tenhatinonweraton tsi yonwentsateh, tohnon ne rononkwe rohnataskwaronnion, tsi kanientarehnion, tsi watnehkokwanionkwa, ne onensteh tahnon kahihsonha, ohnonkwasonha tahnon tsi yokwiroton, tahnon ne yokwirowanens yehtiniaheshas, tahnon ne karyo onkwatennatsera ihken tahnon yonkiyawis ahtakwehnia, ne kawerowanens tahnon ne kennikawehrasas, ratiwehras, tsitehwatsiha tiokehneka Omkwa, yehtisota ennitha ahsontenneh Yorahkoteh, tahnon ne Sonkwaiatison rahonahtserahokon, tahnon ohni ne rahonha Sonkwaiatihson, ne tehsonkwawis nahoten tehwaniaheshas, tahnon tohnon nihtehwehta nahoten yontionniosta tahnon tsi tsionneh.

Tohne onen ne Onondagehaga Rotiyaner enhatirihowanateh tsi onen ontehnotonka ne Kahtsenhowanen.

Yahtahonsahatihtsenhayen nennen tayokaraweh.




Whenever the statesmen of the League shall assemble for the purpose of holding a council, the Onondaga Rotiyaner shall open it by expressing their gratitude to their cousin statesmen and greeting them and they shall make and address and offer thanks to the Earth where men dwell, to the streams of water, the pools and the lakes, to the maize and the fruits, to the medicinal herbs and trees, to the forest trees for their usefulness, and 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 reveals 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 Rotiyaner declare the council open. The Council shall not sit after darkness has set in.

Note: The above opening thanksgiving ritual is done at every gathering of the people. The orator gives thanks to all that help human life. Giving thanks to the trees, water, winds, etc., does not mean that the people worship all these useful gifts, but thank the power that produces them. The word Royaner means "he makes a good path for the people to follow." Rotiyaner is in the plural.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nehne Rontsenhanonneh ne enhatihnotonkwasehkeh tahnon ne ensatinotonsehkeh ne Katsenhowane, rohnonha enhonnohetseh ahkwekon nahoten yatehoterihwayentaseh ne tehotinenrakeh tahnon ensakoteriwanihratseh.

Akwekon tsinihatih ne Onondagehaga Rotiyaner (tohkani rahotinaktakeh tehatihtas) onenktsi enhatihterontakeh tsinikon enhatitsenhayen Katsenhowanen tahnon enhatiriwayehna tsihnahoten enhatirihwanonwehneh ne kahnenrowanen tohsa tehaterihwakehna sowahtierenkowa, onen kihneeh ahkwekon sahtenhatiriwanonwehneh.

Tohka Atotarho tohkani katioknikayen ronrahsehokon Rotiyaner yahtehonatawehyaton ne Katsenhowanen, tihkawenniyo kahnikayen ne Rontsenhanonnah enhanotonko tahnon ensahnoton ne Katsenhowanen, ne tsinihatih ronatawiyaton ne Rontsenhanonneh yatehonawis ne tehnen ahomohetseh tsik tohka kenniyoriwaha.




The Firekeepers shall formally open and close all councils of the statesmen of the League, they shall pass upon all matters deliberated upon by the two sides and render their decision.

Every Onondaga statesman (or his deputy) must be present at every Council of the League and must agree with the majority without unwarrantable dissent, so that a unanimous decision may be rendered.

If Atotarho or any of his cousin statesmen are absent from a Council of the League, any other Firekeeper may open and close the Council, but the Firekeepers present may not give any decisions, unless the matter is of small importance.

Note: No chief may start any unnecessary arguments or unjustifiably delay the progress of the Council.
Greetings, thanks and love



Ahkwekon tsinahoten ahotirihwayentahneh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh ne tenhatiyatoreteh ne tehotitsenhoteh. Ganienkehaga tahnon Tsonontowanehaga entontierenteh enhonnohetsteh, tohneh onen Onenyotehaga tahnon Kweyonkonhaga kennensatiyereh tahnon enhonnohetsteh. Tohneh non tonienhenweh ne orihwa tsinokwati ne Onondagehaga Rontsenhanonneh, ne ennakenka ensonnohetseh.

Enknehsaka tsi enwateriwatenti tohka yatekariwayentakwen enhariwinionteh tohkani Ahsarekowa.




All the business of the Five Nations League Council shall be conducted by the two combined bodies of Confederate statesmen. First, the question shall be passed upon by the Mohawk and Seneca statesmen, then it shall be discussed and passed by the Oneida and Cayuga statesmen. Their decision shall then be referred to the Onondaga statesmen, the Firekeepers, for final judgment.

The same process shall be followed when a question is brought before the Council by an individual or a War Chief.

Greetings, thanks and love



Orihwakwen tsi tohnenkayehren, nennen Ganienkehaga tahnon ne Tsionontowanehagas ahtenhatiriwanonwehne ne nahoten wahatikahenyon, ihsi nakatsenhati yatenhonwenrateh tsinokwatih ne Kweyonkonhaga tahnon ne Onenyotehaga tatitskohton nehentatikahenyon tahnon nennen enhonnehetsteh Ganienkehaga tentehsatotihyon. Tohneh onen ne Ganienkehaga Rotiyaner tohnokwatih nienshatihaweh tsi nokwatih ne Rontsenhanonna Onondagehaga tsinitsi ronnehre tkayehri tohkani ken yatatehotiriwanonwehon ne tehkehni tekatsenhote, tohkani ensakotiriwahniratseh ne sihken sahtenhatiriwanonwehne. Tohne onen ne Rontsenhanonne Onondagehaga yensakoEhrori ne Ganienkehaga Rotiyaner ne enhatirihowanateh tsinitsi ontohetsteh ne Kahtsenhakon.




In all cases, the procedure must be as follows: when the Mohawk and Seneca statesmen have unanimously agreed upon a question, they shall report their decision to the Cayuga and Oneida statesmen, who shall deliberate upon the question and report a unanimous decision to the Mohawk statesmen. The Mohawk Rotiyaner 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 Firekeepers shall then report their decision to the Mohawk statesmen who shall announce it to the open Council.

Note: This means that in case of a disagreement between the two parties, Mohawk—Seneca and Oneida-Cayuga, the Onondaga statesmen shall cast their "vote" on one or the other, making it a two thirds majority, making it necessary for the one third minority to go along with the decision of the majority and it becomes a unanimous decision.
Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka sihken yatehotinikonrayentahon tohkani wahontehnentsistanihrateh ne Rontsenhanonneh Rotiyaner, ohyanitsi wahonnohetsteh, ohnenkne tekatsenhote sehkon ensatikahenyon. Tohka sehkon sahtenyawen tsi enhotinikonrayentahne, tohnitsi ensakotirori ne Rontsenhanonneh Onondagehaga, onen kihneh yatehnen tiahatihyereh onenktsi enhatiriwanonwehneh tahnon ensakotiriwaniratseh ne tehotitsenhoteh.




If, through any misunderstanding or obstinacy on the part of the Firekeepers, they reach 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 Firekeepers, who are then compelled to confirm their joint decision.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Onondagehaga enhotiriwarane ne ronnonha rahotitsenkakon ahatikahenyon tahnon ahonnohetsteh, Atotarho ensakoriwaheraseh ne Rotiyanerson, tohatitsenhoten ne tehkentiokwakeh. Akwekon tsinihati ne Onondagehaga Rotiyaner rotiwennayen, nekokne Honowireton yatahonton toh ahatehwenharho. Kwahekne enhatahonsatateh. Nenne ne tahtehtsaron ne tehotitsennoteh sahtenhotinikonrayentahneh, Atotarho enborori ne Honowirehton, tohneh onen ensakoriwaniratseh. Yatahatontateh toka yasahtehhotiriwanonwehon ne tehkehni tehotitsenhoteh.




When a case comes before the Onondaga, the Firekeepers, for discussion and decision, Atotarho shall introduce the matter to his comrade statesmen, who shall then discuss it in their two bodies. Every Onondaga statesmen except Hononwireton shall deliberate and he shall listen only. When a unanimous decision shall have been reached by the two bodies of Firekeepers, Atotarho shall notify Hononwireton of the fact, then he shall confirm it. He shall refuse to confirm a decision if it is not unanimously agreed upon by both sides of the Firekeepers.

Note: ln the Onondaga national council, the party for the final decision is comprised of only one individual, Hononwireton, who however has to follow the rule which is simpty to confirm a unanimous decision or to refuse to confirm a decision which was not agreed upon by the two sides. He does not have to take part in the deliberation. It's already taken care of.
Greetings, thanks and love



Yatahonton ne tikawenniyo onka ne Royaner ahsakotahraseh ne kanenrakwekon Rotiyanerson nennen Katsenhowanen yoteriwatention. Nekok enwaton yensakotaraseh ne tehotiriwayehnawakon tsi rotitsenhayen tahnon enhatehwennastoteh.




No chief shall ask a question of the body of chiefs of the League 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.

Note: Such an action by a chief may result in disorder and delay the progress of the council.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh wahatsitsenhayen, enhonwayatarako ne Sakotatis ne tohnon niwenniserateh. Katioknikayen ne Rotiyanerson ne Ganienkehaga, Onondagehaga tokani Tionontowanehaga.

Tsi entsorenneh, ohya ensonwayatarako, nektsi enwaton ne enkneh sahayata ne tentenrehne, toka yahonka tahatiriwayakeh.




When the Council of the Five Nations chiefs shall convene, they shall appoint a speaker for the day. He shall be a chief of either the Mohawk, Onondaga or Seneca nations.

The next day, the Council shall appoint another, but the first speaker may be reappointed if there is no objection, but a speaker's term shall not be regarded more than a day.

Greetings, thanks and love



Yatahonton ahotiwennayentaheh ne tsi Katsenhowanen ne yatekariwayentakwen tohkani tihononwentsateh, tsik toka tioknahoten ensakoriwahnontonseh ne Sakotatis.




No individual or foreign nation interested in a case, question, or proposition shall have any voice in the Council of the League except to answer a question put to him by the Speaker of the chiefs.

Note: This rule precludes hecklers and rowdy disruptions.
Greetings, thanks and love



Toka sihken katkehtiok onenktsi tenskatehnion kih kayanehrensera, entehwatehwayentonkeh tsihenkakahenyonhon tahnon toka sih tehyoton hontsohon toka onih senha yoyanereh ne aseh ahsakarontayenton, enkakahenyonkeh tahnon toka enyohetston, ne entowanatonkwe, “tikateh sontehwanastaren."




If the conditions which shall arise at any future time call for an addition 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 decided upon and if adopted, shall be called, "Added to the Rafters."

Note: This points out the law-making privileges of the Rotiyaner.
Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love
Rotiyanerson (English, Statesmen)





Kastarokonnianion onehkora satehkon niyoweryonkarakeh nihyensons entkonwanawihon ne kahnistenserasonha ne enkontehweyenton ne Rotiyaner rahotisennasonha. Nehne kotihaweh ne onekorha, ne yotiyanehrenserayen ne ahyakotiyon ne Rotiyaner raohtisennasonha, tahnon tsi nenwe enwatatie enyotiyanerenserayentakeh tsinikariwes enkotihawakeh ne onekorha ohrokwasasonha ohnonha ahonawen ne Rotiyaner kahsennasonha tsinenwe, onenktsi tohka nikayanehrenserake enkotisereh.




A bunch of certain shell (wampum) strings, each two spans in length, shall be given to each of the female families in which the chieftainship titles are vested. The right of the titles shall be hereditary in the family of females legally possessing the bunch of shell strings and the strings shall be the token that the females of the family have the ownership to the chieftainship title for all time to come, subject to certain restrictions mentioned here.

Note: The families mentioned are political families called the "Clan.” The women in possession of the Chieftainship title wampum strings are Clan Mothers. Like the Rotiyaner (Chiefs), the Clan Mother can be deposed if she does a serious wrong at which time another woman will be installed in her place as the Clan Mother.
Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka onka ne Royaner yatatehsariwasnieh tohkani yatahatontateh yahreh nennen rotitsenhayen, ne Rotiyaner, ne kahti ne rohnentiakeh Rotiyanerson ne kanakerasera tsinon nihayatareh enhonwahehraseh ne Ahsarekowa ne ahsakoriwanontonseh ne rahonistensera kihken ennahken rehta Royaner ahonwarori ahatkennisahana tsi totitsenhayen ne Rotiyaner. Toka yatahatontateh, kwahoksak ohya ensonwayatarako ne Royaner ensahton.

Yahonka ne Royaner ihsinon ne enska yenkayenteh henhonwariwanontonseh ne ahhatkennisahana nemen rotitsenhayen ne Rotiyaner.




If any chief of the League neglects or refuses to attend the Council of the League, the other Chiefs of the nation of which he is a member shall require their War Chief to request the female sponsors of the Chief so guilty of neglecting his duties to demand his attendance at the Council. If he refuses, the women holding the title shall immediately select another candidate for the title. No chief shall be asked more than once to attend the Council of the League.

Note: The Clan Mother deposes the errant chief. The War Chief delivers the order by reciting the words of deposition to the errant chief. The three ClaN Mothers of the Clan of the deposed chief immediately choose another Royaner.
Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka katkeh enweneneh tsi sayatah ne Rotiyaner yahtotehsahnikonrayen ne ahkotsennonnia nonkwesonha tohkani wahawennonti ne Gayanerekowa, tohneh ne ronnonkwe tohkani konnonkwe, tohkani skatneh, tohnienhonneh tsi totitsenhayen ne Rotiyaner tahnon enhonwattehten ne kihken Royaner tehonioskenhen, Ahsarekowa tensakotehwennakwe. Toka yatahatahonsatateh nentohwatiehrenteh, sehkon kahti ensonwatehton. Tohka ne ahsenhaton nenhonwarori sehkon yatahatahonsatateh, tohneh ki onen tonienhatihaweh tsi tatitsenhayentakwa ne Ahsarekowatson ne tensonwanakararako, ahotisennakon ne Kahnistensera. Ne enskotiyehna ne Raohsanna. Nohnen tonsahonwanakarako ne Royaner, tohneh onen ne Kahnistensera enhonwatirori ne Rotiyaner, Ahsarekowa ensakotatiaseh tahnon tohnitsi enhonnohetsteh rahotitsenhakon ne Rotiyaner. Tohneh onen ne Kahnistensera ohya ensonwayatarako ne Royaner tahnon ne Rotiyaner enhonwarihonten. Onen enwateriwatentiaton ne Tenhonwanakararen.

Nennen ne Royaner tonsahonwanakararako, kennitsi enhotarhaseh ne Ahsarekowa:

Onen kahti nihseh, ..., yatehnen karihwa tehsonni tahnon kennokwati tahsawihteh tsiwahonsattehten ne Kahnistensera. Tsonnen yatehsoyakeh. Skahenyon tsi natehyoswateh ne Orokontsera tahnon tsinatehyoswahteh ne Orakontsera ahoswatehtsera tonsakonakararako tahnon sahkonkwa ne Sahsenna. Ehren sakhawihteh ne skehnonton rahonakara, ne ratiyentehrestakwakwe tsi nahoten saterihontakwe tanon ne sayatanehiakwatsera. Onen kahti, tonsakonnakararako tahnon tontakehyon ne Konnonkwe ne ahonawen.

Ne nonwa ne Ahsarekowa ensakotati ne Rahonistensera ne tehsonwanakararakwen tohnon enhenron:

Kahnistensera, nen ki tonsahinakararako ne sohwawen Royaner, onen kahti tontahkwayon ne atehniententsera tahnon ne kahsenna, onen kahti, sahsowayehna.

Sehkon yensotarhaseh ne tehsonwankararakwen, enhenron ne Ahsarakowa:

Tsi teskonnakararakwen tahnon skonnahsion, yakati onen tehtsisayaner. Sonhatsiwa tsi nienseseh. Yatahonsehsehwe ne onkwesonha, yatehyonkwateryentareh ennisanikonroten. Netsi ne Sonkwayatisson, yatatehotonwentsohni ne yahtetkayeri, yakahti tahonsayaniakenteh ne tsinonitstenrateh yasatattiatenteh. Yanenwenton tahrahonsastahne tsinon saterihontakwe.

Tohneh onen ne Ahsarekowa yensakotarhaseh ne Rotiyaner ne raohnakerasera ne tsinikayen ne tehsahonwanakararako, enhenron:

Sehwaterientarak, Tahwakowanens, tsi sakrako ne skehnonton rahonakara tsi tehokenkeronteh ne, ..., ne atehniententsera tsinon nihoterihontakwe tahnon ne rahokowanatsera.

Ne Wisk Nihononwentsake Rotiyaner yatehnen tahonton ohya nahatihyereh ohnenktsi enhonnohetsteh tsi tonsahonwanakararako ne tehonioskenhen Royaner.




If at any time it shall be apparent that a chief of the League has not in mind the welfare of the people or disobeys the rules of the Great Law, the men or women of the League, or both jointly, shall come to the Council and scold the erring chief through his War Chief. If the complaint of the people through the War Chief is not heeded on the first occasion, it shall be uttered again and then if no attention is given, a third complaint and a warning shall be given. If the chief is still disobedient, the matter shall go to the Council of War Chiefs. The War Chiefs shall then take away the title of the erring chief by order of the women in whom the title is vested. When the chief is deposed, the women shall notify the chiefs of the League through their War Chief and the Chiefs of the League shall sanction the act. The women will then select another of their sons as a candidate and the chiefs shall elect him. Then the chosen one shall be installed by the Installation Ceremony.

When a chief is deposed, his War Chief shall address him as follows:

So you, ..., disregard and set at naught the warnings of your women relatives. You fling the warnings over your shoulder to cast them behind. Behold the brightness of the Sun, and in the brightness of the Sun's light, I depose you of your title and remove the emblem of your chieftainship 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 Chief and say:

Mothers as I have deposed your chief, I now return to you the emblem and the title of chieftainship; therefore, repossess them.

Again addressing the deposed chief, he shall say:

As I have deposed and discharged you, so you are no longer chief. The rest of the people of the League shall not go with you, for we know not the kind of mind you possess. 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 you once occupied.

Then shall the War Chief address himself to the Chiefs of the nation to which the deposed chief belongs and say:

Know you, my chiefs, that I have taken the deer's antlers from the brow of ..., the emblem of his position and token of his greatness.

The chiefs of the League shall have no other alternative than to sanction the discharge of the offending chief.

Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka sihken ne Royaner onkatiok ensakahonniakseh (ensakosehteh), ne rohnentiakeh Rotiyanerson ne rahonakerasera tohyenhontiatarorokeh tsinon tkahyen ne ohyehronta. Toka yatahonton toh ahontiatarorokeh tsihnon tohnontayawen, nehki nonen ohya ensatitsenhayen ne rahotinakersera tohneh enhonwariwanontonseh ne Ahsarekowa tahon§ahonakararako ne kihken Royaner toniyoriwatsani watanioskenneh,"wasakoyatata ne Rohonistensera ahkowatsireh tahnon akorasetsera nohkwati niahaheh ne Royaner Kahsenna.

Ahsarekowa enhotati ne Royaner tehonioskenhen sakosehton tahnon enhenron:

"Ihseh, ..., yateskonten ne, ..., ihseh sahnentsa wasatseh! Yoriwatsani sahsateriwatewahteh ne rahoenton ne Sonkwayatihson. Skahenyon tsinatehyoswateh ne tsiyorakoteh tahnon tsi ahoswatehsera tsiyorakoteh tonsakonakararako. Sakrako tsi tehsakenkeronteh ne Skehnonton rahonakara, ne watehnientenstakwen tsinon nisehteh, tahnon ne sahsennowanatsera. Onen kati sakonrihontako tahnon enkoyatwateh tahnon kwahonenk ehrenhenseteh ne kih kennonwe niyonwentsateh ne Wisk Nikanakeraserakeh tahnon tosanowenton tentehse. Wisk Niyotionwentsakeh wahakiyatata ne sahnistensera akowatsiereh netsi Oriwakayon Rotiyaner Kahsenna yatatetiatenro ne ahehnenkwensarihron. Ken henskahawihteh ya ohnonha tehtsonawen. Kihken nihyoriwatsani watehsenioskenneh waohnati tsinenweh."

Tohneh onen ne Ahsarekowa entehsakoyon ne Kahsenna ne Kontatehkenha ahotiwatsireh tahnon enhenron:

"Takwanistenserahokon, ..., sehwatahonsiyost tsinikarihwes enkwatatih. Yohrihowanen nahoten wahkeriwayentatieh. Onen ihseh takwayon ne oriwakayon Royaner Kahsenna. Yohriwatsani tsi naohyatawen tsinikariwes rahaweh me satsihtewarontiakeh. Onen kati, ihseh Onkwanistensera enkwaniaheseh tiotkon ahyesehwatonnikonraren tahnon entsisehwarorishekeh ne Royaner ahoriwakwarisionhakeh tahnon ahsakoretsaronhekeh ne rahonkwetasonha tiotkon kahnoronkwatserakon tahnon skennen tsi ahonnonekeh, tohsa tohnayonsayawen kihkon niyoriwatsanih."



If a chief of the League of Five Nations should commit murder, the other chiefs of the nation shall assemble at the place where the corpse lies and prepare to depose the criminal chief. If it is impossible to meet at the scene of the crime, the chiefs shall discuss the matter at the next Council of their nation and request their War Chief to depose the chief guilty of the crime, to "bury his women relatives" and to transfer the chieftainship title to a sister family.

The War Chief shall address the chief guilty of murder and say:

"So you, ..., did kill ... with your own hands! You have committed a grave crime 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 chieftainship 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 League of the Five Nations and never more return again. We, the League of Five Nations, moreover, bury your women relatives because the ancient chieftainship 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 it forever."

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 chieftainship title for a great calamity has befallen it in the hands of the family of a former chief. We trust that you, our Mothers, will always guard it and that you will warn your chief always to be dutiful and to advise his people to ever live in love, peace and harmony that a great calamity may never happen again."
Note: "Bury his women relatives" means political relatives. "Sister Family" is a part of a clan which is composed of three parts with a Chief and a Clan Mother in each part. The Chieftainship Title is lost by the in:volved part and transferred to another part of the clan. "His women relatives" is that one third part of the clan associated with the deposed killer chief. "Family of a former chief", political family of the deposed chief, a third part of the clan.
Greetings, thanks and love



Tohkara niyoriwakeh tsinahoyatawensekeh ne Royaner enhoyatontako ne Rotiyaner tsihrotitsenhayen. Yatehsowen tohka tehoteksatonteh, tohtomokteh, yatehaken, tehahontakwekon, yahtehatatih tahnon yatahonsahakwenih. Ne Royaner tonihoyatawens, Ratehnaktanonnah rahonaktakeh tenhatahneh. Toka ehso tsi tehyotonwentsohon tohki yatenhatahne ne yatiehayatayeri rohtonhon.




Certain physical defects in a statesman of the League makes him ineligible to sit in the League Council. Such defects as infancy, idiocy, blindness, deafness, dumbness and impotency. When a statesman of the League is restricted by any of these conditions, a deputy shall be appointed by his sponsors to act for him, but in cases of extreme necessity, the restricted statesman may exercise his rights.

Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka ne Royaner ihrereh ahonsahatatsennarako tsi Royaner, ensakororih ne Rotiyaner ne Kahnakerasera tsihnon nihayatahre. Toka ne Rotiyaner yatahontontahteh ne ahonsahatatsennarako, yahki tahonton ahonsahatatsennarako.

Ne Royaner ihrereh ahonsahatatsennarako enhoyatarako onkatiok nenq enhonwanonwehneh ne Rotiyaner, onenktsi entkotiriwanirateh tahnon enhonwasennihnionteh ne Kahnistensera tohnek onwaton enhonwarihonten.




If a statesman of the League desires to resign his title, he shall notify the statesmen of the nation of which he is a member of his intentions. If his co-active statesmen refuse to accept his resignation, he may not resign his title.

A statesman, in proposing to resign, may recommend any proper candidate which recommendation shall be received by the statesman but unless confirmed and nominated by the women who hold the title, the candidate shall not be considered.

Greetings, thanks and love



Tihkawenniyo kanikayen ne Rotiyaner enhatahniharon ne onekorha tohkani antiatahna kayonni, tihkawenniyo tohnahonskeh tohkani nahyenson, nehahonsteh ne ahatiriwanihrateh tohkani ahontehweyenton oriwasonha ne kanakerasera tohkani tihkanakeraseratehnion rahotiriwasonha.

Nennen tenwatonwentsoweh yahonteniehton ne onekorha katioknonwe tohka Ahsarekowa tohkani rariwakareniehs yenhahawe, yenharihowanateh nennen yenraweh tsi nahoten kahwennaten ne ohnekorha ahonatontehneh ne onka rahotiriwakeh tahnon ne ronnonha tentontnanehta tsinikawennoten tahnon tentontkaweh ne onekorha. Tohka onkatiok yahonwennonkeh, oksak kati enhatatehwehyenentaneh ne tohnahontareh.

Tihkawenniyo onka ne Wisk Nihononwentsakah ahontsteh ne onekorha tohkani ahtiatana ne ahontehweyenton nahoten wahatiriwisah tohkani wahatiriwahnirahteh tahnon kwahoksak enyoriwanihra tsiniyosnoreh yatenhotiriwayentaseh tenhontaton ne onekorha.




Any chief of the League of Five Nations may construct shell strings or wampum belts of any size of length as pledges or records of matters of national and international importance.

When it is necessary to dispatch a shell string by a War Chief or other messenger as a token of summons, the messenger shall recite the contents of the string to whom it is sent. That party shall repeat the message and if there has been a summons, he shall make ready for his 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 have been exchanged by both parties.

Greetings, thanks and love



Ne Rotiyaner ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh ensakotirihonniennihekeh ne rahononkwetasonha tsinenweh. Tsata niyowihrionkarakeh nenhatihnatenson. Ne kenton yatahotisenni ne kanakwensera, kaweyennaksentsera tahnon ne kariwayehsatera. Tentkarakeh ne rahoneryaneh skennen tahnon ne rahotinikonra ne tentkarakeh ne askanektsera ne ahkoyatakehnhatsera nonkwesonha ne Kanonsonnionwe. Yahtiehyotokteh tsinihotinikonriyo rohnahteriwatentiaton nahoten ronateriwayenni. Ne rahotihsatstensera tekayeston ne ahnitenrasera tsihnokwati ne rahononkwetasonha. Yahneh kanakwensera tohkani ahteryatikonsera tatiatenaktonni ne rahotihnikonrakon tahnon akwekon ne rahotiwennasonha tahnon tsinitsi enhonteryaneron akwekon skennen tsi tekayatorehton.




The chiefs of the League of Five Nations shall be mentors of the people for all time. The thickness of their skin shall be seven spans nine (tsatahniioronkarakeh), which is to say that they shall be proof against anger, offensive action and criticism. Their hearts shall be full of peace and good will, and their minds filled with a yearning for the people of the League. With endless patience, they shall carry out their duty. Their firmness shall be tempered with a tenderness for their people. Neither anger nor fury shall find lodging in their minds and all their words and actions shall be marked by calm deliberation.

Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka onka ne Royaner enrehsakeh ne ahaketskone ohya nikayanerenseroten ne tentewanonton tahnon ehren enhahawihteh ne Gayanerekowa, ahsen nenhonwatehten tsirotitsenhayen, entowatierenteh nehne Konnonkwe tsinihotaraten tohneh nehnonwa ne Ronnonkwe ne tsinihotaroten tahnon ne ennakenka ne nonwa ne Rotiayer tsinon Kanakerasera nihayatareh neh onen ensotehten.

Tohka ne tehariwaronwe Royaner senhak entariwarekeh, Ahsarekowa ensorontiakeh nehtsi yatahatontateh ahasere tsinikayanerenseroten ne Gayanerekowa. Tohneh onen Rahonakerasera ohya tensonwanakararen nenneh enhonwayatarako ne Kahsenna kotihaweh ne rahowatsirakon.




If a chief of the League should seek to establish any authority independent of the jurisdiction of the League 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 chiefs of the Nation to which he belongs.

If the offending chief is still persistent, 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.

Note: Again, the "relatives" are the people of the Clan. Political relatives. The "female name holders of his family" are the Clan Mothers of the Clan. The "name" is the title given to each Royaner while he is going through the ceremony of becoming a Royaner. The title he gets is the name of(he original Chief whose place he assumes when installed as a Royaner.
Greetings, thanks and love



Ronateriwayenni ne Rotiyanerson nennen wahtehwatonwentsoweh sakotirihonnienni enhonton tahnon ensakotihaharaten ne onkwesonha tahnon ensakoneyarakwen tsinihonikonroten ne Sonkwayatihson. Enhonniron ne Rotiyaner:

"Sehwatahonsihyost, ne skennen yahontasonteron ne ohenton wenniseratehnion!" "Tiotkon sehwatahonsatat ne rahowenna ne Sonkwayatihson, ahsehken rowennihnekenhen." "Ne sehwanitiokwakwehnonni, tohsa sowahrihon ne wahetken watehnaktonni ne sehwahnikonrakon." "Rowennihnekenhen ne Sonkwayatihson tahnon tohsa ne skennen ahonkahyonneh." "Yahnowenton tahkenhehyeh ne skennen tohka entsehyarakeh ne Sonkwayatihson."



It shall be the duty of all the chiefs of the League of Five Nations from time to time as occasion demands to act as teachers and spiritual guides of their people and remind them of their Creator's will and words. They shall say:

"Listen, that peace may continue unto future days!" "Always listen to the words of the Great Creator, for she has spoken." "United People, let no 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."
Note: Great faith shown here.
Greetings, thanks and love



Ahkwekon tsinihatih ne Rotiyaner ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tehyotonwentsohon ahkwekon tsi ahotiriwakwarisionhakeh. Tohso rontehrakahren tohkani tehatiriwenhawitanion, ne ratihawak ne nahoten enkakwehni ne enkakowanatiosehkeh. Yahtetkayeri ne Royaner kahnonwe yatehnon tahyorihonteh ehto niahonwayatenhahweh. Tehyotonhontsohon ahonwatihsennakaratateh ne Rotiyaner netsi enso yowis kariwakwehnienstera tsinon nihonaterihonteh.




All chiefs of the League of Five Nations must be honest in all things. They must not idle and gossip, but be men possessing those honorable qualities that make true leaders. It shall be a serious wrong for anyone to lead a chief into trivial affairs for the people must ever hold their chiefs high in estimation out of respect to their honorable positions.

Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love





Nennen ne ronwayatarakwen Royaner rahtonsereh tenhonwanakararaneh, kahyeri nikasehriyetakeh onekorha entatkaweh sewahsha tsiniyensons tehkotihnehren skati nokwati tsiyahyohtonnion. Ne rahoriwanihratsera tsi neh enhahsereh ne Gayanerekowa tahnon kariwakwarihshontsera enratseh ne nahoten ahotirihwayentanen ne Rotiyaner.

Nennen ne ohnekorha entatkaweh, enhayehna ne Sokotatis ne nennen rohtitsenhayen tahnon yensahkohtahraseh ne akteh nakanonsatih tahnon enhenron:

"Onen tsihsewakahenyon, Onen Royaner wahaton. Sehwatkato nihoyatanehrakwa."

Tohne onen ensakotati. Nennen enhasah, tohnokwati yenhateniehteh ne onekorha tsinokwati ne skanonsakarati tahnon entatiyehna tsi wahariwanihrateh. Tohneh onen ne skanonsakaratlh enhonnihron:

"Onen katih watkwanakararen ne skehnonton rahonakara, ne wahtehnientenstakwen tsi Sayaner. Onen sakorihonnienni wahsaton ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh. Tsatah nihwahshaken nensinahtenson, ne kenton yahtahisahsenni ne kanakwensera, kahwehyennaksentsera tahnon kariwayehsatsera. Tentkarakeh ne seryahneh ne skennen tahnon kahnikonriyo. Tentkarakeh ne sahnikonrakon ne ahskanektsera ne rahotiyatakehnatsera ne Rotinonsonni. Yahtiehyotokteh tsinensahnikonriyohakeh nennen ensateriwatentiateh nahoten ensahteriwayenhaseh tahnon ne sahsatstensera tehkayeston ne ahnitenrasera tsinokwatih ne sonkwehtasonha. Yahnen kanakwensera tohkani ahteryatihkonsera tatiatenaktonni ne sahnikonrakon. Akwekon ne sahwennasonha tahnon tsinitsi ensateryanehron skennen tsi tenkayatorehton. Akwekon tsinitsi tenshatoretanion nennen ensohwatsenhayen, ensowayanenseronnianion, akwekon tsinitsi ensayoten ken ensahwihteh ne sahriwasonha. Tohsa tsonneh yahsahti nahoten ahyonsahrehtsaron ne sehyonwahtehokonha tohka sihken tehnen nahoten ahyonsahtehten, tohka tehnen nahoten tahsehnioskenneh nekneh tohnionsahseh tsinokwatih ne Gayanerekowa, tonokwatih tkayehri tahnon yohteriwakwarihshon. Skahenyon tahnon sahtahonsatat tsinokwati ne ahkotsennonnia ne kahnenrakwekon, tohsa ne kok enskahenion ne onwa wenniseratehnion, ne ohni ne tahatihkonsohtontieh, ne ohni ne ahrenko tehotihkonsakehtoton — nehneh ahrohken tohotihnakeraton ne tahweh Kanakerasera."



When a candidate Chief 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 chiefs of the League that he will live according to the Constitution of the Great Peace and exercise justice in all affairs.

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 begin his address saying:

"Now behold him. He has now become a chief of the League. 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 opposite side and they shall be received as evidence of the pledge. Then shall the opposite side say:

"We now do crown you with the sacred emblem of the deer's antlers, the emblem of your chieftainship. 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. Your mind shall be filled with a yearning for the welfare of the people of the League. 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 lodging in your mind. All your words and actions shall be marked with calm deliberation. In all your deliberations in the Council of the League, in your efforts at law-making, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast away. Do not cast over your shoulder behind you the warnings of your nephews and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the Great Law which is right and just. 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."
Note: A condolence ceremony is performed when a chief dies and a new one is installed.The candidate Chief shall make or buy the required string wampum, four strings of one span four inches) in length tied together at one end. The Clan Mother keeps the string wampum after the Installation Ceremony. In the address, the Royaner holds the string pledge wampum in his hand. The Rotiyaner of the opposite side of the Council Fire from the Candidate Chief shall do the Installation Ceremony. That is, the Mohawk, Seneca and Onondaga Rotiyaner shall be installed by the Oneida and Cayuga Rotiyaner and vice versa.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen onka tehonwahnakararaneh, rahonha entatkawe ne skennondon ohwahron onen yohri, kanatarokonwe tahnon ne kahnenstoh onontara, enkoni ne ohya nahotenson tehyotonwentsohon tahnon ne kahyotensera nennen enwateriwatentih ne tenhonwanakararen.




When a chieftainship title is to be conferred, the candidate chief shall furnish the cooked venison, the com bread and the corn soup, together with other necessary things and the labor for the Conferring of Titles Festival.

Greetings, thanks and love



Enwahton tohnikahawi ne Rotiyaner tenhonwanakararen ne wahonwayatarako nennen katkeh enwatehwehnanoton ne Gayanerekowa tohka sihken wahotiyentaneh honka wahonwayatarako ahseken Gayanerekowa watroris akwekon ne gayanerensera.




The chiefs of the League may confer the Chieftainship title whenever the Great Law is recited, if there is a candidate, for the Great Law speaks all the rules,

Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka ehso tsi enhonowakten ne Royaner tahnon ahyenrek tohka enrenheyeh, ne Kahnistensera nehneh kotihaweh ne Rahosenna, tohnienkonneh tsi tohnonsoteh tahnon tensonwanakararako, ne rahotehniententsera tsi Royaner tahnon kemokwatih enkotiyen. Tohka ne Sonkwayatihson ensotereh tahnon tentatketsko ne kahnaktakeh kanonwaktensera, tsi tehokenkeronteh enskaratieh ne rahonakara.

Kennikawennoten enwatston ne yatieyotkontakwan tsi ensonwanakararako:

"Onen kahti, tehwatenro Sayaner, yakaheweh ne akta nayontayakweteh tsi sahnonwaktanih. Ehren ehyakwahawihteh ne kayeronniston tsi Sayaner. Gayanerekowa yoriwenton tsi yahonka ne Royaner tahatonhokten enkanakararatieh tsi tehokenkehronteh. Kennohkwati wahakwayen sahnonskon. Tohka enyentereh ne Sonkwayatison tahnon enseshehwentaneh tsi sahnonwaktani, ensehsatketsko toh enskanakararatieh tsi tehsakenkehronteh tahnon yensehsatasontehren zztsinihsayotenseroten tsi Sayner tahnon ensehseyotenseh ne Rotinonsonni."



If a chief of the League should become seriously ill and be thought near death, the women who are the heirs of his title shall go to his house and lift his crown of deer antlers, the emblem of his chieftainship, 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 chief, 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 chieftainship title. The Great Law has decreed that no chief 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 resume your duties as chief of the League and you may again labor for the people of the League.”
Note: The Clan Mothers depose a chief before he dies. He must not take the title with him to the grave. The title will be inherited by his successor.
Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka ne Royaner enrenheyeh tsinikariwes Katsenhowanen yoteriwatention, enhonterihsen ohyeri nihwenniserakeh. Yahtahatihsenhayen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh ohenton ne ohyeri nihwenniseralteh tsinahe tahonheyon ne Royaner.

Tohka ne ahsen nihontatekenha (nehneh Ganienkehhaga, Onondagehaga tahnon ne Tsionontowanehaga) enhotiyanetonti, kenhehion yenhoyatenhaweh, nehneh kennitotiyenha yatatekenha (Kweyonkonhaga tahnon Onenyotehaga) tohnentonneh ohyerihaton nihwennihserateh tahnon ensehsakotinikonketsko ne ahsennihontatehkenha. Tohka nehneh kahron nitotiyen yatatekenha ohhononkwetontih ne Royaner, nehki ne ahsennihontatekenha tohnienhonneh tahnon ensakotinikonraseroni. Enhotehwehnanohtaseh ne ahsenyawenreh kihkasehriyetakeh ne Ayonwatha rohson. Nennen enhatihsa, onen enhonwayatarako ne rahonaktakeh tensataneh ne rahonheyon Royaner, Kahnistensera enhonwarihonten. Tohka ahreko tehyonatatehwehnientahon ne Kahnistensera ne rahotihenton ne Rotiyaner yatahonwatasteh ne wahonwayatarako, enhenron ne Sakotatis: "Ha yehtehwayaken." Ahkwekon yenhatiyakenne tsi katsenhayen (tohkani tsinon nihonatiatarohron). Sakotatis enhanenrineh tsi yenhatiyakenneh tahnon enhenron: "Ah tsi tioterhateh nieheteweh tahnon yatentewatrakwentarho."

Nenne ne Kahnistensera enhonwayatarakwen kahtioknihkayen ne ronwatiyokonha, ne Rotiyanerson tehkehni ne tsinon enhontatiatarorokeh enska tsinon kennitotiyenha yatatehkenha tahnon ne ohya totihyens ahsen nihontatehkenha. Ne Rotiyaner ensehsakotini Konraseroni ne ronatsonnionkwen Rotiyaner, enhonwayatarako onka enhaterennoten ne Skennen Karenna tahnon enhanenrihneh nenen toh nienhonneh tsinokwati ne Rotinikonrenienhen Rotiyaner. Nennen yenhonneweh tsinon totirhareh ne rotinihkonraksens Rotiyaner, enhonwasennowanteh ne ronwayatarakwen Royaner ratonsereh tahnonenhonterihwatentiateh ne tenhonwanakararen.




If a chief of the League should die while the Council of the Five Nations is in session, the Council shall adjourn for ten days. No Council of the League shall sit within ten days of the death of a Chief of the League.

If the Three Brothers (ahsennihontatehkenah) (the Mohawks, the Onondaga and the Seneca) should lose one of their chiefs by death, the Younger Brother (iatatehkenah) (the Cayuga and the Oneida) shall come to the surviving chiefs of the Three Brothers on the tenth day and console them. If the Younger Brothers lose one of their chiefs, then the Three Brothers shall come to them and console them. And the consolation shall be the reading of the contents of the thirteenth shell wampum of Ayonwatha. At the termination of this rite, a successor shall be appointed by the women heirs of the chieftainship title. If the women are not ready to place their nominee before the chiefs, the Speaker shall say: "Come let us go out." All shall then leave the Council or place of gathering. The Speaker shall lead the way from the house by saying: "Let us depart to the edge of the woods and lie in wait on our bellies." (Tenshakonatioswentarese).

When the women title holders shall have chosen one of their sons, the chiefs of the League will assemble in two places, the Younger Brothers in one place and the three Older Brothers in another. The chiefs who are to console the mourning chiefs shall choose one of their number to sing the Song of Peace as they journey to the sorrowing chiefs. The singer shall lead the way and the chiefs and the people shall follow. When they reach the sorrowing chiefs, they shall hail the candidate chief and perform the rite of Conferring the Chieftainship title. (Ohkeiontentshera)

Note: ”Women heirs of the Chieftainship Title" means that the Clan Mothers are keepers of the Chiefs string wampum which he turns over to his Clan Mother before he is given the title at the Conferring of Chieftainship rite. The title is the name of the original Chief in whose position the Candidate Royaner is inheriting. "When the women title holders shall have chosen one of the sons," means political sons or men of the particular Clan concerned, not necessarily any of their natural sons.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Royaner enrenheye, rahowatsireh oksak yenhonwateniehteh rariwayennes, nehneh tihotahrateh, ensakororyahna ne Rotiyaner aktehnon tatinakerehnion. Nennen akta yenrahweh, yenhatewennoten "Kwa—ah! Kwa—ah!" Ahsen nienkayenteh tentatnanehta, toka nienkayenteh tsiniyoreh yenraweh. Nennen ne teharahtats yenraweh tsi tahtihnakehrenion, ne onkwehsonha enyontkennihsa tahnon sahyata enhoriwanontonseh nahoten kih yohnikonraksa roriwayentahtie. Tohne enhenron "Ah tewatehnikonrihsak.’ Tohneh ensakohrori tsi warenheyeh ne Royaner.

Tohne entehsakoyon skahserihyeta onekorha tahnon enhenron: "Nekihken ne kariwanirahts. Onsehwahtontehneh nahoten kehriwenhawih." Tohneh ensatenti.

Onen wahotiriwahyentahneh ne tohnon Rotiyaner yasakonatehniehtahnion ne tehonrahtats tsinon tatihtehronton ne ohya Rotiyanerson tsiniyoreh akwekon enhotitohkenseh. Ne tehonrahtats tiokehneh tahnon ahsontenneh enhatiriwakahrehni.




When a chief of the League dies, the surviving relatives shall immediately dispatch a messenger, a mentor of another clan, to the chiefs in another locality. When the runner comes within hailing distance of the locality, he shall utter a sad wail, thusly: “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 the nature of his sad message. He shall then say: "Let us consider." (rakwennikon riak). Then he shall tell them of the death of the chief. He shall deliver to them a string of shells or wampum and say: "Here is the testimony, you have heard the message." He then may return home.

It now becomes the duty of the chiefs of the locality to send runners to other localities and each locality shall send messengers until all chiefs are notified. Runners shall travel day and night.

Note: The mourning relatives (members of the same clan) are consoled by the members of the clan that sits opposite to them at the Council Fire. They also do the running to distant chiefs. When their own chief dies, then the favor is returned.
Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka ne Royaner enrenheyeh tahnon yahtekayen ne onka rahonaktakeh ahnonsahonwarihonten, onen kahti ne Rohyaner ne Kanakerasera yenhatihaweh ne Kahsenna tahnon ne entehsalcotiyon ne kontatekenha kawatsireh ne rahotihtarakon tsiniyohreh ne Royanerkenha rahowatsireh ensotiyentahneh ne onka tahonsahonwanakararen, tohne onen tentonwatihyon ne Kahsenna, rohnonha rahonawen.

Yahne Rotiyaner Kahnsenna onka tiahahawe tsiyehyatataryon. Enwahton ne Rotiyanerson tensonwanakararako ne rahonheyon Royaner, ensontawa ne Kahsenna enkhoni tsitiokenrakaronteh tsi yontatiatatahasta.




If a chief dies and there is no candidate qualified for the office in the family of the women title holders, the chief of the Nation shall give the title into the hands of a sister family (Kentennonteron) in the clan until such time as the original family produces a candidate, when the title be restored to the rightful owners.

No chieftainship title may be carried into the grave. The chiefs of the League may dispossess a dead chief of his title even at the grave.

Note: "Sister family in the clan." There are three chiefs and three Clan Mothers in each Clan. Each chief and each clan mother represent a ”family” or a political family in the Clan. Makes it easy to reach decisions in Clan Councils. The Chieftainship Titles have been in existence since the Confederacy was founded and must not be buried.
Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love

Pine education





Ne onka rahyatareh ne Kanakerasera nektsi yahtekariwayentakwen, tohka ehso tsi rayatakehnen tahnon ihsinon nihawehyenteh tahnon ehso tsi teharihwasnieh ne ahoriwasonha ne Kanakerasera toka enrehnesteh tsi rahtohka, yohtonkwehtakwarihshon, enwahton ne Rotiyaner enhonwarihonten toh enhatien tsi rahtitskoton ne Katsenhowanen, "Yohnetotahon" enhonwanatonkwe. Tohnitsi enhonwahsenneon nennen ohya yenskaheweh ne tensehsakotihnakararonion. Tohka katkeh enhakarenrako tsiniyorihoten ne Gayanerekowa, yatahonsahonwarontiakeh nektsi kenhaskaweh ne tensehsakotihnakararonnion. Tohka katkeh enhakarenrako tsiniyorihoten ne Gayanerekowa, yatahonsahonwarontiakeh nektsi kenhenskahawihteh yahonka tahonsahatahonsatateh nahoten ahonsahenron. Tohka ensatatsennarako yahonka tahonwayateneh. Ne "Yohnetotahon" yahneh tohoyen ne onka rahonaktekeh ahonsahatien.




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 and honest and worthy of confidence, the Chiefs of the League may elect him to a seat among them and he may sit in the Council of the League. He shall be proclaimed a Pine Tree, sprung up for the Nation, and be installed as such at the next assembly for the installation of chiefs. 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 every one shall be deaf to his voice and his advice. Should he resign from his seat and title, no one shall prevent it. A Pine Tree Chief has no authority to name a successor, nor is his title hereditary.

Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love





Ne rahotisennasonha ne Ahsarekowason:

Ayonwehs: Ahsarekowa ihrateh raohnaktake ne Tehkarihoken (Mohawk).
Kahonwaitiron: Ahsarekowa ihrateh raohnaktake ne Otatsheteh (Oneida).
Ayentes: Ahsarekowa ihmteh raohnaktake ne Atotarho (Onondaga).
Wenens: Ahsarekowa ihrateh raohnaktake ne Dekaenyon (Cayuga).
Shoneratowaneh: Ahsarekowa ihrateh raohnaktake ne Skanyatariio (Seneca).

Kahnistensers enkontahwa ne Ahsarekowa rahotisennasonha. Tohnon yahtenkahyehstahshonkeh ne Ahsarekowa enhonten tsinon ne kawatsirakon ne Kahnistensera kotihaweh ne Rotiyaner Kahsennasonha.




The title names of the War Chiefs of the League shall be:

Ayonwehs: war chief under Chief Tekarihoken (Mohawk).
Kahonwaitiron: war chief under Chief Otatsheteh (Oneida).
Ayentes: war chief under Chief Atotarho (Onondaga).
Wenens: war chief under Chief Dekaenyon (Cayuga).
Shoneratowaneh: war chief under Chief Skanyatariio (Seneca).

The women heirs of each head chiefs title shall be the heirs of war chief's title of their respective chief.

The war chiefs shall be selected from the eligible sons of the female families holding the chieftainship title.

Note: War Chiefs ruled absolutely over the nations when the Iroquois Confederacy was formed. The ruling war chiefs were Tekarihoken for the Mohawks, Atateheteh for the Oneidas, Atotarho for the Onondagas, Dekaenyon for the Cayugas and Skanyatariio for the Senecas. They all became part of the 49 Chiefs in the new order devised by Deganawida, Founder of the Iroquois Confederacy. They became Peace Chiefs and a new' order for protection and defense was devised and the new category of War Chiefs established and they included Ayonwehs for the Mohawks, Kahonwaitiron for the Oneidas, Ayentes for the Onondagas, Wenens for the Cayugas and Shoreratowaneh for the Senecas and these new War Chiefs took instructions and directions from the former rulers of the Nations.
The Gayanerekowa has definite functions for the War Chief and his men (Warrior Society). They are charged with the protection, defense and welfare of the people. These duties may take many forms, Such as keeping the peace, teaching, speaking to the people, repossessing lost lands, maintaining human rights, diplomatic relations with other nations, and any other work that promotes the welfare of the people.
Greetings, thanks and love



Sayahta ne Ahsarekowa enhotihyentaneh ne Skanakerasera, tahnon ne enhonateriwayenhaseh ne enhateriwakarenih nahoten enhonnohetsteh ne Rofiyaner tahnon ronnonha enhonteriyo nennen tenwahtonwentsoweh. Yahtahontiatahren ne Ahsarekowa tsirotitsenhayen ne Rotiyaner, nekneh enhontennikonrahren tohka tehnen onka ne Royaner tenhahnioskenneh, Ahsarekowa enhayehna ne nahoten yatahohnehrientiyo ne onkwesonha. Ahsarekowa tensakotehwennakwe ne Kanistensera tsi enhonwatehten ne Royaner watanioskenneh. Tohka nonkwesonha tehyakotonwentsohni tioknahoten ahonwatirorih ne Rotiyaner, Ahsarekowa yensakoriwenhawenseh. Rohonha rotehriwayenni ne yahsakoriwaherahseh ne nahoten tehyakotonwentsonni nonkwehsonha hohenton tsiniyohreh enhatitsenhayen ne Katsenhowanen.




There shall be one War Chief for each Nation and their duties shall be to carry messages for their chiefs and to take up arms in case of emergency. They shall not participate in the proceedings of the Council, but shall watch its progress and in case of an erroneous action by a chief, the War Chiefs 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 Chiefs of the League shall do so through the War Chief of their Nation. It shall always be his duty to lay the cases, questions and propositions of the people before the Council of the League.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Ahsarakowa enrehheyeh, ohya rahonaktakeh ensonwarihonton, tonitsienwateriwatentiaton tsiniyot nohnen Royaner wahonwarihonten.




When a War Chief dies, another shall be installed by the same rite as that by which a Chief (of the Council) is installed.

Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka ne Ahsarekowa ohya nenhayehre tsinitsi enhonwarori tohkani enhawennontih ne Gayanerekowa, ne enratsteh tsi rohterihonteh, nehneh konnonkwe rahowatsireh tahnonne ronnonkwe rahowatsireh ensonwarontiakeh. Enwahton ne konnonkwe yahtenyotiyatisteh tohkani ne ronnonkwe yahtenhotihyatisteh tohkani yahtenhontiesteh tsi enhonteriwatentiateh. Tohneh ne Kanistensera ohya ensonwayatarako.




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 alone or the men alone or jointly may act in such a case. The women title holders shall then choose another candidate.

Note: The people of the Clans here show their power. The women title holders are, of course, the Clan Mothers.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nenne ye Rotiyaner kahnon onka yenhonwatehniehteh ne Katsenhowanen ahoriwakeh, tenhatiwawenhehkeh nahoten yenhontehniehteh tahnon enhonwanikonrayentasten ne taharatats yenhatakwarihshaten tsinon wahre tahnon yenhariwayen tsinitsi wahonwarori.




When the chiefs of the League take occasion to dispatch a messenger on behalf of the Council of the League, 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 instruction.

Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka ne taharatats ne rariwenhawih tsi tahonneh ne rahtihnatakaryas tahontehriyosereh, ne teharatats tehohenrehtanionne tsinienhenre “Kwa-ah! Kwa-ah!” tehkehni yatenkayenteh tahnon tentatnahnehta, kennikariwehsonsah tohneh onen enkariwehsonsehkeh.

Tohka ronkwe enhonwahyatatshenrih rawenhehyon, yahtiahayehna ne ohyehronta ne wahoyatatshenrih, oksak ensahtentih tohohenrehtaneh, “Koo-weh! Komweh!"




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 is found dead, the finder shall not touch the body, but return home immediately shouting at short intervals "Koo-weh!"

Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love





Tsinikanakeraser ne Wisk Nihononwentsake tahnon ne sakonatehrehokonha ehkayentakeh ne kentarasonha tsinihyot pe Rotisennaketeh, Rotisennakehtekowa, Ohkwarikowa, Ohkwaritalcayon, Ahnowara, Ronatkontseraron Ahnonwara, Tawistawis, Tawistawiskowa, Skehnondon, Tkanenyoteh, Yahsakonha, Tiawehronko, Ahtenno, Skahsonsahti tahnon Onehnata Watatewennio.

Ne kih kentarasonha tewarehniaton tsi rahtinakerehnion ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, ne enhatiyatakwehniyokeh ne ohwentsa, ronnonha rahonawen yotonhon.




Among the Five Nations and their descendants there shall be the following Clans:

Bear, Eel, Snipe, Beaver, Hawk, Turtle, Deer, Heron, Wolf

These Clans distributed through their respected nations shall be the sole owners and holders of the soil of the country and in them is vested, as a birthright.

Note: There are clans other than these among the 5 Nations. The Europeans, not being members of any of these Clans, have no right to own any land in this part of the world.
Greetings, thanks and love



Ne onkwesonha ne Wisk Nih ononwentsakeh ratiyataronnion ne kentarasonha ahkwekon ensakotiyenterehne ne onka enkne sahotitara tsi rontatehkenhokonha, yahtehwatsterista nahotinakeraseroten. Yatahonton ahotihniakeh ne satehotihtaroten.




People of the Five Nations who are members of a certain clan shall recognize every member of the Clan no matter what Nation, as relatives. Men and women, therefore, who are members of the same Clan are forbidden to marry.

Greetings, thanks and love



Ne onkwesonha ne Wisk Nihononwentsake, ne enhatisereh tsiniyakotaroten ne ronwatinistenha. Konnonkwe ne kontwatsirineh ne Kanakerasera. Ne enkotiyatakwehniyokeh ne onwentsa. Ronnonkwe tahnon ne konnonkwe ne enhatihsereh tsinihyakotaroten ne ronwatihnistenha.




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 their mothers.

Greetings, thanks and love



Kanistensera, kotihaweh ne Rotiyaner kahsennasonha, ne enkonwatinatonkwake Oyaner tsinenweh tohkani Otiyaner.




The women heirs of the chieftainship titles of the League shall be called Oyaner or Otiyaner for all time to come.

Note: The Clan Mothers shall be called Oyaner. Oyaner is derived from the word Oyana meaning "path". Oyaner is the female "good path maker." Otiyaner is in the plural. Royaner means, "He makes a good path for people to follow." Rotiyaner is in the plural.
Greetings, thanks and love



Ne konnonkwe ne kahyerihniwahsen-satehkon (onen nonwa wisknihwahsen) nikawatsirakeh ne enkontahwe ne kahsennahonweson tsinenweh.

Nennen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh ensakotihsennon ne rahtiksakonha tsinihkarihwes tahontehnonwehratons ne Ohsehron, tohkani Ohkaserota, Kenniyohontesha tohkani Kayentohkwen, sahyata ne ronkwe tsinihotaroten ne raksaha tohkani yeksaha enhonwarihonten ne enharihowanateh, ensakorori ne tihohtitaratehnion ennih. Tihsonnoten ne rohniha tahnon ne rohnistenha enkohni ne akotara. Tohneh onen enharihowanateh ne raohsenna ne raksaah tohkani yeksaha tehkehni yahtenkayenteh. Tohneh onen ne raksaha ronenhaha tenhoyatakwe ne raksaha tahnon enhoyatenhawihson tsinikanonses enharennotatieh
"Kehnihkonranihron! Wahkehnonsonni!"
Tsirarennohtatie ne skentarakaratih enhonterennayesteh,
"Hyen, Hyen, Hyen, Hyen..."
tsiniyoreh enharennentahneh.




The women of the Forty-Eight (now Fifty) noble 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 Green Corn and Strawberry and Harvest Festival, one in the cousinhood of which the infant is a member shall be appointed a speaker. He shall announce to the opposite cousinhood the names of the father and 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 League." As he sings, the opposite cousinhood shall respond by chanting: "Hyen, Hyen, Hyen, Hyen...", until the song is ended.

Note: The "cousinhood" is the other Clan. The purpose of announcing the Clan of the mother is to point out the Clan of the child. A child is born a Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, etc., but when he is named in the Great Law ceremony, the child becomes an Iroquois or Rotinonsonni. He is a Mohawk by blood and an Iroquois by law, for Gayanerekowa is also known as the Great Law, is the Constitution of the Kanonsonnionwe or the Iroquois Confederacy. By the same token, if an individual or a whole Nation leaves the Iroquois Confederacy and in time realizes their great error and decide to be reinstated, they would be required to go through the Naming Ceremony or in their case, a re—naming ceremony and hold the Pledge Wampum and re—accept the Great Law and this act could be called the Iroquois Pledge of Allegiance.
Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka ne Kanistensera kotinikonrareh ne Royaner Kahsenna ahkontwatsirahton, Rotiyanerson ahkora entehsakotihyon ne Royaner Kahsenna ohya ensatihwatsiraketsko ne ensontawa ne Royaner Kahsenna tahnon ne Kahnistensera enwatawa ne Kahsenna nektsi yatayakorihonten ne Rotiyaner tsiniyore akwekon ne kawatsirakayon enhonenhehyon tohkani yatehsonawen ne ahonsahontehrihonten.




If the female heirs of a title of a chief of the League becomes extinct, the title shall be given by the chiefs of the League to a 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.

Note: If the Clan Mothers who hold a Royaner Title become extinct, the Chiefs of the Confederacy shall give the Royaner title to another of the three parties making up the clan, but they will not appoint a Royaner until all the eligible men in the former clan (family) have died. Which means that the Chiefs of the Confederacy can institute a new clan if necessary.
Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka akwekon ne Rotiyaner tahnon Otiyaner tabnon ne tsinikentara enhontwatsiraton, nehneh Rotiyaner tsi Katsenhowanen tohnokwati nienhatihaweh ne Kahsenna tsinokwatih ne tiatatehkenha Kentara ne ohya ensatiketsko.




If all the heirs of a chieftainship become extinct, and so all the families in the Clan, then the title shall be given by the chiefs of the League to a family of a sister Clan whom they shall elect.

Note: The chief shall take from a large clan and make a new clan or keep up the extinct clan so that the title shall not be lost.
Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka onka ne Kanistensera yatahontontateh ahontontkaweh ne Kahsenna tohkani ahyakosennon, tohkani ne Kanistensera kehtenwatkahweh tohkani enkakenron nahoten yotehrihonteh, tohneh kati kenhenskahawihteh akwekon nonkwe enyakehrekeh yontatiataten tahnon ne akowatsireh yotwatsiratonhon. Tiatatehkenha kawatsireh nohkwatih nienhenweh ne Kahsenna, tohkani enktikentarateh enhatiyehna tsiniyosnohreh ensakotiriwaheraseh. Ne kati ne Rotiyaner ne Katsenhowanen enhatirako kahnikayen ne kawatsireh tohkani kentara enhatiyehna ne Kahsenna kenhenskahawihteh.




If any of the Otiyaner women, heirs of a titleship, shall willfully withhold a chieftainship 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 chiefs of the League shall elect the family or Clan which shall in future hold the title.

Note: How political rights are lost by one of the three parties of a Clan when it's Clan Mother refuses to follow the rules of her position.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nehneh Otiyaner kotihnikonrahre ne Rotiyaner Kahsenna enyakotirihonten tehkehniyaseh tehkenonkwe ne enhonwakhonnien ne Royaner nennen onkwesonha toh wahontkennihsa rahonoskon.

Yahtetkayehri tshnon yahtehyoyanehreh ne ahyontonkaryakeh ne onka sakohonkarawih.




The Otiyaner women of the League, heirs of the chieftainship titles, shall elect two women of their family as cooks for the chief when the people shall assemble at his house for business or other purposes.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Royaner enhahnenronni rahononskon, ne rohneh tohka enyonskanehkeh ahkahonha enyekwatako ne ahtennatsera, enhonwatihnonteh ne Rotiyanerson rohnatatiataroron. Yahkoyanersenserayen ne tonayehyereh tahnon enyakehnesteh ne akohnoronkwatsera.




When a chief holds a conference in his home, his wife, if she wishes, may prepare the food for the union chiefs who assemble with him. This is an honorable right which she may exercise and an expression of her esteem.

Greetings, thanks and love



Ne Otiyaner, katkeh tehyotonwentsohon, enhonwanatehten tahnon ensonwatiharateh ne Rotiyaner. Nehkokne yehkonnehta tsikatsenhayen enwaton tohnenkotihyereh, tahnon ne yatiekonnehta, yahnetahonton ne ahkotiriwayakeh tohkani ahhonsakotirihsih nahoten wahonnohetsteh.




The Otiyaner women, heirs of the chieftainship titles, shall, should it be necessary, correct and admonish the holders of the 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.

Note: The Clan Mothers (Otiyaner) may correct and give friendly advice to the Rotiyaner (Chiefs).
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Kahnistensera enhonwayatarako ne Royaner enhaton, tenkotiyestasih nehneh enwahton enhonwaniahehse, tohriwayehri tahnon yohtonkwetakwarishon, rahonha ratatehriwaseronnienni tahnon tehsakosnieh ne rahowatsireh tohka tehnen rawatsirayen, tahnon ne tahnes ne rahonakerasera.




When the Otiyaner women, holders of a chieftainship 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, and supports his own family, if any, and who has proven a faithful man to his nation.

Note: When the Clan Mothers "select one of their sons" if means one of the men in the Clan who has the proper qualifications. It does not necessarily mean one of their own natural sons, the Clan being a political family.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Royaner enrenheyeh tohkani ensonwahrontiakeh, ne rahatara Otiyaner enkontitsenhayen tahnon ensonwayatarako ne Royaner ensahton. Yatabonton ne rahniha ne ohya Royaner ne ahonwarihonten. Tohka sahtenkotiriwanonweneh tohnienkotihaweh ne rahosenna tsinokwati ne ronnonkwe ne enkneh sahkentara. Tohka yahtahatihriwanonwehneh ne ronnonkwe, enhohnateriwayenhaseh ne rohnonha ahanwayatarako katiok nikayen tsinikon ronnonkwetayen. Tohko ne ronnonkwe tahnon ne komonkwe yatahatikwenih tahatiyestahsih kahnikayen ne tehniyaseh ronwatiyatarakwen, tohneki onen ne Rotiyaner ne sahotitara ne enhonwayatarako. Tohka ne ronnonkwe tahnon ne konnonkwe sahtenhatiriwanonwehne onka wahonwayatarako, entonwatiyon ne tihkentaratehnion ne rahosenna, toh entatiriwanirateh, tohne onen entonwatihyon ne Rotiyanerson ne Katsenhowanen entatiriwanirateh tohne onen enhonteriwatentiateh ne tenhonwanakararen.




When a chieftainship title becomes vacant through death or other cause, the Otiyaner women of the Clan in which the title is hereditary shall hold a council and shall choose one of their sons to fill the office made vacant. Such a candidate shall not be the father of any chief of the League. 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 chiefs of the League in the Clan. They shall decide which candidate shall be named. If the men and women agree to a candidate, then his name shall be referred to the sister clan for confirmation. If the sister clans confirm the choice, they shall refer their action to the chiefs of the League who shall ratify the choice and present it to their cousin chiefs, and if the cousin chiefs confirm the name, then the candidate shall be installed by the proper ceremony for the conferring of chieftainship titles.

Note: Again, "one of their sons" means the eligible men of the Clan. The new chief shall have to meet with the approval of all the men, women, Clan Mothers and other Chiefs.
Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love





Ehso kayseriyehtakeh onekorha wahtaniharon akwekon Rotiyanerson ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh wahtatiyena tsi wahonnonni, ne wahtehnientenstakwen tsi yatehonatieston ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tahnon ne kariwanihrats ne Rotiyanerson ne Ganienkehaga, Onenyotehaga, Onondagehaga, Kweyonkonhaga tahnon ne Tsonontowanehaga tsi yatehonatieston tahnon enska rohnatonhon, ne wahatihnatonkwe Gayanerekowa ronnonha rotiriwanihraton.

Ne kahti kih onekorha wahtaniharon wahtenientenstakwen nennen Rotsitsenhayen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh. Ne Royaner enhonwarihonten ne enhanotonko, enhatawah ne onekorha tsinikariwes enhatatih. Nennen enhahsa ne yehnotonkwata, toh enhahren ne onekorha tsinon nihkaharataton, onen kihnenneneh akwekon ne Rotiyaner tahnon nonkwesonha enyontokeh tsi rotitsenhayen.




A large bunch of shell strings, in the making of which the Five Nations League Chiefs have equally contributed, shall symbolize the completeness of the unions, and certify the pledge of the Nations, represented by the chiefs of the League of the Mohawk, the Oneida, The Onondaga, the Cayuga, and the Seneca, 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 League of Five Nations. And the chief whom the Council of Firekeepers shall appoint to speak for them in opening the Council shall hold the strands of shell in his hands when speaking. When he finishes speaking, he shall place the strings on an elevated place or pole so that all the assembled chiefs and the people may see it and know that the Council is open and in progress.

Greetings, thanks and love



Wisk nihkaseriyetakeh onekorha wahtaniharon skatneh tehkaneren ne watehnientenstakwen ne Wisk Nikanakereserakeh. Skahseriyehta ne kenton skanakerasera tahnon ne oriwakwekon wisk natekaneren ne kenton yatehonatieston ne ohwentsasonha, ne rahtinatonkwen WisK Nikanakeraserakeh Rahononwentsa.




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 Territory.

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Wisk nihkon kahyenkwireh yohnihron tsih skatneh tehkanehren ne kenton tsi rahtihsatsteh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tsi yatehonatieston, enska wahonton, skanentsista, skayehronta tahnon skahnikonra. Skatne tsi enhotihyoten, enhatihyanehrensehronni tahnon skatneh enhatihtsenhayenstakeh ne ahkotsemonnia ne tahatikons—tontie.

Rotiyanerson skatneh tenhontonteh enkneh sakaksa ne yohri tsanihton ohtahson. Tsinikariwes tehonatskahon yatahonsteh nahoten yoyotihye, onen kihneheh yatatahontatreneh tahnon ahontenehkwensahriron. Ahwekon tsinahoton enhontehnienten ne tohsa ahontehnekwensahrihron.




Five arrows shall be bound together very strong and shall represent one Nation each. As the five arrows are strong bound, this shall symbolize the complete union of the nations. Thus are the Five Nations completely united and enfolded together, united into one head, one body and one mind. They, therefore, shall labor, legislate and council together for the interest of future generations.

Note: When the Confederacy was formed, Deganawida actually demonstrated by taking one arrow and breaking if in half. Then he took five arrows and tried to break it to show how strong the Five Nations can become.
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Onen kahti Wisk Nihononwentsake Rotiyanerson tohronnehteh tehonatatehnentsawakon tehotihnenrahnen. Ne kenton tohka onka ne Rotiyaner enhariwarako ne tsi katsenhayen tohkani ehren enrehteh ne Kanakerasera, rahonakara watehnientenstakwen tsi Royaner tehkahnehrenhatieh ne rahoyatakehnatserasonha enkehniyatotarheneh tsi tehhonatatehnentsawakon ne Rotiyanerson. Enhoti ne Rahosenna tahnon ne rahonakara entehwasenneh tsi tehokenkeroteh nektsi Kanonsonnikeh enkayentakeh.

Tohka sihken ohni tihkawenniyo kahnikayen ne Rotiyaner neh enharako ahasereh ne rahotiyanerensera ne tihononwentsateh, enhoyatontako ne Kanonsonnikeh tahnon ne onkahrehson ehnenhatiyereh ne enhontehnatonkwe "tehonatonkoton." Tohnehotiyatawen ne tikawenniyo onka tohka enhatihsereh tihononwentsateh rahotiyanerensera, akwekon enhoti nahoten ahayakwehniyokeh tahnon ahoyentakeh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tahnon tsinon nihatihnakereh.

Ihseh, Wisk Nihonowentsakeh Sehwayanerson, sehwasatstek, enkonih ne okwireh tohakaryehnenneh tsi tehsowatatehnentsawakon, yahki takakwenih tayesehwakasih tohkani tahyehsowashotarisih. Tohnitsi enkahsatstehkeh tsi enska sehwatonhon.




There are now the Five Nations League Chiefs standing with joined hands in a circle. This signifies and provides that should any of the chiefs of the League leave the Council and the League, his crown of deer's antlers, the emblem of his chieftainship title, together with his birthright, shall lodge on the arms of the union chiefs whose hands are so joined. He forfeits his title and the crown falls from his brow, but it shall remain in the League.

A further meaning of this is that if, at any time, anyone of the chiefs of the League choose to submit to the law of a foreign people, he is no longer in but out of the League and persons of this class shall be called, "They have alienated themselves" (Tehonatonkoton). Likewise, such persons who submit to laws of foreign nations shall forfeit all birthrights and claims of the League of Five Nations and territory.

You, the League of Five Nations Chiefs, be firm so that if a tree should fall upon your joined hands, it shall not separate you or weaken your hold. So shall the strength of union be preserved.

Note: This means that the Americans who follow the laws made by foreigners and it includes Canada's Indian Act and the United States Federal Indian Law have alienated themselves from their own nations. That is why an American such as a Mohawk who voted in the elections devised by the Canadian or United States governments have to be reinstated in a special ceremony to regain their lost Iroquois citizenship which they lost by the simple act of voting in the Canadian Band Council or United States Tribal Council elections, as well as voting in Canada's national or the United States national elections. "Code" means a body of laws or a nation. Accepting the Handsome Lake Code which is a Quaker Code is a violation of this Wampum #58 of the Great Law.
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Tohka nikaseriyetakch onekorha, ahsen nih—ashakeh nihyens, nehne ehnehken ne ahsennen karaken nihyoenkneh ehtakeh nokwatih ahsennen, kahontsi nenneheh tahnon akwekon sahtethonatkawen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh ronnonkwe tsi rohtihson. Ne kenton yatontiesteh skahnentsista, skahyehronta tahnon sehwaniontonniontsera tahnon ne Skennen kariwanihrahts rotison ne Rotiyanerson ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh. Ne tsihnon karaken nihyot ne onekorha nehne kenton ne Konnonkwe tahnon ne tsinon ne kahontsi nehne kenton Ronnonkwe. Ne ohni kenton ne kahontsi onekorha kasatstensera tahnon rohnawis ne kariwatoken nahoten ahontahonnonton ne ronnonkwe.

Ne kihken ahseriyeh onekorha, ne rohnawis ne onkwesonha ahonsahsakotihaharateh ne wahontaharako Rotiyaner. Toka sihken tohka nihatih ne Rotiyaner, tohkani akwekon tsinihati ahontahihta tsinon yahtehonwatihriwahwi ne onkwesoaha tahnon yatahontahonsatateh ne Kahnistenseia ahotiwenna wasenensawenrate), tohneh kahti tonienkaha tsinon kotitsenhayentakwe ne kahnenrakwekon ne konnonkwe ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh. Tohka ne Rotiyaner wahonwanatehton ahsen niakayenteh tahnon sehkon atahontahonsatateh, tohneh kih onen tonienhenweh ratihsonsakeh yenkaraneh ne ronnonkwe ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh. Onen kahti ne Ahsarekowatson entonwennon ne kasatstensera tahnon ne ahontahonnonton, wahtiyanerenserayentaneh ne yahontawehyateh ahonwarehtsaron ne Royaner tohkani Rotiyaner na hatiriwakwarisih, tahontahonkehteh tsi yohahaksen tsi niahenneh. Tohka ne Rotiyaner enhontahonsatateh, enhonnihron: "Royorenneh tenyakwariwaserako." Tohka tkayerih tsinitsi tenhatihriwaserako tahnon tehtiatenro ne Oayanerekowa, tehneh kahti ne Rotiyanerson sadyatatson ahseh tsi ensahtiriwanirateh tahnon tentontkaweh ne "Kahriwanihrats Onekorha." Tohneh onen ne Ahsarekowatson ensakonatatih ne Rotiyaner, ensakotihretsahron ahotiriwakwarihshonhakeh.

Tohka sihken ne Rotiyaner yatahontontateh ne ahontahonsatateh ne ahsenhaton nenhonwahtihrori, tehyoriwakeh enwahton enwatahsawen: tohka ne ronnonkwe tsi rohtitsenhayen enhomohetsteh ne tahonsahonwahnakararako ne Royaner tohkani Rotiyaner; tohkani tensakotihnonwarehekon tsiniyoreh enhonniheyeh. Tohka ne rahotihtsenhakon ne ahatihrako ne ahonsasakotihrontiakeh, Ahsarekowa yenhotahraseh ne Royaner tohkani Rotiyaner, tohnon enhenron:

"Sehwayanerson! Ne wehsowarako ne tohsa ahyehsewasereh tsiniyorihotenne Gayanerekowa, onen kahti wahakwahrihowanateh tsi yahonka tehsenskoteh tsinon nihsehwatiens, tahnon tonsakwanakararoko ne kayehronistakwen ne Royaner tahnon ahkora ensonwatiyatarako ne toh ensontien. Onen kahti, sahsowahnitskotako!"

Tohka sihken ne ronnonkwe, tsi rotitsenhayen, neh enhatihrako ne tehkehnihaton yohateh, Ahsarekowa yensakotohri ne ronnonkwe toh yenhontawehyateh tsi totitsenhayen tohyenhontien tsi ratihtskoten ne Rotiyaner ronwahtiriwenton. Nennen enhontatehwehyehnentaneh, ne Ahsarekowa, yatehonentsetston tsi royehnawakon ne kahontsi ohnekorha ahseriyehsonha, ensakorori ne ratiriwaksen Rotiyaner.

"Onen Kahti, Sehwayanerson ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, sehwathonteh ne ennakenka entsontsiwennaronke ne sonkwetasonha. Yatehsehwatahonsataton ne konnonkwe wakotitsenhayen yontsiriwanontonni tahontonsehwakehteh, yahtehyetsiyatahonsataton ne romonkwe kanakeraserakwekon yontsiriwanekenni ne tkayeri tsinitsi ahyehsewatahsawen. Sehwatehnentsistanihrahton tsi yatahyontayomonton ne onkwesonha tahnon yatahontayontsiyon ne kariwakwarihshontsera, enskak tsonkwayen ne ahyakwatasahwen."

Tohne onen ne Ahsarakowa enhatkaweh ne kahontsi onekorha ehtakeh yenkayentahneh, tahnon ne ronnonkwe tenhatitaneh tahnon tensakotinonwahrehekon ne Rotiyaner tehotinioskenhen tsiniyoreh enhonniheyeh. Tohka onka ne Royaner ensatatrehwateh hohenton tsiniyorkeh entowasenneh ne onekorha, yakih tahonwahryo...

Ne kahontsi onekorha, ne yaken kahyentehrestakwen tsi rahatien tsi kayataten ne ronstakwa ne ahsakotiryoh, nektsi enwahton ki ensatihketsko ne ronnonkwe katke tehontenwentsoweh, ensonnehtahko tahnon ensontsteh ne rahotisatstensera tehnon ne ahontahonnonton tsiniyot tsi kih




A bunch of wampum 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 the token that the men have combined themselves into one head, one body and one thought, and it shall symbolize their ratification of the peace pact of the League, whereby the Chiefs of the Five Nations have established the Great Peace. The white portion of the shell strings represent the women and the black portion of 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 chiefs. In case a part of the chiefs or all of them pursue a course not vouched for by the people and heed not the third warning of their women relatives (Wasenensawenrate). Then the matter shall be taken to the general council of the Women of the Five Nations. If the chiefs 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 Council to warn the chief or chiefs to return from their wrong course. If the chiefs heed the warning, they shall say: "We shall reply tomorrow." If then an answer is returned in favor of justice and in accord with the Great Law, then the Chiefs shall individually pledge themselves again, by again furnishing the necessary shells for the pledge. Then shall the War Chief or Chiefs exhort the chiefs, urging them to be just and true.

Should it happen that the chiefs refuse to heed the third warning, then two courses are open: either the men may decide in their council to depose the chief or chiefs, 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 chief or chiefs saying:

“Since you, the chiefs of the Flve Nations, have refused to return to the procedure of the Constitution, we now declare your seats vacant and we take off your horns, the token of your chieftainship, 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 errant chiefs sitting between 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 chiefs:

"So now, Chiefs of the Five Nations, harken to these last words from your men. 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 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 Chiefs shall drop the bunch of black wampum and the men shall spring to their feet and club the erring chiefs to death. Any erring chief may become submissive before the War Chief lets fall the Black Wampum.The Black Wampum here used symbolizes that the power to execute is buried, but it may be raised up again by the men. It is buried, but when the occasion arises, they may pull it up and derive their power and authority to act as here described.

Note: The right to decide on execution is held by both the General Council of the Men of the Five Nations and the General Council of the Women of the Five Nations. So is the right to decide on war. The "War Chief shall order his men." In the present century a new title has been given to the War Chief and his men: "The Warrior Society."
Greetings, thanks and love




Onekorha atiatanah ahsenniwahsen-sahtehkon nihkanehkorhakeh natewatahkahron, ahsennennon wehriasareh, tsi yohtonnion tehkehnisson tehyotehkehronteh tsitekatsinehtahraron tahnon akwekon toh yatehwasonterohnion ne ahwerianeh, newahtehnientenstakwen tsi enska rohnatonion ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh.

Ne tiotierentakwen tehyotekeronteh skahnokwati nonkwa nehneh Ganienkehaga Raohtinakerasera tahnon ne rahononwentsa, ne tahnon tehkehnihaton tehyotehkeronteh tahnon akta tsi wehriasareh nihatihyatoron ne Onenyotehaga tahnon ne rahononwentsa tahnon ne Karaken niwehriasohten ahsennen non, nekinehne Onondagehaga tahnon ne rahononwentsa. Nehoni kenton ne ahweryane ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh enska ihken tsi tkahnes ne Skennenkowa tahon tohnon ne Skennenkowa nihyotenaktonni ahweryasakon (Onondagehaga Rotiyanerson) tahnon tohnon nentatitsenhayensehkeh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh. Neh ohni kenton nen tonwahnawi ne yahatirekeh ne skennen ahonton ne akehnon ratinakeraserakeron, ahontehrishen tsi tehontatawentos. Ne teyonehkehronteh tsi kawehyentehtakwen nohkwati ne wehyahsareh Kwehonkonhaga ratiyatoron tahnon ne rahononwentsa tohnon ne kahyerihaton tehyotekehronteh ne rahonawen ne Tsonontohwanehaga tabnon rahononwentsa.

Ne arihonnih karaken watston nehtsi ne enhakyenterestakwe tsi yatahonton ne kahnikonrakson tohkani kahnohsatstera ahtiatehnaktonni ne rahotihnikonrakon ne Rotiyaner tsi rotitsenhayen ahosennakon ne Skennenkowa. Karaken ne ahtehniententseia ne skennen, kahnoronkwatsera ahtatihtenhron, tahnon ne sahtayoton, tehohnakwatasehton tahnon rohtinihkonrareh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh.




A broad 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 Five Nations.

The first of the squares on the left represents the Mohawk Nation and its territory, the second square on the left and near the heart represents the Oneida Nation and its territory, and the white heart in the middle represents the Onondaga Nation and its territory. It also means that the heart of the Five Nations is single in its loyalty to the Great Peace, and that the Great Peace is lodged in the hear (meaning with Onondaga League Chiefs) and that the Council Fire is to burn there for the Five Nations. Further it means that the authority is given to advance the cause of peace whereby hostile nations outside of the League shall cease warfare. The white square to the right of the heart represents the Cayuga Nation and its territory and the fourth and last square represents the Seneca Nation and it's territory.

White here symbolizes that no evil nor jealous thoughts shall creep into the minds of the chiefs while in Council under the Great Peace, White the emblem of peace, love, charity, and equity surrounds and guards the Five Nations.


Note: The above Wampum Belt was made by Ayonwatha (Hiawatha to the white man) to commemorate the making of the Great Law.
Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka tennen tahweh ne tehyotehnonyahniton tahon anihkonraren ne ronhonheh tahnon ne tahatikonsotontie ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, ne onka enhakweni enharaten nahonhaha ehnenken tiotkwirateh. Nennen yenrahweh okwirakenyateh, yahtenhatkatonnionweh tahnon tohka tehnen enhatkatoh ne yohteron tahweh ensakorori ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh ronatkennihson okwirokon ne Skennenkowa tahnon enhenron "Yohriwatshanih tehwahnikonharaneh ne sehwatsennonnia."

Tohne onen ne Rotiyaner enhatitsenhayen tahnon ne enhontroyateh kihken tahweh wahetken tahnon yohteron. Nennen oriwakwekon tsi enhonateryentaiahneh kihken nahoten tahweh, tohneh kih enhatikwirihsakeh ne akamtsikowa tahnon nemen eahatihtsenrih toh tenhontahrarikeh tahnon toh enhontehrahkaren tsi yohtehronton. Nennen enhatiyotenserentahneh onen kih eahotirharekeh enhontsennonni ehso wenniserakeh ennahken.




Should a great calamity threaten the generations rising and living of the Five Nations, then he who is able to climb to the top of the Tree of the Great Long Leaves (White Pine) may do so. When he reaches the top of the Tree, he shall look about in all directions and should he see evil things indeed approaching, then he shall call to the people of the Five United Nations assembled beneath the Tree of the Great Peace and say: "A calamity threatens your happiness."

Then shall the Chiefs 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 a tree of Kahnonkaahkona, the great swamp elm tree 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 more days after.

Note: This is ancient man's way of warning the people to be ever on the alert to danger, discuss it and do something about it.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen Rotitsenhayen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tohka enhonnohetsteh ne ahontehwehnanoton ne ahiahanha onekorha ahomahomeyaraneh ne gayanerenserasonha, enhonwakwatakwaseh ne rahwehnanotaneh yohnetska tsinon nenhatien. Yahtahonsahontsteh nennahken kih tsinon nahatien,"henhatihkwehniensteh ne tsiniyorihowaneh ne Gayanerensera".




When the League of the Five Nations Council declares for a reading of the belts of shell to 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 "honoring the importance of the law."

The reading of the Great Law from the Wampum is very important and honorable. Some Americans won't read the Great Law in its written form because it says it should be recited every five years from the Wampum records. That's the way it had to be done originally because there was no written language. Now that there is a written language, Deganawida would have certainly recommended and urged that the people read the Great Law often. There are chiefs who don't even know when they are violating the law because they refuse to read it in its written form.

Greetings, thanks and love



Katke ne tehniyaseh ronwatihyenha ne tehotitarakeh tsi katsenhoteh satenniriwanonwehneh tsi yaskaneks nahonatonteneh ahontewehnanoton ne Gayanerekowa, tahnon ahonsaneyahrane tsinitsi rohriwataton ne rohson ne Kanonsonnionwe, enhonwarorih ne Atotarho. Ensakohnikonrisakeh wisk nihatih ne rorasetshen Rotiyaner tahnon rohnonha ensesakotinikonrisakeh ne sahtekon nihontatehkenha Rotiyanerson. Tohka enhonniehre ahsakotinikonrayerihten ne tehniyaseh ronwatihyenha tehotihtarakeh, Atotarho yensakotorih ratiriwakarehnies ensakotirori tsinihati ne Rotiyanerson ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh. Tohnek onen yenhonwatori ne Ahsarekowa ahsakororyana ne rontatehkenha tahnon ronrashokton rotiyanerson tsi rontkennihsahaneh tahnon katkeh tahnon kahnonweh.

Nennen akwekon wahontatiatarorokeh, Atotarho tenhatihyenna ne ronrasehokon Rotiyaner, enhonwarihonten sahyata ne Royaner enhawehnanoton Gayanerekowa ahtiatanha ahonatontehneh ne tehnihyaseh ronwatihyenha. Tohneh onen ne ronwayatarakwen tentananehta ne Gayanerekowa.




Should two sons of opposite sides of the Council Fire agree (istawa) in a desire to hear the reciting of the laws of the Great Peace and so refresh their memories in a way specified by the Founder of the League, they shall notify Atotarho. He shall consult with five of his cousin chiefs and they in turn shall consult with their eight brethren. Then should they decide to accede to the request of the two sons from the opposite sides of the Council Fire, Atotarho shall send messengers to notify the chiefs of each of the Five Nations. Then they shall dispatch their War Chief to notify their brother and cousin chiefs of she meeting and its time and place.

When all have come and have assembled, Atotarho, in conjunction with his cousin chiefs, shall one chief who shall repeat the laws of the Great Peace to the two sons. Then the chosen one shall repeat the laws of the Great Peace.

Note: "Two sons of opposite sides of the Council Fire" means two ordinary men, non-chiefs who are members of different clans who sit opposite each other across the Council Fire. Atotarho's "five cousin chiefs" means those who sit opposite him in the Onondaga Council. "Their eight brethren" menus brother Chiefs who sit on the same side of the Council Fire. It would seem that the Wampum reader repeats, that is, reads the Great Law twice, once to the two sons and then to everybody.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen yoteriwatention ne Tehonwatinakarahehra ne Rotiyaner, tohka sahyatak rentehron ne rawehyendeh ne ahatadih tahnon enhatehrennoden ne Gayanerekowa tahnon ne Skennen Kahrenna, toh yatenhatahne tsi kahtsenhoteh tahnon nenen enhasah sok ihsih nakatsenhati nienhenreh tahnon rahonha tensatateriwahserakwaseh. Tahrehtsaronkwen tsi ensakoyotenseh tsiniyoreh akwekon enhasah. Ne enhonwanatonkwe "Tehkehni Tehakonsonteh": nehtsi tahtetsaronkwen tsi katsenhayen wahatatih tahnon wahatehrennoten.




At the ceremony of the installation of chiefs, if there is only one expert speaker and singer of the Law and the Song of Peace 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 opposite side and reply to his own speech and song. He shall act for both sides of the Fire until the entire ceremony has been completed. Such a speaker and singer shall be termed "Two—faced" because he speaks and sings for both sides of the Fire.

Note: People can become lax and negligent and suddenly find themselves without the right kind of speakers and singers.
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Ihih, Deganawida, tahnon ne Rotiyaner, onen wahakwakwihrotsi nahonhaha tiokwihres (skarenhesokowa) tahnon ne tsi wahosonwakarontahne tohyahonkwati akwekoo ne yontehriyostakwa. Ihnon ohontsokon tkanic,iitarehnion (Tionawatetion) yateyonkwateryentareh kahniyotenientarinon toyahonkwatih akwekon ne yonteriyostakwa. Sayakwakenrenten tahnon toh sayakwakwirohten. Tohnitsi ne Skennenkowa wahkayentaneh tahnon enwahteriwahton ne tayeniotatienhson tsi natehontereh ne Wish Nihononwentsakeh, nek enskayentakeh ne skennen tsi natehontereh ne yahtehonatieston Wisk N‘ iononwentsakeh.




I, Deganawida, and the United Chiefs, now uproot the tallest tree (skarenhesekowa) and into the hole thereby made, we case all weapons of war. Into the depths of the earth, down into the deep underneath currents of water (Tionswatetsien) 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.

Note: The Five Nations buried their weapons of war so they'll never fight and kill each other again and they haven't. They only unbury the war club to execute a traitor. However, they did not bury the hatchet to all their enemies for they fought numerous wars and battles after the Iroquois Confederacy was founded and the Great Law was established.
Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love





Sakoyenha ne ronkwe toka yakayataskats, yontenwehyensta, tohkani ehso tsiyehwihyentehtehnion tohkani ehso tsi yontatehnohronkwa, toka enhontontateh ne yeksaha akotara, enharako ne kahsenna ne rohniha tsinihotaroteh liahsennasonha tahnon ensakosennon tsinihatiyehra ne sakotihsennawis. Yatieyotkontakwen tahnon ne enhatinatonkwe "Rohsennanien tohkani Yohsennanien."




The father of a child of great comeliness, 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. The naming is only temporary and shall be called,"A name hung about the neck."

Note: A given name can be only temporary.
Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka onka ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh eahaskanekeh ne onka ahosennon tohkani ahsakosennon ne tihobhtarateh tohkani tihotinakeiaserateh, enwahton ne enharako ne kahsenna tahnon ensakosennon. Tohnitsi enwateriwatentiaton tsinitsi sahkotihsemawis. Yahtieyotkontakwen tahnon ne enhatihnatonkwe ’Rohsennanien tohkani Yohsennanien." Kennihkaseriyetesha onekorha entewatkawen tahnon ne kahsenna, enwatehwehyentonkeh tahnon enkariwanihrahton.




Should any person, a member of the League of the Five Nations, especially esteem a man or a woman of another Clan or of a foreign nation, he may choose a name, bestow it upon that person so esteemed. The naming shall be in accord with the ceremony of bestowing names. Such a name is only temporary 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.

Note: This type of name giving is more serious as a string wampum and a pledge are involved.
Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka onka ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, skawahtsiratson, tohkani tsonkwehtatson tihononwentsateh enhatihriwanonton ne ahortiatahren katioknikayen tsini kentarakeh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, entatkaweh tokanih entontkaweh ne onekorha sehwasha nihyens, ne rahotihriwanihrahtsera ne rahotihtarakon tsinon ronnehre ahontiataren. Tohneh onen ne Rotiyaner ne Kanakerasera tenhatihyatohreteh tahnon enhatihrihwenteh.




Should any member of the Five Nations, a family or a person belonging to a foreign nation submit a proposal for adoption into a clan or one of the Five Nations, he or she 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 Chiefs of the Nation shall then consider the proposal and submit a decision.

Note: Adoption is how the Clans are kept at full strength.
Greetings, thanks and love



Tihkawenniyo onka ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, tohka tehotonwentsonih ahsakoyatihnionteh ne tsonkweta, skawatsihra tohkani tohka nihkawatsihrakeh, enwahton ne enhoriwanontonseh tohkani ensakorihwanontonseh tahnon tohka enhatiriwanonwehne tohnienhatihriwenhaweh tsinon entatihkanenyon ne Rotiyaner tahnon ohnenktsi entatiriwanihrateh tahnon enhonnohetsteh ne Rotiyaner.




Any member of the Five Nations, who through esteem or other feelings, wishes to adopt an individual, a family, or a number of families, may offer adoption to him or them, and if accepted, the matter shall be brought to the attention of the Chiefs for confirmation and the Chiefs must confirm the adoption.

Note: Anyone may adopt a person or many persons but must get official sanction by the Rotiyaner in Council.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Rotiyaner wahatihriwahnirahteh tsi onkatiok wahontehkwetaroko, tohne kahti ne Rotiyaner ne Kanakeraseia ensakotirehtsaron ne onkwesonha, enhonnihron:

"Onen kahti, tsonkwehonwheson ne onkwenakerasera, sehwateryentarak ne ... (rahosenna, rahotiwatsireh tohkani ratiwatsirehsonha wahonterishen ne ahonsahontatehnatonkwe ne ahosenna ne tsinon tohtinakeraton tahnon wahatiyatetah nahkon ohwentsokon. Ken enskahawihteh, tohsa onka ne onkwanakerasera enkatroyat nahosenna tsinon tatinakeraton. Ne Tohnayetowayehreh ne tenkasterihateh ne enwatokten ne skennen."



When the adoption of anyone shall have been confirmed by the Chiefs of the Nation, the chiefs shall address the people of the 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 depth of the earth. Henceforth let no one of our Nation ever mention the original name or nation of their birth. To do so will hasten the end of our peace."
Note: The name of the adopted person's nation or birth place must never be mentioned as it causes trouble or end of the peace.
Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love





Tohka onka tahkahni kawatsirakwekon ne rahononkwewta ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh enhonskanekeh ne ehren ahonneteh tsinon nihatinakereh Wisk Nihononwentsakeh. Onentsi Nihononwentsakeh enho okenseh.

Nennen tohka tsonkweta tohkahni kenniyakon enhatiriwahrako tahnon ehren enhonneteh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tahnon ihnon yensontien, onen ne Rotiyaner ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tohka enhonnereh, enwahton ne yenhonwahtehniehteh rarewakarehnies yenhahaweh tehwatakaron atiatahna kahontsi niyot ne onekorha tahnon nennen yenraweh ensakotkennisateh ne onkwesonha tahnon ensakotatih, ensakonatonhaseh ne atiatahna kahontsi niyot ne onekorha tahnon enhotitokenseh tsi ne rotiroris ahonsahontentih tsinon nihtonehnon tahnon tsinon rahtitsenhayentakwa.




When a person or family belonging to the Five Nations desires to abandon their Nation and the territory of the Five Nations they shall inform the chiefs of their Nation and the Council of the League of Five Nations shall take notice of it.

When a person or any of the people of the Five Nations emigrate and reside in a distant region away from the territory of the League of Five Nations, the chiefs 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 black shells and they shall know that this is an order for them to return to their original homes
and to their Council Fires.

Note: The Rotiyaner may or may not recall an emigrant depending on the Circumstances.
Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love





Ne ohkenra tsi yohwentsateh, tsi tiotasaweh tsiniyoreh yehyotokten ne rahonawen ne toh rahtinakereh. Netsi tohnon nihotinakeraton ne Onkwehonwe, rohnonha tohnatierenton onkwe rohnaton.

Rohnonha kahti rahonawen tsinon nihatihaweh tahnon yahonka nakorenson tehotiriwayen ne hahontawa. Enkneh sakayanerensera tiotken ne sihontsta tsinahe ne ahonhaha tioriwakayon.




The soil of the earth from one end to the other is the property of people who inhabit it. By birthright, the Onkwehonwe, the original beings, are the owners of the soil which they own and occupy and non other may hold it. The same law has been held from the oldest times.

Note: The Onkwehonwe legal opinion is that the natives of America were the first humans on this land. They originated in the land they live on and occupy, and no foreigners have the right to take over the land. The so-called "conquest of America" is simply a criminal theft of American land.
Greetings, thanks and love



Ne Sonkwayatihson enknehsakenehkwensa tahnon enkneh sonkenra tsi wahsonkwayatonnih nektsi tihkawennatehnion yohson ne kanakeraserasonha, akwekon tehsonkwawi kahnon entowatohrahtshekeh tahon kehnon neyontionwentsayentakeh tahnon waheyeronnisteh tsino natekontakhanion.




The Great Creator has made us of 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.

Note: Each nation has a boundary line to stay within. Also no race of people has a "God given“ right to invade other races.
Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love






Nennen ne tihononwentsateh tohka skanakerasera tohkani tsonkweta, enhonwahtiyatihnionteh ne Wisk Nihononwentaskeh, yatieyotkontakwen. Tohka kihken skanakerasera tohkani ken tenhadioiskenneh tohkani ensakotironyakenteh, tahnon tohka tenhonnikonrarah ne skennen, tohne ne Rotiyaner enhonwarihonten ne Ahsarekowa x1e ahsakotehten. Tohka sehkou tohnensatihyereh, kihken sonteriwahtehwata akwekon ensonwahnatehkwateh tsinon nihatinakereh ne Wisk Nihononwantsakeh.




When any alien nation of individual is admitted into the League, the admission shall be understood only to be a temporary one. Should the person or nation create loss or‘ do wrong, cause suffering of any kind to endanger the peace of the League, the League statesmen shall order one of their War Chiefs to reprimand him or them. If a similar offense is committee, the offending party shall be expelled from the League.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne tikanakeraserateh rayatareh tohnentreh rahononwentsakeh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh ne rawehsakonhatie ne yahakontakwe tsi toh enhatien, ne tohnon Rotiyaner tsinon Kanakerasera yahariwanonton, tentonwaroton tahnon enhonwakweniensteh tahnon enhonwayadinionteh ne rohotinakeraserakon. Tohnitsi enhoyanerenserayentaneh tsikiuiyon ne ronatiakeh toknikon yatahotiwenneyentahneh katsenhakon ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh.




When a member of an alien nation comes to the territory of the League and seeks refuge and permanent residence, the Statesman of the Nation to which he comes shall extend hospitality and make him a member of the Nation. Then he shall be accorded equal rights and privileges in all matters except as mentioned here.

Greetings, thanks and love



Yohonka ne tihononwentasteh tsinihatih ronwatiyatihnionton tehotiwennayentaneh ne Katsenhakon ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, nehkok ne ronwatihyatarakwen ronaterihonteh Rotiyaner nehkok rotiwennayen ne Katsenhakon. Ne tihononwentsateh tihatinekwensateh, yatahotiyen nohoten ahontahontorokteh ne ahotiwennayentaneh. Tohka sihken wahotiwanneyentaneh, yatehonateryentareh ne tsinihotirihoten ne Kanonsonnikeh, yohka enkonwawennontih ne Skennenkowa. Tohnenteweh ne Skennenkowa tenwanikonharen tahnon tohka tenkarineh.




No body of alien people who have been adopted temporarily shall have a vote in the Council of the Chiefs of the League, for only they who have been invested with chieftainship 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 League, might go against the Great Peace, In this manner, the Great Peace would be endangered and perhaps be destroyed.

Note: The word "vote" is used here to mean "voice" as there is no voting or balloting in the National or Grand Councils of the Five Nations. Only the Rotiyaner have a voice in the Councils unless an individual is asked to speak by the Rotiyaner.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Rotiyanerson enhonnereh ahsakotiyatihnionteh tihononwentsateh tahnon wahontonkwetarako, Rotiyaner ensakotirori tsi yahtiehyotkontakwen. Ensakotirori ohnih tohsa katke ahontehnienten ronnonha ahontahonnonton tahnon tehnen ahatihyotateh tokani ahsakotikawarateh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, tohkani ahatiriwakenron ne Skennenkowa tahoni konharen tohkani ahsakotikarewateh, tohka katkeh ne Watenakeraserarakwen euhatikenron ronwatirori tsi wahtenes, enskarihshon tsi watonkwetarakwen tahnon ensonwanatehkwateh.

Kennitsi ensonwahnatehkwateh: Tsi rotitsenhayen toh enhonwarihonten sahyateh ne Ahsarakowatson ne yenhariwenhaweh talmon enhenron:

"Iseh, ..., (ensakonaton), takwatahonsatat tsinikari wes enkatatih. Ken hihkes nakwarorih tsinitotinikonronten ne Rotiyaner totitsenhayen. Ohenton yontsinikonrayentastennih. Onen kahti ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh Rotiyaner wahonnereh ahonsayontsiyatekwateh tahnon atsteh yayontsiyadontih. Onen kahti sakwatkaweh tahnon sayakwarisih tsi yonkwatehkwetarakwen. Onen kahti sehwatahisak kahniahonseseweh. Tahnon yahetsiyatenha akwekon ne tsonkwetasonha. Ihseh, ya ihih, tateyokwanoiskenhen tahnon ihseh tohnonsehwasa tsi wahontsifiwenteh. Onen kahti sahsewatenti tahnon ehren ihsehwet tsinon nihatinakereh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh."



When the chiefs of the League decide to admit a foreign nation and an adoption is made, the Chiefs 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, interfere with, or injure the Five Nations, nor disregard the Great Peace or any of its rules or customs. In no way should they cause disturbance or injury. Then shall the adopted nation disregard these injunctions, their adoption will be annulled and they will 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 chiefs 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 away from the League“
Note: The Tuscaroras were admitted into the Iroquois Confederacy in 1714 and given a piece of Oneida territory. It was too close to white settlements and they asked for land further away and were given land in Seneca territory. They are not a foreign American nation. They had found their way back to their own people. A different situation would exist if an alien American nation living in their own territory asked to join the Iroquois Confederacy which was the original plan of Deganawida, to have all American nations unite in one big alliance. They never got beyond Five Nations. The Tuscaroras were not given a voice in the Grand Council and all other American nations seeking admission were given protectorate American nation status with no voice, nor power in the Confederacy. This is not what Deganawida had in mind. Had his plan been followed, there would now be a mighty Iroquois Confederacy of more than 200 nations with a country of its own. The missionaries take the credit for this failure to create a pan—American Confederacy. They say they went to all American nations and spread propaganda, pitting "Indians" against the Iroquois Confederacy, especially against the Mohawks whom they consider the most militant and most able organizers. Actually, it was the elitist Five Nations Chiefs who are responsible for the weakness of the Confederacy today.
Greetings, thanks and love



Katkeh ne tihononwentsateh enhontiatatahren ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tohkahni enhatiriwayehna ne Skennenkowa, enhonteriwahseronni ne tihonnonwentsakeh tsi enhontahnienten ne teusakotinikonrakenni tihononwentsateh ne ahatiriwayehna ne Skennenkowa.




Whenever a foreign nation enters the League 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 persuade the other nations to accept the Great Peace.

Note: They asked other nations to help spread peace among mankind.
Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love





Skanawadi tehkehni tenhoterihontakeh tahnon enhateriwatentiatakeh. Enska nehne Royaner ihken, tahnon ne enska nehne Ahsarakowa. Tohka enyontehriyo, akwekon ensakorori nq Wisk nihatih Ahsarekowatson ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh nahontatehweyenentaneh ne ahontehriyo tahnon ne ronnonkwe ahonatatehwehyenentahon tsinikahawih tahnon kahnon tenhatiniotatiehson ne rahtihsons ne Skennenkowa.




Skanawati shall be vested with a double office, duty and double authority. One half of his being shall hold the statesman 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 League and command them to prepare for wax and have the men ready at the appointed time and place for engagement with the enemy of the Great Peace.

Note: At the time the Confederacy was formed, all chiefs were War chiefs and this included Skanawati, Tekarihoken, etc. Afier the new order of things, the War Chiefs became a part of the National and Grand Council until they died and afterwards, the War Chiefs became a separate entity.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Katsenhowanen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh enhonnereh ahkayentahneh ne Skennenkowa tsinon nihatinakereh ne tihononwentsateh tahnon yatahontontateh ne ahatiriwayehna ne Skennenkowa, ne kahti enkarihonni entonnohetsteh tsi totisenhayen ne Wisk Nihononwentaskeh ne enyontehriyo. Tohkahti nihtsi enhonnesakeh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh nakayentahneh ne Skennenkowa, enktotehsakonanontonseh tahnon ensakotihsenni ne tahotirihoron ne hahotiyentaneh ne Skennenkowa.




When the Council of the League 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 nation.

Note: There have been times when people were made good by force. No doubt the rebellious nation was acting aggressively.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne ronnonkwe tahonwatihnonkeh ne ahonteriyohsera, enhontatehweyehnentaneh ne tahatihniotatiehson ne rotinentsistanihron yatahontontateh Ahatiriwayehna ne Skennenkowa, sahyatah ne wisk nihatih Ahsarekowa ronnonkwe rontehriyos enhonwayatarako ne enhanenrihneh ateriyoserakon. Rohteriwayenni ne Ahsarekowa ne ronwayatarakwen toh nahontareh rahotihenton ne routehriyos tahnon ahsakotati. Ensakorehtsahron tsinateyotonhontsohon ne tkayehri tsinitsi tahontawenrye tahon ahsakotiwennarakwe ne Ahsarekowatson.

Ensakorehtsaron ne ahotinikonrahtsanihton tahnon tohsa nehwenton ennaken ahonneteh. Tsiyeyotokteh tsi ensakotatih, ohenton yatenhatehkahAkwe tahnon entatasawen tsiwatehrio karenna enhatehrenhoten:

Nekati enkatieratakwe
Ehtokatiienker ihwaneke
Raonhane Rohshatenserewane
Nerakwawi, nekati neakitiokwa
Rotiskenrake tenekati ese
Tiokenshen, nishonne
ne kati ne Takwawi
ne karenna enkaterennoten
Onenk onkehnenrenneh
Ne kahti enkatieratakwe Tsiniwakwerennotenneh
Wisk Niwakonwentsakeh
Ehto kahti yenkeh enhiriwanehken
Rahonha ne Rohsatstenserowanen
Ne rakwawi ne kahti ne akitiokwa
Rotiskenraketeh ne kahti
ihse Sahsatstenserowanen Tiokenshen,
Ne kati ne takwawi
Ne karenna enkaterennoten



When the men of the League, 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 League 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 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 a War Song and he shall sing:

Now I am greatly surprised
And therefore I shall use it
The power of my War Song
I am of the Five Nations,
And I shall make an appeal
To the Mighty Creator
He has furnished this army
My warriors shall be mighty
In the strength of the Creator
Between him and my song they are
For it was he who gave the song
This war song that I sing.
Note: The warriors choose the War Chief and they also choose which of the War Chiefs to lead them in the war.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne rontehriyos ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh wahontehriyonsereh, Ahsarekowa enhaterennoten ne rontehriyos rahotirenna tsiniyoreh yenhonneweh tsitononwentsahyan ne tenhatihniotatiehson, tohnek enharenniakeh nennen enhonwarori ne ratihents tsionen akta ronneh tohneh onen ne Ahsarekowa enhatennikonraren tsinitsi akta enhonneteh tahnon enhontatehwehyenentaneh ne tenhontatienteh.




When the warriors of the Five Nations are on an expedition against the 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 enemy lines when the War Chief shall approach with great caution and prepare for the attack.

Note: An American war is not all work and no play. There is entertainment before the action and after.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen skennen sahkayentaneh, onen ontehriyosehrentaneh, tohneh kih ne Ahsarakowa ensakohkwa akwekon ne yontehriyostakwa ne wahonwatihsenni. Tolmeh kahti onen ne Skennenkowa enhatiyatanirateh tahnon ne wahonwatihsenni kanakerasera enhatihsehreh ne tsiniyorihoten ne Skennenkowa ken enskahawihteh tsinenweh.




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.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nenne katke ne tihononwentsateh enhonwatihsenni tohkanit ronnonha rahonatehnikonra enhatiriwayehna ne Skennenkowa, yenwatasontehren ne tsinihotihyanerenseroten, nektsi ohnenktsi enhontehrihson tsi rontehriyos ne tihatinakeraseratehnion.




Whenever a foreign nation has been 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.

Note: All wars must cease! If necessary by force.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nenne katke ne tihononwentsateh tsiniyoreh tsi wahonwatihsenni kwatoha yahonwatihsateh, sotsi yatehontontats ne ahatiriwayenah ne Skemenkowa, tohka tihken kanakerasera enhontehriyo tsiniyoreh akwekon enhonniheyeh, tsinahoten rotiyentakwe tahnon ne rahononwentsa, akwekon Wisk Nihononwentsakeh rahonawen enwaton.




Whenever a war against a foreign nation is pushed until the 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.

Note: This is what happens when a nation fights to the death of all.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nenne ne tihononwentsateh kanakerasera wahonwatihehsenni, ne wahonatatehreh entonwatihyatenhawa tsinon nihatihnakereh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tahnon tohnon nenhonwatihteron nakon ne Skennenkowa, ne enhonwatihnatonkwe "Sakotisennies" tahnon "Ronwatihsennion". Enkayehronniston enyakeyarakwakeh enkakwatskwen tsinon nihyoken. Ne rokwatihsennion Kanakerasera yatahotiwennayentakeh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh enhatitsenhayen.




Whenever a foreign nation is conquered and the survivors are brought into the territory of the League of Five Nations and placed under the Great Peace, the two shall be knowu 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 League in the body of chiefs.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne ontehriyoserentaneh tahnon wahontkwenih ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, tentonwatihyon ne skennen ne wahonwatihsenni nennen Ahsarekowa akwekon ensakokwa ne rahonawen yontahriyostakwasonha. Nennen enhatihsa enhontehriwaseronni tsi skennen ensehwaton, tohneh onen enskayentaneh ne ahterosera.




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.

Note: After the war, the enemies shall become friends.
Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen enhonwatiriwaheraseh ne Skennenkowa, ahatiriwayehna ne tihononwentsateh, skatneh tsi enhatsitsenhayen. Kariwakwarishontsera enwatston tsi tenhonwatinikonrakenni ne tihononwentsateh tahnon enhonwatirehtsaron ne ahatiyehna ne Skennenkowa. Tohka ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh yatahatikweni ne entowatiehrentakwe, sehkon ensontehnienton, tahon tohka sehkon yatatasakotinikonrakenni, ensontehnienton ahsenhaton, tonihyoreh yatenkariwatane ne skehnasonha tsi ahonwatiriwanontonseh. Ne ahsenhaton ensatitsenhayen, Ahsarekowa ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh enhoriwanontonseh ne ronwakowanen ne tihonnenwentsateh ahsen nienkayenthe ne ahariwayehna ne Skennenkowa. Tohka tohnienkayenteh enhariwason ne tihononwentsateh ronwakowanen, onen kati ne Ahsarekowa enhatkaweh ne karaken nikarokwasoten onekorha, ohwentsakeh yenkayentaneh tahnon yohsnoreh ohenton yatentanitsonkwakwe tahnon tenhononwarekeh tsi enrenheyeh ne tihononwentsateh ronwakowanen. Oksak enhonnenhatsteh ne enyontehriyo tahnon ne Ahsarekowa tahnon ne rahotiokwa enhontatehweyenentaneh. Yenhontahsontehren tsi enhontehriyo tsiniyoreh enhontkwenih ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh.




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 get 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 to back any emergency. War must continue until the contest is won by the Five Nations.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Rotiyanerson ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh enhatiriwaren ne tahontatken ne tihononwentsateh, ne ahotiriwayentatieh ne ahontahatiriwayehna ne Skennenkowa, kahnenrowanen ne rontehriyos enhontasehteh tsinon yatatahonwatikaranensko ne tihononwentsateh. Tehniyahseh ne rontehriyos enhonnen ne Royaner ne rariwenhawi ne Skennen, tahnon kih yatehriyos ehso tsi tehotinikonraka. Tohka sihken ne Royaner entonwatiatonti, oksak ensniriwayenna etinon tonnes kanenrowanen rontehriyos yensniriwaweron tsi watonatiehronnionseh yorihowanen ne tohnahatiyereh ne tihononwentsatsh.




When the chiefs 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 Chief who carries the proposals, and these warriors shall be especially cunning. Should the chief 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.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tsi rotitsenhayen enhonnohetsteh ne enyontehriyo, tihkawenhiyo onka ne Royaner enhatonkaryake ne ahatehriyosera, enhatkaweh ne Rahsenna tsi Royaner, ronwahtrihonteh ne konnonkwe. Enskotiyehna ne Kahsenna, tahnon enwahton onkatiok ahkora entonwayon tsiniyoreh enwateriyosehrentaneh, nennen ne Royaner rotehriyoseron tohka sehronneh, enwahton yensatasonteren tsi Royaner tahnon ensatien tsi katsenhayen.




When the Five Nations Council declares war, any chief of the League may enlist with the warriors by temporarily renouncing his sacred chieftainship title which he holds through the nomination 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 chief, if living, may resume his title and seat in the council.

Note:The Royaner turned warrior cannot exert any authority in the field of action and must take orders from the War Chief like any other warrior.
Greetings, thanks and love



Ahtiatahna kahontsi niyot ne onekorha ne enwatenientenstakwen ne rahotisatstensera ne wisk nihati Ahsarekowatson ne yatahonnekwe ne yontehriyostakwa tahnon skatneh ne ronnonkwe enhonskehna tsi ratinakereh. Ne enhatinatonkwe Wahontehriyo tsi Entatineh ne rahononwentsa.




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 the Defense of the Territory.

Greetings, thanks and love



Tohka skanakerasera, kahron ne skanakerasera, tohkani ihsihnon ne skanakerasera ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh enhontehnienten ne tahatihriteh ne Skennenkowa, yatatehsatiriwasnieh tohkani tahatiyokons ne ahoyanerenserashonha tahnon wahontehnikonrihsa ne ahonsahatirihsi ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, ne kati kihken kanakerasera tokahni toka nihkanakeraserakeh netonihotinikonroten, sakonatennihnons enhontehnatonkwe tahnon sakotihsons ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tahnon ne Skennenkowa.

Tohneh kati enhonatehriwayenhaseh ne Rotiyaner ne wahonatatehreh, tatihnes ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, ensakotihretsaron ne wahontonkwetaksateh. Enska yenkayenteh enhonwatihrori, tahnon toka tehyotonwentsohon ne tahkehnihaton ahonsahonwatirori toneh onen ne Ahsarekowa tahnon ne rahotiokwa ensakonatori ne wahonnonkwetaksenneh, ehren enhonnehteh tsinon nihatinakereh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh.




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 League, such a nation or nations shall be deemed guilty of treason and called enemies of the League and the Great Peace.

It shall then be the duty of the chiefs of the League 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 League by the War Chief and his men.

Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love





Kateh ne ehso tsi yorihowanen tahnon ehso tsi tehyonikonrahrat nahoten wahotiriwahraneh ne katsenhowanen tahnon akwekon tenhotiyatonko ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, yohtehron ne tahonaskwasehronkwateh akwekon, tohneh ne Rotiyaner ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, tonokwatih nienhatihaweh tsinokwati onkwesonha tenyeyatorehteh tahnon tsinitsi enyakohetsteh ne Onkwesonha tokinitsi entonnohetsteh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh Katsenhowanen. Ne enkariwanihrateh ne akowenna ne Onkwesonha.




Whenever an especially important matter or a great emergency is presented before League Council and the nature of the matter effects the entire body of Five Nations, threatening their utter min, then the chiefs of the League must submit the matter to the decision of their people and the decision of the people shall affect the decision of the League Council. This decision shall be a confirmation of the voice of the people.

Greetings, thanks and love



Tsinikon Kenmrayen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh akwekon nihotiyen ne ahatitsenhayen tiotkon ahyotekakeh, yotatehweyenentahon ne ahatitsenhayen ne Kentara. Nennen watawatonwentsoweh ne onkwesonha ahkotsennionnia ne akatsenhayentakeh, ne enwahtroyaton nahoten ahyakoyatakehna ne Kentara, tohne kati ne ronnonkwe enhatitsienhayeu. Toh nihyorihowanen ne ronhonkwe enhatsitsenhayen tsiniyot ne konnonkwe enkotitsenhayen.




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 the interest of the people, for a council to be held to discuss the welfare of the Clan, then the men may gather about the fire. This Council shall have the same rights as the Council of Women.

Greetings, thanks and love



Ne konnonkwe tsinihkon Kentarayen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh enyotitarayentakeh tiotkon yotehka, yotatehwehyehnentahon ne akotitsenhayen ne kentara. Nennen enkonnehre tehyotenwentsohon ne akotsennonnia ne onkwesonha enkofitsenhayen tahnon nahoten yahtenyhotiriwayentahseh tohnon nahoten enkontretsaton Ahsarekowa ehnienhahawe tsi totitsenhayen ne Rotiyaner ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tahnon entatikahenyon.




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 decision and recommendation shall be introduced before the Council of Chiefs by the War Chief for its consideration.

Greetings, thanks and love



Akwekon tsinikentarakeh ne skanakerasera tokahni akwekon ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh enwahton ne yatenhontiesteh katsenhowanen enwahton, tokahni yensakonatori ne ensakonatatiaseh ne skatsenhatshon ne enhontkennisa tsinon enska henhonnonni katsehnowanen, ne enhontroyateh akotsennonnia ne onkwasonha. Rotiyanerensexayen ne onkwesoha ne ahsakoterihontonnion tahnou ahontasakotihyon akora rahotinaktakeh tahatitaneh tsi katsenhayen. Nemen tioknakoten enhonnonhetsteh Aksarekowa yenhahaweh tsi totisenhayen ne rahotinakerasera, tokahni akwekon ne Ahsarekowatshon tonienhatihaweh akwekon nahoten ronohetstsanion ne tsinikon kentarayen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tsinon Katsenhowanen tonatkennihson ne Rotiyanerson.




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 appointed to unite in a general Council for discussing the interest 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 of the League Council (as the case may require) by the War Chief or the War Chiefs.

Note: The League Council is also known as the Grand Council. When the people in general of the Iroquois Confederacy hold a general council, the Grand Council has to go along with their decision as the Confederacy is a people's government.
Greetings, thanks and love



Ohenton tsiniyoreh yatatiyesteh ne kanakeraserasonha, akwekon rotiyentakwe ne ahatitsenhayen. Ratitsenhayenskwe ohenton tsiniyoreh sakayentaneh ne Skennenkowa. Kihken Wisk Nikansenhakeh yenkontasontehren tsi yoteka tahnon yatahonswa. Tiotkon ne Rotiyaner tohnon enhonnohetstakeh ne rahotiriwasonha ne kanakerasera tahnon ne enhatisereh ne ahoyanersenserasonha ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tahnon ne Skennenkowa.




Before the real people united their nations, each nation had its own 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 chiefs of each Nation in the future shall settle their national affairs at the Council governed always by the laws and rules of the Council of the League and the Great Peace.

Greetings, thanks and love



Toka ne ronyonwatenha tokahni konyonwatenha enyatkota tioknahoten yatetkayehri tsinitsi yotehriwatention ne Skennenkowa tahnon ne gayanerenserasonha tokahni tsinitsi yoteriwatention ne Katsenhowenen, tokahni tsinitsi wahonwasennowahnateh ne Royaner Wahaton, Ahsarekowa entonwayon ensakotatiaseh ne akakwatakwen kahnon watatihnioskenneh tahnon ahonsahatihsereh tsiniyorihoten ne Skennenkowa ahoyanerensera.

Note: The "nephew " and "niece" means ordinary men and women who are not Rotiyaner or Clan Mothers, showing that every one has the right to correct any wrong being done. The Great Peace and the Great law seem to be interchangeable. Each is a product of the other.



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 League Council or in the Conferring of Chief 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 presented by the law of the Great Peace.

Greetings, thanks and love



Ne yontehriwatentiatakwa tahnon ne tehontehnonwehratons yenwatasonterakeh tahnon yatatakonwananikonharen, yontihsotokonkenha tonwanawih nehtsi yoyanereh tahnon tehyotonwentsohon ne akotsennonnia nonkwesonha.

Note: This law says not to disturb the rites and festivals, that is, not to change it or add to it, such as a new religion, etc.



The rites and festivals of each nation shall remain undisturbed and continue as before, because they were given by the people of old times as useful and necessary for the good of men.

Note: This law says not to disturb the rites and festivals, that is, not to change it or add to it, such as a new religion, etc.
Greetings, thanks and love



Akwekon ne Rotiyaner ronateriwayenni ne ahontkennihsa nennen akta ihwe ne Satehyoserihen Tehontehnonwerratonstahnon ahsakotirori ne onkwesonha tsi onen ahre yotatieh ne tayontehnonweraton. Enhatitsenhayen tahnon enhatikwatakwenhaton tahnon entontasawen wisk nihwenniserakeh enyotohetston ne ahseh tsi wennitareh ne ahsontenka. Toh yenyontonkwetarorokeh tsinon nikariwataton tahnon ne ronyonwahtenha ensakorori ne onkwesonha kahnikahawih tahnon kahnon. Tsinentowatasawen tahnon tsiniyoreh yenwatehweyenentahneh, Rotiyaner enhontehriwatentiateh tahnon kennatehkaron ensakonatatih ne onkwesonha.




It shall be the duty of the chiefs of each brotherhood to confer at the approach of the time of the Midwinter Thanksgiving and to notify the people of the approaching festival. They shall hold a council over the matter, arrange its details and begin the Thanksgiving five days after the moon of Tiskonah 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 chiefs shall preside over the Thanksgiving and address the people from time to time.

Note: The Midwinter Festival begins five days after the new moon following the Winter Solstice. The "Nephews" are runners who go to inform the people of the time of the Festival.
Greetings, thanks and love



Ronateriwayenni ne ronwatirihonteh ne ronteriwatsterista nennen tehyontehnonweratons, ne akwekon akariwayerihneh nahoten teyohtonwentsohon.

Ne ratiyenteres kanikayen tenhontehonwehratons nekati ne Satehyoserihen Eehontenonwehratons, Karontakonneha, Kenniyohentesha, Skanenkwentaranon, Enhatihnenstayento, Onensteh Ensakotiyonhareh, Okaserota, Yotehnenstison tahnon Kayentokwen. Akwekon tsinikanakeraserakeh tenhontehnonwehraton tsinon nihotinonsoteh Kanonsesne.




It shall be the duty of the appointed managers of the Thanksgiving Festivals to do all that is needful for carrying out the duties of the occasions.

The recognized festivals of Thanksgiving shall be the Midwinter Thanksgiving, the Maple or Sugarmaking Thanksgiving, the Raspberry Thanksgiving, the Strawberry 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 Longhouses.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Okaserota tenhontehnonweraton, ne ronwatirihonteh, tahtetsaron ronnonkwe tahnon konnonkwe, enhontennikonraren tahnon entkayerikeh tsinitsi enhonteriwatentiateh.




When the Thanksgiving for the Green Corn comes, the special managers, both men and women, shall give it special attention and do their duties properly.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne Kayentokwen tenhontenonweraton, sahtenhatiyereh ne Rotiyaner tsi enhonteriwatentiateh tsiniyot ne Satehyoserihen tenhontehnonwehraton.




When the Ripe Corn Thanksgiving is celebrated, the chiefs of the Nation must give it the same attention as they give to the Midwinter Thanksgiving.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen katke onka enweneneh tsi toriwayeri tahnon ehso roteryentareh ne tkariwayerih, enhonwayenterehne ne Rotiyaner tsi Sakorihonnienni ne Skennen talmon Kariwiyo tahnon ne onkwesonha enhonwatahonsatateh.




Whenever any man proves himself by his good life and his knowledge of good things, he shall be recognized by the chiefs as a Teacher of Peace and Kariwiyo and the people shall hear him.

Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love





Haii, haii Akwa wiio
Haii, haii Akonhewatha
Haii, haii Skaweiesekowa
Haji, haii Yonkwawi
Haii, haii Iakouhewatha
Yoyanereh niha
Tsi akonhonwahta



Great, thanks Akwa wiio
Great, thanks Akonhewatha
Great, thanks Skaweiesekowa
Great, thanks Yonkwawi
Great, thanks Iakouhewatha
It is good indeed
That a broom,
A great wing
Is given me
For a sweeping instrument

Note: The song used in installing a new chief of the League shall be sung by Atotarho and it shall be.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen onka tionkwetayeri raskaneks ne ahateweyensteh ne Skennen Karenna, roriwayen ne tonayawenneh, onenktsi enhakwaren tohenhontsien ne ronwarihonniennireh, skatne tenhontonteh
tahnon enhonterennoten. Ne arihonni enhakwaren ne tose ahteraswaksentsera tahotikwateh tsi
wahonterennoten ne Skennen Karenna tahnon yahonka tatehonwanakarahereh.




Whenever a person entitled properly desires to learn the Song of Peace, be 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 when no Chief is installed.

Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love





Enwatehnientenstakwen akwekon tsiniyakon ne WiSk Nihononwentsakeh enhatiyenterestakwe ne ranonsakweniyo tsi yatehentehron. Kanakareh wakarenreh tsi enkahniotaken, ne enyakorori ne onkwesonha. Akwekon nonkwe yatehyakoriwayen ne yayontaweyateh ne kanonskon, yatotehatiteron, nennen enhontkato ne watehniententserotah, yatiahontaweyateh ne tiokehneh tokahni ahsontenneh, tosa akta niahonne tsiniyoreh ahontonsekeh.




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 entitled not to enter the house by right of living within, upon seeing such a sign shall not enter the house by day or night, but shall keep as far away as his business will permit.

Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love




Nennen ronwayatatahaneh ne Royaner, ne kati enkawennohetston:

"Onen, wahakwatehnikonrihsa yatehsatahakwe, Sayanerkenha ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tahnon ne yatehonatieston onkwesonha yonsariwakwenienstakwe. Onen wakwatkawe, toskeh yatahonsonton skatneh ahonsontehwehson tsi yonwentsateh. Onen kati ken wahakwayen sahyeronta. Ken wahakwatehweyenton. Onen enyakwenron yasatasontehren tsinon skennen tsitentehron ne Sonkwayatihson. Tosa nahotenson ne tsiyonwentsateh Sahyotats. Tosa serihon tehnen nayawenhen tsinaheh sonneh sahyotats. Sonheskwanihakwe ne ayontorahta, sonhestkwanihakwe tewaharaton tsastsikwahekeh, onsanikonrori nene kakwahereh tahnon kanenriyo, tosa onen serihon ne tohniwanontonniontserotens tahisanikonharen. "Tosa serihon ne sarasehtsen ayonsayotatseh tahnon ohni ne sewatenrosonha tahnon ne tehsewariwayenawakonneh teyonsanikonharen. Tosa kariwa sonniat kih nahotenson. "Onen kati, ne nonwa kih ken ihsehwes, tsisehwanonkwe kihken ronkwekenha tahnon ne rontenrosonha tahnon ne tehatiriwayehnaskwe, sehwatkato ihse ohni tohnisewahahoten. Tahonnenneh, ih ohni toh enyonkihterhon. Ne kahti ahohriwa, sewatatiehnawakonhak tsi nienhensehweh. Tsinitsi tehsewatawenrieh tahnon tehsewataronnions tosa Wateriwatentih ne yatehnen tehyorihonteh. Tosa sewatierenkowa sehwatatih tokahni tahisehwariwenhawihtanion. Sewahtennikonraren tosa kahriwaksen sowatroyat talmon tsinitsi ahyesewatoryanehton. Tsohsera nikariwes tosa sewahtierenkowa sewatswatanion, toka yatayehsewakwenih ne tonikariwes, ohyeri kih nihwenniserakeh nikariwes ahyesewakahenyon tahnon ahyesewakwehniensteh.”



At the funeral of a chief of the League, these words are said:

"Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were once a Chief of the League of Five Nations, 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 you lived hinder you. In hunting, you once delighted; in the game of lacrosse, you once took delight, and in the feast 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 are related to the 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 no idle talk, neither gossip. Be careful of this and speak not and do not give away to evil behavior. One year is the time that you must abstain from unseeming levity, but if you cannot do this for ceremony, ten days is the time to regard these things for respect."

Note: The Handsome Lake religion wanted to impose the one year period of mourning but according to the Great law, a new Chief must be raised ten days after the death of a Royaner when the Condolence Ceremony is performed and a new Royaner is raised and the ten days of mourning is lifted according to the Great Law.

There is a small condolence within three days of the death of a chief, which is temporary until a full condolence is held with a candidate selected by the clan.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ronwayatatahaneh ne Ahsarekowa, ensihron:

"Onen wahakwatehnikonrihsa tsi yatesatehkahakwe. Ahsarekowa kenneh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tahnon ne yatehonatieston onkwesonha yonsariwakwenienstakwe tsi sehnikonrarakwe tosa tahonwanaskwaronkwateh."

(Nahoten yotatenron ne sakawenna tsiniyot nennen Royaner wahonwayatata.)




At the funeral of a War Chief, say:

"Now we become reconciled as you start away. Once you were a War Chief of the Five Nations League 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 chief.)

Greetings, thanks and love



Nenneh enhonwayatata ne ratehriyos, ensihron:

"Onen wahakwatehnikonrihsa tsi yatesatekahakwe. Tehsesniehakwe ne sawatsihreh tahnon entehsehneh tahnon satateweyenentahonneh ne ahsatehriyosera ahontasehneh ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh. Ne yatehonatieston onkwesonha yonsariwakwenienstakwe ..."

(Tsinikon yotatenmn ne sakawenna tsim‘yot nennen Royaner enhonwayatatz.)




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 ready to take part in battles for the Five Nations. The United People trusted you, ...”

(The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of a chief.)

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen enhonwayatata ne kennitoyenha, ensihron:

"Onen wahakwatehnikonrihsa tsi yatasatakahakwe. Onwak tasatasawen tsinisatahihnehseres soknaha tontayonsennonkeh tahnon ontakenheyeh ne otsitsa."

(Tsinikon yotatemon ne sakawenna tsiniyot nennen Royaner enhonwayatata.)




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 a chief.)

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen enyontatiatata ne Ahkoyaner, ensihron:

"Onen wahakwatehnikonrihsa tsi yatesatekahakwe. Saterihontakwe ne Otiyaner ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh. Kahnistensera kenneh ne Kanakeraserasonha. Onen sakwatkaweh, tsi tokenskeh yatahonsonton skatne ahonsontehwehson tsi yonwentsateh. Onen kati ken wahakwayen sayeronta. Kento wahakwatehweyenton. Onen katih enyakwenron: “Yasatasontehren tsinon skenneh tsi tentehron ne Sonkwayatihson. Tosa nahotenson ne tsiyonwentsateh sahnyotats. Tosa serihon tehnen nayawennen tsinaheh sonheh sahyotats. Ihseh ohni enskakenneh ne sehwayatakwehniyokwe ne Rotiyaner Kahsennasonha. Ihse sawenkenka ne ahyekwaren tahnon ne yowehsen tsinikanenroten..."

(Tsinikon yotateron ne sakawenna tsiniyot nennen Royaner enhonwayatata.)




At the funeral of a Clan Mother, say:

"Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were once a Chief Woman in the League of Five Nations. 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 we say to you, persevere onward to the place where the Creator dwells in peace. Let not the things of the earth hinder you. Looking after your family was a sacred duty, and you were faithful. You were one of the joint heirs of the chieftainship titles. Feastings were yours and you had pleasant occasions..."

(The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of a chief.)

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen enyontatiatata ne enktiyakonkwe, ensihron:

"Onen wahakwatenikonrihsa tsi yatehsatekahakwe. Tonih satakaritekwe tsiniyot ne ahseh tehyotsihtsanekaron onen nonwa ontakenheyeh. Kahnaktanoron sahwakwe tsinaheh kanistensera ihken (tahnon ohyason). Wasatwatsiranoronkwe tahnon sariwahtokenneh. Ihseh sawenkenha ne ahyekwaren..."

(Tsinikon yotatenron ne sakawenna tsiniyot nennen Royaner enhonwayatata.)




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 mother of the Nation (etc.). Looking after your family was a sacred duty and you were faithful. Feastings were yours and you had pleasant occasions..."

(The remainder is the same as the funeral of a chief.)

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen raksaha tohkani yeksaha ensakotihyatata, ensihron:

“Onen wahakwatehnikonrihsa tsi yatehsatekahakwe. Satehyot ne onwak wakatsihtsonten tahnon ne onkwehriahnehson tohkarah nihwenniserakeh wakontsennonni. Onen ne otsihtsa ontakenheyeh... (tahnon ohyason). Tosa sehrihon tehnen nihyawahen tsiyonwentsateh sayotats...“

(Tsinikon yotatenron ne sakawenna tsiniyot nennen Royaner enhonwayatata.)




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 these things that transpired on earth hinder you. Let nothing that happened while you lived hinder you."

(The remainder is the same as at the funeral of a chief.)

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ohwihraha enyayiheyeh ohenton ne ahsen nihwenniserakeh, wiskok nihwenniserak eh enhontsonnionkwe. Tohneh onen enseksatarorokeh, rahtiksakonha tahnon kotiksakonha, tsitkanonsoteh ne ronatsonnionkwen tahnon nennen enhatikwaren, toneh ne Sakotatis ensakotaraseh ne ratiksakonha tahnon ensakoretsaron ne ahonsahontsennonni ahrahatien tsi kenheyon tayakokarateh. Toneh onen ne ratiksakonha tensotiswatehten ne orakontsera.




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 to be happy once more, though by death, gloom has been cast over them, then shall the children be again in the sunshine.

Greetings, thanks and love



Nennen ne ahwenheyonda yenhatiheweh tsi yokenrakaronteh, Sakotatis ne ihsih nakatsenhati, ensakoretsaron ne kawatsireh nonatsennionkwen ahonsahontatehnikonraketsko tahnon ahonsahontehkateh tsi rontekatakwa, ahonsahatikwatako ne rahotinonskonson tahnon onen tentsoswatehneh tsinon tehtiokaraskwe. Enhenron, ne watsatahontsi ontkaratehniateh tahnon katiokniahaheh, tahnon ne tehyoronyateh sayokentaneh. Toneh onen katih skennen ensonton orakontserakeh.




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 to cheer up their minds once more and rekindle their 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 blue sky is visible once more. Therefore, they shall be at peace in the sunshine again.

Greetings, thanks and love

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love

The Final Law Of Life



Ahsen nikaseriyetakeh ne onekorha sewasha niyensons ne enratsteh ne Sakotatis nennen yontatiatatahaneh ne yakahonheyon. Enhenron:

"Sewatahonsiyost ne ken ihsewes, kihken ohyeronta enkarhoron. Sasewatatiatarorok kennon tsiniyoreh ne ohyeri nihwenniserakeh, tohnitsi rohson ne Sonkwayatihson tsi enwatiaken tsi yakotsennionkwen nennen ohyeri nihwenniserakeh enwatohetsteh. Toneh onen enkahkwarakeh."

Nennen enwatohetsteh ne ohyeri niwenniserakeh, ne Sakotatis enhenron:

"Sewatasonteron tsi sewatahonsateh ne kento ihsewes. Onen ontohetsteh ne ohyeri niwenniserakeh ahyontsonnionkwe tahnon onen onteh wah tsisewatehnikonraketskwen tsiniyotonneh ohenton ne sontsonkwetakenheyaseh. Ne rontatenonkwehokon wahonnereh stonha tahonateriwaserakwaseh tsinihati wahonwatiyehnawaseh tsi wahonwayatata. Kahnonweratonsera. Ne kihken onka wahekonni tsinikariwes wenheyontahereh, ohenton nahontayen tahnon ahyeyehna nahoten tenyakiriwaserakwaseh tahnon ahonsayontiyatkaweh..."

(Tohnitsi enwateriwatentiaton tsiniyoreh akwekon ne wahontasniehnen wahtonwatiriwaserkwaseh.)




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 in ten days hence, for it is the decree of the Creator that mourning shall cease when ten days have expired. Then a feast shall be made."

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 mind must now be freed of sorrow as before the loss of your 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 the one who did the cooking while the body was lying in the house. Let her come forward and receive this gift and be released from this task."

(In substance, this will be repeated for everyone who assisted in any way until all have been remembered.)

Greetings, thanks and love

Niawen kiwahi

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love



Fire Keepers


The council of the Mohawks
shall be divided into three parties:
The Bear Chiefs, Tehanakarine, Ostawenserentha and Soskoharowane are the first.
The Turtle Clan Chiefs Tekarihoken, Ayonwatha and Satekariwate are the second.
The Wolf Clan Chiefs Sarenhowane, Teyonhekwen and Orenrekowa are the third.
The first part is to listen
only to the discussion of the second and third parties
and if an error is made, or the proceedings 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 Chiefs if it’s a Grand Council).
The Well Keeper of the Turtle Clan, Chief Tekarihoken
announces the subject to be discussed
and passes the issue over the Council Fire to the Wolf Clan Chiefs for their decision.
No one else but the Chiefs may speak when the Chiefs' Council is in session.
The Wolf Clan Chiefs deliberate in low tones and when arrived at a decision,
their Speaker stands up and passes their decision over the Fire to the Turtle Clan Chiefs.
In turn the Turtle Clan Chiefs deliberate and come to a decision
which in this instance is the same as that of the Wolf Clan Chiefs.
The Turtle Clan Speaker
announces the decision of the Turtle Clan Chiefs to the Wolf Clan Chiefs
and passes on their joint decision to the Bear Clan Chiefs
who shall then confirm the decision of the two parties
and declare the issue passed
and does the Well Keeper have other issues?

• ↑ • Well Keeper → For 1st Decision → Decides First •
• ROTIYANER ← For 2nd Decision ← ROTIYANER •

In the event that the Turtle Clan Chiefs
disagree with the decision of the Wolf Clan Chiefs,
the Fire Keepers (Bear Clan Chiefs) shall invoke the rule
that the two sides must deliberate again
and because of the new information revealed by the disagreement,
the two sides are now likely to agree
and in coming to an agreement the issue is confirmed
and passed by the Fire Keepers, the Bear Clan Chiefs.
Should the Turtle Clan Chiefs and Wolf Clan Chiefs
come up with the same disagreement in their second deliberation, the Fire-keepers
shall then render a decision they see fit in case of a disagreement by the two bodies.
(Wampum 10).
Should the Fire keepers, the Bear Clan Chiefs,
disagree with the decisions of the Wolf Clan Chiefs and the Turtle Clan Chiefs
whose decisions are the same,
the same rule must again be applied and the Turtle Clan Chiefs
must once again deliberate on the issue
and the Wolf Clan Chiefs must do the same.
If their decisions are the same as before, the Fire-keepers, Bear Clan Chiefs
have to go along with their decisions and are compelled to confirm their joint decision.

The Iroquois people
are urged to read the Great Law often
so as to know the Law and to call attention to it whenever its being violated.
One is a Mohawk by birth and an Iroquois by Law;
that is, one who follows the Great Law.
A description of the application of The Great Law, as it is applied to all Wampums.

From the

"GAYANEREKOWA, GREAT LAW, wampum numbers 5-11.
THE GREAT LAW, APPLICATION ~ Kahn-Tinetha Horn, Kahnawake, MNN, 2000"

Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love

Kayanerekowa References

    Copyright Mohawk Nation News, © 1993
    Copyright Mohawk Nation News, © 2007
  3. Handsome Lake Net
    Gayanerekowa & Handsome Lake Comparison, © 2023
  4. Gayanerekowa Popular Appreciation, Example
  5. Gayanerekowa Public Interest, Example
  6. “And Grandma Said... Iroquois Teachings”, © 2008
    by Tom Porter (Sakokweionkwas)
    Special sensitivity training. Hardcover recommended.
    1-888-795-4274 ~ Best!   Also,
  7. Further...
    It is interesting, how Internet contains the existence of a favourite book that inspired this site.

Author’s page. Find In Library
Amazon Good Reads
Read online. Another read.
Public search. Here too.
Textbook ISBN 1436335655 eTextbook ISBN 9781436335652
Copy ISBN number, search BookFinder

On the benefits and limitations of Internet... and community book stores.


Wa'tkonnonhwera:ton | Greetings, thanks and love

Kayanerekowa Index Of First Lines (glossary)

Further study at Mohawk Nation News care of Kahn-Tinetha Horn
(Mohawk~English ᘛᘚ English~Mohawk).


27... Ahkwekon tsinihatih ne Rotiyaner ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tehyotonwentsohon...
All chiefs of the League of Five Nations must be honest...

9... Ahkwekon tsinahoten ahotirihwayentahneh...
All the business...

117... Ahsen nikaseriyetakeh ne onekorha sewasha...
Three strings of shell one span in length...

100... Akwekon ne Rotiyaner ronateriwayenni ne ahontkennihsa...
It shall be the duty of the chiefs of each brotherhood...

96... Akwekon tsinikentarakeh ne skanakerasera tokahni akwekon ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh...
All the Clan Council Fires...

5... Ahsen nahtenhatitsenhoten ne Ganienkehaga Kanakerasera...
The Council of the Mohawks shall be divided...

91... Ahtiatahna kahontsi niyot ne onekorha...
A certain Wampum belt of black beads...


55... Ehso kayseriyehtakeh onekorha wahtaniharon...
A large bunch of shell strings...

107... Enwatehnientenstakwen akwekon tsiniyakon ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh...
A certain sign shall be known to all the people of the Five Nations...

30... Enwahton tohnikahawi ne Rotiyaner tenhonwanakararen...
The chiefs of the League may confer...


105... Haii, haii Akwa wiio...
Great, thanks Akwa wiio...


65... Ihih, Deganawida, tahnon ne Rotiyaner...
I, Deganawida, and the United Chiefs...

6... Ihih ne Deganawida, wahkerihonten ne Ganienkehaga Rotiyaner...
I, Deganawida, appoint the Mohawk statesmen...

1... Ihih ne Deganawida, watiakwayena Rotiyaner...
I am Deganawida, with the statesmen...

3... Ii tahnon ne Ratinonsonini...
To you, the statesmen...

4... Ihseh Atotarho tahnon...
You, Atotarho, and your...


45... Kanistensera, kotihaweh ne Rotiyaner kahsennasonha...
The women heirs of the chieftainship titles...

17... Kastarokonnianion onehkora satehkon...
A bunch of certain shell...

93... Kateh ne ehso tsi yorihowanen tahnon ehso tsi tehyonikonrahrat...
Whenever an especially important matter...

7... Katkeh enhontiatarrokeh ne Katsenhowanen...
Whenever the statesmen of the League...

63... Katke ne tehniyaseh ronwatihyenha...
Should two sons...

78... Katkeh ne tihononwentsateh enhontiatatahren...
Whenever a foreign nation enters...


46... Ne konnonkwe ne kahyerihniwahsen-satehkon...
The women of the Forty-Eight...

95... Ne konnonkwe tsinihkon Kentarayen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh ...
The women of every Clan of the Five Nations...

72... Ne ohkenra tsi yohwentsateh
The soil of the earth...

35... Ne onka rahyatareh ne Kanakerasera nektsi...
Should any man of the Nation assist...

44... Ne onkwesonha ne Wisk Nihononwentsake, ne enhatisereh tsiniyakotaroten...
The lineal descent of the people of the Five Nations...

43... Ne onkwesonha ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh ratiyataronnio...
People of the Five Nations who are members...

52... Ne Otiyaner, katkeh tehyotonwentsohon...
The Otiyaner women, heirs...

36... Ne rahotisennasonha ne Ahsarekowason...
The title names of the War Chiefs of the League shall be...

24... Ne Rotiyaner ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh ensakotirihonniennihekeh...
The chiefs of the League of Five Nations shall be mentors...

73... Ne Sonkwayatihson enknehsakenehkwensa...
The Great Creator has made us...

99... Ne yontehriwatentiatakwa tahnon ne tehontehnonwehratons yenwatasonterakeh ...
The rites and festivals of each nation...

8... Nehne Rontsenhanonneh ne enhatihnotonkwasehkeh...
The Firekeepers shall formally...

84... Nenne katke ne tihononwentsateh enhonwatihsenni tohkanit ronnonha ...
Whenever a foreign nation has been conquered...

85... Nenne katke ne tihononwentsateh tsiniyoreh...
Whenever a war against a foreign nation is pushed...

86... Nenne ne tihononwentsateh kanakerasera wahonwatihehsenni...
Whenever a foreign nation is conquered...

40... Nenne ye Rotiyaner kahnon onka yenhonwatehniehteh...
When the chiefs of the League take occasion to dispatch a messenger...

110... Nenneh enhonwayatata ne ratehriyos...
At the funeral of a warrior...

50... Nehneh Otiyaner kotihnikonrahre ne Rotiyaner Kahsenna...
The Otiyaner women of the League...

112... Nennen enyontatiatata ne Ahkoyaner...
At the funeral of a Clan Mother...

113... Nennen enyontatiatata ne enktiyakonkwe...
At the funeral of a woman of the people...

111... Nennen enhonwayatata ne kennitoyenha...
At the funeral of a young man...

104... Nennen katke onka enweneneh...
Whenever any man proves himself...

38... Nennen ne Ahsarakowa enrehheyeh, ohya rahonaktakeh ensonwarihonton...
When a War Chief dies, another shall be installed...

116... Nennen ne ahwenheyonda yenhatiheweh tsi yokenrakaronteh...
When a dead person is brought to the burial place...

53... Nennen ne Kahnistensera enhonwayatarako...
When the Otiyaner women, holders...

80... Nennen ne Katsenhowanen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh enhonnereh ...
When the Council of the League has for its object...

103... Nennen ne Kayentokwen tenhontenonweraton...
When the Ripe Corn Thanksgiving is celebrated...

102... Nennen ne Okaserota tenhontehnonweraton...
When the Thanksgiving for the Green Corn comes...

12... Nennen ne Onondagehaga enhotiriwarane...
When a case comes before the Onondaga...

87... Nennen ne ontehriyoserentaneh tahnon wahontkwenih ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh...
When the war of the Five Nations on a foreign rebellious nation is ended...

81... Nennen ne ronnonkwe tahonwatihnonkeh ne ahonteriyohsera, enhontatehweyehnentaneh...
When the men of the League, now called...

82... Nennen ne rontehriyos ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh wahontehriyonsereh...
When the warriors of the Five Nations are on an expedition...

28... Nennen ne ronwayatarakwen Royaner rahtonsereh tenhonwanakararaneh...
When a candidate Chief is to be installed...

70... Nennen ne Rotiyaner wahatihriwahnirahteh tsi onkatiok...
When the adoption of anyone shall have been confirmed...

77... Nennen ne Rotiyanerson enhonnereh ahsakotiyatihnionteh tihononwentsateh ...
When the chiefs of the League decide to admit...

89... Nennen ne Rotiyanerson ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh enhatiriwaren...
When the chiefs of the Five Nations propose...

51... Nennen ne Royaner enhahnenronni rahononskon...
When a chief holds a conference in his home...

33... Nennen ne Royaner enrenheye, rahowatsireh oksak yenhonwateniehteh rariwayennes...
When a chief of the League dies, the surviving relatives...

54... Nennen ne Royaner enrenheyeh tohkani ensonwahrontiakeh...
When a chieftainship title becomes vacant...

74... Nennen ne tihononwentsateh tohka skanakerasera tohkani tsonkweta...
When any alien nation of individual...

75... Nennen ne tikanakeraserateh rayatareh tohnentreh
When a member of an alien nation

90... Nennen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tsi rotitsenhayen enhonnohetsteh...
When the Five Nations Council declares war...

14... Nennen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh wahatsitsenhayen...
When the Council of the Five Nations chiefs shall convene...

88... Nennen enhonwatiriwaheraseh ne Skennenkowa...
When the proposition to establish the Great Peace is made to a foreign nation...

115... Nennen ohwihraha enyayiheyeh ohenton ne ahsen nihwenniserakeh...
When an infant dies within three days...

29... Nennen onka tehonwahnakararaneh...
When a chieftainship title is to be conferred...

106... Nennen onka tionkwetayeri...
Whenever a person entitled...

114... Nennen raksaha tohkani yeksaha ensakotihyatata...
At the funeral of an infant or young woman...

109... Nennen ronwayatatahaneh ne Ahsarekowa...
At the funeral of a War Chief...

108... Nennen ronwayatatahaneh ne Royaner...
At the funeral of a chief...

62... Nennen Rotitsenhayen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh tohka...
When the League of the Five Nations Council declares...

83... Nennen skennen sahkayentaneh...
When peace shall have been established...

64... Nennen yoteriwatention ne Tehonwatinakarahehra...
At the ceremony of the installation...


97... Ohenton tsiniyoreh yatatiyesteh ne kanakeraserasonha...
Before the real people united their nations...

60... Onekorha atiatanah ahsenniwahsen-sahtehkon...
A broad belt of wampum...

58... Onen kahti Wisk Nihononwentsake Rotiyanerson...
There are now the Five Nations League Chiefs...

10... Orihwakwen tsi tohnenkayehren...
In all cases, the procedure...


101... Ronateriwayenni ne ronwatirihonteh ne ronteriwatsterista...
It shall be the duty of the appointed managers...

26... Ronateriwayenni ne Rotiyanerson nennen wahtehwatonwentsoweh...
It shall be the duty of all the chiefs...


66... Sakoyenha ne ronkwe toka yakayataskats...
The father of a child of great comeliness...

37... Sayahta ne Ahsarekowa enhotihyentaneh ne Skanakerasera...
There shall be one War Chief for each Nation...

79... Skanawadi tehkehni tenhoterihontakeh...
Skanawati shall be vested...


69... Tihkawenniyo onka ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh...
Any member of the Five Nations...

23... Tihkawenniyo kanikayen ne Rotiyaner enhatahniharon ne onekorha tohkani antiatahna kayonni...
Any chief of the League of Five Nations may construct shell strings...

48... Tohka akwekon ne Rotiyaner tahnon Otiyaner...
If all the heirs of a chieftainship...

31... Tohka ehso tsi enhonowakten ne Royaner tahnon ahyenrek...
If a chief of the League should become seriously ill...

19... Tohka katkeh enweneneh tsi sayatah...
If at any time it shall be apparent...

39... Tohka ne Ahsarekowa ohya nenhayehre tsinitsi...
If a War Chief acts contrary to instructions...

47... Tohka ne Kanistensera kotinikonrareh...
If the female heirs of a title...

34... Tohka ne Royaner enrenheyeh tahnon yahtekayen...
If a chief dies and there is no candidate qualified...

32... Tohka ne Royaner enrenheyeh tsinikariwes Katsenhowanen yoteriwatention...
If a chief of the League should die while the Council of the Five Nations is in session...

22... Tohka ne Royaner ihrereh ahonsahatatsennarako...
If a statesman of the League desires to resign...

41... Tohka ne taharatats ne rariwenhawih tsi tahonneh...
If a message borne by a runner is the warning...

59... Tohka nikaseriyetakch onekorha...
A bunch of wampum strings...

49... Tohka onka ne Kanistensera yatahontontateh ahontontkaweh...
If any of the Otiyaner women...

25... Tohka onka ne Royaner enrehsakeh ne ahaketskone...
If a chief of the League should seek to establish...

71... Tohka onka tahkahni kawatsirakwekon ne rahononkwewta...
When a person or family belonging to the Five Nations desires to abandon...

18... Tohka onka ne Royaner yatatehsariwasnieh...
If any chief of the League neglects...

67... Tohka onka ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh eahaskanekeh ne onka ahosennon...
Should any person, a member...

68... Tohka onka ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh, skawahtsiratson
Should any member of the Five Nations, a family

20... Tohka sihken ne Royaner onkatiok ensakahonniakseh (ensakosehteh)...
If a chief of the League of Five Nations should commit murder...

11... Tohka sihken yatehotinikonrayentahon tohkani wahontehnentsistanihrateh...
If, through any misunderstanding...

92... Tohka skanakerasera, kahron ne skanakerasera...
If a nation, part of a nation,..

61... Tohka tennen tahweh ne tehyotehnonyahniton...
Should a great calamity...

98... Toka ne ronyonwatenha tokahni konyonwatenha enyatkota tioknahoten yatetkayehri...
If either a nephew or a niece see an irregularity...

16... Toka sihken katkehtiok...
If the conditions...

21... Tohkara niyoriwakeh tsinahoyatawensekeh...
Certain physical defects in a statesman...

42... Tsinikanakeraser ne Wisk Nihononwentsake tahnon ne sakonatehrehokonha ehkayentakeh...
Among the Five Nations and their descendants...

94... Tsinikon Kenmrayen ne Wisk Nihononwentsakeh...
The men of every Clan of the Five Nations...


15... Yatahonton ahotiwennayentaheh ne tsi Katsenhowanen...
No individual or foreign nation...

13... Yatahonton ne tikawenniyo...
No chief shall ask...

76... Yohonka ne tihononwentasteh tsinihatih ronwatiyatihnionton tehotiwennayentaneh...
No body of alien people who have been adopted temporarily...

2... Yohtehronton tsi yokwiroteh...
Roots have spread...


56... Wisk nihkaseriyetakeh onekorha wahtaniharon skatneh...
Five strings of shell tied together as one...

57... Wisk nihkon kahyenkwireh yohnihron tsih skatneh...
Five arrows shall be bound together...

Index... Niawen kiwahi wa'tkonnonhwera:ton. Takia ’tison watkonnonhwarà:ton. Ó:nenhste, Áhsen Niswatatennó:sen watkonnonhwará:ton...
So ends the words of the Great Law passed down by Deganawida...

Translation experience would benefit the construction of a keyword Index for the Kayanerekowa. Familiarity with Kayanerekowa, The Great Law is essential. The Mohawk speaker may determine key words and their location in the numbered kayoni (wampum). Each keyword and its translation may then be indexed and linked to the relevant kayoni and wampum. Haudenosaunee index items will link to Kayoni titles, as linked in the Kayanerekowa Guide. Kaienkeha first, followed by the translation to English, for each index item. This will maintain consistent presentation of appropriate linguistic culture.

We shall begin by study of each Kayoni/Wampum to extract a matching segment or phrase from each legal discourse. Indexing will target the first word or phrase. Index layout is traditional. Compare the Table Of Contents, where Kayoni numbers guide layout. Kayanerekowa Index layout is alphabetical. The first Index entry is the first kayoni and is placed under the letter I, as follows: I / Ihih ne Deganawida... I am Deganawida. So one index entry will correspond to each Kayoni with the words and sounds that introduce each law.

Traditional respect shall deploy this guide as an alternative descriptive table of contents to begin and expand as a small classroom collection or private study, possibly in wriiting. Tribal environment supports the Gayanerekowa experience, as published at Mohawk Nation News Workshops, as requested by Kahn-Tinetha Horn, original Mohawk publisher of the first online indigenous Gayanerekowa.

About Gai’wiio

(not in print)

Editor's note

Navigation includes a left click-to-close menu and a right button-to-close menu. 2 methods to suit various user situations.
Handsome Lake in the original printed publication begins page numbers with the Table Of Contents. Kayanerekowa and Gai’wiio herein provide consecutive page numbers in available Print. However, this is a single web page, containing both Kayanerekowa and Gai’wiio. Along with associated navigation, contents and indices. Readers can authoritatively organize online pages at using an unlimited number of mediums, browsers and windows simultaeously. Just as pages are organized or numbered in the original printed books, navigation here focuses the Print with some incidental page number links. Page numbers printed in the original Gai’wiio publication begin on page 9, following the Table Of Contents. In print ignores the first page and on un-numbered physical page 3 (page 1 in the Print contents schema) we find the book's title.
"The Code Of Handsome Lake"
Paging is presented as closely as possible, as reserved at the New York State Museum NYSM, whose page numbers here are displayed aside (on the left side of each page, showing where printed page text begins on the printed page number). The NYSM edition appears identical to the Riverleaf hardcopy. However, we have also added a significant online preamble: including, about, preface, progress, protocol, numbering, spelling, forward, and resource: this preamble contains concepts to guide readers and discourage indulgence, preferring an anthropological approach to anthology. Earlier renditions preferred recovery from neglect, fire and water damage. In a very real sense, this presentation enjoys no serious impediments to sharing Handsome Lake with all people on Earth.

The original Gai’wiio text begins below...


Greetings, thanks and love to our site visitors. Welcome to an integration of tradition and change. Kindly review our opening Gai’wiio considerations.

A journey...

imagining progress

There are two epic tales on this one page site. Just so, three methods provide site navigation. Each with its own unique link (index) system. The first method uses our top-right Quick overlay menu and top-left Academic overlay menu, for a modern digital appearance. The second method uses the Kayanerekowa Table Of Contents and the Gaiwiio Table Of Contents, for a faniliar book appearance. The third method uses inline, contextual links, under headings.

Kayanerekowa navigation simply targets each section in that ancient and living legal constitution. Gaiwiio navigation targets page numbers in our digital reproduction of the original printed book pages. Gaiwiio is a multi chapter analysis and recreation. Kayanerekowa and Gaiwiio offer the reader an almost poetic view of native life, even including dance and song. These festive interactions experience understanding and acceptance in the living Haudenosaunee community presence across ancient and modern Turtle Island
(today's North America).

Sharing and study are enhanced by each navigation system. Both tales are timeless, adaptable, and essential cultural understanding. Let our navigation guide you!

digital paging

publishing protocol

A publishing protocol for Kayanerekowa and Gai’wiio provides the following benefits.

  1. Bridges Kyanerekowa and Gai’wiio with a similar appearance in navigation (access).
  2. Makes it easier to approach and share ancient stories.
  3. Supports research in anthropology, mythology and faith.
  4. Aids review.


What do these numbers mean?

15(22:3) indicates that the 15th footnote entry for Handsome Lake is on page 22 of the original book, and is the third footnote on that page. 15th may also be (dated). In the appropriate original location, superscript 15 uses a soft italic mark that accompanies the black ink footnote. Soft summary rests under each footnote. Soft marks make it easy for readers to decide if and when a historical footnote needs additional comment and may guide comment focus as soft/hard.

15. Original image plates are resourced from New York State Museum (see references, below).

Gai’wiio & Gaiwiio

What do these spellings mean?

The former spelling is formal. The latter is familiar. Both are interchangeable expressions of the same living culture.

The author assumes that the sensitive indigenous also grew up in a household where our Mothers remind unruly children, sharing Handsome comments (only Mothers can share). Experience that exists here and elsewhere in print, and thus could be well taken in life that seeks a better balance of Spirit.


Handsome Lake (1735-1815) was a problematic Seneca-Scot half-breed. More trouble than good throughout his life, he was greatly despised by all American peoples, excepting a few unwanted, held in contempt. Most of his victims were female and vulnerable, suffering sadistic harm and death. He prioritized alien European interests, doing as much as he could to further the racist and genocidal colonial agenda. His use of alien religion was violent and attracted only a few criminals.

Handsome Lake

Arthur Parker (Seneca-Scot), 1881-1955 was an anthropologist who at the beginning of the 20th Century studied the Iroquois, gaining some access to their culture and language. Being an Alien, Arthur was challenged in his explorations of Haudenosaunee culture, and instantly was attracted to the Outcast, Handsome Lake.


Respected by only a few colony academics and a small dedicated group of Iroquois, he wrote numerous works on Haudenosaunee material culture, linguistics, folklore, archeology and ethnology. Arthur's dicision to chronical Handsome Lake dismayed many. For a few, Arthur's colonial artifact fixations are endearing. Regardless, on the outskirts of Haudenosaunee culture, Handsome Lake's story remains enriched by the culture, traditions, values, beleifs and Spirit that guides all the People of Turtle Island.


Primary Resources...

The code of Handsome Lake, the Seneca prophet - Amherst College Digital Collections > Archives & Special Collections

Used to occasionally verify authenticity and evaluate historical Haudenosaunee culture. Index and ten additional pages of detailed notes.

Internet Sacred Text Archive - The Iroquois

Scanned at January 2001. Additional formatting July 2003. J. B. Hare, redactor. This text is in the public domain. These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose, provided this notice of attribution is included. Index unlinked is included by Sacred Texts, (beginning on page 145 of that ‘Parker’ publication) the primary online Parker resource.

The Code of Handsome Lake, by Arthur C. Parker - published by BiblioBazaar, Copyright © 2008 BiblioBazaar, Original copyright 2013

Hardcover, no index. Index found in ‘2008’ version of resourced Amherst publication, researched and applied in 1964, not found in the BiblioBazaar version that cites 2013 Original publication.

Now, before we begin, our readers may wish to review some online resources.

Scholastic materials...

The Code of Handsome Lake, the Seneca Prophet by Arthur C. Parker, Global Grey Books, Copyright © 2018 (pdf) (website)

The Code Of Handsome Lake 1735-1815, Arthur Caswell Parker (1881-1955), Copyright © 1913

The Code of Handsome Lake, The Seneca Prophet (Iroquois collection)

The code of Handsome Lake, the Seneca prophet, Amherst College Digital Collections, Archive and Special Collections, University of the State of New York (original manuscript)

The Code of Handsome Lake, The Seneca Prophet (original manuscript, NYSM)

The Code of Handsome Lake, The Seneca Prophet (full text archive, NYSM)
The Code of Handsome Lake, The Seneca Prophet (download Book, PDF)
U.S. Archive (including original Plates and Figures)

Internet Archive

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections (administration)

Gai’wiio Credits

Handsome Lake Story
Arthur Caswell Parker
author of The Code of Handsome Lake
Handsome Lake Art
Elizabeth LaPensée
indigenous illustrator of The Code of Handsome Lake

So now we can begin... the text of the original Handsome Lake story is as follows.

Arthur C. Parker

The Code of
Handsome Lake

The Seneca Prophet


The Code of Handsome Lake

Gai’wiio table of contents

1 Begin
3 Contents
5 Introduction
9 Handsome Lake
14 Present effects of Handsome Lake's teaching
16 How the white race came to America and why the Gaiwiio became a necessity
20 The Gaiwiio code
27 Sections 1 to 130 ...
27 ... The Great Message (1-19)
35 ... Recitation of the Second Day (20-77)
60 ... Recitation of the Third Day Now At Tonawanda (78-81)
62 ... The Journey over the Great Sky Road (82-130)
81 Part 2. Field notes on rites and ceremonies
85 White dog sacrifice
94 Ganeowo
101 Cornplanting and maple thanksgiving
105 Legend of the coming Death
107 The funeral address
110 The death feast
113 Medicine societies
119 Dark dance or pygmy ceremony
121 Society of otters
122 Society of mystic animals
124 The eagle society
125a The bear society
125b The buffalo society
126a Chanters for the dead
126b Woman's society
126c Sisters of the Dio`he:'ko
127 False Face company
129 Husk faces
131 Iroquois sun myths
136 Anecdotes of Cornplanter
139 Key to pronunciation
140 Glossary
145 Index

The Code of Handsome Lake


Handsome Lake's Religion

The Gai'wiio` is the record of the teachings of Handsome Lake, the Seneca prophet, and purports to be an exact exposition of the precepts that he taught during a term of sixteen years, ending with his death in 1815. It is the basis of the so-called "new religion" of the Six Nations and is preached or recited at all the annual midwinter festivals on the various Iroquois reservations in New York and Ontario that have adherents. These reservations are Onondaga, Tonawanda, Cattaraugus and Allegany in New York and Grand River and Muncytown in Ontario.

There are six authorized "holders" of the Gai'wiio` among whom are John Gibson (Ganio`dai'io`) and Edward Cornplanter (Soson'dowâ), Senecas, and Frank Logan (Adoda:r'ho), Onondaga. Chief Cornplanter is by far the most conservative though Chief Gibson seems to have the greater store of explanatory matter, often interpolating it during his exposition. Chief Logan is a devout adherent of his religion and watches the waning of his prophet's teachings with grave concern. His grief is like that of Hiawatha (Haiyon'wêntha) and inclines him to leave Onondaga for a region where the prophet will not be jeered.

The stated times for the proclaiming of the Gai'wiio` are at the Six Nations' meeting in September and at the midwinter thanksgiving in the moon Nîsko'wûkni:, between January 15th and February 15th. At such times the Oñgwe?'oñweka: or "faithful Indians" send for an expounder paying his traveling expenses and entertaining him during his stay. Usually reservations "exchange" preachers, Cornplanter going to Grand River or Onondaga and Chief Gibson to Cattaraugus or Allegany.

The time consumed in reciting the Gai'wiio` is always three days. At noon each day the expositor stops, for the sun is in midheaven and ready to descend. All sacred things must be done sêde:'tcia:, early in the morning. Before sunrise each morning of the preaching the preacher stands at the fireplace in the long house and sings a song known as the Sun Song. This is an obedience to a command of the prophet who promised that it should insure good weather for the day. "The wind always dies down when I sing that song," affirms Chief Cornplanter.

During the recital of the Gai'wiio` the preacher stands at the fireplace which serves as the altar. Sitting beside him is an assistant or some officer of the rites who holds a white wampum strand. 1 A select congregation sits on benches placed across the long house but the majority use the double row of seats around the walls. The women wear shawls over their heads and during affecting parts of the story hide their faces to conceal the tears. Some of the men, stirred to emotion, likewise are moved to tears but are unable to hide them. Such emotion once detected by the auditors sometimes becomes contagious and serves as the means of scores repledging their allegiance to the old religion. In 1909, for example, 136 Allegany Senecas promised Chief Cornplanter that they would stop drinking liquor and obey the commands of Handsome Lake. Visiting Canadian Oneida Indians at the Grand River ceremonies, as a result of such a "revival," petitioned for a visit of the Gai'wiio` preachers several years ago, saying that a portion of the Oneida of the Thames wished to return to the "old way." This some of them have done but they complain of the persecution of their Christian tribesmen who threatened to burn their council house. In other places the case seems different and the "prophet's cause" is not espoused with much enthusiasm by the younger element to whom the white man's world and thought present a greater appeal.

1. The original Handsome Lake belt.

Those who live in communities in which the prophet's word is still strong are drawn to the ceremonies and to the recitals because it is a part of their social system.

Its great appeal to the older people is that it presents in their own language a system of moral precepts and exhortations that they can readily understand. The prophet, who is called "our great teacher" (sedwa'gowa:'nê?), was a man of their own blood, and the ground that he traversed was their ancestral domain. Patriotism and religious emotion mingle, and, when the story of the "great wrongs" is remembered, spur on a ready acceptance. The fraudulent treaty of Buffalo of 1838, for example, caused many of the Buffalo Senecas to move to the Cattaraugus reservation. Here they settled at Ganûn'dase:` or Newtown, then a desolate wilderness. Their bitter wrongs made them hate white men and to resist all missionary efforts. Today there is no mission chapel at Newtown. All attempts have failed. 2 Whether future ones will readily succeed is conjectural. The Indian there clings to his prophet and heeds the word of his teacher. At Cold Spring on the Allegany is another center of the "old time people." On the Tonawanda reservation this element is chiefly centered "down below" at the long house. On the Onondaga reservation the long house stands in the middle of the Onondaga village and the Ganuñg'sîsne:'ha (long house people) are distributed all over the reservation but perhaps chiefly on Hemlock road. It is an odd sight, provoking strange thoughts, to stand at the tomb of the prophet near the council house and watch each day the hundreds of automobiles that fly by over the State road. The Tuscarora and St Regis Indians are all nominally Christians and they have no long houses.

2. See Caswell.

The present form of the Gai'wiio` was determined by a council of its preachers some fifty years ago. They met at Cold Spring, the old home of Handsome Lake, and compared their versions. Several differences were found and each preacher thought his version the correct one. At length Chief John jacket, a Cattaraugus Seneca, and a man well versed in the lore of his people, was chosen to settle forever the words and the form of the Gai'wiio`. This he did by writing it out in the Seneca language by the method taught by Rev. Asher Wright, the Presbyterian missionary. The preachers assembled again, this time, according to Cornplanter, at Cattaraugus where they memorized the parts in which they were faulty. The original text was written on letter paper and now is entirely destroyed.

Chief jacket gave it to Henry Stevens and Chief Stevens passed it on to Chief Cornplanter who after he had memorized the teachings became careless and lost the papers sheet by sheet. Fearing that the true form might become lost Chief Cornplanter in 1903 began to rewrite the Gai'wiio` in an old minute book of the Seneca Lacrosse Club. He had finished the historical introduction when the writer discovered what he had done. He was implored to finish it and give it to the State of New York for preservation. He was at first reluctant, fearing criticism, but after a council with the leading men he consented to do so. He became greatly interested in the progress of the translation and is eager for the time to arrive when all white men may have the privilege of reading the "wonderful message" of the great prophet.

The translation was made mainly by William Bluesky, the native lay preacher of the Baptist church. It was a lesson in religious toleration to see the Christian preacher and the "Instructor of the Gai'wiio`" side by side working over the sections of the code, for beyond a few smiles at certain passages, in which Chief Cornplanter himself shared, Mr Bluesky never showed but that he reverenced every message and revelation of the four messengers.


1(5:1). Key to pronunciation of Indian words on page 139. See also Glossary, page 140.
2(6:1). The original Handsome Lake belt is still displayed at the religious council at Tonawanda. See plate 15. See Phonic System. See also Glossary.
3(7:1). See Caswell, Our Life Among the Iroquois. Boston, 1808

The Code of Handsome Lake

Handsome Lake

Handsome Lake, the Seneca prophet, was born in 1735 3 in the Seneca village of Conawagas (Ga:non'wagês) on the Genesee river opposite the present town of Avon, Livingston county.. He is described by Buffalo Tom Jemison as a middle-sized man, slim and unhealthy looking. He was a member of one of the noble (hoya'nê`) families in which the title of Ganio`dai'io` or Ska'niadar'io` is vested, thus holding the most honored Seneca title. What his warrior name was is not known and neither is it known just when he received the name and title by which he later became known. It is known, however, that he belonged to the Turtle clan. Later he was "borrowed" by the Wolves and reared by them. His half brother was the celebrated Cornplanter.

3. Morgan, League.

The general story of his life may be gleaned from a perusal of his code, there being nothing of any consequence known of his life up to the time of his "vision." In 1794 his name appears on a treaty but whether he took active part in the debates that led up to it is not known. It is known from tradition and from his own story that he was a dissolute person and a miserable victim of the drink habit. The loss of the Genesee country caused him to go with his tribesmen to the Allegany river settlements; Here he became afflicted with a wasting disease that was aggravated by his continued use of the white man's fire water. For four years he lay a helpless invalid. His bare cabin scarcely afforded him shelter but later he was nursed by his married daughter who seems to have treated him with affection. His sickness afforded him much time for serious meditation and it is quite possible that some of his precepts are the result of this opportunity. His own condition could not fail to impress him with the folly of using alcoholic drink and the wild whoops of the drunken raftsmen continually reminded him of the "demon's" power over thought and action. In the foreword of his revelation he tells how he became as dead, and of the visitation of the "four beings" who revealed the will of the Creator.

After this first revelation he seemed to recover and immediately began to tell the story of his visions. His first efforts were to condemn the use of the "first word" or the white man's "one:'gâ." He became a temperance reformer but his success came not from an appeal to reason but to religious instinct. The ravages of

intemperance for a century had made serious inroads on the domestic and social life of his people. It had demoralized their national life and caused his brother chiefs to barter land for the means of a debauch. It threatened the extinction of his people. Such were the factors that induced the revelation.

He was a man past the prime of life, a man weakened by disease and drunkenness. Yet he assumed the rôle of teacher and prophet. In two years' time his efforts were conducive of so much reform that they attracted the attention of President Jefferson who caused Secretary of War Dearborn to write a letter commending the teachings of Handsome Lake. The Seneca construed this as a recognition of the prophet's right to teach and prophesy. The nature of the document is revealed in the following letter, a copy of which is in the possession of every religious chief of the Six Nations...

Brothers--The President is pleased with seeing you all in good health, after so long a journey, and he rejoices in his heart that one of your own people has been employed to make yon sober, good and happy; and that he is so well disposed to give you good advice, and to set before you so good examples.
Brothers--If all the red people follow the advice of your friend and teacher, the Handsome Lake, and in future will be sober, honest, industrious and good, there can be no doubt but the Great Spirit will take care of you and make you happy.

This letter came as one of the results of Handsome Lake's visit in 1802, to Washington with a delegation of Seneca and Onondaga chiefs. The successful results of his two years' ministry became more fruitful as time went on. In 1809 a number of members of the Society of Friends visiting Onondaga left the following record of the effects of the prophet's teachings: "We were informed, not only by themselves, but by the interpreter, that they totally refrained from the use of ardent spirits for about nine years, and that none of the natives will touch it."

The success of Handsome Lake's teachings did much to crystallize the Iroquois as a distinct social group. The encroachments of civilization had demoralized the old order of things. The old beliefs, though still held, had no coherence. The ancient system had no longer definite organization and thus no specific hold.

The frauds which the Six Nations had suffered, the loss of land and of ancient seats had reduced them to poverty and disheartened them. The crushing blow of Sullivan's campaign was yet felt and the wounds then inflicted were fresh. The national order of the Confederacy was destroyed. Poverty, the sting of defeat, the loss of ancestral homes, the memory of broken promises and the hostility

of the white settlers all conspired to bring despair. There is not much energy in a despairing nation who see themselves hopeless and alone, the greedy eyes of their conquerors fastened on the few acres that remain to them. It was little wonder that the Indian sought forgetfulness in the trader's rum.

As a victim of such conditions, Handsome Lake stalked from the gloom holding up as a beacon of hope his divine message, the Gai'wiio`. He became in spite of his detractors a commanding figure. He created a new system, a thing to think about, a thing to discuss, a thing to believe. His message, whether false or true, was a creation of their own and afforded a nucleus about which they could cluster themselves and fasten their hopes. A few great leaders such as Red jacket denounced him as an imposter but this only afforded the necessary resistant element. The angels then conveniently revealed that Red jacket was a schemer and a seller of land and an unhappy wretch doomed to carry burdens of soil through eternity as a punishment for perfidy. This was enough to create a prejudice among the Indians and one that lasts to this day among all classes of the reservation Iroquois. A few others endeavored to expose the prophet but this action only created a large faction that stood strongly for him.

Whatever may be the merits of the prophet's teachings, they created a revolution in Iroquois religious life. With the spread of his doctrines the older religious system was overturned until today it is to be doubted that a single adherent remains. Handsome Lake's followers were few at first. He was despised, ridiculed and subject to bodily insults. Certain failures to live up to a preconceived idea of what a prophet should be caused a continual persecution. Cornplanter, his half brother, continually harassed him, as may be seen in the relation. Some of his failures, real or fancied, caused calumny to be heaped upon him and they are current today among those inclined to scoff. It is said that he learned his ideas of morality from his nephew, Henry Obail (Abeal), who had been at school in Philadelphia. Henry, it is said, took him up in the mountains and explained the Christian Bible to him, thus giving him the idea of devising the Gai'wiio`. Other tales are that he failed to find the great serpent in the bed of the Allegany river though he pretended to locate it and charge it with having spread disease among the people, and that he erected an idol on an island in the river, a thing which from more authentic accounts he did not do.

Previous to his residence at Tonawanda he had lived ten years

at Cornplanter's town and two years at Cold Spring. At the latter place he made so many enemies that he resolved to leave with his followers. This was in about 1812. With him went his chief followers and his family, among them his grandson Sos'he:owâ who later became his successor.

Sos'he:owâ was born in 1774 in the old town of Ganowa'gês, the home of both Cornplanter and Handsome Lake. Lewis H. Morgan, who knew him well, describes him as "an eminently pure and virtuous man . . . devoted . . . to the duties of his office, as the spiritual guide and teacher of the Iroquois."

Morgan gives a full account of the recitation of Sosehawa at the mourning council at Tonawanda in 1848 1 and credits the translation to Sosehawa's grandson, Ely S. Parker (Ha-sa-no-an-da). 4

4. Dionî'hogä'wê, Door Keeper.

During the prophet's four years' stay at Tonawanda he became many times discouraged, "reluctant to tell," and though the people gradually became more friendly, he seemed loath at times to proclaim his revelations. Some Christian Indians have explained this as caused by an uneasy conscience that came with greater knowledge of the white man's religion but there is no evidence of this. During this stay he was invited to visit the Onondaga and this he did, though according to his visions it necessitated the singing of his "third song," which meant that he should die. In a vision which he related he saw the four messengers who said "They have stretched out their hands pleading for you to come and they are your own people at Onondaga" (section 122).

When the word was given, Handsome Lake with a few chosen followers started to walk to Onondaga. His prediction of his own death, however, caused many more to join the party when it became definitely known he had started. The first camping spot mentioned is at the old village, Ganon'wa'gês. Here upon retiring he commanded the company to assemble "early in the morning." At the morning gathering he announced a vision. It had been of a pathway covered with grass. At the next camp, at Ganundasa'ga, his vision was of a woman speaking. On the borders of Onondaga he discovered that he had lost a favorite knife and went back to find it. He was evidently much depressed and approached Onondaga with a reluctance that almost betokened fear. Upon his arrival he

was unable to address the people because of his distress, so that it was said, "Our meeting is only a gathering about the fireplace." A game of lacrosse was played to cheer him but he could only respond to the honor by saying: "I will soon go to my new home. Soon will I step into the new world for there is a plain pathway before me leading there." He repaired to his cabin at the foot of the hill, in sight of the council house and there after a most distressing illness "commenced his walk" over the path that had appeared before him. He was buried under the council house with impressive ceremonies and his tomb may still be seen though the house has been removed. A granite monument, erected by the Six Nations, marks his resting place.

Handsome Lake lived to see his people divided into two factions, one that clung to the old order and one that followed him. After his death the older order gradually faded out of existence, either coming over to the New Religion or embracing Christianity. Thus by the time of the Civil War in 1861 there were only the two elements, the Christians and the followers of Handsome Lake. They stand so arrayed today but with the "new religionists" gradually diminishing in number. The force of Handsome Lake's teaching, however, is still felt and affects in some way all the New York reservations, except perhaps St Regis.

Handsome Lake as the founder of a religious system occupied such a position that his followers place implicit confidence in that system whatever his personal weaknesses and failures may have been.

"He made mistakes," said Chief Cornplanter, "many mistakes, so it is reported, but he was only a man and men are liable to commit errors. Whatever he did and said of himself is of no consequence. What he did and said by the direction of the four messengers is everything--it is our religion. Ganiodaiio was weak in many points and sometimes afraid to do as the messengers told him, He was almost an unwilling servant. He made no divine claims, he did not pose as infallible nor even truly virtuous. He merely proclaimed the Gai'wiio` and that is what we follow, not him. We do not worship him, we worship one great Creator. We honor and revere our prophet and leader, we revere the four messengers who watch over us--but the Creator alone do we worship." Such is the argument of his followers.


3(12:1). Morgan, League, p. 233, Rochester, 1851.
4(12:2). Later known as Dionî'hogä'wê, Door Keeper, a sachem of the Seneca. Parker was Morgan's collaborator in writing the League of the Iroquois.

The Code of Handsome Lake

Present Effects of Handsome Lake's Teaching

There is no record of Handsome Lake's visiting Tuscarora, Oneida or St Regis. The result is that these reservations contain only Indians who are nominally Christian. The Oneida are virtually citizens, the Tuscarora as capable of being so as any community of whites, and the St Regis progressive enough not only to use all their own lands but to rent from the whites. Their "Indianess" is largely gone. They have no Indian customs though they are affected by Indian folk-thought and exist as Indian communities, governing themselves and receiving annuities. Their material culture is now largely that of the whites about them and they are Indians only because they dwell in an Indian reservation, possess Indian blood and speak an Iroquois dialect.

In contrast to these reservations where the Indian has become "whitemanized" stand out the reservations of the Seneca and Onondaga. On the latter the folk-ways and the "Indian way of thinking" struggle with the white man's civilization for supremacy. The Indian of the old way is arrayed against the Indian of the new way. The conservative Indian calls his Christian brother a traitor to his race, a man ashamed of his ancestors, a man who condones all the wrongs the white man has done his people, and a man who is at best an imitator and a poor one. On the other hand the Christian Indian calls his "feather wearing" (Adîstowäe') brother, "a blind man in the wilderness," a nonprogressive, behind the times, a man hopelessly struggling against fate, a heathen and a pagan. Even so, the followers of Handsome Lake constitute an influential element and the other Indians are affected by their beliefs whether they are willing or not. As was remarked in the beginning, Handsome Lake crystallized as a social unit the people whom he taught and those who follow him today constitute a unit that holds itself at variance with the social and accepted economic systems of the white communities about them. They assert that they have a perfect right to use their own system. They argue that the white man's teachings are not consistent with his practice and thus only one of their schemes for deceiving them. They assert that they wish to remain Indians and have a right to be so and to believe their own prophet. They are largely instrumental in conserving the systems peculiarly Indian and though they are a minority they control a majority of the offices in the nations to which they belong. Among the Onodaga and Tonawanda Seneca

they hold most of the offices. In connection with the Allegany and Cattaraugus Seneca I use the word control, advisedly, since there may be times when the majority of councilors may be of the Christian party. Even so, the "conservative" party controls enough to maintain the system that they deem right.

When their poverty is urged as an argument against their religion and social system they assert that the true follower of the prophet will be poor and suffer much in this world but that his condition in the "new world above the sky" will be in direct contrast. They therefore esteem poverty, lowly surroundings and sickness as a sure indication of a rich heavenly reward and point to the better material surroundings and wealth of their brethren of the white man's way as an evidence that the devil has bought them.

The writer of this sketch has no complaint against the simple folk who have long been his friends. For a greater portion of his lifetime he has mingled with them, lived in their homes and received many honors from them. He has attended their ceremonies, heard their instructors and learned much of the old-time lore. Never has he been more royally entertained than by them, never was hospitality so genuine, never was gratitude more earnest, never were friends more sincere. There is virtue in their hearts and a sincerity and frankness that is refreshing. If only there were no engulfing "new way" and no modern rush, no need for progress, there could scarcely be a better devised system than theirs. It was almost perfectly fitted for the conditions which it was designed to meet, but now the new way has surrounded them, everything which they have and use in the line of material things, save a few simple maize foods and their ceremonial paraphernalia, is the product of the white man's hand and brain. The social and economic and moral order all about them is the white man's, not theirs. How long can they oppose their way to the overwhelming forces of the modem world and exist? How long will they seek to meet these overwhelming forces with those their ancestors devised but devised not with a knowledge of what the future would require? My Indian friends will answer, "Of these things we know nothing; we know only that the Great Ruler will care for us as long as we are faithful." Asked about the clothes they wear, the houses they live in, the long house they worship in, they reply, "All these things may be made of the white man's material but they are outside things. Our religion is not one of paint or feathers; it is a thing of the heart." That is the answer; it is a thing of the heart--who can change it?

How the White Race Came to America
why The Gaiwiio Became a Necessity

The Code of Handsome Lake
Related by So-Son-Do-Wa

Now this happened a long time ago and across the great salt sea, odji'ke?da:gi'ga, that stretches east. There is, so it seems, a world there and soil like ours. There in the great queen's country where swarmed many people--so many that they crowded upon one another and had no place for hunting--there lived a great queen. Among her servants was a young preacher of the queen's religion, so, it is said.

Now this happened. The great queen requested the preacher to clean some old volumes which she had concealed in a hidden chest. So he obeyed and when he had cleaned the last book, which was at the bottom of the chest, he opened it and looked about and listened, for truly he had no right to read the book and wanted no one to detect him. He read. It was a great book and told him many things which he never knew before. Therefore he was greatly worried. He read of a great man who had been a prophet and the son of the Great Ruler. He had been born on the earth and the white men to whom he preached killed him. Now moreover the prophet had promised to return and become the King. In three days he was to come and then in forty to start his kingdom. This did not happen as his followers had expected and so they despaired. Then said one chief follower, "Surely he will come again sometime, we must watch for him."

Then the young preacher became worried for he had discovered that his god was not on earth to see. He was angry moreover because his teachers had deceived him. So then he went to the chief of preachers and asked him how it was that he had deceived him. Then the chief preacher said, "Seek him out and you will find him for indeed we think he does live on earth." Even so, his heart was angry but he resolved to seek.

On the morning of the next day he looked out from the opening of his room and saw out in the river a beautiful island and he marveled that he had never seen it before. He continued to gaze and as he did he saw among the trees a castle of gold and he traveled that he had not seen the castle of gold before. Then he said, "So beautiful a castle on so beautiful an isle must indeed be the

abode of him whom I seek." Immediately he put on his clothes and went to the men who had taught him and they wondered and said, "Indeed it must be as you say." So then together they went to the river and when they came to the shore they saw that it was spanned by a bridge of shining gold. Then one of the great preachers fell down and read from his book a long prayer and arising he turned his back upon the island and fled for he was afraid to meet the lord. Then with the young man the other crossed the bridge and he knelt on the grass and he cried loud and groaned his prayer but when he arose to his feet he too fled and would not look again at the house - the castle of gold.

Then was the young man disgusted, and boldly he strode toward the house to attend to the business which he had in mind. He did not cry or pray and neither did he fall to his knees for he was not afraid. He knocked at the door and a handsome smiling man welcomed him in and said, "Do not be afraid of me." Then the smiling man in the castle of gold said, "I have wanted a young man such as you for some time. You are wise and afraid of nobody. Those older men were fools and would not have listened to me (direct) though they might listen to some one whom I had instructed. Listen to me and most truly you shall be rich. Across the ocean that lies toward the sunset is another world and a great country and a people whom you have never seen. Those people are virtuous, they have no unnatural evil habits and they are honest. A great reward is yours if you will help me. Here are five things that men and women enjoy; take them to these people and make them as white men are. Then shall you be rich and powerful and you may become the chief of all great preachers here."

So then the young man took the bundle containing the five things and made the bargain. He left the island and looking back saw that the bridge had disappeared and before he had turned his head the castle had gone and then as he looked the island itself vanished.

Now then the young man wondered if indeed he had seen his lord for his mind had been so full of business that he had forgotten to ask. So he opened his bundle of five things and found a flask of rum, a pack of playing cards, a handful of coins, a violin and a decayed leg bone. Then be thought the things very strange and he wondered if indeed his lord would send such gifts to the people across the water of the salt lake; but he remembered his promise.

The young man looked about for a suitable man in whom to confide his secret and after some searching he found a man named Columbus and to him he confided the story. Then did Columbus secure some big canoes and raise up wings and he sailed away. He sailed many days and his warriors became angry and cried that the chief who led them was a deceiver. They planned to behead him but he heard of the plan and promised that on the next day he would discover the new country. The next morning came and then did Columbus discover America. Then the boats turned back and reported their find to the whole world. Then did great ships come, a good many. Then did they bring many bundles of the five things and spread the gifts to all the men of the great earth island.

Then did the invisible man of the river island laugh and then did he say, "These cards will make them gamble away their wealth and idle their time; this money wilt make them dishonest and covetous and they will forget their old laws; this fiddle will make them dance with their arms about their wives and bring about a time of tattling and idle gossip; this rum will turn their minds to foolishness and they will barter their country for baubles; then will this secret poison eat the life from their blood and crumble their bones." So said the invisible man and be was Hanîsse'ono, the evil one.

Now all this was done and when afterward he saw the havoc and the misery his work had done he said, "I think I have made an enormous mistake for I did not dream that these people would suffer so." Then did even the devil himself lament that his evil had been so great.

So after the swarms of white men came and misery was thrust upon the Ongwe-oweh the Creator was sorry for his own people whom he had molded from the soil of the earth of this Great Island, and he spoke to his four messengers and many times they tried to tell right men the revelations of the Creator but none would listen. Then they found our head man sick. Then they heard him speak to the sun and to the moon and they saw his sickness. Then they knew that he suffered because of the cunning evils that Hanîsse'ono had given the Ongwe-oweh. So then they knew that he was the one. He was the one who should bear and tell Gai'wiio`. But when Ganio`dai'io` spoke the evil being ceased his lament and sought to obstruct Gai'wiio`, for he claimed to be master.

The Gai'wiio` came from Hodiänok'doon Hêd'iohe?, the Great Ruler, to the Hadiöyâ?'geonon, the four messengers. From them it was transmitted to Ganio`dai'io`, Handsome Lake who taught it to Skandyon?'gwadî (Owen Blacksnake) and to his own grandson, Sos'heowâ (James Johnson). Blacksnake taught it to Henry Stevens (Ganishando), who taught it to Soson'dowa, Edward Cornplanter. "So I know that I have the true words and I preach them," adds Cornplanter.

A Time of Trouble

The place is 5 Ohi'o` [on the Allegany river], in Diono?sade'gî [Cornplanter village].

5. Present tense.

Now it is the harvest time, so he 6 said.

6. Narrator.

Now a party of people move. They go down in canoes the Allegany river. They plan to hunt throughout the autumn and the winter seasons.

Now they land at Ganowoñ'gon [Warren, Pa.] and set up camp.

The weather changes and they move again. They go farther down the river. The ice melts opening up the stream and so they go still farther down. They land at Dione:gâ [Pittsburgh]. It is a little village of white people [literally, "our younger brethren" 7]. Here they barter their skins, dried meat and fresh game for strong drink. They put a barrel of it in their canoes. Now all the canoes are lashed together like a raft.

7. Seneca Honio?'on`."

Now all the men become filled with strong drink (gonigä'nongi). They yell and sing like demented people. Those who are in the middle canoes do this. 8

8. Intoxicated men.

Now they are homeward bound.

Now when they come to where they had left their wives and children these embark to return home. They go up Cornplanter creek, Awe'gäon.

Now that the party is home the men revel in strong drink and are very quarrelsome. Because of this the families become frightened and move away for safety. So from many places in the bushlands camp fires send up their smoke.

Now the drunken men run yelling through the village and there is no one there except the drunken men. Now they are beastlike

and run about without clothing and all have weapons to injure those whom they meet.

Now there are no doors left in the houses for they have all been kicked off. So, also, there are no fires in the village and have not been for many days. Now the men full of strong drink have trodden in the fireplaces. They alone track there and there are no fires and their footprints are in all the fireplaces.

Now the dogs yelp and cry in all the houses for they are hungry.

So this is what happens. 9

9. Plate.


5(20.1). The present tense is always used by Chief Cornplanter.

6(20.2). The narrator, Handsome Lake.

7(20.3). The Seneca term is Honio?'on`, meaning "our younger brother."

8(20.4). The intoxicated men were put in the middle canoes to prevent their jumping into the water. The more sober men paddled from the outer canoes. This debauchery was common among the Six Nations at the beginning of the 19th century.

9(21.1). See plate 10.

The Sick Man

And now furthermore a man becomes sick. Some strong power holds him.

Now as he lies in sickness he meditates and longs that he might rise again and walk upon the earth. So he implores the Great Ruler to give him strength that he may walk upon this earth again. And then he thinks how evil and loathsome he is before the Great Ruler. He thinks how he has been evil ever since he had strength in this world and done evil ever since he had been able to work. But notwithstanding, he asks that he may again walk.

So now this is what he sang: O?gi'we, 10 Ye'ondâ'thâ, 11 and Gone'owon. 12 Now while he sings he has strong drink with him.

10. Death, then...
11. Women, then...
12. Harvest.


10(21.2). The Death chant.
11(21.3). The Women's song.
12(21.4). The Harvest song.

The Two Ways He Thinks

Now he thinks of the things he sees in the daylight.

The sunlight comes in and he sees it and he says, "The Creator made this sunshine." So he thinks. Now when he thinks of the sunshine and of the Creator who made it he feels a new hope within him and he feels that he may again be on his feet in this world.

Now he had previously given up hope of life but now he begs to see the light of another day. He thinks thus for night is coming.

So now he makes an invocation that he may be able to endure the night.

Now he lives through the night and sees another day. So then he prays that he may see the night and it is so. Because of these things he now believes that the Great Ruler has heard him and he gives him thanks.

Now the sick man's bed is beside the fire. At night he looks up through the chimney hole and sees the stars and he thanks the Great Ruler that he can see them for he knows that he, the Creator, has made them. 13

13. Plate.

Now it comes to him that because of these new thoughts he may obtain help to arise from his bed and walk again in this world. Then again he despairs that he will ever see the new day because of his great weakness. Then again he has confidence that he will see the new day, and so he lives and sees it.

For everything he sees he is thankful. He thinks of the Creator and thanks him for the things he sees. Now he hears the birds singing and he thanks the Great Ruler for their music.

So then he thinks that a thankful heart will help him.

Now this man has been sick four years but he feels that he will now recover.

And the name of the sick man is Ganio`dai'io` 14 a council chief [Hoya'ne].

14. Handsome Lake, footnote.


13. See plate 11.
14. Handsome Lake, one of the fifty hereditary sachems, or lords. Hoya'ne means, perfect one or noble, and is translated lord by the Canadian Six Nations. See Hale, Book of Rites, p. 31, footnote.

The Strange Death of the Sick Man

Now at this time the daughter of the sick man and her husband are sitting outside the house in the shed and the sick man is within alone. The door is ajar. Now the daughter and her husband are cleaning beans for the planting. Suddenly they hear the sick man exclaim, "Niio?!" 15 Then they hear him rising in his bed and they think how he is but yellow skin and dried bones from four years of sickness in bed. Now they hear him walking over the floor toward the door. Then the daughter looks up and sees her father coming out of doors. He totters and she rises quickly to catch him but he falls dying. Now they lift him up and carry him back within the house and dress him for burial.

15. Meaning...

Now he is dead.


15(22:3) Meaning, So be it.

The People Gather About the Dead Man

Then the daughter says to her husband, "Run quickly and notify his nephew, Tää'wônyâs, 16 that he who has lain so many years in bed has gone. Bid him come immediately."

16. Needle or Awl Breaker.

So the husband runs to carry the message to Tää'wônyâs. And Tää'wônyâs says, "Truly so. Now hasten to Gaiänt'wakâ, 17 the brother of the dead man and say that he who lay sick for so many years is dead. So now go and say this."

17. Cornplanter, half brother of Handsome Lake.

So the husband goes alone to where Gaiänt'wakâ lives and when he' has spoken the wife says, "Gaiänt'wakâ is at the island planting." So he goes there and says, "Gaiänt'wakâ your brother is dead. He who was sick for so many years is dead. Go at once to his bed."

Then Gaiänt'wakâ answers, "Truly, but first I must finish covering this small patch of seed. Then when I hoe it over I will come.

Now he who notifies is Hâtgwi'yot, the husband of the daughter of Ganio`dai'io`. So now he returns home.

Now everyone hearing of the death of the sick man goes to where he lies.

Now first comes Tää'wônyâs. He touches the dead man on every part of his body. Now he feels a warm spot on his chest and then Tää'wônyâs says, "Hold back your sadness, friends," for he had discovered the warm spot and because of this he tells the people that perhaps the dead man may revive. Now many people are weeping and the speaker sits down by his head.

Now after some time Gaiänt'wakâ comes in and feels over the body of the dead and he too discovers the warm spot but says nothing but sits silently down at the feet of the dead man.

And for many hours no one speaks.

Now it is the early morning and the dew is drying. This is a time of trouble for he lies dead.

Now continually Tää'wônyâs feels over the body of the dead man. He notices that the warm spot is spreading. Now the time is noon and he feels the warm blood pulsing in his veins. Now his breath comes and now he opens his eyes.


16(23:1) Meaning, Needle or Awl Breaker, one of the fifty sachems.
17(23:2) Meaning, Planter, commonly called Cornplanter, the half brother of Handsome Lake. See Gana'yasta (p. 136).

The Dead Man Revives

Now Tää'wônyâs is speaking. "Are you well? What think you? (Isegen' onênt'gayei` hênesni'goê`)?"

Now the people notice that the man is moving his lips as if speaking but no words come. Now this is near the noon hour. Now all are silent while Tää'wônyâs asks again, "My uncle, are you feeling well? (onigênt'gaiye`)."

Then comes the answer, "Yes I believe myself well." So these are the first words Ganio`dai'io` spoke ("Iwi`' nai' o'nê't?gai'ye hê?' nekni'goên").

Now then he speaks again saying, "Never have I seen such wondrous visions! Now at first I heard some one speaking. Some one spoke and said, 'Come out awhile' and said this three times. Now since I saw no one speaking I thought that in my sickness I myself was speaking but I thought again and found that it was not my voice. So I called out boldly, 'Niio?!' and arose and went out and there standing in the clear swept space I saw three men clothed in fine clean raiment. Their cheeks were painted red and it seemed that they had been painted the day before. Only a few feathers were in their bonnets. All three were alike and all seemed middle aged. Never before have I seen such handsome commanding men and they had in one hand bows and arrows as canes. Now in their other hands were huckleberry bushes and the berries were of every color.

"Then said the beings, addressing me, 'He who created the world at the beginning employed us to come to earth. Our visit now is not the only one we have made. He commanded us saying "Go once more down upon the earth and [this time] visit him who thinks of me. He is grateful for my creations, moreover he wishes to rise from sickness and walk'[in health] upon the earth. Go you and help him to recover."' Then said the messengers, 'Take these berries and eat of every color. They will give you strength and your people with us will help you rise.' So I took and ate the berries. Then said the beings, 'On the morrow we will have it that a fire will be in the bushes and a medicine steeped to give you strength. We will appoint Odjis'kwâthên 18 and Gayänt`gogwûs, 19 a man and his wife, to make the medicine. Now they are the best of all the medicine people. Early in the morning we will see them and at that time you will have the medicine for your use, and before noon the unused medicine will be cast away because you will

18. Dry Pudding.
19. Dipped Tobacco.
have recovered. Now moreover before noon many people will gather at the council house. These people will be your relatives and will see you. They will have gathered the early strawberries 20 and made a strawberry feast, and moreover will have strawberry wine sweetened with sugar. Then will all drink the juice of the berry and thank the Creator for your recovery and moreover they severally will call upon you by your name as a relative according as you are.'

20. Wild strawberries.

"Now when the day came I went as appointed and all the people saw me coming and it was as predicted."


18(24:1). Dry medicinal food.
19(24:2). Dipping medicine.
20(25:1). The earliest of the wild strawberries are thought to be of great medicinal value and are eagerly eaten as soon as ripe. So sacred a plant is the strawberry that it is thought to grow along the "heaven road." A person recovering from a severe illness says, "I almost ate strawberries."

The Message of the Four Beings

"Now the messengers spoke to me and said that they would now tell me how things ought to be upon the earth. They said: 'Do not allow any one to say that you have had great fortune in being able to rise again. The favor of the four beings is not alone for you and the Creator is willing to help all mankind.'

"Now on that same day the Great Feather 21 and the Harvest dances were to be celebrated and at this time the beings told me that my relatives would restore me. 'Your feelings and spirits are low,' they said, 'and must be aroused. Then will you obtain power to recover.' Verily the servants of the Creator (Hadionyâ?'geonon) said this. Now moreover they commanded that henceforth dances of this same kind should be held and thanksgiving offered whenever the strawberries were ripe. Furthermore they said that the juice of the berry must be drunk by the children and the aged and all the people. Truly all must drink of the berry juice, for they said that the sweet water of the berries was a medicine and that the early strawberries were a great medicine. So they bade me tell this story to my people when I move upon the earth again. Now they said, 'We shall continually reveal things unto you. We, the servants of him who made us, say that as he employed us to cure unto you to reveal his will, so you must carry it to your people. Now we are they whom he created when he made the world and our duty is to watch over and care for mankind. Now there are four of us but the fourth is not here present. When we called you by name and you heard, he returned to tell the news.

21. The Osto'wä'go:'wa:, the chief religious dance. See Morgan, p. 279.

This will bring joy into the heaven-world of our Creator. So it is that the fourth is not with us but you shall see him at another time and when that time is at hand you shall know. Now furthermore we must remind you of the evil things that you have done and you must repent of all things that you believe to have been evil. You think that you have done wrong because of O?gi'we:, Ye'ondâ'thâ and Gone'owon 22 and because you partook of strong drink. Verily you must do as you think for whatsoever you think is evil is evil.'"

22. See notes, p. 21


21(25:2). The Osto'wä'go:'wa:, the chief religious dance. See Morgan, p. 279.
22(26:1). See notes, p. 21

Ganiodaiio Commanded to Proclaim the Gaiwiio

"'And now behold! Look through the valley between two hills. Look between the sunrise and the noon!'

"So I looked, and in the valley there was a deeper hollow from which smoke was arising and steam as if a hot place were beneath.

Then spoke the messengers saying, 'What do. you see?'

I answered, 'I see a place in the valley from which smoke is arising and it is also steaming as a hot place were beneath.'

"Then said the beings, 'Truly you have spoken. It is the truth. In that place a man is buried. He lies between the two hills in the hollow in the valley and a great message is buried with him. Once we commanded that man to proclaim that message to the world but he refused to obey. So now he will never rise from that spot for he refused to obey. So now to you, therefore, we say, proclaim the message that we give you and tell it truly before all people.'

"'Now the first thing has been finished and it remains for us to uncover all wickedness before you.' So they said."

The Code of Handsome Lake

The Great Message

Section 1

"Now the beings spoke saying, 'We must now relate our message. We will uncover the evil upon the earth and show how men spoil the laws the Great Ruler has made and thereby made him angry.'

"'The Creator made man a living creature.'

"'Four words tell a great story of wrong and the Creator is sad because of the trouble they bring, so go and tell your people.'

"'The first word is One'ga?. 23 It seems that you never have known that this word stands for a great and monstrous evil and has reared a high mound of bones. Ga?'nigoêntdon'tha, you lose your minds and one'ga? causes it all. Alas, many are fond of it and are too fond of it. So now all must now say, "I will use it nevermore. As long as I live, as long as the number of my days is I will never use it again. I now stop." So must all say when they hear this message.' Now the beings, the servants of the Great Ruler, the messengers of him who created us, said this. Furthermore they said that the Creator made one'ga? and gave it to our younger brethren, the white man, as a medicine but they use it for evil for they drink it for other purposes than medicine and drink instead of work and idlers drink one'ga?. No, the Creator did not make it for you."

23. Whiskey or Rum.

So they said and he said. Enia:'iehûk! 24

24. Enia:'iehûk meaning, It was that way.


23(27:1). Whiskey or Rum.
24(27:2). Enia:'iehûk meaning, It was that way.

Section 2

"Now spoke the beings and said, 'We now speak of the second word. This makes the Creator angry. The word is Got'gon?. 25

25. Witchcraft.

Witches are people without their right minds. They make disease and spread sickness to make the living die. They cut short the numbered days, for the Creator has given each person a certain number of days in which to live in this world.

"'Now this must you do: When you have told this message and the witches hear it they will confess before all the people and will say, "I am doing this evil thing but now I cease it. forever, as long as I live." Some witches are more evil and can not speak in public so these must come privately and confess to you, Handsome Lake, or a preacher of this Gai'wiio`. Now some are most evil and they must go far out upon an abandoned trail and there they must

confess before the Creator alone. This course may be taken by witches of whom no one knows.

Now when they go they must say:

"Our Creator, O listen to me!
I am a miserable creature.
I think that way
So now I cease.
Now this is appointed
For all of my days,
As long as I live here
In this earth-world.
I have spoken."

"'In this manner all must say and say truly, then the prayer will be sufficient.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


25(27:3). Witchcraft. A certain number of the Seneca Iroquois still cling to the belief in witchcraft although they are loath to admit it to any one in whom they have not implicit confidence. While they assert that witchcraft was introduced among them by some Algonquin tribe which they had adopted, their early legends and traditions contain many allusions to witches and witchcraft. There are at least two distinct methods employed by witches to accomplish their ends. The first, it is claimed, is the older way and is the employment of what is described by informants as analogous to "malific mental suggestion," either verbal or telepathic. Such witches were able to assume the form of ancient monsters, the nia?'gwahe: or mammoth bear being the favorite form. They had power of transforming people into beasts, of imprisoning them within trees without destroying the human nature or sensibilities of their victims. Many stories are related of how chivalrous young men fresh from the dream fast were able to release the unhappy prisoners from the spells that bound them.

The second and modern class of witches work their evil spells by introducing into the bodies of their victims by supernatural means a small needlelike splinter pointed on either end and having a central eye to which was tied the hair of the witch, a splinter of bone from the fibula of a deer, a worm or some like object. Instances where such things have been drawn from bewitched persons are commonly reported.

A witch can work fearlessly and successfully as long as she remains unknown to the victim and under some circumstances even when known. A "witched" person is often able to see as in a vision the witch wherever she goes and is likewise able to tell when she is about to approach the house. Witches fear the threat of an angry person to kill them. Such a threat if an earnest one is an effectual charm against further annoyance. To burn the object that a witch has introduced into one's body will torture the witch and kill her. Such objects are not often burned. If revenge is desired the victim, if sufficiently angry, can throw the object through space and injure the witch wherever he wishes. A person who successfully resists and destroys another witch's power may become a witch if so desired.

To torture a witch, force a confession and exact a promise of repentance, take a living bird, black in color (a hen is now usually employed) and carry it into the woods at midnight. Here build a fire and then split open the bird's body, extract its beating heart and hang it by its chords over a small fire to roast slowly. The witch will then exert every possible means to reach the spot and beg that the heart be taken from the fire before it is consumed. At such a time any promise may be exacted, for the witch is powerless. If the heart is consumed the witch will die of a "burnt heart." Witch poison may be extracted by putting fine sifted ashes on the afflicted part and p. 29). staying in bed until the poison comes out. The charm will then be found in the ashes. The spirits of great witches are able to return and possess another witch. A witch who has such a "friend" is especially favored, for in time of need the spirit-witch will direct her to money, goods or food. Witches do not always injure people who have offended them but more often their children or other near relatives. This is done that the person they desire to punish may see an innocent person suffer for their offense and so be tortured the more.

"Witch doctors" are of two classes: witches who are willing to pit their powers against other witches; and medicine men who have made a special study of the charms that will offset witch spells. This class may also be divided into two divisions, those who make a regular profession of dispelling witch influences, of discovering the cause of mysterious ailments, of extracting the object that causes the trouble and of identifying witches, and those who by reason of some special service they have rendered some spirit of nature have been rewarded with magical powers, great wisdom and immunity from malific influences. This class renders its services gratuitously. Small false faces worn on the person and frequent invocations of the Thunder spirit with liberal offerings of sacred tobacco are potent charms against witches. The False Face company has an annual ceremony in which witch spirits are expelled from the community. The I?'dos company (q. v.) is said to be the survival of the older witch society introduced among the Seneca by the Nanticoke. Its members are reputed to possess magic powers.

Section 3

"Now the beings spoke again saying, 'This is the third word. It is a sad one and the Creator is very sad because of this third word. It seems that you have never known that a great pile of human bodies lies dead because of this word, Ono'ityi'yende, the nigâ'hos'sää`, the secret poisons in little bundles named Gawênnodûs'hä

(compelling charms 26). Now the Creator who made us commands that they who do this evil, when they hear this message, must stop it immediately and do it nevermore while they live upon this earth-world. It matters not how much destruction they have wrought--let them repent and not fail for fear the Creator will not accept them as his own.'"

26. Charms

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


26(30:1). Charms. Should a person die holding a secret, one may discover it by sleeping upon the ground with a handful of the grave dirt beneath his head. Then, if all conditions are perfect, the dead person will appear in three successive visions and reveal its mystery.
A young man, wishing to become a swift runner, may add to his powers by concealing in his belt a bone from the grave of some celebrated runner of the past. It is said that most famous runners of the League carried these charms.
A warrior who wishes to guard against sudden attack from behind may make an unfailing charm by cutting three slits in the back of his neck and rubbing into the wounds the oil extracted from the scalps of enemies. A peculiar soft white flesh will fill up the cuts and when completely healed will protrude. Should an enemy then approach these protruding scars will quiver and warn the warrior of danger.
The most effective charm for drawing riches is the tooth of a nia?gwahe:.

Section 4

"'Now another word. It is sad. It is the fourth word. It is the way Yondwi'nias swa'yas. 27

27. Abortion

Now the Creator ordained that women should bear children.

Now a certain young married woman had children and suffered much. Now she is with child again and her mother wishing to prevent further sufferings designs to administer a medicine to cut off the child and to prevent forever other children from coming. 28 So the mother makes the medicine and gives it. Now when she does this she forever cuts away her daughter's string of children. Now it is because of such things that the Creator is sad. He created life to live and he wishes such evils to cease. He wishes those who employ such medicines to cease such practices forevermore. Now they must stop when they hear this message. Go and tell your people.'"

28. Medicine

Section 5


27(30:2). Meaning "she cuts it off by abortion."

28(30:3). The Iroquois knew of such an herb. I find it mentioned by Dr Peter Wilson, the Cayuga, and it was pointed out to me at Onondaga in 1911. The Seneca and Onondaga belief is that every woman has a certain number of children predestined to them and that they are fastened on a stringlike runner like tubers, or like eggs within a bird.

Section 6

"'Now another message.

"'Go tell your people that the Great Ruler is sad because of what people do.

"'The Creator has made it so that the married should live together and that children should grow from them.

"'Now it often happens that it is only a little while when people are married that the husband speaks evil of his wife because he does not wish to care for her children. Now a man who does that stirs up trouble with his wife and soon deserts her and his children. Then he searches for another woman and when he has found her he marries her. Then when he finds her with child he goes away from her and leaves her alone. Again he looks for another woman and when he has lived with her for a time and sees her growing large, he deserts her, the third woman.

"'Now this is true. We, the messengers, saw him leave the two women and the Creator himself saw him desert the third and punished him. Now a sure torment in the after life is for him who leaves two women with child but the Creator alone knows what the punishment is for the man who leaves the third.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 7

"'Now another message.

"'The Creator has ordered that man and wife should rear their children well, love them and keep them in health. This is the Creator's rule. We, the messengers, have seen both men and women desert each other when children come. The woman discovers that the man, her husband, loves his child and she is very jealous and spreads evil reports of him. She does this for an excuse before the world to leave him. Thus the messengers say that the Creator desires men and women to cease such mischief.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 8

"'Now another message.

"'Tell your people that the Creator has ordered regular marriage customs. When the young people are old enough to marry, tell them so. When they marry they will live pleasantly. Now it may happen that the girl's mother discovers that she is very happy

with her husband.

section 9

Then she endeavors to make her daughter angry with her husband when he returns from a journey. But when the husband returns the young wife forgets the evil advice and greets him lovingly. Now the older woman, the mother, seeing this, speaks again hoping to stir up an ill feeling. Says the old woman, "My daughter, your spirits are dull, you are not bright. When I was young I was not so agreeable. I was harsh with my husband." Now the Creator is sad because of the tendency of old women to breed mischief. Such work must stop. Tell your people it must stop.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 10

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'The married often live well together for a while. Then a man becomes ugly in temper and abuses his wife. It seems to afford him pleasure. Now because of such things the Creator is very sad. So he bids us to tell you that such evils must stop. Neither man nor woman must strike each other.' So they said.

"Now furthermore they said, 'We will tell you what people must do. It is the way he calls best. Love one another and do not strive for another's undoing. Even as you desire good treatment, so render it. Treat your wife well and she will treat you well.'

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 11

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'This concerns short marriages.

"'Now some live together peaceably and keep the family as should be. Then after a time the man resolves to go off on a hunting excursion in the woods for a certain number of days. So he goes, having agreed with his wife about it. All is well and he returns with a load of game. He feels well and thinks he is doing well in thus providing for his family. On his way homeward he meets some one who tells him that in his absence his wife has been living with another man. When he hears this report he feels sad and angry. He refuses to go to his home and turns from his path and goes to his relatives. Now whoever makes mischief of this kind does a great wrong before the Creator. So he bids his people to forever stop such evil practices.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 12

"'Now another message.

"'Now this concerns both husband and wife. Now it may happen that a man and wife live together happily. At length the man thinks that he will go to another settlement to visit relatives there. His wife agrees and he goes. Now when he gets to the village he induces some agreeable woman to live with him saying he is single. Then after some time the man goes back to his own family. His wife treats him cordially as if no trouble had occurred. Now we, the messengers, say that the woman is good in the eyes of her Creator and has a place reserved for her in the heaven-world. Now the woman knew all that had been done in the other settlement but she thought it best to be peaceful and remain silent. And the Creator says that she is right and has her path toward the heaven-world, but he, the man, is on his way to the house of the Wicked One.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 13

"'Now another message.

"'This concerns a certain thing that human creatures follow. It is concerning gakno`we'haat. Some men desire constant new experience, that is some men are always following ye:'on?. Now it is a great evil for men to have such desires. This is a thing that the so sinful must confess. A man who desires to know gagwe:gon ye:'on?sho' will never be satisfied, for ye:'on?, will arise whom he can not know and he will fall flat. Now we, the messengers, say that all this is sinful and men must not follow such desires.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 14

"'Now another message.

"'This is what your people do.

"'An old woman punished her children 29 unjustly. The Creator is sad because of such things and bids us tell you that such practices must cease.' So they said.

29. lover and champion

"'Now this is the way ordained by the Creator: Talk slowly and kindly to children and never punish them unjustly. When a child will not obey let the mother say, "Come to the water and I will immerse you." If after this warning the child is still obstinate she must take it to the water's edge and say, "Do you now obey?" and she must say so again and if at the third time there is no obedience then the child must be thrust in the water. But if the child cries for mercy it must have it and the woman must not throw it into the water. If she does she does evil.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


28(34:1) Handsome Lake was ever the lover and champion of children. There are many instances in the Gaiwiio relating to the care and rearing of children. The mode of punishment here referred to was one of long usage. Sometimes the mother would fill her mouth with water and blow it into the face of the little offender, repeating until obedience was enforced. Punishment by violence as by whipping or striking was discountenanced. The mother p. 34 who was intrusted with the care of children was accustomed to tell her children what was wrong and allow them by experience to know that her word was to be relied upon. A boy remained under the discipline of his mother until the age of sixteen when be was turned over to the training of his father. If the boy was unruly and without ambition the mother received the blame and was sometimes punished.

Section 15

"'Now another message of things not right.

"'Parents disregard the warnings of their children. When a child says, "Mother, I want you to stop wrongdoing," the child speaks straight words and the Creator says that the child speaks right and the mother must obey. Furthermore the Creator proclaims that such words from a child are wonderful and that the mother who disregards then takes the wicked part. The mother may reply, "Daughter, stop your noise. I know better than you. I am the older and you are but a child. Think not that you can influence me by your speaking." Now when you tell this message to your people say that it is wrong to speak to children in such words.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 16

"'Now another message.

"'Tell your people that the Creator is sad because of what they are doing.

"'Some people live together well as man and wife and family, but the man of the family uses strong drink. Then when he comes home he lifts up his child to fondle it and he is drunk. Now we, the messengers of the Creator, say that this is not right for if a man filled with strong drink touches his child he burns its blood. Tell your people to heed this warning.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk

Section 17

"'Now another message.

"'Some people live together righteously as man and wife according as the Creator ordained, but they have no child. When this is so let this be the way: If the wife's sister has children, of these let the wife without issue take from one to three and rear them and thereby fulfil her duty to the Creator. Moreover when a woman takes children she must rear them well as if born of herself. We, the messengers, say that you must tell this to your people.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 18

"'Now another message.

"'Tell your people that ofttimes when a woman hears that a child is born and goes to see it, she returns and says in many houses where she stops that its mother's husband is not its father. Now we say that it is exceedingly wrong to speak such evil of children. The Creator formed the children as they are; therefore, let the people stop their evil sayings.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 19

"'Now another message.

"'Now the Creator of mankind ordained that people should live to an old age. He appointed that when a woman becomes old she should be without strength and unable to work. 30 Now the Creator says that it is a great wrong to be unkind to our grandmothers. The Creator forbids unkindness to the old. We, the messengers, say it. The Creator appointed this way: he designed that an old woman should be as a child again and when she becomes so the Creator wishes the grandchildren to help her, for only because she is, they are. Whosoever does right to the aged does right in the sight of the Creator.'"

29. Age and custom.

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

( So many words, Odi'waga?'de, end of first day's preaching )


29(35:1). The wisdom of the aged, especially upon ceremonial matters, was never questioned.

The original book is a digital archive at NYSM, where the footnote mark '1' appears in its Section 19 paragraph, on page 35. However, no footnote is provided on that page, nor elsewhere in that book. In a subsequent Bibliobazaar printing, the resource used to consruct this website, the Section 19 footnote '1' on page 50 featuring footnote mark 35:1 factually includes a footnote on page 51, under Section 20. Which in that NYSM archive was on page 36 and also lacked the missing footnote that is printed in this resource, under a subsequent section on another page! Elsewhere, section footnote marks include footnotes directly under the section containing the footnote. On this site, we return footnote 29(35:1) to its expected location, where it suitably enriches Handsome Lakes story.

The Code of Handsome Lake

Recitation of the Second Day

Section 20

"'Now another message.

"'A way that was followed.

"'Sometimes a mother is ready to feed her family. When she is ready to bid them sit down, she glances out and sees some one coming and straightway hides the food. A woman visitor comes in. Now after some conversation the visitor says she is unwell and goes out. Then the family commences to eat. And the Creator says that who follow such tricks must repent as soon as they hear this message, for such practices are most wicked.'

"Now the messengers said this."

"'Now the Creator made food for all creatures and it must be free for all. He ordained that people should live in communities. Now when visitors enter a lodge the woman must always say, "Sede'konî?'"," come eat. Now it is not right to refuse what is offered. The visitor must take two or three bites at least and say, "Niawên'." Tell this to all your people.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 21

"'Now another message.

"'Now this is right.

"'When a woman hears children playing near her lodge she must call them in and ask them to eat. The Creator says that this is right for some children are of poor parents and have little to eat. The Creator loves poor children and whosoever feeds the poor and unfortunate does right before him.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 22

"'Now another message.

"'When a woman sees an unfortunate girl who has neither parents nor settled home and calls her in and helps her repair her clothing, cleanse herself and comb her hair, she does right and has favor in the sight of her Creator. He loves the poor and the woman does right before him. So we, the messengers, say that you must tell your people to continue to do this good thing.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 23

"'Now another message.

"'The Creator is sad because of the sins of the beings that he created.

"'He ordained that mankind should live as social beings in communities.

Now it may happen that a woman sets out to destroy good feelings between neighbors by telling go`diodia'se (stories that augment by repetition). Now this woman goes to a house and says, "I love you and because I do I will tell you a secret. The woman in the next house speaks evil of you." Now heretofore the two women had been friends but upon hearing this story the woman becomes an enemy of her former friend. Then the evil story-teller goes to the woman whom she lied about and tells her the hard words that the other woman has spoken. Then is the liar happy having started a feud, and she hastens from house to house to tell of it. Now great troubles arise and soon a fight, and one woman causes it all. Therefore the Creator is very sad. Tell your people that such things must stop the moment this message is told.

"'Now the Creator has ordained another way. He has ordained that human creatures should be kind one to the other and help each other. When a woman visits another house she must help at the work in progress and talk pleasantly. If she relates jokes they must always be upon herself. If she speaks harshly of others the woman of the house must say, "I remember the desires of our Creator. I can not hear what you say. I can not take that evil story." So the trouble is ended there. Now the Creator says that the woman is true who refuses to hear evil reports. She cuts off the evil at its beginning and it does not go from her. So she has won favor before the Creator.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 24

"'Now another message.

"'The Creator who made you is sad.

"'The Creator made every person with a different face.

"'Now a man talks saying that he is far more handsome than other men. He boasts that he is exceedingly handsome and grand. But the Creator says all this is very wrong. The vain must repent and never boast again.' So they said.

"'Now animals seem alike to you. A wild animal that you have once seen you can not easily say you have seen again. But people are different before you. Now when a man is handsome let him thank his Creator for his comliness.' So they said.

"'Now furthermore a man says "I am the strongest man of all. There is no one who can throw me to the ground." A man who talks thus is a boaster before the people. Now the Creator says

that such boasting is evil. The Creator endowed the man with strength and therefore he should not boast but thank the giver who is the Creator. So tell your people these things.' So they said.

"'Now furthermore a man says, "I am the swiftest runner of the world. No one can outrun me." Now he regards himself as a mighty man and boasts before his people. Now the Creator says that such boasting is evil. The Creator endowed the man with his speed and he should offer thanks and not boast. So we, the messengers, say your people must cease their boasting.'" 30

30. Ceasing

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

30(38:1). A more complete catalog of the besetting sins of the Iroquois than set forth in the foregoing sections can not be found nor are they elsewhere more graphically described.

Section 25

"'Now another message.

"'Three things that our younger brethren (the white people) do are right to follow.

"'Now, the first. The white man works on a tract of cultivated ground and harvests food for his family. So if he should die they still have the ground for help. If any of your people have cultivated ground let them not be proud on that account. If one is proud there is sin within him but if there be no pride there is no sin.

"'Now, the second thing. It is the way a white man builds a house. He builds one warm and fine appearing so if he dies the family has the house for help. Whoso among you does this does right, always providing there is no pride. If there is pride it is evil but if there is none, it is well.

"'Now the third. The white man keeps horses and cattle. Now there is no evil in this for they are a help to his family. So if he dies his family has the stock for help. Now all this is right if there is no pride. No evil will follow this practice if the animals are well fed, treated kindly and not overworked. Tell this to your people.'

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 26

"'Now another message to tell your relatives.

"'This concerns education. It is concerning studying in English schools.

"'Now let the Council appoint twelve people to study, two from each nation of the six. So many white people are about you that you must study to know their ways.'" 31

31. Sins

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


31(38:2). A more complete catalog of the besetting sins of the Iroquois than set forth in the foregoing sections can not be found nor are they elsewhere more graphically described.

Section 27

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'Now some men have much work and invite all their friends to come and aid them and they do so. Now this is a good plan and the Creator designed it. He ordained that men should help one another 32 (a:danidä'oshä`).'"

32. The bee

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


32(39:1). The bee is a very popular institution among the Iroquois. See Museum Bulletin 144, p. 31.

Section 28

"'Now another message of things not right.

"'People do wrong in the world and the Creator looks at all things.

"'A woman sees some green vegetables and they are not hers. She takes them wrongly. Now she is yenon'skwaswa'don?, a thieving woman. Tell your people that petty thieving must cease.' So they said.

"'Now the Creator gave Diohe?'kon 33 for a living. When a woman sees a new crop and wishes to eat of it in her own house, she must ask the owner for a portion and offer payment. Then may the owner use her judgment and accept recompense or give the request freely.'" 34

33. Life givers
34. Garden property

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


33(39:2)(39:2). Meaning, "our life givers," the corn, beans and squashes. See Iroquois Uses of Maize, p. 36.
34(39:3)(39:3). One of the old methods of gardening was to clear a small patch in the woods by girdling the trees and planting in the mellow forest mold. The name and totem of the owner of the garden was painted on a post, signifying that the ground was private property. The clan totem gave permission to any hard-pressed clansman to take what he wished in emergency but only in such a case. These isolated gardens in the forests were objects of temptation sometimes, as the prophet intimates.

Section 29

"'Now another message for you to tell your people.

"'It is not right for you to have so many dances 35 and dance songs.

35. Shared dances

"'A man calls a dance in honor of some totem animal from which he desires favor or power. This is very wrong, for you do not know what injury it may work upon other people.

"'Tell your people that these things must cease. Tell them to repent and cease.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk. 36

36. Societies and Totems

"'Now this shall be the way: They who belong to these totem animal societies 1 must throw tobacco and disband.' So they said." "Now in those days when the head men heard this message they said at once, in anger, 'We disband,' and they said this without holding a ceremony as the messenger had directed." 37

37. Sly ways



35(39:4)(39:4). The Seneca had thirty-three dances, ten of which were acquired from other tribes. See p. 81.
36(40:1)(40:1). Animal Societies and Totems. The Seneca firmly believe that by using the proper formula the favor of various animals can be purchased. The animal petitioned it is believed will make the person successful in any pursuit in which itself is proficient. The charm-animal was sometimes revealed in a dream, sometimes by a diviner of mysteries and was often sought directly. A warrior wishing to become a successful fisherman, for instance, might do any one of three things. He might seek for a dream that would show him what animal would make him an expert fisher, he might consult a "clairvoyant" or he might go directly to a stream of water and selecting some animal petition its favor.
The patron of the fisheries was the otter and there is a special society of those who have the otter for a "friend." The Society of Otters preserves the rites of invocation and the method of propitiation and also the method of healing afflicted members.
Other animals which are thought to be "great medicine" are the eagle, the bear, the buffalo and the mythical nia?gwahe: or mammoth bear that was alternately a man and a beast. To be ungrateful to these givers of luck is a sin that arouses the ire of the animal who will punish the offender by inflicting him with some strange sickness. The offense may be one of neglect or altogether unintentional and unknown. It is then the duty of the society to appease the offended animal by performing the rites on a grand scale that the individual has failed to do in the ordinary way. The ordinary individual ceremony consisted simply of going to the bank of some clear stream, in the case of the Otters for instance, and after smoking sacred tobacco, casting the pulverized tobacco into the water at intervals during a thanksgiving and praise chant. Then will the otters know that their human brothers are not ungrateful for the fortune they are receiving.
There were four societies, having as their genii the spirits of the bear, the birds (eagle), the buffalo and the otter, respectively, and taking their names from their guardian animal (Secret Medicine Societies of the Seneca, p. 113).
37(40:2)(40:2). This was done at the suggestion of Cornplanter who is accused of endeavoring to upset the plans and prophecies of Handsome Lake in many sly ways.

Section 30

"'Now another message to tell your people.

Four words the Creator has given for bringing happiness. They

are amusements devised in the heaven world, the Osto'wägo'wa, 38 Gone:'owon?, Adon'wên and Ganäwên'gowa.'"

38. After life

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


38(41:1). The Great Feather dance, the Harvest dance, the Sacred Song and the Peach Stone game.

Section 31

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'The Creator has sanctioned four dances for producing a joyful spirit and he has placed them in the keeping of Honon'diont 39 who have authority over them. The Creator has ordered that on certain times and occasions there should be thanksgiving ceremonies. At such times all must thank the Creator that they live. After that, let the chiefs thank him for the ground and the things on the ground and then upward to the sky and the heaven-world where he is. Let the children and old folk come and give thanks. Let the old women who can scarcely walk come. They may lean against the middle benches and after listening to three or four songs must say, "I thank the Great Ruler that I have seen this day." Then will the Creator call them right before him.

39. Overseers

"'It seems that you have never known that when Osto'wägo'wa was being celebrated that one of the four beings was in the midst of it, but it is so. Now when the time for dancing comes you must wash your faces and comb your hair, paint your face with red spots on either cheek, and with a thankful heart go to the ceremony. This preparation will be sufficient, therefore, do not let your style of dress hold you back.

"'You have not previously been aware that when a Godi'ont is appointed that you have not appointed her. No, for the Great Ruler has chosen her. A road leads from the feet of every godi'ont and hodi'ont toward heaven. Truly this is so only of they who do right before the Creator.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


39(41:2). Honon'diont, overseers or keepers of ceremonies, more often women than men. The word means They are mountains. (Hodi'ont is mas. sing.; Godi'ont, fem. sing.).

Section 32

Now another message for your people.

He who created us appointed that there should be chiefs, (hodi'ion?), and that they should do good for the people.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 33

"'So now another.

"'Tell your relations this. The Creator has sanctioned a feast to a medicine animal on a great day."'

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 34

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'Now the messengers said that this thing was beyond the control of Indians.

"'At some future day the wild animals will become extinct. Now when that day comes the people will raise cattle and swine for feast food at the thanksgivings.'" 40

40. Pork

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


40(42:1). Pork is now the principal ceremonial food.

Section 35

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'You have been ignorant of this thing.

When the Honondi'ont go about to notify the community of a meeting for the celebration of Osto'wägo'wa, or for hearing the Great Ruler's message, the evil spirit at the same time appoints and sends another man, an invisible one, in his tracks saying, "Do not go. It is of no use, no benefit comes to you; rather do your own work at home and stay away." Now it is the messenger of the evil spirit that argues thus. Now know you that the evil spirit will hinder you in all good things but you can outwit him by doing the things that he does not wish you to do. Go then to the meetings. Then will the evil messenger follow you to the Long House and when from the outside you have heard the songs he will say that such is sufficient and that you may now return. Do not heed him but enter and take your seat. Then will he argue again saying that it is sufficient to listen and not take a part because you would not appear well in shabby clothing. Heed him not. Now this spirit speaks to your minds and his face is between you all.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 36

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'This will happen.

"'We have told you to watch.

"'The Honon'diont will go out in fours for game for the feasts. You may think that they are fulfilling their duty to Gai'wiio`.

"'The animals that fall must be thirty.

"'But this will happen when Gai'wiio` is new. The Honon'diont will kill twenty-nine and the twenty-ninth will be a cub bear. So there will not be thirty.

"'So this will be done when Gai'wiio` is new. It will be done at Adekwe'onge, the Green Corn thanksgiving ceremony."'

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 37

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'Now this is a thing to happen.

"'Hereafter we shall have a new species of deer. 41 The Creator will create somewhere a pair, male and female. The male deer will be spotted with white and the female striped with white over her back. This will be done and we say it.

New species

"'Now moreover the messengers command that these animals shall never be killed."'

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


41(43:1) These deer are the sacred creations of the Great Ruler and as such no "pale invader" is permitted to see them, though a few of the faithful have at certain seasons seen them in the darkness fleeing from discovery. Cornplanter says these deer were killed by a jealous rival of the prophet while he yet lived, so defying the new command.

Section 38

"'Now another message for your people.

"'If all the world would repent the earth would become as new again. Because of sin the under-world 42 is crumbling with decay. The world is full of sin. Truly, this is so.'"

42. under-world

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


42(43:2). The under-world was thought to be a dark region beneath the surface of the earth where were confined the creations of the evil-minded spirit. It was a vast cave full of winding chambers, dark turbid rivers, bottomless sloughs, hot springs and fetid odors, rapacious beasts, venomous serpents, Poisonous insects and noxious weeds. The door of the under-world was guarded by the under-earth elves who had great difficulty in preventing the white buffaloes from escaping. Frequently they did and then began a great pursuit to kill or bring back the white buffaloes. At such a time the elves would tell the sun of the calamity and he would paint his face red as a sign to all the elves the world over that the chase was on. See Legend, Origin of Death Dance.

Section 39

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'We, the messengers of the Creator, are of the opinion that the world will continue for three generations longer (or three hundred years). 43 Then will Gai'wiio` be fulfilled.'"

42. teaching

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


42(44:1). Handsome Lake taught that the world would end in the year 2100.

Section 40

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'The religious leaders and the chiefs must enforce obedience to the teachings of Gai'wiio`.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 41

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'This thing will happen when it is new.

"'Truly men will repent and reform but it will happen that three certain ones will neither confess nor reform. Nothing will induce them to confess.

"'There are grades of sin: 43 the sins of Hasan'owa:n'ê?, the sins of Honon'diont and the sins of the ordinary people.

43. sins

"'Now when you are preaching repentance, Gaiänt'wakâ will say that these men when they pass from this world are most vile. He will say, "Let us cast them into the water for they are not worthy to be dressed for the grave. The Creator will not receive them." Now no one will object to what Gaiänt'wakâ says."'

Now this thing did happen as predicted and when the messenger arose the first thing that he did was to spread the news and give the command that it must not be done.

"Now they said, 'The Creator will not give up hope of them until they pass from the earth. It is only then that they can lose their souls if they have not repented. So the Creator always hopes for repentance.'" 44

44. repent

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


43(44:2). The higher the position the greater the sin, is the prophet's rule.
44(44:3). See p. 61, Idea of soul.

Section 42

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'Chiefs and high officers have spoken derisively of each other and quarreled. 45 What they have done must not be done again.'"

45. quarrel

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


45(45:1). Jealousy was the principal cause of the dissension that led to the decay of the League of the Iroquois.

Section 43

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'Good food is turned into evil drink. Now some have said that there is no harm in partaking of fermented liquids.

"'Then let this plan be followed: let men gather in two parties, one having a feast of food, apples and corn, and the other have cider and whiskey. Let the parties be equally divided and matched and let them commence their feasting at the same time. When the feast is finished you will see those who drank the fermented juices murder one of their own party but not so with those who ate food only.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 44

"'Now another message for your people.

"'You have had the constant fear that the white race would exterminate you. 46 The Creator will care for his Oñgwe'onwe (real people).'"


So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


46(45:2). The Iroquois saw that the white race had encircled them and were drawing the lines ever tighter. They saw that they were in a position of great disadvantage, living as they did in the midst of a people against whom they had fought not only in their own wars but also as allies of the British. They saw how all other native tribes had been swept away with the advance of the invading race and thus no wonder they feared. Yet today (1912) they still exist unabsorbed and as a distinct people in the midst of the civilization of the Empire State under their own tribal laws and recognized nominally as nations. The story of how they have preserved themselves through three centuries of contact with an invading race that had little love for them and whose policy like their own in ancient times, is to absorb or exterminate, to accomplish a thing that no other aboriginal race has done, is well worth a place in history as one of its marvels. "Truly the Creator has cared for his red children!"

Section 45

"'Now another message for your people.

"'Some of your relatives and descendants will say, "We lack an understanding of this religion," and this will be the cry of the

people. But even we, the servants of the Creator, do not understand all things. Now some when they are turned to the right way will say, "I will continue so for all of my days," but this will not be so for they surely will fall short in some things. This is why even we can not understand all things.'"

So they said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 46

"At the time of this prophecy I was in the Cold Spring village. It occurred at this time. The prophecy was then new.

"At that time a woman and her daughter administered a witch-powder 47 to a man and he lost his mind. He wandered off alone and died and thus a great crime was committed.

47. witch-powder

"Now at that time it was said among the head men, 'We will punish the women.' So it was the plan that each chief give the women one lash.

"Now I, Ganiodai'io` heard the resolution of the chiefs and was of the opinion that the women would easily survive such punishment, so, also, the chiefs believed it.

"Now all this happened when the head men sat in council, the four messengers being present.

"Now this thing must never happen again. Such councils never accomplish good. It is natural that foolish women should have done what these did.

"Now at the time of the lashing it was in my mind that they would surely live.

"So this must never happen again because the Creator has not privileged men to punish each other." Eniaiehuk. [See plate 12.]


47(46:1) Witch-powders were used for various purposes but generally as poisons or love charms. Their use is condemned in section 3 and the punishment of those who use them in section 104.

Section 47

"So now another story.

"It happened that at a certain time a certain person did not honor Gai'wiio`. At a gathering where Gai'wiio` was being told this was done. It was at Cold Spring village.

"A man was standing in the doorway showing disrespect to the proceedings within. The prophet was speaking and as he said in closing 'It is finished,' the man in the doorway dainî?'dâdi. Now that was the last. The man did not go home to his dwelling and

the next day it was rumored that he was missing. A search was made and on the other side of the Allegany in a swamp two days later the man was found. He was sitting above it. He had broken branches and arranged them in the form of a nest upon which he sat devouring snakes. He was not in his right mind. They took him from his nest (ho?non'gwae?) and soon he died." Eniaiehuk.

Section 48

"Now another story.

1 "Now it was that when the people reviled me, the proclaimer of the prophecy, the impression came to me that it would be well to depart and go to Tonawanda. In that place I had relatives and friends and thought that my bones might find a resting place there. Thus I thought through the day.

"Then the messengers came to me and said 'We understand your thoughts. We will visit you more frequently and converse with you. Wherever you go take care not to be alone. Be cautious and move secretly.'

"Then the messengers told me that my life journey would be in three stages and when I entered the third I would enter into the eternity of the New World, 48 the land of our Creator. So they said." Eniaiehuk.

48. creator

2 "The day was bright when I went into the planted field and alone I wandered in the planted field and it was the time of the second hoeing. Suddenly a damsel 49 appeared and threw her arms about my neck and as she clasped me she spoke saying, 'When you leave this earth for the new world above, it is our wish to follow you.' I looked for the damsel but saw only the long leaves of corn twining round my shoulders. And then I understood that it was the spirit of the corn who had spoken, she the sustainer of life. So I replied, 'O spirit of the corn, follow not me but abide still upon the earth and be strong and be faithful to your purpose. Ever endure and do not fail the children of women. It is not time for you to follow for Gai'wiio` is only in its beginning.'" Eniaiehuk.

49. damsel


48(47:1). The heaven described by Ganiodai'io` was called the New World because it had not been previously known. The generations before had not gone there, not having known the will of the Creator as revealed by the prophet.
49(47:2). See plate 13, the Spirit of the Corn.

Section 49

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'There is a dispute in the heaven-world between two parties. It is a controversy about you, the children of earth. Two great beings are disputing--one is the Great Ruler, the Creator, and the other is the evil-minded spirit.

"'You who are on earth do not know the things of heaven.

"'Now the evil one said, "I am the ruler of the earth because when I command I speak but once and man obeys."

"'Then answered the Great Ruler, "The earth is mine for I have created it and you have helped me in no part."

"'Now the evil one answered, "I do not acknowledge that you have created the earth and that I helped in no part, but I say that when I say to men, 'Obey me,' they straightway obey, but they do not hear your voice."

"'Then the Great Ruler replied, "Truly the children are my own for they have never done evil."

"'And the evil one answering said, "Nay, the children are mine for when I bid one saying, 'Pick up that stick and strike your fellow,' they obey me quickly. Aye, the children are mine."

"'Then was the Great Ruler very sad and he said, "Once more will I send my messengers and tell them my heart and they will tell my people and thus I will redeem my own."

"'Then the evil one replied, "Even so it will not be long before men transgress your commands. I can destroy it with a word for they will do my bidding. Verily I delight in the name Hanîsse:'ono. It is very true that they who love my name, though they be on the other side of the earth, will find me at their backs the moment they pronounce my name."

"'Now at that time the Great Ruler spoke to the four messengers saying, "Go tell mankind that at present they must not call me Hawi'n'io`, the Great Ruler, until a later time, for the Evil One calls himself the Ruler of Mankind. So now whosoever is turned into my way must say when he calls upon my name, Hodiänok'doon Hêd'iohe? our Creator. So also whosoever speaks the name of the evil one must say, Segoewa'tha, The Tormentor. Then will the evil one know that you have discovered who he is, for it is he who will punish the wicked when they depart from this world.'" 50

50. mythology

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


50(48:1). A typical example of Iroquois philosophy. The Iroquois were fond of devising stories of this character and many of them reveal the subtle reasoning powers of the Indian in a striking manner.

Section 50

"'Now another message to tell your people.

1 "'Now we are of the mind that the cold of winter will take life away. Many will be taken away because of the changing cold. Moreover some will freeze because they are filled with strong drink. Then again when the earth grows warm and the warm changes come, many will perish because of strong drink. Now the Creator never intended that variations of weather and season, warm and cold, should cause death.'"

2 "'The Creator made the waters of the earth, the rivers and lakes. These too will cause death and some filled with strong drink will be swallowed up by the waters.'"

3 "'And now more. The Creator made fire and this will also cause death and some filled with strong drink will be destroyed by the flames.'"

"'Verily he has said and ordained that they who disobey Gai'wiio` should fall into hardships.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 51

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'The messengers have given the promise to the prophet that he will be able to judge diseases and prescribe remedies. 51 So also he will be able to see far down into the earth as far as runs the elm's root. Then if any trouble comes and anyone asks the help of the prophet, he must give it freely, but they who ask must give an offering of tobacco. Now there will be some in your care who will be taken from your hands for other treatment. No wrong will be done and you must bear no ill will. It is said that the events of all our days are foreknown, so when the time comes for you to exercise your power we will tell you and then you may judge the earth and cure diseases.'"

51. pharmacy

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


51(49:10). See p. 113, medicine men.

Section 52

"'Now another message for your people.

"'Now when my relatives heard all this they said, 'This man must be a clairvoyant (hênne'yon?). 52"

52. clairvoyant

"The news spread and Gaiänt'wakâ came as a messenger. 53 Now he came to Ganiodai'io` and said, 'Why, having the assurance of powers, do you not commence now. Come prophesy!' Now he had tobacco for an offering. Then he said, 'My daughter is very sick.'

53. messenger

"Now the diviner of mysteries did not respond to his entreaty and so Gaiänt'wakâ went out but soon came running back. This second time he had the same request and plead more earnestly, but without avail.

"Then it was said that he would not respond to the cry of a brother and had no hearing for the voice of a brother.

"Again Gaiänt'wakâ returned and urged his brother.

"Now the people said, 'Have we not something to say to you as well as the messengers of the Creator?'

"Then he answered and said, 'Truly the people say that I will not reason. Verily I am true to my words. Now I can do nothing but try but I have not yet the permission of the messengers.'

"Now he went into a deep sleep and when he awoke he told his vision. Now he said that O?gi'we 54 should be sung for the sick woman.

54. song

"Now it is said that at that time the first song was in order but every part of the song was silent.

"Now a rumor spread that after all it was not wrong to continue the ceremonial dances once forbidden. So many were sick because they had not observed the commanded method of closing the societies."

This was so when Gai'wiio` was new. Eniaiehuk.


52(49:2). Diviners of mysteries have always been prominent characters among the Indians. Their office was to tell their clients the proper medicine society p. 50 that would be most efficacious in curing the sick, to discover the whereabouts of lost children or articles, to discover what witch was working her spells, and to tell fortunes, as well as to interpret dreams.
53(50:1). Cornplanter again endeavored to get his brother into disfavor with the four messengers by forcing him to exercise his powers prematurely. For this reason the followers of Handsome Lake to this day regard Cornplanter as a malicious character who ever tried to upset the Gai'wiio`.
54(50:2). The death chant, a ceremony belonging to the O?gi?weono? or Society of Chanters. See the legend Origin of the Death Dance.

Section 53

"'Now another message.

"The four messengers arose from a sitting of the prophecy.

"Now he said that certain songs and parts of songs are not known and some societies are new and their powers untried. So

make a feast and throw tobacco instead of singing. But the chiefs said that that plan should be laid aside and notwithstanding, the songs should be sung as far as possible.

"Now the messengers said that they should secure provisions enough for the feast and be sure. Some have planned to have strong drink used at the feast but this must not be tolerated. Only food must be used.'" 55

55. whisky

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


55(51:1). It is related that at one period whiskey had so far debauched the Indians that their once sacred ceremonies, like those of the early Christians at Corinth, were made the excuses of the grossest licentiousness and drunken revelry. Whiskey had entirely supplanted the feast foods.

Section 54

"Now I will relate another.

"There is a certain ceremony in the midwinter. 56 It is said that it is most important to uphold the customs of midwinter and that any one having a part should fulfil it. It is said that to fulfil the customs they must go about the neighborhood holding dances. It is said that the Creator has sanctioned certain dances for thanksgiving."

56. burning

"Now the messengers said that Ganio`dai'io` must sing 57 early in the morning on three mornings and give the cheer-cries of the Gai'wiio`."

57. mornings

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


56(51:2). See the Burning of the White Dog, p. 85.
57(51:3). This song is still sung by the preacher of the Gai'wiio`. The preacher stands at the door of the Long House on three successive mornings of the new year's season and greets the sunrise with his song. It is said to be a charm against high winds and the faithful claim that Gao?, the spirit of the wind, holds back his fury when the song floats over the settlement.

Section 55

"'Now another message. It is said that all your relatives and friends must be told.

"'It is said that when these rites are performed one person is to be selected to offer thanks 58 to the Creator. Now when thanks are rendered begin with the things upon the ground and thank upward to the things in the new world above. Afterward any one so inclined may arise and thank the Creator in the manner he thinks best.'"

58. thanks

So it is said. Eniaiehuk.


58(51:4). See The Goneowo ceremony, p. 95.

Section 56

"'Now another message.

"This happened when Gai'wiio` was new. It was the time when he dwelt at Dionon?'sodegê`. 59

59. dwelling

"A father and son appeared in Dionon?'sodegê`. Now the name of the son was Gani'seoñ. They were on a hunting journey and came from Gadäges'käon 60 with a horse and cart. Now they tarried in Dionon?'sodegê` for several nights before again taking up their journey.

60. dwelling

"It was during the hunting season that the news spread that some one had returned from the hunting grounds without a companion. It was the young man who had returned. So they questioned him and asked where his father was. He answered, 'My father is lost. I went about searching for my father a number of days. I walked and searched and signalled with gun discharges hoping to find him. I could not find him and became weary waiting for his return.' So he said."

"Now Gaiänt'wakâ when he heard this said, 'It is apparent to me that the young man has spoken the untruth.' So then they all went to the diviner of mysteries and Gaiänt'wakâ spoke to him saying, 'It is my opinion that the boy has murdered his own father.' And the prophet answering said, 'They have not yet given me the power to see things but this will I do. Bring a bullet, a knife, and a hatchet that the boy may look upon these things when I speak and perhaps the truth will come (see plate 14). One of these things will move though not touched and he shall be the witness.' So the head men did as bidden and placed the objects as directed. In the middle of the floor they spread a blanket and put the articles upon it. Then they gathered around it and watched, and as they watched he spoke and the bullet moved. Thus it happened. Then spoke Ganio`dai'io`, 'This brings the confirmation of the rumor. Truly the youth has murdered his father, and furthermore I say that the crime was committed between Ga:nos' 61 and Hanênk'gaek. 62 On the south side of a mountain, where half way up an elm is broken, leaning over on the downhill side to the west lies the body buried in the leaves of the top branches. He, the father, is buried in the leaves.' So he said when he spoke. The

chiefs and head-men appointed a delegation to see if all he had said were true. So they went as they had been told and found the body of the father and brought it back with them." Eniaiehuk.

61. dwelling
62. dwelling


59(52:1). Cornplanter village.
60(52:2). Cattaraugus village, the principal town of the Cattaraugus region.
61(52:3). Franklin, Pa.
62(52:4). Oil City, Pa.

Section 57

"'Now another message to tell your people.

"'You may ask three questions concerning three privileges when you go among your relatives at the ceremony of Nîsko'wûknî 63 and ask what one is fitted for them.

63. season

"'Who among you likes best to call upon the afflicted? Who among you loves to commune alone in the forests? Who among you is most anxious concerning religious conditions?''

So they asked him. Eniaiehuk.


63(53:1). February, the moon of the midwinter, the time of thanksgiving.

Section 58

"'Now another message.

"'Now this matter will devolve upon you.

"'The people will assemble in council and ask, "Who among us is able to say, 'I compel you to assemble?'"

"'Now when the question is set forth each person must make reply. The chiefs must demand it.'

"'Now it happened that he fulfilled the requirements and all the people assembled and with one accord acclaimed that Ganio`dai'io` should lead them and that they should never murmur.

"'Now that the people had done, he was patient to learn the result.

"'The council adjourned and the messengers came and questioned him saying, 'How did you understand your people? '

"'He answered, 'The majority consented that I should lead them.' 64

64. authority

"'Then the messengers replied, 'Truly the greater number will follow you."

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


64(53:2). Because the people of this council elected that Handsome Lake should have authority over them he is ever after called Se:dwa:go'wa:nê, or chief leader, or our great teacher.

Section 59

"'Now another message.

"'It is this: We, the messengers of our Creator, see strong drink used during the season when corn is planted. Now let those

who use this evil drink know that it consumes the elements of life They must repent.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 60

"'Now another message.

"'It is a custom for thanksgiving to be made over the hills of planted corn. 65 Let the head one of the family make an invocation over the planted hills that the corn may continue to support life. Now this will be a right thing and whosoever asks the help of the Creator will receive it.'"

65. custom

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


65(54:1). The ceremony of invoking the Creator over the hills of corn was an old one and like many other old customs was indorsed by the prophet. This custom is still continued among some of the Iroquois. "When the leaf of the dogwood is the size of a squirrel's ear, the planting season has come. Before the dawn of the first day of the planting a virgin girl is sent to the fields where she scatters a few grains of corn to the earth as she invokes the assistance of the spirit of the corn for the harvest."

Section 61

"'So now another.

"'Now it is understood that Dio`he?'kon (the corn, bean and squash spirits), have a secret medicine, o`sagan'dâ? and o`sdîs'dani. So soak your seed corn in these two medicines before you plant your fields. The medicines grow on the flat lands near streams.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 62

"'Now another message.

"'Now there are some who have boasted that they could drink all the strong drink in the world. Now we, the messengers, say that they who thus idly boast will never live to accomplish what they boast. White men will ever distil the evil liquor.'" 66

66. evil

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


66(54:2). This section with others of similar import brings out the prophet's intense dislike of idle boasting.

Section 63

"'Now another message.

"'Tell your friends and relatives that there will be two divisions

of mind 67 among the chiefs and head-men and among the people. Nevermore will your race be united.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


67. separation
67(55:1). This seemingly obscure section is cleared of its mystery when the preacher explains that the divisions of mind refer to the Gaiwios'tûk or Christian and Oñgwe?onweka' or Indian parties. "Dewadia'ke? gani'goî?, broken in twain, the unity of purpose," is Chief Cornplanter's term.

Section 64

"'Now another message.

"Now the messengers commanded him to give attention and he did. Then he saw a great assembly and the assembly was singing:

'The whole earth is here assembled,
The whole world may come to us.
We are ready.'

"Then said the messengers, 'What did you see when you gave attention?'

"He answered, 'I saw a great gathering of beings and the gathering was singing and the words of the song were:

'The whole earth is here assembled,
The whole world may come to us.
We are ready.'

68. practice

Then said the messengers, 'It is very true. The beings that you saw resemble human creatures. It is true that they are singing. Now the assembly is a gathered host of medicines for healing. Now let this be your ceremony when you wish to employ the medicine in a plant: First offer tobacco. Then tell the plant in gentle words what you desire of it and pluck it from the roots. It is said in the upper world that it is not right to take a plant for medicine without first talking to it. Let not one ever be taken without first speaking.'" 68

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


68(55:20. The ceremony of gathering herbs. When a Seneca wishes to gather medicinal herbs, he goes into the woods where they grow and builds a small fire. When there is a quantity of glowing embers he stands before it and as he speaks at intervals casts a pinch of tobacco on the coals. He speaks to the spirits of the medicines telling them that he desires their healing virtues to cure his people of their afflictions.
"You have said that you are ready to heal the earth," chants the gatherer of herbs, "so now I claim you for my medicine. Give me of your healing virtues to purge and cleanse and cure. I will not destroy you but plant your seed that you may come again and yield fourfold more. Spirits of the herbs, I do not take your lives without purpose but to make you the agent of healing, p. 56 for we are very sick. You have said that all the world might come to you, so I have come. I give you thanks for your benefits and thank the Creator for your gift."
When the last puff of tobacco smoke had arisen the gatherer of herbs begins his work. He digs the plant from the roots and breaking off the seed stalks drops the pods into the hole and gently covers them over with fertile leaf mold.
"The plant will come again," he says, "and I have not destroyed life but helped increase it. So the plant is willing to lend me of its virtue." Gahadondeh, (Woodland Border), Seneca.

Section 65

"'Now another message.

"'It has been a custom when a person knows of a healing herb to ask payment for giving it to a patient. Now we say that this is not right. It is not right to demand compensation for treating the sick. If such is done it adds greater afflictions to the sick one. The Creator has given different people knowledge of different things and it is the Creator's desire that men should employ their knowledge to help one another, especially those who are afflicted. Now moreover the person helped out ought only to give tobacco for an offering.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 66

"'Now another message.

"'Now it is said that your fathers of old never reached the true lands of our Creator nor did they ever enter the house of the tormentor, Ganos'ge?. 69 It is said that in some matters they did the will of the Creator and that in others they did not. They did both good and bad and none was either good or bad. They are therefore in a place separate and unknown to us, we think, enjoying themselves.'"

69. sensibility

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


69(56:1). The evil spirit has no domain except his house. A land in which the condemned spirit might roam would not be so terrible but eternal confinement within a house was considered a horrible fate by the liberty-loving Iroquois.

Section 67

"'Now another message.

"'Now it is said that your people must change certain customs. It has been the custom to mourn at each recurring anniversary of the death of a friend or relative. 70 It is said that while you are

upon the earth you do not realize the harm that this works upon the departed.

70. observance

"'Now moreover it is said that when an infant is born upon the earth with which the parents are dissatisfied, it knows and says, "I will return to my home above the earth.'"

"Now it is said that our grief adds to the sorrows of the dead. It is said that it is not possible to grieve always. Ten days shall be the time for mourning and when our friends depart we must lay grief aside. When you, the beings of earth, lose one of your number you must bury your grief in their grave. Some will die today and some tomorrow for the number of our days is known in the sky-world. So hereafter do not grieve. Now it is said that when the ten days have elapsed to prepare a feast and the soul of the dead will return and partake of it with you. It is said moreover that you can journey with the dead only as far as the grave. It is said that when you follow a body to the grave you must have prepared for that journey as if to travel afar. Put on your finest clothing for every human creature is on its journey graveward. It is said that the bodies of the dead have intelligence and know what transpires about them. 71 It is true.'"

71. cognizance

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


70(56:2). See Funeral and Mourning Customs, p. 107.
71(57:1). See, The death feast, p. 110.

Section 68

"Now it is said that when Ganio`dai'io` was at Tonawanda spreading Gai'wiio`, it happened that a certain man named Segwai?'dongwi said, 'I will also send a message to the four messengers and ask whether I am right in my belief in repentance and right doing.' So he sent his message upward in tobacco smoke."

Now when the messengers arose from a council with Ganio`dai'io`, he reported what they had told him. "It is a hard matter for he, the questioner, is two-minded." So he said.

Then Segwai?'dongwi said, "Now this will I do: I will give a string of wampum, ot?go'ä, to the chiefs for a proof of my repentance, for though I have been thinking, yet I can not discover that I am two-minded."

Now when Gai'wiiostûk (the Christian religion) came, this man was the first to accept its teaching. When the chiefs heard of it they went to him and offered to return his wampum.

Then said the man, "I will not turn back because it is for the good of all that I have this religion."

Now all the chiefs and head-men could not persuade him to return to the right way.

So it is said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 69

"Now another message.

"Now it is said that you must relate what the messengers say about the coming end of the earth. Relate how all those who refuse to believe in Gai'wiio` will suffer hardships. 72 Now when the earth is about to end the chiefs and head-men will disagree and that will be a sign. So also, the Honon'diont will disagree. Then will the relations know the truth."

72. refusers

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


72(58:1). See Introduction, p. 26.

Section 70

"Now another message.

"Now we say that you must tell your friends and relatives that there will be a time when all the earth will withhold its sustaining foods. Then will come the end of the world and those who refuse to believe in Gai'wiio` will suffer great hardships."

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 71

"Now another message.

"Now we think that a time will come when a great plague will kill man people and no one will know its cause. Then will you know that the end is near and those who do not believe will suffer great hardships."

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 72

"Now another message.

"Now we think that a time will come when a woman will be seen performing her witch spells in the daylight. Then will you know that the end is near. She will run through the neighborhood boasting how many she has slain by her sorcery. Then will you see how she who refused to believe in Gai'wiio` will suffer punishment."

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 73

"Now another message.

"In that time you will hear many rumors of men who say, 'I have spoken with the Creator.' So also will you see many wonders

but they will not endure for they will be the work of the evil spirit.

"Verily we say that there will be none other than you who will receive a message from the Creator through us. This truth will be proclaimed when the end comes."

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 74

"Now another message.

"In that time every poisonous creature will appear. These creatures the Creator has imprisoned in the underworld and they are the creations of the evil-minded spirit. Now it is our opinion that when they are released many people will be captured and poisoned by them. Men will see these hardships when they fail to believe in Gai'wiio`."

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 75

"Now another message.

"Now there will be some who will enter into a sleep. When they lie down they will be in health and as they sleep the Creator will withdraw their lives for they are true. To the faithful this will happen."'

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 76

"Now another message.

"Now we think that the Creator will stop the earth and heavens. All the powers of nature will he suspend. Now they will see this who refuse to believe in Gai'wiio`."

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 77

"Now another message.

"Now we think that when the end comes the earth will be destroyed by fire and not one upon it will escape for all the earth will be enveloped in flames and all those who refuse to believe in Gai'wiio` will be in it." 73

73. escape

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


73(59:1). Because Handsome Lake did not die in this manner some of his half believing followers at Onondaga repudiated his teaching.
The Code of Handsome Lake

Recitation of the Third Day

Section 78

"Now another message. Tell it to those at Tonawanda.

"Now they said to him, 'Watch a certain place.' So he did and he saw a certain person holding meat in his hands. The man was rejoicing and was well clothed and fed and his name was Tâ?dondä'ieha?, and he recognized him."

"Then said they to him, 'How is it?'

"He answered, 'I recognized Tâ?dondä'ieha? and he held meat in his hands.' So answered he who talked religiously."

"Then the messengers answered, 'Truly you saw a man with meat enjoying himself. He was joyous because he was a prosperous and successful hunter and gave game as presents to his neighbors. So his neighbors were grateful and thanked him. Now the man you saw has departed from the earth. In his earth-life he cleansed himself each day, visited and enjoyed himself in his best clothing. He was ever good to his fellow-beings and so he is blessed and will receive the reward reserved for him by his Creator."

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 79

"Now another message.

"This will happen.

"You will sing three times and the third time you sing you will step into oyâ?dedion'diade?, the other world. 74 That you go there will be the earnest wish of all who have heard your message."

74. other world step

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


74(60:1). It was customary for the friends and relatives to address the body of the dead and give expression to one's desires, etc. The soul when it reached the heaven-world would then tell the Great Ruler who would attend to the wishes expressed.

Section 80

"Now another message.

"Every person has a song to sing when the time comes to leave the earth. When a person is departing he must sing that song

and continue to sing on his journey to the other world. 75 They will do this who have repented and who believe in Gai'wiio`."

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


75(61:1). Ideas of the soul. The following ideas of the human soul were anciently held by the Iroquois and their influence on the teachings of Handsome Lake's teachings will be noted upon reading the Gai'wiio`:
Every soul has a path to its destiny after death.
Every soul retains its personal identity whatever form it may inhabit.
Soul differs from life.
When the soul leaves the body life does not necessarily.
When life leaves the body the soul generally does, though not always immediately but may linger for ten days.
The soul may pass from a living body and enter any object or go to any place to acquire wisdom and returning reveal it to the person in dreams or visions.
Should a person refuse persistently to heed these warning visions, the soul is liable to desert him, leaving the person simply a creature without power to resist or understand the influence of the various spirits good or bad.
Thinking that by some oversight or evil doing that be may lose his soul the Indian often offers sacrifice to his evil spirit. This is to satisfy his evil spirit with other things than wrong doing and thereby not offend his good spirit.

Section 81

"Now another message.

"Now the messengers said, 'Look you back in a vision to Cornplanter village and the place where the creek empties into the river.' So he looked and saw a large number of canoes gathered there. Many people were assembled and there were barrels of strong drink at the place. The people were making much noise. Now moreover there was a man there, hopping from canoe to canoe and singing Dji'haya:, the song of the evil-minded spirit. Now the words that he sang were these:

'More happy am I in my own house,
Far more happy there than here.'

Yet the man seemed to be greatly enjoying himself.

"Then said the messengers, 'You have been observing, now what did you see?'

He answered, 'I saw a man hopping from canoe to canoe singing the song of the evil-minded one. He said that his house was more happy a place than that where he was. The people about I should judge were filled with strong drink.' So he said in answer to the messengers.

"Then answered the messengers, 'What you say is true. The man was the punisher and his delight is to see people filled with strong drink.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

The Code of Handsome Lake

The Journey Over The Great Sky Road

Section 82

"'Now another message.

"'Now it is the time for our departure. We shall now go on a journey and then you shall see the coming of the fourth messenger, the journey of our friends and the works of the living of earth. More, you will see the house of the punisher and the lands of our Creator.'"

So they said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 83

"'Now another message.

"Suddenly as they looked, a road slowly descended from the south sky 76 and came to where they were standing. Now thereon he saw the four tracks of the human race going in one direction. The footprints were all of different sizes from small to great. Now moreover a more brilliant light than the light of earth appeared.

76. sky road

So they said. Eniaiehuk.


76(62:1). The great sky-road of the Gai'wiio` is the milky way. The souls of the dead are supposed to journey over the broad band and divide at the forks. The multitude of stars are thought to be the footprints of the dead.

Section 84

"'Now, they said unto him, 'We will tarry here a while in order that you may see.'

"Now as he watched and believed, he saw a large woman sitting there. Now the woman was grasping frantically at all things within her reach, and it seemed that she could not stand because of her great size. That was what he saw.

"Then they said to him, 'What did you see?

"He answered, 'It is hard to say. I saw a woman sitting and she was large of size and snatching at everything about her. I am of the opinion that she can not rise.' So he answered when he spoke.

"Then the messengers answered, 'It is true. That which you saw was the evil of stinginess. She can not stand and thus she will

remain forever. Thus it will be with those who forsake religious teachings and think more of the things of earth than of the new world above. (Having glutted themselves with the things of earth they are unable to stand upon the heaven road.)'" 77

77. gluttony

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


77(63:1). Those who gain great riches and lack humility can not stand upon the sky-road nor can they walk. The poor and meek only can travel skyward and not even the poor unless their ways have been humble and marked with virtue. Thus it is said, "It is better to be poor on earth and rich in the sky-world than to have earth riches and no heaven."

Section 85

"Now they said, 'We shall proceed.' Now the farther they went the more brilliant the light became. They had not gone far when the four messengers said, 'Now we will stop again. Look attentively at what you see.'

"So he looked and saw three groups of people and each group was of a different size. The first was large, the second small and the third still smaller.

"Then the messengers asked him, 'What do you see?'

"He answered, 'I saw three groups, the first a large group, the second half as large as the first and the third still smaller.' That is what he said when he answered.

"Then they replied, 'Truly you have seen. The groups represent the people of earth. The first group you saw was composed of those who have not repented; the second group was inclined half way, and the third group, the smallest one, was composed of those who have repented. They are protected by the true belief in Gai'wiio`.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 86

"So they proceeded a short distance and again came to a halt. Then the messengers pointed out a spot and bade him watch attentively. Then he saw a house strongly built and within it he saw three different things. The first was a pair of handcuffs, the second a whip and the third a hang-rope."

"Then asked the messengers, 'What did you see?

"He answered, 'The house I saw was strongly built and within the house I saw three different things. The first was a pair of handcuffs, the second a whip and the third a hangman's rope.' So he answered.

"Then they replied, 'Truly it is a strongly built house. It is a prison. Now it is true that three things are there for punishment. How hard it is for a transgressor to see that he should be punished; yet it is the cry of the people that the laws of the white man are better than the teachings of Gai'wiio`. This frightens even the Great Spirit for he knows the punishment of those who say such things.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 87

"So they proceeded and it was not long before they said, 'We must stop here.' Then they pointed in a certain direction and commanded him to watch. So he watched and as he did he saw a house with a spire and a path leading into the house and none out. There was no door, neither were there any windows in the house. Within was a great noise, wailing and crying, and the house was hot.

Then the messengers asked him what he saw.

He answered, 'I saw a house with a spire and a path leading to the house. There was no door, neither were there any windows in the house. Within was a great noise, wailing and crying, and the house was hot.'

"Then they replied, 'You have truly seen. It is a hard matter for Indians to embrace these conditions, that is, to embrace the belief of Bible believers.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 88

"So they proceeded and had not gone far when the messengers said, 'Look downward upon the Buffalo Creek reservation.'

"So he looked and the place seemed honeycombed and covered with a net.

Then the messengers asked him what he saw.

He answered, 'I saw the Buffalo Creek reservation and it seemed honeycombed like ice and covered with a net.' So he replied.

"Then the messengers said, 'Truly! We think that this reservation will fall.' Now they said moreover that it was the duty of the chiefs to preserve it but it should be hard for some should take an upper hand.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 89

"So they proceeded a little ways farther and soon they said, 'We will stop here.' Then they pointed out a certain spot and said, 'Watch! Look upon the eastern heavens and observe!'

So he looked and saw two immense drops (or balls of liquid) hanging, one red and one yellow. It seemed that they were suspended only for an instant and would momentarily fall.

"Then the messengers asked, 'What did you see there?'

"He answered, 'I saw two drops, one red and one yellow, suspended as if about to fall.'

"Then the messengers replied, 'Truly you have spoken. It is so. Should one of those drops fall it would bring great calamity upon the earth. Many people would leave the earth should one drop but we are doing our utmost to prevent such an event.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


Section 90

"So they proceeded but had not gone a long distance before they said, 'We will stop and watch a certain place. Now listen to the earth.'

"So he listened and as well as he could understand he thought that he heard wailing and mourning. The sounds seemed to be the crying of children.

"Then the messengers asked, 'What did you observe?'

"He answered, 'I thought that I heard the wailing of the aged and the crying of children.'

"Then the messengers replied, 'It is true. What you have heard is the substance of life going back to the Creator. When this time comes there will be great misery upon the earth.'

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 91

"So they proceeded a little ways farther and in a short time they reached a certain spot and stopped.

"Then said the messengers, 'Look toward the setting sun.'

"So he looked and saw. Now as he looked he seemed to see a man pacing to and fro. He seemed to be a white man and in his hand he seemed to have a bayonet with which he prodded the ground. Now moreover he seemed very angry.

"Then said the messengers, 'What did you see?'

"He answered, 'I saw what seemed to be a man pacing to and fro. He seemed to be a white man and in his hand he seemed to have a bayonet with which he prodded the ground, and, moreover, it seemed that he was angry.' So he said when he answered.

"Then the messengers said, 'It is true. He is a white man and in a temper. It is true. Indians must not help him and the head

men must honestly strive to prevent their followers from helping him.'" 78

78. prevent

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


78(66:1). This section refers to the "war in the west," probably General Harrison's campaign against Tecumseh in 1811. Red jacket and all the principal chiefs were anxious to preserve peace and did all within their power to prevent their young warriors from enlisting on either side but were not entirely successful. The issue was of such moment that the prophet deemed it wise to reveal the will of the four messengers in the matter.

Section 92

"So they proceeded on their journey and had not gone far when they stopped.

"Then the messengers said, 'Watch attentively.' Then they pointed out to him a certain spot midway between the earth and the clouds. So he watched there. Now this is true. He saw a house suspended there and on the veranda with a railing about it, a man walked and with him was a penny dog (kwên'nîs dji`'yä). Now moreover the man was rejoicing and he was a white man.

"Then said the messengers, 'What did you see?'

"He answered, 'I saw a house suspended in the air and on the porch with a railing about it a man was walking and with him was a penny dog. Now moreover the man was a white man.'

"Then the messengers said, 'Truly you have seen. It is said that the man is the first and oldest president of the United States. Now he enjoys himself and he is the only white man so near the new world of our Creator. Now it is said that there was once a time when the Thirteen Fires and the King 79 were in trouble. The Thirteen Fires were victorious and this man won the victory from the king. Said the king, "You have overpowered me, so now I release everything that was in my control, even these Iroquois who were my helpers. It rests with you what shall be done with them. Let them be to you a thing for a sacrifice." Then said the president, "I shall let them live and go back to the places that are theirs for they are an independent people." So it is said. Now this man did a great work. He has ordered things that we may enjoy ourselves, as long as the sun shines and waters run. This is the doing of our Great Creator.'" 80

79. precedent
80. history

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


79(66:2). The word here is feminine and should be translated queen but this would manifestly not be in accord with truth. The error was made by Chief John jacket who wrote out the Gai'wiio` in Seneca in 1860, during the reign of Queen Victoria.
80(66:3). See Washington and the Iroquois, p. 137.

Section 93

"So then they proceeded on their journey but had not gone far when they stopped.

Then the messengers said, 'Watch,' and pointed to a certain spot toward the setting sun.

"So he watched and saw a large object revolving. It was white and moving slowly.

"Then said the four messengers, 'What did you see?'

"He answered, 'I saw a large object revolving. It was white and moving slowly.'

"Then said the messengers, 'It is true. The thing is that which regulates the air over the earth. It is that which we call the Odä'eo (the veil over all). It is said that it would bring great calamity should it revolve too fast. Should it turn faster it would injure mankind. Now we are the regulators and watchers of the veil over all.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 94

"So they proceeded on their journey and it happened that a vision appeared unto them. They seemed to be advancing toward an approaching man. Soon they met him and passed. Now when they were a distance apart they turned and he was facing them. So they greeted each other. Then said the man, 'Sedwa:go'wanê, I must ask you a question. Did you never hear your grandfathers say that once there was a certain man upon the earth across the great waters who was slain by his own people?' That was what he said when he spoke.

"Then answered Sedwa:go'wanê, 'It is true. I have heard my grandparents say this.'

"Then answered the man, 'I am he.' (Segan'hedûs He who resurrects). And he turned his palms upward and they were scarred and his feet were likewise and his breast was pierced by a spear wound. It appeared that his hands and his feet were torn by iron nails.

"All this was true. It could be seen and blood was fresh upon him.

"Then said the man, 'They slew me because of their independence and unbelief. So I have gone home to shut the doors of heaven that they may not see me again until the earth passes away. Then

will all the people cry to me for succor, and when I come it will be in this wise: my face will be sober and I shall turn it to my people. Now let me ask how your people receive your teachings.'

"He answered, 'It is my opinion that half my people are inclined to believe in me.'

"Then answered he, 'You are more successful than I for some believe in you but none in me. I am inclined to believe that in the end it will also be so with you. Now it is rumored that you are but a talker with spirits (djîs'gändâtâha` 81). Now it is true that I am a spirit and the one of him who was murdered. Now tell your people that they will become lost when they follow the ways of the white man.'"


So that is what he said. Eniaiehuk.


81(68:1). See Spiritism, p. 126.

Section 95

"So they proceeded on their journey and had not gone far when they came to a halt.

"Then the messengers pointed out a certain spot and said, 'Watch attentively,' and beheld a man carrying loads of dirt and depositing them in a certain spot. He carried the earth in' a wheelbarrow and his task was a hard one. Then he knew that the name of the man was Sagoyewat'ha, a chief.

"Then asked the messengers, 'What did you see?

"He answered, 'I beheld a man carrying dirt in a wheelbarrow and that man had a laborious task. His name was Sagoyewat'ha, a chief.'

"Then answered the messengers, 'You have spoken truly. Sagoyewat'ha is the name of the man who carries the dirt. It is true that his work is laborious and this is for a punishment for he was the one who first gave his consent to the sale of Indian reservations. It is said that there is hardship for those who part with their lands for money or trade. So now you have seen the doom of those who repent not. Their eternity will be one of punishment.'" 81

81. punishment

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


81(68:2). The followers of the Gai'wiio` to this day mention the name of Red Jacket with contempt. While they acknowledge his mental superiority they have no other admiration for him. He was ever the enemy of Cornplanter and Ganiodaiio with whom he had frequent collision and recognized the sachem prophet only as an impostor. The teachings of Ganiodaiio have done much to prejudice the Iroquois against Red Jacket.

Section 96

"Now again they took up their journey and had not traveled far when they saw a crowd on both sides of the road. And when they came to where it was they saw that they were at the forks of the road. One road, on the right, was a narrow one and the tracks upon it were mostly those of children and all were pointed in one direction. Few adults had their tracks on this road, the road rough and wide. Now as they watched they saw a woman approaching the forks of the road from behind them. She came to where the road divided and as she halted before the roads a man who stood to the left shouted, 'To this side.' (Now the road of the wicked is owa'êtgän, a rough road.) Then the man on the right said, 'Not so. This woman has done her whole duty. She has truly repented;' Then answered the man on the left, 'You are wrong, for her repentance has been of short duration and so of slight effect. But the man on the right replied, 'Truly in her earth-life she repented and was faithful to her promises. This is all that is required and she will walk upon the narrow road.'

"Now one of the messengers turned to him and said, 'The woman has lived a repented life for three days and has entered into the happy eternity. It was not an easy matter for her to do so of herself, but we, the messengers, have plead before the Creator and he has heard us. Three times we assist every one who believes to continue in the faith of the Gai'wiio`. At this division in the great road we guide the spirits of the earth into Tain'tciadê (heaven land). At the forks of the road the spirits of the dead are divided. The narrow road leads to the pleasant lands of the Creator and the wide and rough road leads to the great lodge of the punisher.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 97

So now another.

"'Verily you have seen the breast of a man hanging here by the road and in the center of that breast you saw a bullet hole. 82 Now we have caused this thing to be placed there. All will see it and he will see it who did the wrong when he comes upon the great road and know that he must turn aside and enter upon a journey over the wide and rough road.'"

82. hanging

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.


82(69:1). See section 56.

Section 98

"Now again they told him that they would take up their journey and as they went they drew near to the house of the punisher. As they went over the broad road they walked well on the sides for the path was very stony. Now, strange, this was true; some great force seemed pushing them onward toward the house of the punisher. 83 Soon they began to inhale heated air and soon they heard the far away echoes of mournful cries borne on the blasts of the hot wind. At times the air was suffocating and the cries of the doomed were distressing."

83. punisher

So he said. Eniaiehuk.


83(70:1). The prophet here alludes to the ease with which one may glide over the broad road. "it is no work to sin," says the preacher, "or the devil furnishes the legs for you."

Section 99

"Now they approached a great lodge. It seemed constructed of iron that had been highly heated and allowed to cool. Within the building hot vapor was rising from the fire pits.

"Now the messengers spoke saying, 'Let us tarry here a while.' Then one of the beings took from his bosom a crystal and pointed it at the lodge. He approached holding the glass at arm's length and as he came near the lodge arose to the height of the man so powerful was the crystal." Eniaiehuk.


Section 100

"Now they saw and then everyone knew that the house was very long and extended far out of the eye's reach. Now this is true. When a certain woman within saw the four and him drawing near she stretched out her arms and cried for help. Then answered the four, 'It is beyond our power to alter your condition now. Our work was with you on earth. Too late.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 101

"Now as they looked they saw a being walking about as if he were the master of the lodge. He seemed continually distorting himself. At times horns shot out from his forehead, at times a cloven foot appeared and at times a tail was visible. 84

84. devil

"Then said the four messengers to Ganiodai'io`, 'That being is the punisher. It is he who torments those who have refused the words of Gai'wiio` when they heard them on the earth.'"

So they said. Eniaiehuk.


84(70:2). The prophet has very evidently borrowed his devil from transatlantic sources.

Section 102

"In a loud voice the punisher cried to a certain person saying, 'Come hither.' The punisher held a drinking vessel in his hand and within it was molten metal and thrusting it in the hands of the man he had called he said, 'Now warm yourself again as was your custom while on the earth for you loved hot drink.' Now the man pleaded but the punisher compelled him to swallow the molten metal. Then the man screamed in a loud voice and fell prone upon the ground with vapor steaming from his throat. Now he cried no more.

"Then said the four messengers, 'You have seen the manner of punishing those who persist in taking the fiery drink.'

So they said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 103

"Now as they looked the master of the house spoke saying, 'Come.' Now the master knew the name of every one within the house. And straightway a woman came to where he stood. Then he grabbed her and forced her body into a great cauldron filled with a boiling liquid. Frequently he looked down into the cauldron to see if the woman had come again to the top. Suddenly she shot to the surface crying in a strange voice like some unknown animal and then sank down again. Soon again she appeared and cried, 'O, it is too hot! I should have an interval in which to cool myself!' Answered the punisher, 'Thou are not one-minded,' and jerking her out he flung her on one side. But the woman screeched in agony, 'O, it is too cold!' and her complaint was continuous and she moaned, 'It is too cold!' Then the punisher thrust her back into the boiling cauldron and immediately her bones rattled to the bottom. Such was the punishment given by the keeper of the house of torment.

"Then spoke the four messengers and said, 'This is the punishment given those who practice witchcraft. The woman whom you saw will suffer two deaths in this place and when her body is reduced to dust the punisher will gather them up again and conjure the dust back into a living body and continue his sport until finally

he has become weary when he will blow her ashes to destruction. Such things happen to those who will not believe in Gai'wiio`.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 104

"Now he saw a certain nude woman coming out from a crowd and in all the hair of her body were writhing serpents. Her cheeks were parched to the bone where she had been wont to color them and likewise where her hair was parted there was no flesh. Now she was greatly ashamed but she could not cover her nakedness. So in this condition he saw her.

"Then said the four messengers, 'Saw thou that woman? In life she was wont to give on'oityi'yênde, [secret powders] to men to attract them to her. So you have seen the punishment meted out to those who do this and do not repent.'

So they said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 105

"Now they revealed another.

"Now the master of the house looked about and saw another person. So he said, 'Come, here, my nephew, I wish to see you flog your wife as was your custom on the earth.' The punisher then pointed out the image of a woman heated hot with fire and commanded the man to beat the image. Then the man pleaded with moans to be released from the command but the punisher forced him to strike the image with his bare hands, and the man fell in agony prostrate upon the floor screaming. So he saw.

"Then said the four messengers, 'You have seen the punishment given to the man who beat his wife. Thus it will be with all who fail to repent and fail to believe in Gai'wiio`. Now such was the evil that this man did to grieve his Creator.'"

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 106

"Now they revealed another.

"The master of the house called out the names of two persons, saying, 'Come here, my nephews,' 85 and straightway they stood before him. Then said he, 'Commence an argument, you two, for you are the man and wife who in your earth-life were wont to

quarrel continually, so quarrel again!' Then when he saw that the people were reluctant he compelled them to argue. Then they disputed until their eyes bulged from their heads, their tongues lolled out and flames of fire shot from ganä'shoo?. So this was what he saw.

85. relativess

"Then said the messengers, 'This is the punishment reserved for those who quarrel without ceasing and fail to repent.'"

So they said. Eniaiehuk.


85(72:1). The Seneca term means my sister's children," thus both nephews and nieces.

Section 107

"Now they showed him another:

"Now the punisher called out a certain woman's name saying, 'Come to me, my niece,' and straightway she came. Then said he, 'It was once your delight gaknowe'haat.' As he said this he lifted up an object from a pile and thrust it within her. Now the object was like ha?ji'no? gânää?', and it was red hot. Then she cried aloud in agony and she fell with steam issuing from her body. Now there were three piles of gâ'nää?, the first white, the second red and the third black and all were gâ'nää?.' So this was what he saw.

"Then the messengers said, 'You have seen the punishment of the immoral woman.'"

So they said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 108

"Now they showed him another.

"Now the punisher called out in a loud voice saying, 'My nephew, come hither,' and the man stood before him. 'Now, nephew, play your violin as was once your delight.' The punisher handed the man a bar of hot iron and forced him to rub it upon his arm. So he played and the cords of his arm were the strings of the instrument and made the music. So in great agony he cried and screamed until he fell. 86

86. insanity

"Then said the four messengers, 'You have seen the punishment of the man who failed to repent.'"

So they said. Eniaiehuk.


86(73:1). The pagan (spirit talker) Indians detest the "fiddle" and "fiddle dances" as things of great evil and assert that they produce as much wickedness as drunkenness.

Section 109

"Now they revealed another.

"Now the punisher called out in a loud voice and commanded two persons to appear before him. Now when they stood before

him he handed them what seemed a pack of red hot iron cards. Then he forced the two to sit down facing each other and compelled them to shuffle the cards and as they did flames spurted out from between them. So they cried out in great agony, sucked their fingers in their mouths, handled the cards again until their flesh was eaten away and the meat fell off. So this is what he saw.

"Then the messengers said, 'This is the punishment meted out to those who handle cards and repent not.'"

So they said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 110

"Verily he saw those who were upon the earth and those who were alive and he saw the wicked in the house of torment. He saw Gowonon?'gowa [she great talker], Gâkon'go? [she-glutton animal], Gânonjoni'yon [hanging kettle] and Hano'e:s [head-eater]. Verily he saw these four persons.

"Then said the four messengers, 'These four have committed the great sin and can not be forgiven.'"

So they said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 111

"Then said the messengers, 'We will proceed on our journey. It would be a hard thing should we tarry too long and meet the Creator on the road before we reach his pleasant lands. If we should meet him you should be compelled to stay here forever.'

So they said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 112

"Then they went out upon the narrow road and had not gone far upon it when a far more brilliant light appeared. It was then that they smelled the fragrant odors of the flowers along the road. Delicious looking fruits were growing on the wayside and every kind of bird flew in the air above them. The most marvelous and beautiful things were on every hand. And all these things were on the heaven road." Eniaiehuk.

Section 113

"So they continued on their journey and after a short time they came to a halt. Then spoke the messengers, 'This place is called, "the spring" and it is a place for rest. 87 Then behold he saw the spring and he thought that he had never seen so beautiful and

clear a fount of water. Then said the four, 'This is a place of refreshment.' One of the four drew a bottle from his bosom, so it seemed and it was, and dipped it in the spring. Then he said, 'You must partake first,' and so he took it, but when he looked at it he thought it was not enough. So he said, 'I think that this is not sufficient.' And when he had said this the messengers looked at one another and smiled and one said, 'Truly it is enough. If it lacks, there is still the spring and the vessel may be refilled. So all took and drank and all the drink that all wished was in the bottle. Then said the messengers, 'This is a place of meeting. Now we will go on our journey.'" [There are also said to have been two other meeting places, Dioge:?'djaie, Grassy Place, and Dion'dot, The Tree.]

87. spring

So they said. Eniaiehuk.

87(74:1). See legend, Two brothers who went to the sky, p. 132.

Section 114

So then they proceeded on their journey and had gone but a short way when they saw someone coming toward them and it was not long before they met. Then he saw it was a dog and when they met, the dog began to wag its tail and sprang upon him. Then he recognized the animal as his own dog and it appeared just as it had when he had decorated it for the sacrifice in the Hadidji'yontwûs [New Year's ceremony]. Then said the four, 'This thing attests to the value of our thankoffering to the Creator.'" 88

88. ceremony

So they said. Eniaiehuk.


88(75:1) See p. 85, Sacrifice of the white dog.

Section 115

"So they took up their journey again and in a short time came to a halt. In the distance before them a man appeared to be coming and soon he came nearer. Then he saw that the man was guiding two others, one on either side of him. Now as he looked he saw that one was the daughter of Gaiänt'wakâ and it appeared that she was a large child. With her was his (Ganio`dai'io`) own son, an infant, and they greeted one another, the son and the daughter. Now one could see that they were not strangers for they were friendly. Now moreover a fourth person was leading them all." Eniaiehuk.

Section 116

"Now that person spoke and said, 'I brought them with me to testify to the truth that those of the lower world when they pass away come hither.'

"Then spoke the daughter of Gaiän'twakâ, 'I send a message. It is this: It grieves me to know that my brothers on the earth disagree with my father. Bid them cease their disagreement.' So she said."


Section 117

"So they took up their journey again and in a short time came to a halt. There was a more brilliant light and as they stood suddenly they heard the echo of a commanding voice calling the people together for the performance of the great feather dance.

"Then asked the four messengers, 'What think you has happened?'

"He answered, 'I heard the commanding voice of Joi'ise calling the people to celebrate the great feather dance.'

"Then replied the four messengers, 'Verily, Joi'ise, your friend is he who calls. He it was who was faithful and good and when he passed away in the lands of the Creator he continued as on the earth [to be a leader].'"

So they said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 118

"So they took up their journey again and after a ways the four messengers said, 'We have arrived at the point where you must return. Here there is a house prepared for your eternal abode but should you now enter a room you could never go back to the earth-world.'"

So they said. Eniaiehuk.

Section 120

"Now he was at Cornplanter ten years, at Cold Spring two years and at Tonawanda four years. From there he went to Ganonktiyuk'gegäo, Onondaga, and there fell our head man."

Section 121

"Now it happened that while he still abode at Tonawanda an invitation was extended by the people of Onondaga asking him to come and preach Gai'wiio` to the chiefs and head men there."

Section 122

"Now it happened that the four messengers appeared to him when the invitation was extended, they the four speakers and messengers of the Great Spirit of the worlds.

"Now the first words that they spoke were these, 'They have stretched out their hands pleading for you to come and they are your own people at Onondaga. Let this be the way, prepare yourself and cleanse your body with medicine. 89 It is necessary moreover for you to secrete yourself in some hidden spot and await our call to start.'"

89. herbs

So they said. Eniaiehuk.


89(77:1). Purification. The herb used most extensively by the Iroquois for "purification" was witch hopple, the bark of which was used both as an emetic and a purgative. For an emetic the bark was peeled upward and for a purgative downward.
Early in the spring during the spell of warm days the people would take their kettles, jars of soup and deerskins and go alone into the woods for their ceremony of purification. Here they would scrape the bark, build a fire and make a strong infusion of the witch hopple bark. The drink was taken in large quantities and then the Indian would sit wrapped in his deerskin to await the results. From sunrise to sunset the drink would be taken until the alimentary tract was completely emptied. Toward sundown a little soup would be sipped to ward off excessive weakness, and give strength to return home. The next morning sweat baths were often taken, though not always, and then solid food was eaten. This process was thought to purify the body and without doubt did much to do so. Besides the customary spring purification others were sometimes ordered for disease and for preparations for ordeals, tests and ceremonial purposes. The process was again repeated in the autumn.

Section 123

"Now there will be another and his name will be the New Voice, Hawênose?'.

"So now it was that Ganio`dai'io` was bidden the third time to sing his song and this the messengers said would be the last.

"Now then he said, 'There is nothing to incumber me from fulfilling my call."'

So said our head man. Eniaiehuk.

Section 124

"Thus it happened in the past and it is the truth.

"'I must now take up my final journey to the new world,' he thought, and be was greatly troubled and longed for the home of his childhood and pined to return.

"Then came the four messengers to him and said, 'The children will comfort you in your distress for they are without sin. They will elect a certain one from among them to plead that you continue to abide among them.'"

So they said. Eniaiehuk.

"Now it happened that it came to pass that all the children assembled and their spokesman did his utmost to exact a promise from Ganio`dai'io`. So great was his grief that after he had spoken a short time he could no longer plead. Then another boy was appointed by the children, a boy not bashful but rough and bold. So he, too, endeavored to persuade Ganio`dai'io`, but it was a difficult task for him and he could scarcely speak, but he did. Then Ganio`dai'io` made an answer to the children. He rose and exhorted them to ever be faithful and a great multitude heard him and wept." Eniaiehuk.

Section 125

"Now at this time there was a man and his name was New Voice, a chief of equal rank with Cornplanter. Now this man urged Ganio`dai'io` to accept the invitation of his friends and relatives of Onondaga. He said, 'It is as if they were stretching forth their necks to see you coming. Now I am going forth to a gathering of chiefs at Buffalo on the long strip that is the fireplace of the Six Nations, 90 the great meeting place of human creatures. I will go so that I may believe that you are. on your journey and I will ride away as fast as my horse can go.' So he said."

90. historical


90(78:1). At this time there was an Onondaga village on the Buffalo Creek tract. It became therefore a legal meeting place for the Six Nations. The Canadian refugees often returned to council there.

Section 126

"Now then Ganio`dai'io` started on his journey and a large number followed him that they might hear him speak. They had no conveyances but traveled afoot.

"Now when they came to their camping spot at Ganowa'gês, 2 he said to them in a commanding voice, 'Assemble early in the morning.' Now when they did he offered thanks and afterward he said, 'I have had a dream, a wondrous vision. I seemed to see a pathway, a trail overgrown and covered with grass so that it appeared not to have been traveled in a long time.' Now no one spoke but

when all had heard and he had finished they dispersed and they continued on their journey."

91. village


78:2 The site of the village opposite the present Avon, N. Y.

Section 127

"Now their next camping spot was near Ganûndase?'ge'. 92

92. village

"Now when they had all come up to the spot he called out in a commanding voice, 'Come hither and give thanks.' Now when the ceremony was over he said, 'I heard in a dream a certain woman speaking but I am not able to say whether she was of Onondaga or of Tonawanda from whence we came.' So this was what he said when he related his dream. Then all the company dispersed." Eniaiehuk.


92(79:1). The Seneca village near the present site of Geneva, N. Y.

Section 128

"So they proceeded on their journey.

"Now it happened that when they were near the reservation line he said, 'Let us refresh ourselves before going farther.' So they sat down and ate and then they continued on their journey."

"Now it happened that when they were over the reservation line that he said, 'I have forgotten my knife. I may have left it where we stopped and ate last. I can not lose that knife for it is one that I prize above many things. Therefore I must return and find it.'

"The preacher went back alone and there was no one to go with him. Now he became very ill and it was with great difficulty that he returned. The others had all gone on to the council but he was not able to get to it for he was very sick and in great distress. So when he did not come it was said, 'Our meeting is only a gathering about the fireplace.'" Eniaiehuk.

Section 129

"Now it happened that they all wished to comfort him. So for his pleasure they started a game of lacrosse 93 and played the game well. It was a bright and beautiful day and they brought him out so that he might see the play. Soon he desired to be taken back into the house." Eniaiehuk.

93. helping


93(79:2). Games were often played to cheer and cure the sick. Special foods were given the players.

Section 130

"Now shortly after he said a few words. To the numbers gathered about him to hear his message he said, "I will soon go to

my new home. Soon I will step into the new world for there is a plain pathway before me leading there. Whoever follows my teachings will follow in my footsteps and I will look back upon him with outstretched arms inviting him into the new world of our Creator. Alas, I fear that a pall of smoke will obscure the eyes of many from the truth of Gai'wiio` but I pray that when I am gone that all may do what I have taught.'

"This is what he said. This is what Ganio`dai'io`, our head man, said to his people." Eniaiehuk.

[Then the preacher says:] "Relatives and friends: His term of ministry was sixteen years. So preached our head man, Ganio`dai'io`.

"Let this be our thanks to you and to the four messengers also. I give thanks to them for they are the messengers of our Creator. So, also, I give thanks to him whom we call Sêdwa:gowa:nê, our great teacher. So, also, I give thanks to our great Creator.

So have I said, I, Sosondowa (Great Night), the preacher."

[Signed] EDWARD CORNPLANTER 94s, Sosondowa


94(80:1). Handsome Lake died August 10, 1815, at Onondaga. His last moments were spent in a small cabin near the creek that runs into Onondaga creek at the foot of the terrace.
Three persons attended him and swore to keep all details secret. He is said to have died before his nephew, Henry Obeal, could reach him.
The Code of Handsome Lake

Part 2: Field Notes On The Rights And Ceremonies Of The Ganio`Dai'io Religion 95

95. village faith


The midwinter festival of the Iroquois, commonly called Indian New Year.

On the third day of what the Seneca term Niskowûkni ne`' Sade:'goshä or the moon of midwinter, a council of head men is called and officers elected to officiate at the Gänä?yasta` or midwinter thanksgiving ceremony to be held two days later. Officers are chosen from each of the two brotherhoods 96 of clans.

96. missions

On the first day of the ceremony officers called Ondeyä, dressed in buffalo skins, meet and lay out a route of houses which each pair of Ondeyä is to visit. This settled, they draw the buffalo heads over their heads and start out.

There are three excursions of Ondeyä from their lodges, one at about 9 a.m., one at about 12 p.m. and one at about 3 p.m. Two Ondeyä, carrying corn pounders painted with red stripes, knock at the door of a house and entering intone:

Hail, nephews. Now also the cousins with you. Now also you see the big heads.

Ye he:! Gwäwandê! Onen`'dîq wodewê'noye: ne` ne:`se:so gwäwamê! Onen`'dîq i:swa:gen' noîwane`!

This is repeated and the Ondeyä depart.

At noon the Ondeyä repair to their meeting place and emerging again go over the same route. Their message as they enter a lodge at this time is:

Hail. Be clean! Do not be confused, O nephews. Do not tread upon things, nephews, cousins, when you move.

Yêhe! Jokwehon! sänon'di gwä'wandî! dänondodädê, gwä'wandî nene'se:so nänondo`'yäno`!

At 3 p.m., returning to the same lodge, the message is:

Yêhe:! Oisendase` susniun'nano ne?' swaisê`' dûgayio` sändo.' One?' dîq îtchigaine`son nongwûk'sado` nenwande` sä'non dîq îtch'nonadoktê` ongwûkädo`. One?' dîq nêkho`' non'jiyê.

After one has intoned this message or announcement the other pokes up the ashes with a basswood paddle and sings a song.

The first day is spent in this way, formal announcements being given by the officers.

On the morning of the second day all the lodges are visited by officers called Hade:yäyo`. Later, say 9 a.m., clan officers, known as Hana'sishê, begin their round of visits. Two men and two women are chosen from the phratries and going in couples to the various houses conduct a thanks or praise service. The burden of their words is a thanksgiving to God for the blessings that have been received by that house during the past year.

When this ceremony is over these officers throw up a paddle (Wadigusä'wea) signifying that the ceremony is over. At this time a chief makes a long thanksgiving speech in the council house.

At noon the "big feather" dancers visit every lodge and dance the sacred dance. Two women at least must participate. On entering a lodge the leader of the feather dancers must say:

Onên`''dîq' hodo`'issoin'yûnde sedwa:'â'wûk gäon'ya?ge? honoñ'ge`. Ne:kho`'nai' hodo'isshongonoindi ne`' häwonn'. Hodawisa'sse:` Osto'wägowâ. Onên`'dîq'dji'wûsnowät nê`' gissän äyêno:gwe:` Osto'wägowâ. Gagwe:gon,' onên`' dîq,' djiwûsnowät heniyon` swao'iwayandon`! Da'neho`'!

At about 2 p. in. public dances begin in the "long house."

The Society of Bears, which during the early afternoon had been holding a session in the house of some member, enter the long house and dance publicly. The same is true of the False Face Company.

Other dances are the Pigeon song dance (Tcä'kowa) and the Gâda:'ciot. The only dance in which physical contact is permitted is the Yêndonîssontâ` or "dance of the beans." Dancers hold each other's hands as they circle around the singers. This is to represent the bean vine as it clings to a sapling or corn stalk.

On the morning of the third day the priest arises before daylight and standing at the door of the council house begins his song of thanks. The song is sung until dawn appears and then the priest ceases. Should a fierce wind be blowing it is believed that when the words of the song float upward the Great Spirit will say, "Cease your movements, Oh wind, I am listening to the song of my children."

The first verse is as follows:

Onên`' dîq' okno'wi, Onên`' dîq', dasênni`' dottonde:
Gâo'yä gütc i'ja`! Yoändjâ:?gê igên's
Onên`' dîq' o`gai'wayi` onê`'
Dêawên'nissê no`gowês
Onên`' dîq' wadi'waye:îs.

The song begins with the singer's face to the west; he turns and sings in all directions, that all may hear his voice.

A legend relates that this song originated ages ago. An old woman is said to have been with child and before her son was born, from the heavens came this song.

Only one or two Indians sing this now, no others being able for some reason. After the song the priest calls upon the Great Spirit in these words:

Ye, ye-e, ye:e:!
Dane`'agwa none`'nengä' ne:'wa
Onên`' dîq dasa`'tondat' gäogê`gê`tci'ja', etc., etc.

At about 9 a.m. another officer of religion enters the long house and sings the Ganio`dai'io` song:


I love my world, I love my time, I love my growing children, I love my old people, I love my ceremonies.

At noon various societies and companies which have been holding sessions in private lodges adjourn to the council house to engage in public ceremonies. The great feather dance is celebrated at noon. Afterward nearly all the common dances are given, among which is the woman's football game and dance.

The morning of the third day is greeted as the previous day, by the song and prayer of the priest.

At 9 a.m. of the fourth day the Gonio`dai'io` song is chanted again. Meanwhile the company of harvest dancers hold their dances at private houses going to the long house (ganon'sûsgen?) at noon. Soon after the Bird Society or Gane`'gwäe: enters the council house and begins its dance. Two dancers are chosen from each phratry, as are also two speakers. The evening is devoted to the Trotting, Fish, Pigeon, Bear, False Face, Buffalo and other dances. At 10 p.m. the ceremonies cease.

On the fifth day the dawn ceremony is repeated and at 9 a.m. the Ganio`dai'io` song is sung. Societies hold meetings in their own lodges.

At about 1 p.m. a company of women dancers visit each house, dance and sing and return to the long house. False Face beggars also roam from lodge to lodge in search of sacred tobacco. In the afternoon and evening various dances are held in the long house. At about 11 p.m. the Husk Face Company enters the long house and engages in their public ceremony. After this dance the people are dismissed by a chief.

The morning of the sixth day is devoted to the dog sacrifice and the tobacco offering. Afterward the Adon'we` are sung. This song may be translated: I am now going home, I step upon another

world, I turn and extend my arms for a friend to lead me, I pray all may go where I go. Now the earth is smoky and none can see the other world [as I do].

On the seventh day the Honon'diont hold a morning dance and then proceed to cook the feast. Costumed feather dancers enter the long house and dance. The "wind is open for names," or opportunity is now given to bestow names. At this point if a boy is to be named the priest rises and says, "Hio`gêne:`', dji'wagä ne-e!

"Hu`', hu`', hu`'hu`'-a:!" respond the people.

If a girl is to be named there is no ceremony other than the mere announcement of the name. A speech is now made by a chief bidding people make ready for the sacred bowl game.

Honon'diont visit each lodge exacting from every person stakes for the sacred gamble. Each phratry is to play against the other The Honon'diont then meet and match articles, value for value.

The night previous every person endeavors to have a prophetic dream, whereby they may know the result of this game. No one must cheat in this game for "it is God's."

The great feather dance is repeated and names bestowed on this day. At night the Husk Faces return and give a. grand final dance.

The ninth day is the last one of the midwinter's ceremony. Early in the morning the priest gives a thanksgiving "sermon." At 5 p.m. occurs the dance in honor of the "three sisters," Diohe:`'ko, (these-we-live-on). Afterward the woman's dance is held, alternating with the following men's dances, Trotting, Pumpkin, Pigeon and Beans. The feast is then distributed and the people disperse.

95(81:1). Taken at Newtown, Cattaraugus reservation, January 1905, by A. C. Parker.
96(81:2).See Phratries.
The Code of Handsome Lake

The White Dog Sacrifice97

footnote 97. recorded

A preliminary translation of the ceremonial prayer at the burning of the white dog at the Seneca Indian new year's ceremony (February).

Wotokwaiiendakwa Gaiantguntgwaa
(wotok'waiîen'dakwa gaiäñt'guntgwa:')

Our words are straight--
Only these can we speak unto you,
Oh you from whom we are descended,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
You look down upon us and know that we are all children.
Now we petition you as we burn this sacred tobacco!
Now we commence our invocation,
Now we speak of all that you have created.
Now [in the beginning] you did think that men-beings should inherit the blessings of your creations,
For you did say, "Earth was my birthplace!
Now we have spoken in this incense [throws tobacco upon the flames].
Oh now inhale the smoke, so listen to our words.
Now we commence, we are all that remain upon the earth.
You behold the places that once were filled but now are empty;
We were unable to change it for you made the law.
Now you think that there should be two conditions of temperature upon the earth;
One you thought should be cold and one should be warm
And when the warm season came that Diohe`'ko, our substance, should spring from the bosom of Earth, our mother.
Now we have harvested the Diohe`'ko from whence our living is
For the warm season has gone and we have here assembled.
Now we have made inquiries among all the people and they remember their promises,
For they promised you that they should assemble again at Gaiwanos'kwa gowa'
On the fifth sun of the moon Nîskowûk'nî.
So all fulfilled the plan and gathered together in the moon Nîs'a, even those here present,
Oh you who were born of Earth, yet dwell in the sky!
Now all have fulfilled the law, for you did plan that the rites should be perpetuated even forever.
Now we are commencing, Oh you who were born of Earth!
Upon the first day the Great Feather dance went through the village for your pleasure.
The honon'diont and their cousins did their full duty.
Now on the next day Gane:o` was celebrated; at midday they went through the village,

And you did give us great joy because we performed this ceremony.
For you did think that Gane:o' should be celebrated upon the earth for thine own self.
Thus did we fulfil your desires, Oh you who were born of Earth, yet live in the sky!
Now on the next day Gagandot was played.
Truly we did fulfil your desires,
Oh you who were born of Earth, you who live in the sky!
You did see all that was done,
Oh you who were born of Earth, you who live in the sky!
In the beginning you thought that you would lay this sacred tobacco by man's side
That men should have an incense with which to send his words up to the sky,
With which to lift his words when the year ended.
Truly we have fulfilled your desires and here we have that basket of sacred tobacco,
Oh you who were born of Earth, you who dwell in the sky!
[Throws tobacco on the flames.]
So now the smoke arises!
Oh inhale the incense as you listen!
For now do we commence to speak of what you have created.
In the beginning you thought that there should be a world
Upon which men beings should travel
That you might say, "They are my descendants."
Now there is a shaft that reaches up to you, Ganeowi, the sacred song of the morning it is.
Now of your descendants as many as remain are gathered here.
Now you thought that there should be two sexes of men-beings,
That one should be the male and one should be the female,
And the function of the female should be the rearing of children.
Truly the females are fulfilling the design of their creation
For in their arms we see their children.
Truly it is in progress what you planned for them.
Now the smoke arises!
So now inhale this sacred incense!
Now we petition you that this thing should continue so henceforth,
And shall continue as long as the earth endures.
Now you thought that there should be a world
Upon which grasses of different kinds should grow

And that some should be medicinal,
And that some should yield fruits for a help to the men-beings who dwell upon the earth.
Thus did you think, O you who dwell in the sky!
Now it was ordered to be so when the warm season warmed the earth
And that it should be fulfilled them and that your descendants should see the return of things.
Now again the smoke arises
And the people speak through it to you,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
Now we implore you that it may so occur again when the earth warms,
That your desires may be fulfilled and that your descendants may again see your creations.
Now again the smoke arises
And the people speak through it to you,
Oh you who dwell in the sky
Yet were born of Earth!

Now our sustenance you thought should be placed beside us,
And that men-beings should labor for their living.
These plans are all in progress
All see from whence their living comes.
Now we implore you that when the earth warms again that sustaining food may grow.
This we ask by the power of the incense tobacco,
Oh inhale it and listen to us,
Oh you, our great ancestor,
You who dwell in the sky!

You thought that there should be veins and that there should be fountains of water;
Now this thought is made a fact and is occurring
So we ask that this shall continue.
Now again the smoke arises
To you the father of all men-beings,
To you who dwell in the sky!

Now you thought that there should be living creatures,
Inhabiting the waters, useful to the people.

Now your thoughts have happened and we implore you that it may not be withdrawn,
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
But may continue as long as earth endures.

So now another.
You did think that there should be world
And that bushes should grow upon it for a help to the people,
That the bushes should yield various fruits for the benefit of men-beings,
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky,
May this continue as long as earth endures!

Now again the smoke arises,
Oh inhale the incense and continue to listen
Oh you who were born of Earth
Oh you who dwell in the sky!

So now another.
Now you did think that there should be forests upon the earth
And that they might be a help to the people.
So now moreover you did think that there should be a certain tree
That should yield sweet water from its trunk.
Now that tree is the Maple and it is faithful to its design
May this continue to be,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!

Now again the smoke arises,
And the people pray that this may still continue when the earth becomes warm again!
So now this thing is done.
Our words are as straight as we could make them.
Only this can we do for we are all young
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
So now this one thing ends.

So now another.
You have created wild animals that roam in the forests,
You did think that they would be a pleasure to men-beings

Who should remember and say, "We are his descendants."
Now may they continue so to be,
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!

So now another.
The people are speaking;
They are continuing from the commencement of creation
Discussing those things that you didst think would be a benefit to men-beings,
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!

Now the birds that inhabit the air,
Birds from the low world to the great birds,
Birds that float above the clouds.
All these you did think would be a benefit to mankind.
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
Now we ask that this thought should be forever
Even as long as earth endures.

Now again the smoke arises,
Continue to listen as you inhale this incense,
For we are discussing the things of your creation
That you did think should be a benefit to mankind,
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
Now you did think that there should be a world and that it should become cold,
At a recurring season become cold again.
Now we implore thee that it should not be too great a cold
And likewise when the earth becomes warm again,
That the heat should be moderate and comfortable.
Now again the smoke arises
To you who were born of Earth,
To you who dwell in the sky!

So now another.
Continue to listen!
You did think that there should be a wind
And that it should be a help to the world.

Now the wind is here.
And the people pray that it may continue to be so as long as earth endures.

Now again the smoke arises
To you who were born of Earth,
To you who dwell in the sky!
Now they came from the west. Ti'so:t we call them,
Our great grandfathers the Thunderers;
You did make them our relatives.
They were placed in a high position
That they might care for the earth
And feed the waters that flow over the world and purify them,
And freshen all things that grow.
A certain season was appointed for their activity
The season when the earth commences to become warm again.
Now again the smoke arises,
It lifts our words to you,
Oh inhale the incense and continue to listen,
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
Now the whole world prays that you will listen,
May all these things continue as long as earth endures,
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!

So now again another.
You did think that there should be a sky
And that within it should be something to illuminate the world,
Ênde:'ka gää`'kwa, our great brother, the mighty warrior, the Sun,
And that so it should be called so.
He has a high position that shall last as long as earth endures.
Now again the smoke arises and so smoke tobacco as you listen,
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
Now the people of all earth with one voice implore you
That your plan may be carried out and continue as long as earth endures,
So do your descendants pray.

So now another. It is of Soi'ka: gää`'kwa, our grandmother, the Moon in the sky. You did make her a sign for reckoning the years of children. Now she has fulfilled the design of her creation so far. Now again the smoke arises. Inhale the incense as you continue to listen, Oh you who were born of Earth, Oh you who dwell in the sky! Through the smoke we pray that this may be so as long as earth endures, So pray your descendants, Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
So have they said,
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!

Now you did think that there should be a sky And that spots should be in the sky For signs unto the people. So did you design this to be so as long as the earth endures. And the people implore thee that this may continue to be as long as the earth endures. Now again the smoke arises,
And through it the people speak.
Oh inhale as you continue to listen,
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
Now you did design all that which should occur in the world,
And planned the four sacred ceremonies
That should be perpetuated forever
And celebrated by the people each year.
Be celebrated by these who call themselves your descendants,
That there should be head ones and their assistants
To perpetuate the four ceremonies.
Now as many men-beings as remain on earth are here,
Gathered about this pole.
Now then you have seen that we commenced at the new part of day.
Now you shall know that you are invited to listen to thanking songs this day!

[The head chief yells Yokadi!, Gowagannie!
The people answer wo? wo? wo?!]

Now tomorrow morning you must consider yourself invited to the Great Feather Dance!

[Cries by the head chief Hioh, hiu, hiu, hiu!
The People answer Io? io? io? io? io?!]

Two parts will be celebrated, the Great Feather Dance and the Harvest Thanksgiving.

[Cries by the head chief; Ganio ganio ganio!
Answers by the people Ho-ni ho-ni!]

These two ceremonies will be in progress tomorrow,
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky
And the next day you are: invited to the sacred game.

[Cries by the head chief, Ba-a?! ba-a?! ba-a?! ba-a?! ba-a?!
Answers by the people, Hoie! hoie! hoie! hoie!]

Now again the smoke arises
The incense of the sacred tobacco,
To you who were born of Earth,
Yet dwell in the sky
Only this can we do
To fulfil the law.
All the things of your creation that you have made visible to us
We thank you for and for all the things that you have created.
In the manner that you did think, we have thanked you,
From low earth upward to the great sky where you are living.
With all their strength the people thank you and you have seen it,
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
So now it is done.
Now you did think that you would appoint four messengers whose work should be to watch over earth
And the people that dwell in the world
To keep them all from harm,
For men-beings are your children.
Now do I say, the voices of the people combine as one
To thank you.
We have done as best we can in giving thanks to the four messengers.
Now again-the smoke arises,
And we speak through its incense.
Inhale the smoke as you do listen.
Oh the great Handsome Lake!

We believe that he is happy in the place that you have prepared for him.
Moreover we thank him.
Oh you who were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
Now only this can we do.
You thought that it should be this way,
Oh you that were born of Earth,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
Now we thank you, the Creator of the World.
Here are gathered so many people as remain,
Few head men remain.
Only this can we do,
And they say how the people should act.
Of the head men and their cousins only so many are left
[But they with] the men and the women
The children that run and the children that creep
As one man-being offer you thanks.
They are your descendants,
Oh you who dwell in the sky!
Now you did think that we should offer you tobacco when we addressed you.
And we have fulfilled your request and used tobacco.
We leave our words with you until the next great thanksgiving,
Until then may the people continue in health.
Now the smoke arises!
Oh inhale as you do listen!
Only this can we do
For all the words are spoken
To you, our great ancestor,
Oh you who dwell in the sky.
Oh you who were born of Earth!


97(86:1). Recorded February 1906, at Cattaraugus reservation.
The Code of Handsome Lake

Ne Ganeowo

One of the Four Sacred Ceremonies of the Seneca 98
98. recorded

The Ga:ne:'onwon is a ceremonial thanksgiving in which two preachers," standing on either side of a long bench around which a company of religious dancers have arranged themselves, alternately intone sections of the Ga:ne:'onwon ritual. At the end of each section the speaker starts a chant which is taken up by the singers who sit on the benches. A drummer keeps time by beating a water drum and the dancers gracefully circle around the benches. The direction of this dance, as all Iroquois dances, is counterclockwise. When the chant and dance have continued a period deemed sufficient by the opposite speaker, he halts the singing and dancing by the exclamation "Gwi?'yâ?!" and then commences his intonation.

The writer had recorded the entire Ga:ne:'onwon ritual, speeches and songs, on a set of phonograph records, especially for preservation by the New York State Education Department. Unfortunately these perished in the Capitol fire of March 29, 1911. About 100 other ceremonial records on wax cylinders were also destroyed at that time.

[Preliminary] Translation Of The Ganeowo Ritual Of The Seneca

I Gwi?'yâ?!
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
This day [there] is occurring what the Creator has made pleasing for his own self.
We are thankful that what he has made for himself is accomplished.
[Singing and dancing].

II Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
The Creator thought that there should be men-beings,
And he thought that there should be chiefs to regulate the actions of these men-beings.
So now we thank him that what he thought has come to pass!
[Singing and dancing are resumed].

III Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
Now he thought that there should be two sexes,
That one should be the female
That children might grow from her.
We thank the women that they are doing their duty in fulfilling the design of their creation.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

IV Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that there should be a difference in the length of lives,
And that children should run about and some creep.
So this is what he has done.
We are thankful that this is fulfilled.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

V Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that certain ones should be the leaders of the people,
The same for both male and female, to preserve the four ceremonies.
So we thank these head ones that they are dutiful to the calling of their Creator.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

VI Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that there should be a world and that people should be upon the world,
That they should draw their sustenance from the world.
So we thank the Creator that what he thought has come to pass.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

VII Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that there should be things in the world for sustenance
And that people should labor for their sustenance.
Now we petition the Creator that we may again see the season of things growing from which our living is.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

VIII Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that there should be herbs of different kinds
And that these should grow when the earth is warm
And that these herbs should be a help to the people when medicine was needed.

So we thank the Creator that what he thought is now occurring.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

IX Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that there should be two different varieties of trees and that one should yield fruit.
Now the first fruit of the year is the strawberry
And he thought that when the strawberries are ripe his creatures should thank him,
Thank him in a great feast and dance ceremony.
Now I ask that the time of strawberries may return again.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

X Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage offers thanks!
He thought that there should be trees for a help to the people of earth.
So now we thank the Creator because what he thought is fulfilled and is a help to the people.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

XI Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage offers thanks!
He thought that there should be a certain tree to bear fruit.
So we are thankful that all things are that he has ordained
And shall be as long as the world endures.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

XII Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that there should be forests upon the earth
That these should be a help to the people of earth.
So we thank the Creator that what he thought has come to pass.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

XIII Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that there should be a certain tree

From which sweet waters should flow when the earth warmed.
That this tree should be the maple and that men-beings should tap it,
And that this should be a help to the people.
So we thank the Creator that what he thought is occurring.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

XIV Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the entire assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that there should be a certain tree to yield nuts,
So we are thankful that what he thought is so.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

XV Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that he would create wild beasts
And that men-beings should derive benefits from them.
So we thank the Creator that they are [yet] for our help.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

XVI Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that there should be certain ones who should be his servants,
And that they should come from the west and care for the world,
That they should cause the earth to become wet
Thereby feeding the springs and waters that flow
Moreover that they should be called Hadiwênnoda'die:`s, the Thunderers.
So we thank the Creator that they have always fulfilled the purpose of their creation.
Now we put everything together and say
We are thankful that all things are doing that for which they were created.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

XVII Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that there should be a sky over head;
He thought that there should be stars in that sky

That the men-beings that he put upon the earth might be guided thereby;
That certain stars should guide the people,
So we thank the Creator that what he thought is so.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

XVIII Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
Now he thought that there should be a certain one in the sky.
And that he should give light a certain period of time
And that they should call him "our brother, ênde:'ka gä'äkwa',"
Now, as we are all gathered together, we thank the sun that he is eternally dutiful.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

XIX Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that there should be another in the heavens
Who should reveal itself when the sun went under
And that people should call it âkso:'o:t, our grandmother, Soi'ka:gä'äkwa.
Now, as we are all gathered together, we thank the moon that she is eternally dutiful.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

XX Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that there must be a certain one who should reveal what he thought.
He thought that he should lay the Gai'wiio` before the people,
So he revealed the Gai'wiio` to Ganio`dai'io`
And he did his duty as the Creator had ordained,
He preached and taught until he died.
So we all render our thanks for he has done his duty
For we now follow in the way he taught
And we will remember forever.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

XXI Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!

He thought that he should have four beings for his messengers
Who should watch over the people of earth and that on their strength their living should be.
Now we thank the four messengers that they are faithful to the design of their creation.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

XXII Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].
Now the whole assemblage is offering thanks!
He thought that the people should commence with the lower earth to thank him
For all that he had created and should offer thanks for things from below up to himself in the high world.
We therefore, gathered together in this assemblage, thank our Creator,
Yea all of his creatures who are living in this world.
[Singing and dancing resumed].

XXIII Gwi?'yâ?! [Singing and dancing stop].

Now all the people offer thanks!
He thought that there should be certain persons to sing for the dances he had made.
Now you who have sung and are singing, we thank you.
[Singing and dancing resumed].
[Speaker exhorts all the people to join in the dance].


98(94:1). Ne?' Ga:ne:'onwon, recorded and translated at Newtown, Cattaraugus reservation, January 1906.
The Code of Handsome Lake

Outlines of the Cornplanting and the Maple Thanksgivings

An Outline Program of Waano`'Naogwa:`'Ciot, the Corn-Planting Ceremony

1 Opening address by a chief

2 A Thanksgiving speech

3 Ne?'äskä'nie?, the women's dance

4 Ne?'ga?da:'ciot, the jubilee dance

5 Ne?'gusshêdon'dada', the jug shaking dance

6 Ne?'äskän'i:e?, the women's dance

7 Ne?'yiêndonêsshontâ?, the old women's song

8 Ne?'äskä'ni:e?, the women's dance

9 Ne?'gaianon'gayonka

10 Ne?'osto:'wägo'wa, the great feather dance

11 Closing address

12 Distribution of the feast

The object of the Cornplanting ceremony is to secure divine favor and help in the spring planting. Everyone is invoked to till the ground and earn the bread they eat. The ceremony lasts about four or five hours.

The Maple Festival

A council is called to set the time for this festival which has no exact day but varies according to the weather. However, it takes place soon after the sap commences to run. Its object is to thank all trees for their services to man and invoke their protection and good will for the coming year.

Outline program

I The address to the maple tree. A fire is built at the foot of a large maple tree. The people gather around and a special officer advances with a basket of tobacco which he sprinkles on the fire as he recites the address to the maple:

Ne? nênga:' gägwa:'ani saiwisa'ane gäni'sê swên'iio'
Seane ganigä'o ne?'niganigai?isek
One?' dîq' oyän'kwa (owe) soi'yê?
Negihedahadondi gaiyetionoshäs henizaiwissahon?
Onen?' dîq' kejedai` soñgwa:ni, etc.
The prayer at the maple festival
Wa?'da Tadinion'nio?o`
Maple Thanksgiving
Êanwaiyîgwa`showine`' ode:ha'donni. Ne?'wainnondoi'shoñk
Oh partake of this tobacco the forests. This we petition
nega'dogä nayût'däon näêtgonê'igais näwâ?'dâ
may you continue -the production of sweet water Oh maple
Hawe'on Nawênniio` êngäondadegaon êngani'gaikse:k
The will of the Creator that a certain tree water flows from
Ne?'nêngä? êngä'oñk hadieo`'shä deodonon ne?' he:hadidûk'ke:nondie:s hadiksa:'shon'o? gahadêgonnshon
This it may not accidents occur the running about the children in the woods.
Ne?' nengä?' wânîshäde` i:s' êsswai'ya?dagwäni'yothet nêngä?' wânîshäde`.
Now this day you it belongs to you to enjoy this day.
Djasayawa'godûk Hawên'iio` cia?'dade: gäoya`ge:'tciojo`'.
We give thanks oh God to you the dweller of the heavens.
Agwai'wayiis ne?'gaiyiwanda'kho.
We have done it what devolved upon us.
Osût'ga:t?ho djogwûtgwe:nio`.
You have seen what we have done.
So, it is.
The address to the maple, the chief of trees and the prayer to the Creator
A Seneca ceremony

The priest stands at the roots of a maple. A fire is burning and the priest casts tobacco in the fire and as its smoke arises he says:

To the tree:

O partake of this incense,
You the forests!
We implore you
To continue as before,
The flowing waters of the maple.

To the Creator and the tree:

It is the will of the Creator
That a certain tree
Should flow such water.
Now may no accidents occur
To children roaming in the forests.
Now this day is yours
May you enjoy it this day.

To the Creator:

We give thanks, oh God, to you,
You who dwell in heaven.
We have done our duty
You have seen us do it.
So it is done."

Special Annual Ceremonies

I Dä'nondinônnio`' Êde:`kwa gää'kwa`, the Sun Dance.

II Dä'nondinônnio`' Soi'ka gää'kwa`, the Moon Dance.

III Wasaze, 99 the Thunder Dance.

99. origin


1 Dä'nondinônnio`' Êde:`kwa gää'kwa`, the Sun dance, is designed to honor the sun.

2 This ceremony has no certain time for its celebration but may be called by anyone, at any time, who dreams it necessary for the welfare of the settlement.

3 The ceremony begins at noon when arrows are shot up toward the sun while the populace shout their war cries.

4 A fire is built outside and tobacco is thrown by a priest who chants the sun-rite.

5 Three times during this ceremony a shower of arrows are shot up to the sun accompanied by a chorus of cries, intended to notify him that they are addressing him.

6 Immediately afterward the Osto'wägowa is engaged in as the only fitting dance to perform before the mighty Sun.


1 Dä'nondinônnio`' Soi'ka gää'kwa`, the Moon Dance ceremony, is convened by anyone who dreams it necessary or by the advice of a clairvoyant.

2 A thanksgiving speech is recited by a chief while he burns the tobacco offering to the moon.

3 As the peach stone gambling game is thought especially pleasing to the moon, the company gambles away the evening.

4 The distribution of the feast terminates the ceremony.


1 Wasaze, the Thunder Dance, is one designed to please the spirit of Thunder, Hi?'non.

2 A council is called when the first thunder of the year is heard and a time as immediate as possible set for the Wasaze.

3 The dancers assemble without the council house, an opening address is made by a priest or chief and the dance immediately starts.

4 The line of dancers dance into the long house.

5 Hi?'non is supposed to delight in war songs and these are sung to please him.

6 Tobacco is burned and a thanksgiving speech made to Hi?'non, for his services in the past and he is prayed to continue his favors.


99(103:1). meaning, Dakota, or Sioux.
The Code of Handsome Lake

Legend of the Coming of Death 100

100. Story-teller

When the world was first made, men-beings did not know that they must die some time. In those days everyone was happy and neither men, women nor children were afraid of anything. They did not think of anything but doing what pleased them. At one time, in those days, a prominent man was found on the grass. He was limp and had no breath. He did not breathe. The men-beings that saw him did not know what had happened. The man was not asleep because he did not awaken. When they placed him on his feet he fell like a tanned skin. He was limp. They tried many days to make him stand but he would not. After a number of days he became offensive.

A female man-being said that the man must be wrapped up and put in the limbs of a tree. So the men did so and after a while the flesh dropped from the bones and some dried on. No one knew what had happened to cause such a thing.

Soon afterward a child was found in the same condition. It had no breath. It could not stand. It was not asleep, so they said. The men-beings thought it was strange that a girl man-being, should act this wise. So she was laid in a tree. Now many others did these things and no one knew why. No one thought that he himself would do such a thing.

There was one wise man who thought much about these things and he had a dream. When be slept the Good Minded spirit came to him and spoke. He slept a long time but the other men-beings noticed that he breathed slowly. He breathed [nevertheless]. Now after a time this man rose up and his face was very solemn. He called the people together in a council and addressed the people. The head men all sat around with the people.

The wise man spoke and he said, "The Good Minded spirit made every good thing and prepared the earth for men-beings. Now it appears that strange events have happened. A good word has come to me from the Good Minded spirit. He says that every person must do as you have seen the other persons do. They have died. They do not breathe. It will be the same with all of you. Your minds are strong. The Good Minded spirit made them that way so that you could endure everything that happened. So then do not be downcast when I tell you that you all must die. Listen

further to what I say. The name of the one that steals away your breath is S`hondowêk'owa. He has no face and does not see any one. You can not see him until he grasps you. He comes sometimes for a visit and sometimes he stays with us until many are dead. Sometimes he takes away the best men and women and passes by the lesser ones. I was not told why he does this thing. He wants to destroy every person. He will continue to work forever. Every one who hears me and every one not yet born will die. There is more about you than living. Any moment you may be snatched by S`hondowêk'owa, he who works in the thick darkness.

You must now divide yourselves into nine bands, five to sit on one side of the fire and four on the other and these bands shall care for its members. You must seek out all good things and instruct one another, and those who do good things will see when they die the place where the Maker of all things lives."


100(105:1). Related by Edward Cornplanter, March 1906.
The Code of Handsome Lake

The Funeral Address 101

Awe:yondo? Gawen'notgä'o

101. chief

Now all hearken to what must be said!

We are gathered here because of what our Creator has done. He made it so that people should live only a certain length of time--none to be more favored than another.

Now our uncles made provisions for this event, and our grandfathers and the chiefs when they first thought of this thing [death] in those days. They had never seen death [before]. Their first knowledge came when they saw a person in an assembly die. [Strangely] no one was surprised. Soon afterwards they saw another death in the manner of the first. Soon again another died. Then did the chiefs consider the matter, saying, "We were not born to live forever." Then did the people see that they were not to live forever but only for a certain period of time. Therefore, they made certain rules. Then did they divide the people into clans, kashadenioh. Then did they divide the clans into two divisions. Now when a death occurred the other division [phratry] was to officiate at the funeral. The side that lost one of its members must quietly mourn and say nothing. The cousins must do the speaking. They must speak telling the mourners what they must think. So now first they should say, "Keep your minds up."

The preacher then turns to the mourners and addresses them as follows:

There are many of your own relations yet remaining, there are old folk and there are children.. So let these lift up your minds. Moreover here is the earth upon which we tread, everything upon it is for our comfort. There is water, springs of water and streams of water flowing over the earth. There are different plants and trees. All of these our Creator has given us. So let this lift up your minds.

So now then another.

There is the sky above our heads. There are many things there. In the forms of the stars are signs to guide us. The sun gives us light. The moon gives us light. She is our grandmother., The sun is our brother. All these are performing that for which they were created. So let this lift up your minds.

So now then another.

It is the Gai'wiio`, the good word of our Creator. Our Creator thought that the people should hear what was in his mind. So he sent word down to the earth. He thought that the people should know what his words were. Now this should lift up your minds.

So now then another.

It is the four geniewage [ceremonies]. Now this should lift up your minds.

[If the dead person is a chief the preacher here ceases to give the chief on the mourning side an opportunity to reply. The reply is as follows]:

Cousin! I have heard all that you have laid before us--how we should keep our minds. We have commenced from the beginning of the world when the Creator made us. We have thought of the water, the springs and the streams of water. We have thought of the sky and everything therein, the sun and the moon, the words of our Creator and the four ceremonies. These things you have pointed out, Oh Cousin! These things will lift up our minds. Now, Cousin, you should know that we accept all that you have said. We can not say that we do not accept what you have said. Now we put all of your words together; we accept them all. So is the reply.

[The preacher then arises and continues]

So now again listen, all of you!

Now let every one listen.

[The preacher makes an extemporaneous speech in which he addresses the entire assembly. Afterward he selects passages from the Gai'wiio` among which the following is always repeated]

So now another message.

Now it is said that your people must change certain customs. It has been the custom to mourn at each recurring anniversary of the death of a friend or relative. It is said that while you are on earth you do not realize the harm that this works upon the departed.

[Now moreover, it is said that when an infant is born upon the earth with which the parents are dissatisfied it knows and says, "I will return to my home above the earth."]

Now it is said that grief adds to the sorrows of the dead. It is said that it is not possible to grieve always. Ten days shall be the time for mourning and when our friends depart we must lay grief aside. When you, the beings of the earth, lose one of your number you must bury your grief in their grave. Some will die today and some tomorrow, for all our days are numbered. So hereafter do

not grieve. Now it is said that when the ten days have elapsed to prepare a feast and the soul of the dead will return and partake of it with you. It is said moreover that you can journey with the dead only as far as the grave. It is said that when you follow a body to the grave you must have prepared for that journey as if to travel afar. Put on your finest clothing for every human creature is on its journey graveward. It is said that the bodies of the dead have intelligence and know what transpires about them. It is true.

So they said and he said. Eniaiehuk. (Section 67 of the Gai'wiio`.)

[The preacher then announces certain decisions of "the dead side" and then continues with the established funeral rite, as follows]:

When the body of the dead is buried we must become resigned to our loss. It can not be helped.

[The preacher speaks to the fathers]

Now do you also do the same as the dead side and become resigned to your sorrow?

[The preacher addresses the relatives afar off]

And now you afar off who are the relatives of the dead, do you become resigned also when you hear of the loss?

The things of the past shall continue. It [death] should not hamper or stop any ordination of the Creator. Let not a death stop an event in course of progress. Let us fulfil the law of mourning for a ten-day period and have the feast at the end. We believe that the dead will return at the end of ten days. Now the Creator said, "The customs ordained by the early chiefs [regarding mourning] are right. They had no knowledge of what would happen in the future when they made the customs but the Creator spoke to Ganio`dai'io and said, 'True and good is the ceremony of your grandfathers for the time of mourning and also the death feast.'"

[When the face of the dead is unwrapped for its friends to look upon for the last time the preacher says]:

Now let all journey to the grave with the body of the dead for it is as far as we can go.

[At the grave the preacher turns to the crowd and says]

So now we thank all those who have come to this funeral ceremony to help us. So it is done.

[The body is then covered with earth.]


101(107:1). Related by Skidmore Lay, Cattaraugus chief, March 1906.
The Code of Handsome Lake

The Death Feast


102. Storyteller

Now let all listen, all ye who are here assembled!

Cousins! We all are familiar with the happening of a few days ago. We are [therefore] here because of what the Creator has done.

Now the relatives have made arrangements. They have promised to obey the commands of the four messengers who said, "It is right to have a feast for the dead. Therefore this thing should be done."

Ten days have passed. Now the. relatives of the dead have made preparations and the feast is ready for the dead. Now let this be in your minds, all ye who are here present.

[The preacher here pauses. At his side sits the speaker for the mourners. In his charge is a bundle containing various gifts for those who have aided the bereaved family. The speaker has been told to whom the various presents are to go, and as the preacher pauses and bends down to receive the formal instructions he hands him the first gift. Sitting among the women mourners is a woman, the "mistress of the ceremonies," whose duty is to deliver the gifts to the intended recipients.

[After listening to the directions of the speaker the preacher resumes]:

So now the bereaved offer thanks. They thank the one who cared for the body of the dead and dressed it for burial. To that one they give this as a testimony. [The preacher names the article and the matron rising from her seat receives it and delivers it to the person named].

[The preacher again bends to the speaker at his side and receives the "second word." Again facing the audience he proceeds]:

So now of another they have thought. It is of the night watcher [or night watchers]. To this one [or to these ones], they give this roll of cloth [or skins]. And this is your thanks.

[The speaker hands the preacher the roll and he hands it to the matron who delivers it. Stooping and listening to the whispered instructions for the delivery of the next gift, the preacher after making sure that he understands straightens and again speaks]

Now to him who wrapped the body in its burial covering for made the coffin], the relatives offer thanks.

[The gift is bestowed as previously described.]

Now the matron who has managed the funeral receives a gift of thanks.

[This named person being the one who has first received and given the gifts now remains seated while the wife or sister of the preacher rises and receiving the gift bestows it. According to Iroquois etiquette it would be an improper thing for the matron to receive her own gift and bear it before the eyes of the crowd to her seat. The recipients are supposed not to be eager to receive the gifts, the things that once belonged to the dead. Besides according to Iroquois philosophy one can not give one's self a thing.]

Now she who notified the people--the relatives desire to give thanks and offer this gift.

Now those who dug the grave--to you the relatives give thanks and offer gifts.

And now you the good friends and relatives, of what is remaining receive you this gift. [The preacher names each person for whom a gift is intended, repeating the formula given. If property of considerable value as live stock or lands is left, the speaker for the mourners in behalf of the council of heirs tells the preacher their decisions and they are announced before the audience. The modern "death feast law" provides that in the event of a man's death his property must go to his children. If he is without issue, then it reverts to his wife. If he was unmarried it was given to the nearest of kin. The law further provides that the property must be divided and apportioned at the "death feast." By the old law the nearest of kin on the clan (maternal) side received the property. Children did not ordinarily inherit their father's property, but their mother's. Their "mother's husband's" belongings went to the kin of the clan to which he belonged.]

[If the dead were an officer of any kind, the preacher announced who was to take his or her place. In order that this election be valid the person chosen must stand, if possible, in the very spot where the dead person expired.]

Now I have finished speaking for the relatives.

Now listen to another matter, all ye who are here present.

Now at this time let the [mourning] relatives cease their grieving. Now may they go and do whatsoever they wish. They are the same as ever and may speak as they please again. Now can they

be notified of things to be done. They have now the right to engage in any current happening. No longer think their hands must be held back. If it is possible to do, now do, for the time of mourning has passed.

So now we have done our part for you, cousins. So I have done.

[The preacher resumes his seat.]

[The speaker for the mourning side arises and addresses the officiating side]:

Now listen cousins!

We have heard all that you have said and [know that] you have done your part. We believe that you have done your part. You must hold in your minds that we thank you for what you have done for us. Now I give you this [the object is named] for your trouble.

[Although the speaker is standing at the side of the preacher, the latter can not receive the gift direct, but the matron rising from her seat takes the offering and holds it out to him. Even then he does not take it but points to his wife or mother, indicating that it is to be placed in her keeping.]

[The speaker continues]:

Now we must ask your pardon for giving so small a gift; it is small and your services have been great.

Now we relieve you of your duties, the duties for which we bound you. Now you are relieved.

[The preacher rises and says]:

Now all listen to a few more words that I shall say!

Let all the people here gathered keep silent. Now is the time for the distribution of the feast. It will now be distributed, for it has been prepared and we must eat. Now let they who did the cooking distribute. Let all tarry until the feast is finished. Let hard feelings affect no one and let the matrons divide equally and overlook none. So it is finished.


102(110:1). Related by Edward Cornplanter, March 1906.
The Code of Handsome Lake

Secret Medicine Societies of the Seneca 103

103. Adaptation

During the last six years the writer has made a detailed field study of the various phases of Iroquois culture, special attention being directed to the rites and ceremonies of the semisecret orders and societies that yet survive among the so-called pagan Iroquois. It was only after diligent inquiry that the actual existence of these societies was clearly established. The False Face Company and the Secret Medicine Society, better termed The Little Water Company, have been known to ethnologists for some time, but no one has adequately described them or has seemed fully aware of their significance. Likewise certain dances, such as the Bird, the Bear, the Buffalo, the Dark, and the Death dances, have been mentioned. Ceremonies also, such as the Otter ceremony and the Woman's song, have been listed, but that back of all these ceremonies there was a society never seems to have occurred to anyone. The Indians do not volunteer information, and when some, rite is mentioned they usually call it a dance. Through this subterfuge the existence of these societies has long been concealed, not only from white investigators but from Christian Indians as well, the latter usually professing ignorance of the "pagan practices" of their unprogressive brothers.

Even so close an observer as Lewis H. Morgan says: "The Senecas have lost their Medicine Lodges, which fell out in modern times; but they formerly existed and formed an important part of their religious system. To hold a Medicine Lodge was to observe their highest religious mysteries. They had two such organizations, one for each phratry, which shows still further the natural connection of the phratry and the religious observances. Very little is now known concerning these lodges or their ceremonies. Each was a brotherhood into which new members were admitted by formal initiation." 104

104. Editor

Morgan's experience is that of most observers, close as their observation may be. The writer, with the assistance of his wife, however, living with the "pagans" and entering fully into their rites, discovered that the "medicine lodges," so far from having become extinct, are still active organizations, exercising a great

amount of influence not only over the pagans but also over the nominal Christians.

It was found that the organization and rites of the societies might best be studied among the Seneca, who have preserved their rituals with great fidelity. The Onondaga, although keeping up the form of some, have lost many of the ancient features and look to the Seneca for the correct forms.

The teachings of Ganio`dai'io`, Handsome Lake, the Seneca prophet, revolutionized the religious life of the Iroquois to a large extent, its greatest immediate effect being on the Seneca and Onondaga. Later it greatly influenced the Canadian Iroquois, excepting perhaps the Mohawk about the St Lawrence. Handsome Lake sought to destroy the ancient folk-ways of the people and to substitute a new system, built of course upon the framework of the old. Finding that he made little headway in his teachings, be sought to destroy the societies and orders that conserved the older religious rites, by proclaiming a revelation from the Creator. The divine decree was a command that all the animal societies hold a final meeting at a certain time, throw tobacco in the ceremonial fires, and dissolve. The heavenly reason for this order, Handsome Lake explained, was that men were acquainted with the effects of their familiarity with the spirits of the animals, which, although they might bring fortune and healing to the members of the animal's order, might work terrible harm to men and to other animals.

The chiefs who were friendly to the prophet and others who were frightened by his threats met in counsel and proclaimed that all the animal and mystery societies should immediately dissolve, and, by their order, were dissolved and disbanded. This they did without holding a hayänt'wûtgûs, tobacco-throwing ceremony, as directed. The members of the societies, therefore, declared that the order of the council was illegal and not binding, that the sin of disobedience was upon the chiefs and not upon the body of members. The societies consequently continued their rites, although they found it expedient to do so secretly, for they were branded as witches and wizards, 105 and the members of one society at least were executed as sorcerers when they were found practising their arts.

105. Witches

The existence of the societies became doubly veiled. The zealous proselytes of the New Religion denied their legality and even their existence, and the adherents of the old system did not care to

express themselves too strongly in the matter of proclaiming their sacred orders still very much alive. The rites of the societies were performed in secret places for a number of years after the advent of the prophet, but as the adherents of the New Religion became more conservative, the societies again gradually entered into public ceremonies held in the council houses on thanksgiving occasions. At such times some of them gave public exhibitions of their rites; others had no public ceremonies whatsoever. With the gradual acceptance of the New Religion by the great majority of the people, the older religious belief was blended into the new. The Iroquois regard it as their Old Testament. The tabooed societies became bolder in their operations, and the new religionists entered their folds with few if any qualms.

It was about this time that their policy seems to have changed, for after some inquiry the writer can find no restriction placed on membership by reason of phratry or clanship. Candidates might join any society regardless of clan except the society of Men-who-assist-the-women's-ceremonies, which is not a secret organization. This society consists of two divisions, the membership of a division being determined by phratry. It is purely a benevolent society, however, and has nothing to do with "medicine." The various societies of all kinds had, and still have, individual lodges, each of which is nominally independent of any jurisdiction save that of its own officers, The leaders, however, confer and keep their rites uniform. At present, especially in the Little Water Company, it is not even necessary for the song-holder, the chief officer, to be a pagan. This company is the only one which can boast of any great Christian membership or of a lodge composed entirely of nominal Christians. This lodge is the Pleasant Valley Lodge of the Little Water Company on the Cattaraugus reservation. Mrs Harriet Maxwell Converse joined this lodge in 1892, afterward joining the pagan lodge at Newtown.

A careful study of the Iroquois societies will lead to the conclusion that most of the societies are of ancient origin and that their rituals have been transmitted with little change for many years. Indeed, that under the circumstances any changes should have been made would be stranger than that none had occurred at all. Most of the rituals are chanted in unison by the entire company of members, and any change in note, syllable, or word would immediately be detected. Rites transmitted by song are more difficult to change than simple recitals where musical rhythm is not correlated with the

word. Some of the rituals, moreover, contain archaic words and expressions, and even entire sentences are not understood by the singers.

Each society has a legend by which its origin and peculiar rites are explained. Most of these legends portray the founder of the society as a lost hunter, an outcast orphan, or a venturesome youth curious to know what was farther on. The founder got into strange complications, saw strange or familiar animals engaged in their rites, was discovered, forgiven, adopted, kept a captive, and finally, after long study and many warnings, was sent back to his people to teach them the secrets of the animals and how their favor could be obtained. The secrets were to be preserved by the society which the hero was to found. 106 There are some variations of this abstract, but it covers the general features of most of the legends.

106. Anthropology

The study of the societies was commenced by the writer in 1902, and during the years 1905-6 an almost uninterrupted study was made for the New York State Education Department, and the results deposited in the State Library. Since that time the research has been continued for the New York State Museum. Paraphernalia have been collected, phonograph records have been made of many of the songs and ceremonial speeches, texts have been recorded and translated, legends have been gathered, and some music has already been transcribed. There still remains an enormous amount of work to be done, and it is greatly to be regretted that a multiplicity of duties bars the way for as speedy progress in this work as might be desirable, especially since many of the informants are old people and in ill health.

A brief outline of the various societies is presented in this paper. It is impossible for the sake of brevity to present a fair compend or even a systematic outline. The main features of the less known organizations and some neglected facts of the few that are better known are mentioned, it being hoped that even such statements may be useful to students of ethnology. The list follows. 107

107. Accreditation


103(113:1). Adapted from the author's article in American Anthropologist, 2:2, April-June, 1909.
104(113:2). Morgan, Ancient Society, p. 97, ed. 1907.
105(114:1). The modern Iroquois call all sorcerers and conjurers, regardless of sex, "witches." They never use the masculine form.
106(116:1). Myths and Legends of the Iroquois, N. Y. State Mus. Bul. 125, p. 176.
107(116:2). A description of some of these societies was prepared for incorporation in the Fifth Annual Report of the Director of the State Museum, 1909.

Niganêga' A` Oä` No?, or Ne`' Hono?'Tcino?'Gä. The Little Water Company

This society is perhaps the best organized of all the Seneca folk-societies. It holds four meetings each year, but only on three occasions is the night song, Ganoda, chanted. To describe adequately

the rites of this society would require a small volume. For the purposes of this paper, since the society has been described at greater length elsewhere, only a few notes can be given.

The company is organized to perform the rites thought necessary to preserve the potency of the "secret medicine," niganêga?'a`, known as the "little-water powder." The meetings, moreover, are social gatherings of the members in which they can renew friendship and smoke away mutual wrongs, if any have been committed. It is contrary to the rules to admit members having a quarrel unless they are willing to forgive and forget. Both men and women are members. Its officers, in order of their importance, are: the song-holder, the chief matron, the watcher of the medicine, the feast-makers, invoker, flute-holder, and announcers and sentinels. There are two altars, the Altar of the Fire and the Altar of the Mystery. The ritual consists of three sets of songs describing the various adventures of the founder, known as the Good Hunter. At the close of each section the feast-makers pass bowls of berry juice, giving each singer a draft from a ladle. In some lodges a pipe is passed. An intermission then follows, during which the members, men and women alike, smoke the native home-grown tobacco. The singing is accompanied by the shaking of gourd rattles, and each member shakes one while he sings. Only purified members are supposed to enter. Unclean men or women, even though members, are debarred. The society has no public ceremony and no dances. Only members are supposed to know the precise time and place of meeting. The songs must never be sung outside of the lodge-room, but special meetings are sometimes called for the purpose of instructing novices. The office of song-holder by the Cattaraugus Seneca is hereditary to the name O`dän'kot, Sunshine. The present song-holder of the Ganun'dase: lodge, the pagan lodge at Newtown, Cattaraugus reservation, is a youth who is learning the song, George Pierce, the former O`dän'kot, having recently died. Visitors may listen to the songs in an outer room, but are debarred from viewing the "mysteries." Each member, on entering, deposits his medicine packet on the Altar of the Mystery and places his contribution of tobacco in the corn-husk basket. The tobacco is thrown into the fire by the invoker as he chants his prayer to the Creator, the Thunder Spirit, and to the Great Darkness. The

flute-song is played during the second and third sections. At the close of the ceremony a pig's head is passed and pieces of the boiled meat are torn from the head with the teeth, the members cawing in imitation of crows. In early times a bear's head was eaten. The food is then distributed, and the meeting or "sitting" is concluded. The ceremony commences at about 11 o'clock p.m. and is adjourned at daybreak. The sun "must not see the rites." The business of the society is all conducted before the ceremony commences: reports of the officers are given and the treasurer's report read. The paraphernalia of this society consist of the medicine bundles, the flute, gourd rattles for each singer, the sacred tobacco basket and a bark dipper. The necessary furnishings are a table and a fireplace, these being the "altars," and a lamp. The "medicine" is not used in the ceremonies; it is simply "sung for." Its power is conserved for use by the medicine people in healing ceremonies. The singing of the ritual is conducted in total darkness, the lights being brought in only during the intermissions.

The Code of Handsome Lake

Pygmy Society, The Dark Dance Ceremony

The ritual of this society consists of 102 songs, divided into four sections, as follows: The first section, 15 songs; the second, 23 songs; the third, 30 songs, and the fourth, 34 songs. The order of the ceremony is somewhat like that of the Medicine Company. All the songs are sung in darkness. It is believed that the spirit members of the society come and join in the singing, and their voices are thought to be audible at times.

The water drum and the horn rattle are used in this ceremony for keeping time. There is a brief dance. The Dark ceremony is designed to appease certain spirits and to procure the good offices of others. Meetings are called at any time for the purpose of appeasing the spirits of certain charms that have become impotent or which may become so, or are called by members and even by nonmembers who are troubled by certain signs and sounds, such as the drumming of the water fairies or stone throwers, pygmies, who by their signs signify their desire for a ceremony. Nonmembers become members by asking for the services of the society. The rites are preeminently the religion of the "little folk" whose good will is sought by all Indians living under the influence of the Ongwe`'oñwe`ka', Indian belief. The Pygmies are thought to be "next to the people" in importance, and to be very powerful beings. They demand proper attention or they will inflict punishment upon those who neglect them. This society, however, "sings for" all the "medicine charms" and all the magic animals. These magic animals are members of the society, and in order of their importance are: Jongä'on, Elves or Pygmies; Jodi?'gwadon, the Great Horned Serpent; Shondowêk'owa, the Blue Panther, the herald of death; Dewûtiowa'is, the Exploding Wren. Other members, equal in rank, are: Diatdagwût', White Beaver; O`nowaot'gont, or Gane?'onttwût, the Corn-bug; Otnä'yont, Sharp-legs; O?wai'ta, Little Dry Hand; Dagwûn'noyaênt, Wind Spirit, and Nia?`gwahe:, Great Naked Bear.

These charm-members are called Ho'tcine'gada. The charms or parts of these members, which the human members keep and sing for, are: none of the first two, because they are very sacred and "use their minds" only for charms; panther's claw; feathers; white beaver's castor; corn-bug dried; bone of sharp-legs; dry hand; hair of the wind, and bones of Nia?'gwahê. Some of these charms bring evil to the owners, but must not be destroyed under any circumstance.

Their evil influence can be warded off only by the ceremonies. The owner or his family appoints someone to "hold the charm" after the first owner's death. Other charms are only for benevolent purposes, but become angry if neglected. Of the evil charms, the sharp bone may be mentioned; and of the good charms the exploding bird's feathers. Most of them are regarded, however, as ot'gont. The members of this society save their fingernail parings and throw them over cliffs for the Pygmies.

The ceremonies of the societies are always opened with a speech by the invoker. The following speech is that of the Pygmy Society, and in a general way is the pattern of nearly all opening invocations.

Yotdondak'o`, Opening Ceremony of the Pygmy Society
We now commence to thank our Creator.
Now we are thankful that we who have assembled here are well. We are thankful to the Creator for the world and all that is upon it for our benefit.
We thank the Sun and the Moon.
We thank the Creator that so far tonight we are all well.
Now I announce that A B is to be treated.
Now this one, C D, will throw tobacco in the fire.
Now these will lead the singing, E and F.
So I have said.
[The "tobacco thrower" advances to the fire and, Seating himself, takes a basket of Indian tobacco and speaks as follows:]
Now the-smoke rises!
Receive you this incense!
You who run in the darkness.
You know that this one has thought of you
And throws this tobacco for you.
Now you are able to cause sickness.
Now, when first you knew that men-beings were on earth, you said,
"They are our grandchildren."
You promised to be one of the forces for men-beings' help,
For thereby you would receive offerings of tobacco.
So now you get tobacco--you, the Pygmies. [Sprinkles tobacco on the fire.]
Now is the time when you have come;
You and the member have assembled here tonight.
Now again you receive tobacco--you, the Pygmies. [Throws tobacco. ]
You are the wanderers of the mountains;
You have promised to hear us whenever the drum sounds, Even as far away as a seven days' journey.
Now all of you receive tobacco. [Throws tobacco.] You well know the members of this society,
So let this 119 cease. You are the cause of a person, a member, becoming ill.
Henceforth give good fortune for she (or he) has fulfilled her duty and given you tobacco.
You love tobacco and we remember it; So also you should remember us. Now the drum receives tobacco, And the rattle also.
It is our belief that we have said all, So now we hope that you will help us.
Now these are the words spoken before you all, You who are gathered here tonight.
So now it is done.
119. Intention
119(121:1). The malific influence causing sickness.
The Code of Handsome Lake

Dawando`, The Society of Otters

This is a band of women organized to propitiate the otters and other water animals who are supposed to exercise an influence over the health, fortunes, and destinies of men. The otter, which is the chief of the small water animals, including the fish, is a powerful medicine-animal, and besides having his own special society is a member of the Ye:'dos, or I?'dos, and the Hono?'tcino?'gä`.

The Otters may appear at any public thanksgiving, as the Green Corn dance and the Midwinter ceremony. After a tobacco-throwing ceremony, hayänt'wûtgûs, the three women officers of the Dawan'do` each dip a bucket of the medicine-water from the spring or stream, dipping down with the current, and carry it to the council house where they sprinkle everyone they meet by dipping long wisps of corn husk in the water and shaking them at the people. If the women succeed in entering the council house and sprinkling everyone without hindrance, they go for more water and continue until stopped. The only way in which they may be forced to discontinue their sprinkling is for someone, just before she sprinkles him, to snatch the pail and throw the entire contents over her head.

The Otter woman will then say, "Hat?gaii:`, niawe:`!"--meaning, "Enough, I thank you!" She will then retire.

The Otters are especially active during the Midwinter ceremony, and when the water is thrown over their heads it very often freezes, but this is something only to be enjoyed. When possessed with the spirit of the otter, the women are said to be unaware of their actions, and sometimes, when they are particularly zealous, the whistle of the otter is heard. This greatly frightens the people, who regard it as a manifestation of the presence of the "great medicine otter." The women afterward deny having imitated the otter's call, saying that they were possessed of the otter and had no knowledge of what they did.

The Otter Society has no songs and no dances. Its members are organized simply to give thanks to the water animals and to retain their favor. When one is ungrateful to the water animals, as a wasteful fisherman, or a hunter who kills muskrats or beaver without asking permission or offering tobacco to their spirits, he becomes strangely ill, so it is believed. The Otters then go to a spring and conduct a ceremony, after which they enter the sick man's lodge and sprinkle him with spring water, hoping thereby to cure him.

The Code of Handsome Lake

I?Dos Oä'No`', Society of Mystic Animals

The I?'dos Company is a band of "medicine" people whose object is to preserve and perform the rites thought necessary to keep the continued good will of the "medicine" animals. According to the traditions of the company, these animals in ancient times entered into a league with them. The animals taught them the ceremonies necessary to please them, and said that, should these be faithfully performed, they would continue to be of service to mankind. They would cure disease, banish pain, displace the causes of disasters in nature, and overcome ill luck.

Every member of the company has an individual song to sing in the ceremonies, and thus the length of the ceremony depends on the number of the members. When a person enters the I?'dos, he is given a gourd rattle and a song. These he must keep with care, not forgetting the song or losing the rattle.

The head singers of the I?'dos are two men who chant the dance song. This chant relates the marvels that the medicine man is able to perform, and as they sing he proceeds to do as the song directs. He lifts a red-hot stone from the lodge fire and tosses it like a ball in his naked hands; he demonstrates that he can see through a

carved wooden mask having no eyeholes, by finding various things about the lodge; he causes a doll to appear as a living being, and mystifies the company in other ways. It is related that new members sometimes doubt the power of the mystery-man and laugh outright at some of the claims of which he boasts. In such a case he approaches the doll, and though his face be covered by a wooden mask, cuts the string that fastens its skirt. The skirt drops, exposing the legs of the doll. Then the doubting woman laughs, for everyone else is laughing, at the doll she supposes, but shortly she notices that everyone is looking at her, and to her utmost chagrin discovers that her own skirt-string has been cut and that she is covered only by her undergarments. Immediately she stops laughing and never afterward doubts the powers of the medicine-man, who, when he cut the doll's skirt-string by his magic power, cuts hers also.

The I?'dos is said to have been introduced among the Seneca by the Huron. The ritual, however, is in Seneca, though some of the words are not understood. The principal ceremonies are: (a) Gai`yowên'ogowa, The sharp point; (b) Gahadi'yagon, At the wood's edge; (c) Gai`'don, The great Gai`'don. Other ceremonies are: O`to?dongwa`', It is blazing; and Tci'gwawa, The other way around. During ceremonies b and c only individual members sing. The chief of the society is said to be a man who is able to see through a wooden mask which has no eye-openings. By his magic power he is able to discover hidden things previously concealed by the members, probably by some particular member. He discovers the ceremonial, no matter where hidden, and juggles with a hot stone drawn from the fire. When the ceremonies are finished the members feast on a pig's head. In early times a deer's head was used. As do the members of the Medicine Lodge upon such an occasion, the members tear the meat from the head with their teeth. The ceremonies of the society are now considered an efficacious treatment for fevers and skin diseases. The rites are supposed to be strictly secret.

The writer has transcribed the entire text of the I?'dos ritual in Seneca and has translated it. Three masks are used in the rites--the Conjuror's mask, the Witch mask, and the Dual-spirit's mask. These masks are never used in the rites of the False Face Company, and differ from them in that they have no metal eyes. A flashlight picture of a corner of the I?'dos lodge was made by the writer in January 1909, but the session of the lodge was not one of the "regular" ones.

The Code of Handsome Lake

Sha?dotge'a, The Eagle Society

The ritual of the Eagle Society consists of ten songs and a dance. The song is called Ganê`'gwae: oä`'no`. Every member participating in the ceremony paints on each cheek a round red spot. No one but members may engage in its ceremonies, even though these be performed publicly. The Eagle Society's ceremony is regarded as most sacred, in this respect next to the Great Feather Dance, O`stowä'gowa. It is believed that the society holds in its songs the most potent charms known. It is said that the dying, especially those afflicted with wasting diseases, and old people, have been completely restored by its ceremonies. This is because the Dew Eagle, to which the society is dedicated, is the reviver of wilting things. 120 The membership is divided into two classes by phratryship. A person may become a member by dreaming such a thing necessary, or by receiving the rites of the society in case of illness. Special costumes are worn in the ceremonies. In the dance the members divide and stand opposite each other according to phratry, the animals opposite the birds. Two dancers from each phratry are chosen, and cone singer from each. The dancers assume a squatting posture and imitate the motions of birds. The physical exertion is intense and requires constant interruption. The dancers and singers continue to dance and sing until completely exhausted, unless someone strikes the signal pole and makes a speech. The dancers then retire to their benches until the speech ends, when the singers take up their song and the dance is continued. After his speech, the speaker, who may be any member, presents the dancers for whom he speaks with a gift of money, tobacco, or bread: but the old custom was to give only such things as birds liked for food. The speeches are usually in praise of one's own clan and in derision of the opposite phratry. At the close, the speakers all apologize for their clannish zeal, and say, as if everyone did not known it, that their jibes were intended only as jests. The dancers each hold in their left hands a calumet fan, made by suspending six heron or four eagle feathers parallel and horizontally from a rod or reed. In their right hands they hold small gourd rattles with wooden handles, or small bark rattles made of a folded strip of hickory bark patterned after the larger False-face bark rattles. The signal pole and the striking stick are spirally striped with red paint. After the ceremony, when held in a private lodge, the members feast on a pig's head; but this is a modern substitute for a bear's or a deer's head, though crows' heads once were eaten also.

120. feather


120(124:1). The Dew Eagle refreshed the scalp of the Good Hunter by plucking a feather from its breast and sprinkling the scalp with dew from the lake in the hollow of its back.
The Code of Handsome Lake

The Great Message

Nia`Gwaì'Oä`'no?, The Bear Society

The ritual of the Bear Society consists of twenty songs and a dance. During the intermissions in the dance, that is, between songs, the participants eat berries from a pan on the dance-bench, or, in winter, eat honey, taking portions of the comb and eating it as they walk about the bench. The ceremony is opened by making a tobacco offering to the spirits of the bears, during which the chief Bear-man makes an invocation. The high officer of the society, however, is a woman. The symbol of membership is a black streak drawn diagonally across the right cheek. The object of the society is to cure the diseases of its members and candidates by chanting and dancing. The ceremony is believed to be a remedy for fevers and rheumatism, as well as to bring good fortune. In a healing ceremony the chief woman blows on the head of the patient. After a ceremony the members carry home with them pails of bear pudding, a sweetened corn pudding mixed with sunflower oil. The Bears use the water drum and horn rattles. All Seneca dances are counterclockwise.

The Code of Handsome Lake

Degi'Ya?Goⁿ Oä`No?, The Buffalo Society

The ritual of this society consists of a number of songs which relate the story of the origin of the order. After a ceremony in which there is a dance, the members depart, carrying with them the buffalo pudding. The dancers imitate the action of buffalo when stamping off flies, and the pudding is supposed to be of the consistency of the mud in which the buffalo stamps. When it is eaten it acts as a charm that "stamps off" disease or ill fortune. The Buffalos use the water drum and horn rattles.

The Code of Handsome Lake

O`Gi'We:, Oä'No?, Chanters for the Dead

The O`gi'we: ceremony is called for by any member who dreams of the restless spirit of some former member, relative, or friend. At the ceremony the set of songs is sung, the large water drum beaten, and a feast indulged in. The food is supposed to satisfy the hungry ghosts that for some reason are "earth-bound," as spiritists might express it. The O`gi'we: ceremony must not be confused with the Death Feast ceremony, which is a clan affair. The diviner of the O`gi'we: people is able to identify the unknown spirit which may be troubling the dreams of a member. The sickness and ill fortune caused by evil ghosts may be dispelled by the ceremony. The chief officer is a woman.

The Code of Handsome Lake

Deswadenyationdottû?, The Woman's Society

This society preserves the ritual by which good fortune and health are obtained for women. The singers, fourteen in number at Cattaraugus, are all men. During their singing the women dance. The office of chief singer is hereditary. The women join in a chorus as the men sing. Horn rattles and water drums are used.

The Code of Handsome Lake

Towii`sas, Sisters Of The Dio`he:'ko

This society is composed of a body of women whose special duty is to offer thanks to the spirits of the corn, the beans, and the squashes, Dio`he:'ko (these sustain our lives). By their ceremonies of thanksgiving the Towii'sas propitiate the spirits of growth, and people are assured of a good harvest. The Towii'sas have a ceremonial song and a march, but no dances. The legend of the society relates that the entire band of Towii'sas, in the latter part of the seventeenth century, was captured by the Cherokee and carried down the Ohio river. Thereafter two men were admitted as escorts in their march through the Woods. At the closing of the ceremony the head-woman chants the Dio`he:'ko song as she leads her band about a kettle of corn pudding. She carries an armful of corn on the cob; in her right hand she holds some loose beans, and in her left some squash seeds, the emblems of fertility. The Towii'sas hold one ceremony each year, unless some calamity threatens the harvest. The rattle of this society is made of a land tortoise (box-turtle) shell. These are often found in graves, but their exact use in the Iroquois territory has not generally been known to archeologists. The leg rattle is another variety having several perforations.

The Code of Handsome Lake

Hadigoⁿ'Sa ShoⁿO`, The False Face Company

This organization is one of the better known societies of the Iroquois, and its rites have often been described, though not always correctly interpreted. There are three divisions of the False Faces, and four classes of masks--doorkeeper or doctor masks, dancing masks, beggar masks, and secret masks. The beggar and thief masks form no part of the paraphernalia of the true society, and the secret masks are never used in public ceremonies in the council house at the midwinter ceremony. The False Face ceremonies have been well described, though by no means exhaustively, by Morgan 124 and Boyle 125. The main features are generally known.


The paraphernalia of this society consist of the masks previously mentioned, turtleshell rattles (snapping turtles only), hickory bark rattles, head throws, a leader's pole upon which is fastened a small husk face, a small wooden false face, and a small turtle rattle, and a tobacco basket.

There are two Seneca legends setting forth the origin of the False Faces, and three with the Mohawk story. These stories, however, explain the origin of different classes of masks. Each mask has a name. One story relates that the False Faces originated with the Stone Giants. However this may be, the writer obtained in 1905, from a woman claiming to be the keeper of the secret masks, a mask representing the Stone Giant's face. With it was a mask made of wood, over which was stretched a rabbit skin stained with blood. This mask was supposed to represent the face of a traitor as he would look when drowned for his infamy. Chief Delos Kettle said it was used to cure veneral diseases.

There is some dispute as to the antiquity of the False Face Company. Doctor Beauchamp, in his History of the Iroquois, 126 says it is comparatively recent. From a study of the Seneca society, however, the writer is inclined to believe that it is quite old with them,

although it may be more recent with the other Iroquois. Early explorers certainly could not have seen everything of Iroquois culture, especially some of the secret things, and their lack of description may be regarded as negative testimony rather than as positive evidence of the nonexistence of certain features which later students have found. It is quite possible that the author of "Van Curler's" journal of 1634-35 mentions a false face when he writes: "This chief showed me his idol; it was a head with the teeth sticking out; it was dressed in red cloth. Others have a snake, a turtle, a swan, a crane, a pigeon for their idols. . . ." The Seneca at present drape their false faces when they hang them up for safe keeping, and use them as well as turtle and snake charms as bringers of good fortune. Some pipes from seventeenth-century graves seem to represent blowing masks. Mr M. R. Harrington and the writer found one in 1903 while excavating a seventeenth-century site, since learned to be of Seneca occupancy, on Cattaraugus creek, near Irving. The counterpart of this pipe was found by R. M. Peck on the Warren site, near West Bloomfield, N. Y. The Indians say it is a False Face blowing ashes, and such it may represent. Mr Harrington, and the writer as well, have found what may be false face eye-disks, as well as turtle-shell rattles, in Seneca and Erie graves.


The principal False Face ceremonies are: Ganoi`'iowi, Marching Song; Hodigosshos'ga, Doctors' Dance, and Yeansêndâdi'yas, Doorkeepers' Dance.


124(127:1). Morgan, Fifth Annual Report New York State Cabinet (Museum), 1852, p. 98.
125(127:2). Boyle, Archaeological Report, Provincial Museum, Toronto, 1898, p. 157.
126(127:3). N. Y. State Mus. Bul. 78, p. 140.]
The Code of Handsome Lake

The Opening Or Tobacco Throwing Ceremony Of The False Face Company

Now receive you this tobacco, you, Shagodiowên'gowa, the great false face.
Now it is that you have come to where your grandchildren are gathered.
Now you are taking the place of the great false faces who are wandering in the rocky valleys and mountains.
Now you are the ones who think much of this sacred tobacco.
Now we wish to make a request of you. So we always offer this sacred tobacco [literally, real tobacco], when we ask anything of you.
We pray that you help us with your power.
You can go over all the earth.
In the center of the earth is a great pine tree and that is the place of your resting. It is there that you rub your rattle when you come to rest.
Now then this tree receives this tobacco.
We ask that you watch over us and exercise your power to protect us from anything harmful.
We hold in mind that you have ever done your duty in past times and we ask that you continue [vigilant] henceforth.
We use this tobacco when we ask favors of you for you are very fond of this tobacco.
Now your cane gets tobacco. The great pine tree to its top is your cane.
Now you, the husk faces, you get tobacco also.
You have been associated with the false faces in times past. Now you receive tobacco for you have done your duty.
So it is finished.
The Code of Handsome Lake

Gaji`'SashonO`, The Husk-Faces

This society seems rather loosely organized among the Seneca, but its chief members act as water doctors. They endeavor to cure certain diseases by spraying and sprinkling water on the patients. Two Husk-faces are admitted with the False Faces in their midwinter long-house ceremony, and act as door-openers. As a company they also have a ceremony in which the Grandfather's Dance is featured. The grandfather is attired in rags, and, holding a cane stationary, dances in a circle about it, using the cane as a pivot. The company dance is one in which all the members participate. Non-members may partake of the medicine influence of the ceremony by joining in the dance at the end of the line when the ceremony is performed in the council house at the midwinter festival.

That the foregoing so-called societies are in fact organizations, and that their rites are not merely open ceremonies in which anyone may engage, is apparent from the following considerations:

1 The organizations have permanent officers for the various parts of their rites.

2 They have executive officers.

3 They have certain objects and stand for specific purposes.

4 They have stable and unchangeable rituals.

5 Those who have not undergone some form of an initiatory rite are not allowed to enter into their ceremonies.

6 They have legends by which the origin and objects of the rites are explained.

7 It is not permissible to recite the rituals or to chant any of the songs outside of the lodge to anyone who has not been inducted into the society.

Some of the societies have other features, such as stated meetings and officers' reports, but the foregoing, characteristics apply to all the Seneca secret or semisecret ceremonies and entitle them to the name of societies.

When an Indian is afflicted with some disorder which can not be identified by the native herb doctors, the relatives of the patient consult a clairvoyant, who names the ceremony, one of those above described, believed to be efficacious in treating the ailment. Some times several ceremonies are necessary, and as a final resort a witchdoctor is called upon.

As to the influence of these organizations on the people, while it must be confessed that they foster some "superstitions" inconsistent with the modern folk-ways of civilized society, they serve more than any other means to conserve the national life of the people. The strongest body of Iroquois in New York today are the two bands or divisions of the Seneca, and the Seneca have the largest number of "pagans." They are perhaps likewise the most patriotic, and struggle with greater energy to retain their tribal organization and national identity.

The customs of these adherents of the old Iroquois religion react on and influence the entire body of the people, "pagans" and Christians alike.

The Code of Handsome Lake

Iroquois Sun Myths 124

124. Journal

The Iroquois of New York and Canada still retain vestiges of their former adoration of the sun, and observe certain rites, very likely survivals of more elaborate sun ceremonies.

The writer has witnessed several so-called "sun dances" among the Iroquois; but in every case the dance was the Ostowä?'gowa, or Great Feather Dance, the prime religious dance of the Gai'wiio` religion. This modern religion was originated about 1800 by Ganio`dai'io` ("Handsome Lake" the Seneca prophet) and almost entirely revolutionized the religious system of the Iroquois of New York and Ontario. Few of the early folk beliefs have survived the taboo of the prophet; and these beliefs are not easily traced, or even discovered, unless one has before him the Gai'wiio` of Handsome Lake and the Code of Dekanowi'da, the founder of the Confederacy.

The Seneca sun ceremony, Ëndéka Dä'kwa Dännon'dinon'nio? ("Day Orb-of-light Thanksgiving"), is called by any individual who dreams that the rite is necessary for the welfare of the community. The ceremony begins promptly at high noon, when three showers of arrows or volleys from muskets are shot heavenward to notify the sun of the intention to address him. After each of the volleys the populace shout their war cries, "for the sun loves war." A ceremonial fire is built--anciently by the use of a pump-drill, modernly by a match--and the sun-priest chants his thanksgiving song, casting from a husk basket handfuls of native tobacco upon the flames as he sings. This ceremony takes place outside the long house, where the rising smoke may lift the words of the speaker to the sun. Immediately after this, the entire assemblage enters the long house, where the costumed Feather dancers start the Ostowä`'gowa.

Among the Onondaga of the Grand River reserve in Ontario, the leader of the sun ceremony carries an effigy of the sun. This is a disk of wood ten inches in diameter, fastened to a handle perhaps a foot long. The disk is painted red in the center, and has a border of yellow. Around the edge are stuck yellow-tipped down-feathers from some large bird. The New York Iroquois have no such effigies, and the writer seriously doubts that the preachers of Handsome Lake's Gai'wiio` would permit such a practice, it being a violation

of the prophet's teaching. The Canadian Iroquois, however, received the revelations later than their New York brethren, and were longer under the influence of the older religion, which may account for the survival and use of the sun-disk.

The writer has discovered several sun myths among the Seneca, the one which follows being related by Edward Cornplanter, Soson'dowa ("Great Night"), the recognized head preacher of the Gai'wiio` of Handsome Lake. Cornplanter is a Seneca, and a descendant of Gaiänt'wakâ, the prophet's brother.

The fragments of the cosmological myths which conclude this article are from a mass of ethnological and folk-lore data which it is hoped will shortly be edited and published.

Three Brothers Who Followed The Sun Under The Sky's Rim

This happened in old times, when there were not many people. There were three brothers and they were not married. They were hunters and had spent their lives hunting. When the brothers were young they enjoyed the excitement of hunting; but as they grew older it did not give them so much pleasure. The youngest brother suggested that for new experiences they walk to the edge of the earth, where the sky comes down and touches the big sea of salt water. There is salt water west, and this world is an island. The other brothers thought the plan a good one; and when they had prepared everything they started on the journey. They traveled a good many years and a good many things happened to them. They always went straight westward.

At last the brothers came to a place where the sun goes under the sky's edge. The sky bends down there and sinks into the water. They camped there for a month and watched the things that happened there. They noticed how the sun got under the rim of the sky and went away quickly. Some men came there and tried to get under the edge of the sky, but it descended quickly and crushed them. There is a road there. Now they noticed that when the sky came up, the water sank lower; and that when the sky went in the water, the water rose higher.

The younger brothers desired to pass under the rim of the sky when the sun slipped under on his road; but the elder brother said that the happenings were too evilly mysterious, and that he was afraid. The younger brothers ran under the rim of the sky quickly, and the rim was very thick. They kept on the road, and water was on each side. They were afraid that the sky would come down and

crush them. Now, the oldest brother, it is said, watched them; and when he saw that nothing happened. to injure his brothers, he began to run after them. The younger brothers turned from their safe place to encourage him; but the sky came down on the sun's road and crushed him, but they saw his spirit (notwai'shän) shoot by quickly. The brothers felt sad.

On the other side of the sky everything is different, so it is said. Before the brothers was a large hill; and when they had ascended it, they saw a very large village in the distance. A man came running toward them. He was in the distance; but he came nearer, and he called out, "Come!" It was their elder brother. "How did you come so quickly, brother?" they asked. "We did not see you come."

The brother answered only, "I was late." He passed by on a road.

An old man came walking toward them. He was youthful and his body was strong, but his hair was long and white. He was an old man. His face was wise-looking, and he seemed a chief.

"I am the father of the people in the Above-the-Sky-Place," he said. "Hawêni'io` is my son. I wish to advise you because I have lived here a longtime. I have always lived here, but Hawêni'io` was born of the woman on the island. When you see Hawêni'io`, call quickly, 'Niawên'skänon'!' If you fail to speak first, he will say, 'You are mine,' and you will be spirits, as your brother is."

The brothers proceeded and saw a high house made of white bark. They walked up the path to the door. A tall man stepped out quickly, and the brothers said, "Niawên'skänon'!" and the great man said, "Dogêns', I have been watching you for a long time." The brothers entered the house. Now, when they were in the house, the man said, "In what condition are your bodies?" The brothers answered, "They are fine bodies." The great man answered, "You do not speak the truth. I am Hawêni'io`, and I know all about your bodies. One of you must lie down, and I will purify him, and then the other."

One brother lay down, and Hawêni'io` placed a small shell to his lips, and put it on the brother's mouth. He also tapped him on the neck, and sealed the shell with clay. He began to skin the brother. He took apart the muscles, and then scraped the bones. He took out the organs and washed them. Then Hawêni'io` built the man again. He loosened the clay and rubbed his neck. He did this with both brothers; and they sat up, and said, "It seems as if we had

slept." Hawêni'io` said, "Every power of your bodies is renewed. I will test you."

The brothers followed Hawêni'io` to a fine grove of trees surrounded by a thick hedge. All kinds of flowers were blooming outside. "My deer are here," said Hawêni'io`.

A large buck with wide antlers ran toward them. "He is the swiftest of my runners. Try and catch him," said Hawêni'io`.

The men ran after the deer, and rapidly overtook him. "He has given us good speed," the brothers said. They soon discovered that they had many surpassing abilities, and the great man tested them all on that day.

They returned to the white lodge, and the brothers saw a messenger running toward them. Upon his wide chest was a bright ball of light. It was very brilliant. In some unknown language he shouted to Hawêni'io` and dashed on.

"Do you understand his words, or do you know that man?" asked Hawêni'io`. "He is the sun, my messenger. Each day he brings me news. Nothing from east to west escapes his eye. He has just told me of a great war raging between your people and another nation. Let us look down on the earth and see what is happening."

They all went to a high hill in the middle of the country, and looked down through a hole where a tree had been uprooted. They saw two struggling bands of people and all the houses burning. They could hear people crying and yelling their war cries.

"Men will always do this," said Hawêni'io`, and then they went down the hill.

The brothers stayed a long time in the upper world, and learned so much that they never could tell it all. Sometimes they looked down on the earth and saw villages in which no one lived. They knew that they were waiting for people to be born and live there. In the upper world they saw villages, likewise, awaiting the coming of people. Hawêni'io` told them a good many things, and after a time told a messenger to lead them to the path that the sun took when he came out on the earth in the morning. They followed the messenger and came lout on the earth. They waited until the sun went over the earth and had gone to the west. Again then they went under the edge of the sky in the east, and came out in their country again. It was night, and they slept on the ground. In the morning they saw their own village, and it was overgrown with trees. They followed a path through the woods and came

upon another. village. Their own people were there, and they went into a council house and talked. They told their story; and no one knew them except their own sister, who was an aged woman.

"The war of which you speak took place fifty years ago," the sister said.

The brothers did not care for the earth now, but wished themselves back in the upper world. They were not like other men, for they never grew tired. They were very strong and could chase animals and kill them with their hands. Nothing could kill them, neither arrows nor disease. After a while, both were struck by lightning, and then they were both killed.

It seems quite likely that there are modern features in this legend; but my informant assured me that the portion relating to the sky and the sun was very old. He said also that he had always heard the upper world described as related in the legend. He added that the sun loved the sound of war, and would linger in his morning journey to see a battle, but that after he reached midheaven he traveled at his usual speed.

Mrs Asher Wright, who spoke Seneca perfectly, and who labored as a missionary among them for fifty years, recorded two Seneca myths as they had been related to her by Esquire Johnson, an old Seneca chief. One describes the origin of good and evil, and says that the sun was made by the Good-minded spirit from the face of his mother. That legend makes the first woman the mother of the twins. The second manuscript, dated 1876, relates practically the same story, but mentions the Sky-woman as having borne first a daughter, who became, without any knowledge of man, the mother of the twins. The mother, having died at their birth, was buried by her mother. The Sky-woman, the grandmother, then turned and addressed the Good-minded spirit, according to Esquire Johnson, quoted by Mrs Wright, as follows:

"Now you must go and seek your father. When you see him, you must ask him to give you power." Pointing to the east, she said, "He lives in that direction. You must keep on until you reach the limits of the Island, and then upon the waters until you reach a high mountain which rises up out of the water, and which you must climb to the summit. There you will see a wonderful being sitting on the highest peak. You must say, 'I am your son.'"

The "wonderful being" appears from the succeeding text to be the sun, although not specifically so named.

We thus have three conflicting ideas presented--the sun as the

messenger of the Creator and as the patron of war, as the face of the first mother, and as the father of mankind of earthly origin, although this latter conclusion may be disputed by some for lack of a definite reference.

This leads us to the fact that Iroquois mythology in its present state has been derived from several sources. This has been caused, without doubt, by the policy of adopting the remnants of conquered tribes. Thus we may expect that in Iroquois mythology are the survivals of early Huron, Neutral, Erie, and Andaste elements. It is now possible to trace only the Huron. Algonquian elements came in through the Delaware, the Chippewa, the Shawnee, the Munsee, the Mahikan, and possibly the Nanticoke. It is not difficult to trace Siouan influence.

The writer has been able to trace some of the influencing elements to their sources, but it is nevertheless admitted that the problem of critically sifting and comparing Iroquois myths is a delicate task.


124(131:1). A. C. Parker in the journal of American Folk Lore, October-December 1910.
The Code of Handsome Lake

Anecdotes of Cornplanter

Related by Emily Tallchief, his great great granddaughter.

Cornplanter Makes Peace

Now these stories are true and came to Solomon Obail from Cornplanter, and Solomon, my father, told me.

"The Cornplanter reservation Senecas often traveled by canoes down the Allegany river to Pittsburgh. On a certain occasion Cornplanter went with a party of canoeists down the Allegany to Pittsburgh. While on his journey one of the paddlers sang Woine'owi as he paddled. Now as he sang the party was startled by a voice that called from the cliff above, 'Halt ye!' The paddler grounded the canoe and Cornplanter went ashore, where, ascending the cliff, he found a number of Indians gathered about a tree to which a white man was, bound. 'So now Cornplanter,' said the chief of the band, 'I have called you to kill this man. You may now do as you please with him and we will be satisfied.' Cornplanter drew forth his long hunting knife and feeling of its sharp edge said 'So I may do as I wish. Truly then I shall do so.' So saying he rushed toward the man with upraised knife and brought it down with a flourish. The man was not injured but instead stepped out from the tree free, for Cornplanter's knife had severed the thongs. 'Now,' said Cornplanter, after some conversation with the man, 'I will hire a guide to take this man back to his home in Philadelphia.' A warrior accepted the commission and guided the prisoner safely back to his home where he found him to be a man of prominence, a chief among his people."

"So I say this," added Mrs Tallchief, "to show that my grandfather was a good man, just and kind. Because of these qualities he became influential."

Cornplanter And Washington

Now during the war of the thirteen fires against the king of Great Britain, we, the Iroquois, were loyal to our old allies, the British. We fought for them, but, alas for us they were beaten. Now Washington, the great leader of the thirteen fires, was determined to punish us for our part in the war, for he did not realize that we were but keeping our treaties with the British when we fought. So Washington said, 'Depart from among us and go to the west far from the white people.' But Cornplanter said, 'Not so. We are determined not to move. We have long lived here and intend to continue in our own territory as long, as we are able to hold it.' 'Not so,' answered Washington, 'you fought against us and therefore you must move on to the west and if you refuse we shall compel you.' 'Then,' answered Cornplanter, 'we will resist you by force of arms. If you win we will have to go, otherwise we will remain where we now are.'

"Cornplanter returned from Washington to his people and spread the news. Quickly it traveled among all the Indians to the South, the east and the west. All were very angry and said, 'We will fight. When the white man tries to move us as they please it is time that we moved a few white men.' Then the western Indians began to massacre the settlers. The news came to Washington. 'It is a mistake to-encourage another Indian war,' he said and then sent for Cornplanter. 'I want to settle our difficulties,' said he, ' and I wish peace. I do not wish war, therefore you, Cornplanter, must pacify your people.' 'I care not to meddle further with matters,' said Cornplanter. 'But you must go,' insisted Washington, 'you are the only man who can restore peace and good will.' Thus it was that Cornplanter accepted the commission. He returned home and collecting a party of chiefs sent abroad declarations of peace. The delegation went through Sandusky into the farther west. There Cornplanter called a council and said, 'We must be peaceful with the white men and cease tormenting them.' Now the tribe was a very fierce one and was very angry that Cornplanter

advised peace. They mixed poison with the food which they served the delegation and a number died. Cornplanter also was made severely ill. Then Cornplanter became very angry and calling a council said, 'You have acted with treachery. Now I cease to plead. I now command that you let the white people live in peace. Do not kill another one. If you do I will bring the whole Five Nations against you and with a great army of white men will kill every one of you. The Senecas are the greatest nation of all nations and whatever they plan they do. We are always successful and always victorious in sport, debate or battle. So beware.' Now the western Indians councilled among themselves and said, 'We must hastily agree for if the Senecas come against us we surely will be defeated.'"

Origin Of The Name Cornplanter

"Gaiänt'wakê?, the great chief, once went to Philadelphia.

"'How do your people procure food?' asked a white man, a Quaker.

"'We are hunters,' answered the chief.

"'Have you not observed our great fields of corn and grain?' asked the white man, ' and did you know that we never have famines as you do? Why do your people not cultivate gardens of size and till large fields of grain?'

"'My people used to do so,' said the chief, 'and not many years ago when they dwelt in the valley of the Genesee. Now I think that I will encourage this practice again.'

"This conversation so impressed the chief that when he returned he spoke of the matter before the councils and exhorted people in private to plant more and hunt less. Because of this he received the name of The Planter, but the whites called him Cornplanter."

The Code of Handsome Lake

Gai’wiio Key To Phonic System

Gai’wiio Phonics

A, a   as in father, bar, Germ. haben

A:, a:   the same sound prolonged

Â, â   as in what, Germ. man

Ä, ä   as in hat, man, ran

Ai, ai   as in aisle, as in i in mine, bind; Germ. Hain

Au, au   as ou in out, as ow in how, Germ. Haus

C, c   as sh in shalt; Germ. sch in schellen; cio-sho as in show

D, d   pronounced with the tip of the tongue, touching the upper teeth

Dj, dj   as j in judge

E, e   as in they, as in may; Fr. ne

Ê, ê   as in met, get, then; Germ. denn; Fr. sienne

G, g   as in gig; Germ. geben; Fr. gout

H, h   as in has, he; Germ. haben

I, i   as in pique, machine, ye; old Eng. yea

I:, i:   the same sound prolonged io as yo in you

Î, î   as in pick, pit

J, j   as in judge

K, k   as in kick, kin

N, n   as in no, nun, not

Ñ, ñ   as ng in ring, sing

ⁿ   marks nasalized vowels; as aⁿ, eⁿ, êⁿ, oⁿ, âⁿ, aiⁿ, etc.

O, o   as in note, boat

Q, q   as ch in Germ. ich

S, s   as in see, sat

T, t   pronounced with the tip of the tongue on the upper teeth

Tc, tc   as ch in church, tci-chee as in cheese

T and H, t and h   always pronounced separately in this system

U, u   as in rule, Germ. du; Fr. in doux

Û, û   as in rut, shut

W, w   as in wit, win

Y, y   as in yes, yet

`   indicates an aspiration or soft emission of the breadth which is initial or final, thus `h, êⁿ`, o`, etc.

?   marks a sudden closure of the glottis preceeding or following a sound, thus ?a, o?, i?, â?, etc.

‘   marks the accented syllable of a word

The Code of Handsome Lake

Gai’wiio Glossary Of Seneca Words

Gai’wiio Glossary


Adanidä’oshä (cooperative labor),   39

Adekwe’oⁿge (green corn thanksgiving),   43

Adîstowä‘e (feather wearing; name applied to conservative Indians by the more radical), 14

Adoⁿda:r‘ho (meaning snaky headed),   5

Adoⁿ’wêⁿ (thanking or cheer songs),   41; figure, 84

Askä’ni:e? (women's dance),   101

Awe:’yondo? gawen’notgä’o (the funeral address),   107


Dagwûn’noyaênt (the wind spirit),   119

Daitdagwût’ (white beaver),   119

Dänondino:ñ’yo (Thanksgiving),   103

Dawan’do` (other ceremony),   121

Degi’ya?goⁿ oä`’no? (Buffalo Society),   125

Dewûtiowa’is (esploding wren),   119

Dioge:?’djaie (grassy place),   75

Diohe?’koⁿ (the corn, bean and squash triad; the word means, They sustain us),   39, 54, 86

Dionde:gâ’ (Seneca name of Pittsburgh)     40

Dion’dot (tree),   75

Dionîhogä’wê (Open Door; or Door Keeper, name of Seneca war sachem, once held by Gen. Ely S. Parker),   12

Diono?sade’gî (place of burnt houses; the Seneca name for Cornplanter village),   20, 52

Djîs’gäⁿdâ’taha` (ghost talker),   68

Dogêⁿs’ (truly a reply),   113


Ênde:’ka gää`’kwa (daytime brilliant orb, the sun),   91

Eni:a’iechûk (it was once that way; the closing word of each section of the Gai’wiio),   27


Gadâciot (the trotting dance),   82, 101

Gadâgês’käoⁿ (fetid banks), Cattaraugus   78

Gagwe:’goⁿ (all, everyone, entirely),   33

Gahadi yago (at the wood's edge, a ceremony),   123

Gaiänt’wakâ (The Planter, commonly called Corn planter. A Seneca pine tree chief name. The half brother of Handsome Lake),   ss23, 24, 44, 50

Gai`’doⁿ (an I’dos ceremony), 4

Gai’yowêⁿogowâ (the sharp point; a ceremony), 123

Gai’wiio` (meaning the good message; pronounced as if spelled guy-we-you), 5, 6, 26, 43

Gai`wiios’tûk (the christian religion), 57

Gaji`’sashoⁿo` (husk false face), 129

Gaknowe’haat (to copulate), 73

Gâko’go? (she is a gluttonous beast, a name), 74

Ganäwêⁿ’gwae: (the Eagle dance song), 124

Gane’oⁿwoⁿ (the harvest thanksgiving ceremony), 21, 26, 41, 94

Ganio`dai’io (Handsome or Beautiful Lake, the title of a sachem name held by a prophet), 5, 18, 22, 46, 80

Gano:da (night song), 116

Gânonjoni’yon (Kittle Hangs, a name), 74

Ganonktiyuk’gegäo (namme of Onondaga), 76

Ganos’ge? (house of the tormentor), 56

Ga:noⁿ’wagês (fetid water, Seneca name for their village near present site of Avon, Livingston co., N.Y.), 9, 78

Ganonwoñ’goⁿ (in the rapids, name of Warren, Pa.), 20

Ganûn’dase:’ (Ga-nun-da-se, meaning a town new or Newtown. Name of non-christian Seneca village on Cattaraugus reservation), 7

Ganûndase?’ge? (place of a new town; Seneca name of Geneva), 79

Ganuñg’sîsne:’ha (long house people), 7

Gat’goⁿ? (witchcraft), 27

Gawênnodûs’hä (compelling charm; charm used to compel persons to obey the charm holder), 39, 30

Gayänt?gogwus (tobacco thrown down, “Dipped” Tobacco, a woman’s name), 24

Go`diodia’se (a lying tale, slander), 37

Gonoigä’nongi (drunken), 20

Gowonoⁿ?’gowa (Large Talker, a name), 74

Gushe:don’dada (jug shaking dance), 101

Gwi?’yâ? (an exclamation in the gane:’wo song), 85, 100


Hanîsse:’ono (ha-nîs-se:’-o-no, the devil), 18

Hade:iyäyo` (new year announcers), 82

Hadidji’yontwûs (the new year ceremonny), 75

Hadigoⁿ’sâshono` (False Face company), 127

Hadioⁿyâ?’geono (they are messengers, the four angels), 19, 25

Hadiwênnoda’dies (the thunderers), 98

Ha?dji’no (male), 73

Haiyon’wêntha (Hai-yon’wênt-ha, a sachemship title meaning, he has lost it and searches, knowing where to find it. The Seneca name for Hiawatha)

Hanä’sishê (new year ceremonial officers), 82

Hasan’owa:nê? (exalted name, the word applied to a chief), 44

Hâtgwi’yot (the son-in-law of Handsome Lake), 23

Hawêni’o (good ruler, god; the name mostly used by the christian Seneca), 48, 133

Hayänt’wûtgûs (tobacco throwing ceremony), 121

Hênne’yoⁿ (a clairvoyant), 49

Hi?’noⁿ (the Thunderer), 104

Hodiänok’dooⁿ Hêdiohe’ (the Creator), 19, 48

Honio?’on (white man), 20

Ho?noⁿ’gwae (a nest), 47

Honon’diont (overseer of the ceremonies), 411, 421

Hono?’tcino?’gä (the guardian company), 116>

Ho’tcine’gada (company of charm holders; note that “tci” is pronounced as “chee” in cheese), 119

Hoya:’nê (noble born, goood in character, applied as a title to sachems. The Mohawk form Rhoya’nê? is sometimes translated “lord”), 9, 22


Jodi?’gwadoⁿ’ (a great horned serpent), 119

Joⁿgä’oⁿ (elves of pygmies), 119

Joi’ise (New Voice, a man's name), 76


Niagâ?hos’sää? (small bundle of magic substance), 29

Nia?’gwahe: (great naked bear or mammoth bear, a mythical beast), 28; footnote, 40; 119

Nia?’gwai`’ (bear, bear ceremony), 125

Niawêⁿ (thanks are given), 36

Niawê?’skänoⁿ? (thank you, you are strong), a greeting, 133

Ni:ganêga?’a` (little water), a meddeccine powder, 116

Niio? (so be it, or it is well, “all right”), 22

Nîs’a (name of a month), 86

Nisko’wûkni (nîs-ko’-wûk-ni, the moon of midwinter), 6, 53

Notwai’shä (spirit), 133


Oä’no` (a dance, or society), 40

Oda:’eo (the veil over the world), 67

O`dän’kot (Sunshine, a name), 117

Odjis’kwâthe:ⁿ (Puddding Dry, a man's name), 24

O?g`i’we: (the death chant, a ceremony), 21, 26, 50, 126

Ohi:’i:o` (river beautiful, name applied to the Allegany river), 20

Onde:’yä (ceremonial officers, “buffalo robed”), 81

One’gâ (whiskey or rum), 9, 27

Oñgwe?’oñwe (real men, Iroquois), 18, 45

Oñgwe?’oñweka:’ (Oñgwe?’-oñwe-kä’, literally, men beings -- real -- emphatically so), 6

Ono’ityi’yênde (witch poison), 29, 72

Onondaga (meaning upon the hills), 7

Osto’wä’go:’wa (Great Feather dance, the chief religious dance), 25, 42

Ot?go’ä (wampum), 57

Otnä’yont (sharp bone charm), 119


Sagoyê?wa’thâ? (pronounced Sa-go-yê’-wa:-t`hâ? meaning, he keeps them awake. Name of Red jacket, a Seneca leader and orator), 68

Sedékonî?’ (you come to eat), 36

Sede:’teia: (early in the morning), 6

Sedwa:’gowa:’nê? (Se-dwa:’-go-wa:’-nê?) Teacher-great, name applied to Handsome Lake, 53, 67, 71

Segaⁿ’hedûs (He resurrects; Christ), 67

Segoewa’t`ha (the tormentor, devil), 48

Segwai?’doⁿgwi (a man's name),57

Sha?’dotgéa (the Eagle ceremony), 124

S`hagodiowêⁿ’gowa (the false face spirit chief), 128

S`hondowêk’owa (the death herald), 106

Skandyoⁿ?’gwadî (Seneca name of Owen Black Snake), 19

Skänoⁿ’ (strength, health), 133

Soi’ka:gää`’kwa (night shining orb, the moon), 92

Sos’he:owâ (name of Handsome Lake's grandson and one of his successors, the grandfather of Gen. Ely S. Parker. English name was James Johnson), 12, 19

Soson’dowâ (S’o-son’-do-wâ, Night-Great, the teacher of Handsome Lake's religious code. His English name is Edward Cornplanter, q. v.), 5, 16, 19, 90


Tää’wônyâs (Awl Breaker, sometimes called Needle Breaaker. The name of a Seneca chief), 23

Tâ?dondä’ieha? (a masculine proper name), 60

Tain’teiadê (heaven world), 69

Tcäkowa (pigeon dance), 82

Tci’gwagwa (a ceremony), 123

T’so:t (grandfather), 121


Waanno`’naogwa:`’ciot (cornplanting ceremony), 101

Wa?’da Ta:dinion’nio?o` (maple thanksgiving), 102

Wadigusä?wea (to throw up the paddle, meaning, “it is finished,” a ceremonial term), 82

Wainonjää?’koⁿ (the death feast), 110

Wasa’z`ê (Sioux; means also warlike), 103


Yai?’kni (month of May), 20

Ye:’on? (a woman), 33

Yeoⁿ’skwaswa’doⁿ (a thieving woman), 39

Ye’ondâthâ (the women's song ceremony), 21, 26

Yi’do:s (a society having animal charms) 30

  the “Society of Mystic Animals”: see I?’dos), 121

Yotdondak’o (pygmy dance ceremony), 120

Yondwi’niasswa:’yas (she commits abortion), 30

The Code of Handsome Lake

Gaiwiio ≈ Index


Abortion, 30, 30 (footnote)

Air regulator, 67

Allegany, 5, 6, 7, 15

Allegany Seneca, 15

Alphabet, 139

Anecdotes of Cornplanter, 136

Animal totem, 39

...   societies, 39; 40

...   (footnote), 113

...   ordered disbanded, 114

...   are ancient, 115

...   tabooed societies, p115

Authorized teachers, 5

Avon, 9, 78


Bear, great naked, 119

Bear, mammoth, 28

Bear society, 125

Beauchamp, Dr William M., quoted, 127

Beaver, white, a charm, 119

Bible believers, 64

Blacksnake, Owen, 19

Blue panther, 119

Bluesky, William, 8

Boasting, denounced, 37

Buffalo Creek reservation treaty, 7, 64, 78

Buffaloes, sacred, 43

Buffalo society, 125

  dance of, plate 17

Bundle, magic, 29


Cattaraugus, 5, 6, plate 1

Cattaraugus, Seneca, 7, 15

Ceremony of herb gathering, 54

Ceremony, New Year (see Midwinter), 75

Ceremonies, special, 103

Charm, members, 119

Charms, witch, 28

...   Seneca name, 30

...   30 (footnotes)

...   corn, 54

...   society for, 119

...   good and evil, 120

Children, punishment of, 33

...   Handsome Lake's love of, 33 (footnote)

...   treatment of, 34

...   warnings of, 34

...   sin of defaming, 35

...   hospitality toward, 36

...   destitute, 36

Christ, section 74, 67

Christian Indians, 6, 14

Christian influence, 11

Civil war, 13

Clairvoyant, 49

Cold Spring, 7, 12, 46, 76

Columbus, Christopher, 18

Command to preach, 26

Cooperation, 39

Conservative Indians, ideas, 14

Converts, 6, 7

Corn bug, 119

Cornplanter creek, 20

Cornplanter, Edward, photograph, plate 2, 5, 6, 8;

...   quoted, 13; 132

Cornplanter (see also Gyantwaka or Gaiantwaka), 11

Cornplanter village, 12, 20, 61

Cornplanting thanksgiving, 54

Corn, spirit, 47

...   medicine, 54

...   planting of, 54

...   drawing, plate 12

Customs changed, 56

Customs, mourning, 107

Creator, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27-80

  controversy with devil, 48


Dances, 39

  four sanctioned, 41, 51, 124

Dark dance, 119

Daughter of Handsome Lake, 22

Dead man reviews, 24

Dearborn, General, letter from, 10

Death chant, 21, 126

...   drawing, plate 18

Death, coming of, a legend, 105

Death feast, 57, 126

Deer, sacred, 43

Devil, 101

Discovery of America, 16

...   accidents, (So, it is), 146

Discussion between good and evil spirits, 48

Diviner, 49

Division of Iroquois, religious, 13, 55, 55 (footnote), 57

Dog, (see White dog), 66

Drawing riches, tooth, 30

Drunkenness, 9, 10, 20, 45, 54

Dry hand, 119


Eagle, society of, 124

Education, 38

Effects of Handsome Lake's religion, 10, 11

...   discussion of, 14

Effigies, 131

Elves, 119

Emotion, religious, 6

End of world, 44

...   signs of, 57

...   by fire, 59

Evil of drink, 54, 61

Evil spirit (see also Devil), 56, 59, 61


Fairies, 119

False Face company, 127

...   ceremony, 128

Family life, 32, 33

...   lack of children, 35

...   meals, 36 picture of, plate 4

Fees for healing, 56

Finger nail parings, 120

Five evils, the, 17, 18

Folk cults, 116

...   influence, 130

Four messengers, 24, 25, 77

Frauds against Iroquois, 10

Funeral customs, 57, 107

...   address, 107


Gaenendasaga, 12, 79

Gaiänt'wakâ, 23, 50

Gai'wiio` 5

...   time of preaching, 6

...   present form, 7

...   as a divine message, 26

Gane'onwon ceremony, 95

Ganio`dai'io (see also Handsome Lake), 9, 18, 19

...   teachings of, 20, 80, 114 (see glossary)

Ga:non'wagês, 12, 78

Gardening, methods, 39 (footnote)

Gibson, Chief John, 6

Glossary of Seneca words, 140

God (see Creator, Good Minded) 1, 15

Godiont, 41

Good Hunter, 117

Good Minded (see Good Spirit), 15, 31

Good Spirit (also Great Ruler and Good Minded), 15, 16, 19, 21, 105, 135

Grand River, 6, 131

Great Message, 27

Green corn ceremony, 43

Graves at Grand River, Ontario, plate 6


Handsome Lake, teachings of, 5

...   biography, 9

...   successful ministry, 10

...   value of his teaching, 11

...   revolutionized social life, 1

...   failures, 11

...   residence at Tonawanda, 11

...   ideas from Bible, 11

...   death, 13, 80

...   method of thinking, 21

...   sickness, 21

...   reviled, 47

...   influence of, 114

Handsome Lake, teachings of, 5; biography, 9; successful ministry, 10; value of his teaching, 11; revolutionized social life, 1; failures, 11; residence at Tonawanda, 11; ideas from Bible, 11; death, 13, 80; method of thinking, 21; sickness, 21; reviled, 47; influence of, 114

Handsome Lake's teachings, 27, 80, 114

Handsome Lake's monument, plate 9

Handsome Lake preaching, drawing, plate 15

Harrington, M. R., mentioned, 128

Harrison, Gen. William H., 66 (footnote)

Harvest song, 21

Heaven, see Three brothers, 134

Herald of death, 119

Herbs, medicine song of, 55

...   healing, 56

Honon'diont, 41, 42

Horned serpent, 119

House of Torment (also of punisher), 62

...   description, 63, 64, 70

Hunters, father and son, 52

...   murdered, 52

Huron, introduce the I?'dos, 123

Hurricane, spirit, drawing, plate 19

Husk false faces, 129


Idea of soul, 61

I?'dos ceremony, photograph of, plate 21

Indian religious communities, 7

Insanity,   47

...   inspired by the Creator, 147

Invocation over corn, 54

Iroquois Confederacy, 10

Iroquois disheartened, 10


Jacket, John, 7, 8

Jealousy, results of, 45 (footnote)

Jefferson, President Thomas, mentioned, 10

Journey over sky road, 62


Magic animals, 119

Magic bundles, 29

Marriage, 31, 32

Masks, spirit, 123

Medicine outfit, picture, 118

Midwinter ceremony, 6

...   sanctioned, 51

Milky Way, 62 (footnote) Moon dance, 103

Morgan, Lewis H., 12

...   quoted, 113

Morning song, 51

Mourning customs, 57, 107

Murderer discovered, drawing plate 14


Parker, Gen. Ely S., 12

...   descendant of prophet, 12

Phonetic system, key to, 139

Pittsburgh, 20

Plates, Index of, 149 (USNY)

Poison, secret, 29

Poverty, esteemed, 15, 63 (footnote)

Progressive Indians, 14

Prophet, given power to see in earth, 49

Punishment for evil, 71, 72, 74

Purification, 77 (footnote)

Pygmy society, 119

...   opening ceremony, 120


Recitation, second day, 35

...   third day, 60

Red jacket (see also Sagoyewatha (glossary) accused, 66 (footnote)

...   punishment of, 68 (section 95)

Religion, Indian, 15

Repentance, song of, 29

Reservations, 5, 14

Revival, Indian religious 6

Rites and ceremonies, notes on, 81

Road, narrow, 74

Road, sky, 62, 69, 70


St Regis, 7, 14

Secret medicine for corn, 54

Secret medicine societies, 113

...   tabued, 115

Seneca (see also Allegany, Cattaraugus and Tonawanda), 5

Serpent, 11

...   horned, 119

Sharp legs, 119

Sick man, drawing, plate 11

Sickness of Handsome Lake, 22

Sins, 44

Sisters of Diohe?'kon, 126

Slander, 37

Societies, 40, 40 (footnote), 50, 113, 116, 130

Society of Friends, 10 (ceremonies), 148

Social relations of mankind, 36

Song, lost, 50

Sorrow, 57

Sos'he:owâ, 12, 19

Soson'dowâ (see also Edward Cornplanter) 16

Soul, ideas of, 61

Spirit of the corn, 47

...   drawing, plate 12

Stevens, Henry, 8

Stinginess, 62

Stone giant mask, 127

Strawberries, feast, 25

...   medicine, 25

Sun dance, 103

Sun myths, 131


Wampum, 6, 57

Warren, Pa., 20

War in heaven, 48

Warriors' charm, 10 (footnote)

Washington, George, 66, 137

White dog ceremony, 85

...   photograph, plate 20

White race, how it came to America, 16

...   Seneca name for, 3 (footnote), 20

...   economics of, 38

Whipping of foolish women, 46

...   drawing, plate 13

Wife, treatment of, 32

Wind spirit, 119

...   drawing, plate 19

Winter, ceremonies (see Midwinter) 6

Witchcraft, 27

...   27-29 (footnote), 28

Witch doctors, 29 (footnote)

Women's dance, 21

...   drawing of, plate 16, 149

Women's society, 126

Women's song, 21

Women, wise ways for, 37

...   foolish, whipped, 46

Wren, exploding, a charm, 119

Wright, Rev. Asher, 7

...   Mrs Wright, 135

The Code of Handsome Lake


Photographs & Drawings by Jesse Cornplanter

Index Of Plates: ~

Following is constructed using full page Plates from The University of New York (see references). Click or tap images to enlarge.

Plate 01: Long House on the Cattaraugus
Plate 02: Edward Cornplanter
Plate 03: Newtown Long House & Tonawanda Seneca Long House
Plate 04: Typical Seneca Family & Newtown Cattarugus Family
Plate 05: Onondaga Long House & Pine Woods Long House
Plate 06: Graves near Onondaga & Cayuga Long House
Plate 07: Seneca Long House on Six Nations
Plate 08: Long Houses of Grand River ~ Onondaga & Cayuga
Plate 09: Tomb of Handsome Lake
Plate 10: The Time of Trouble
Plate 11: The Sick Man Meditating
Plate 12: The Whipping of the Witches
Plate 13: Spirit of the Corn speaking to Handsome Lake
Plate 14: Discovery of the Murderer
Plate 15: Handsome Lake Preaching at Tonawanda
Plate 16: The Women's Dance
Plate 17: The Seneca Buffalo Dance
Plate 18: The Death Chant and March at Newtown Long House
Plate 19: The Spirit of the Hurricane
Plate 20: Sacrifice of the White Dog on Grand River of Six Nations
Plate 21: A Corner of the T'dos Lodge at Newtown Catarugus
Plate 22: Ceremonial March of the Ton Wisas Company
Plate 23: Purification Ceremony of the Society of Otters, a Seneca women's winter ceremony

Plate 01: Cattaraugus Long House

Plate 02: Edward Cornplanter

Plate 03: Newtown Long House & Tonawanda Seneca Long House

Plate 04: Typical Seneca Family & Newtown Cattarugus Family

Plate 05: Onondaga Long House & Pine Woods Long House

Plate 06: Graves near Onondaga & Cayuga Long House

Plate 07: Seneca Long House on Six Nations

Plate 08: Long Houses of Grand River ~ Onondaga & Cayuga

Plate 09: Tomb of Handsome Lake

Plate 10: The Time of Trouble

Plate 11: The Sick Man Meditating

Plate 12: The Whipping of the Witches

Plate 13: Spirit of the Corn speaking to Handsome Lake

Plate 14: Discovery of the Murderer

Plate 15: Handsome Lake Preaching at Tonawanda

Plate 16: The Women's Dance

Plate 17: The Seneca Buffalo Dance

Plate 18: The Death Chant and March at Newtown Long House

Plate 19: The Spirit of the Hurricane

Plate 20: Sacrifice of the White Dog on Grand River of Six Nations

Plate 21: A Corner of the T'dos Lodge at Newtown Catarugus

Plate 22: Ceremonial March of the Ton Wisas Company

Plate 23: Purification Ceremony of the Society of Otters, a Seneca women's winter ceremony