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During the bi-centennial year of The Constitution of the

United States, a number of books were written concerning the

origin of that long-revered document. One of these, The Genius

of the People, alleged that after the many weeks of debate a

committee sat to combine the many agreements into one formal

document. The chairman of the committee was John Rutledge of

South Carolina. He had served in an earlier time, along with

Ben Franklin and others, at the Stamp Act Congress, held in

Albany, New York. This Committee of Detail was having trouble

deciding just how to formalize the many items of discussion

into one document that would satisfy one and all. Rutledge

proposed they model the new government they were forming into

something along the lines of the Iroquois League of Nations,

which had been functioning as a democratic government for

hundreds of years, and which he had observed in Albany. While

there were many desirable, as well as undesirable, models

from ancient and modern histories in Europe and what we know

now as the Middle East, only the Iroquois had a system that

seemed to meet most of the demands espoused by the many parties

to the debates. The Genius of the People alleged that the

Iroquois had a Constitution which began: "We the people,

to form a union. . ."

That one sentence was enough to light a fire under me,

and cause me to do some deep research into ancient Iroquoian

lore. I never did find that one sentence backed up in what

writings there are concerning the ancient Iroquois. But I DID

find sufficient data and evidence to convince me that the

Iroquois most certainly did have a considerable influence on

the drafting of our own Constitution, and we present-day

Americans owe them a very large debt. At the time of the

founding of the Iroquois League of Nations, no written language

existed; we have only the early stories which were passed down

from generation to generation, until such time as there was a

written language, and interpreters available, to record that

early history. One such document is listed below.

There are several other documents now available in various

places which refer to the original founding of the Iroquois,

and they seem to substantiate this document as probably

truthful and accurate. This version was prepared by Arthur

C. Parker, Archeologist of the State Museum in New York in

1915, and published by the University of the State of New York

as Bulletin 184 on April 1, 1916. It is entitled: The

Constitution of the Five Nations - or - The Iroquois Book of

the Great Law. In it, you will find close parallels to our

Executive, Legislative and Judiciary branches of government

as originally described in our U. S. Constitution.

You will find it very difficult to keep in mind that it

survives after some 500 or 600 years, and was originated by

people that our ancestors mistakenly considered as "savages".

Some sources place the origin of the Five Nation Confederacy as

early as 1390 AD, but others insist it was prepared about

1450-1500 AD; in any case, it was well before any possible

contamination by European invaders. Early explorers and

colonists found the Iroquois well established, as they had been

for many generations: with a democratic government; with a form

of religion that acknowledged a Creator in heaven; with a

strong sense of family which was based on, and controlled by,

their women; and many other surprises you will soon discover.

It must also be pointed out that this document refers to

to the "Five" Nations, while other references to the Confederacy

speak of the "Six" nations. From the inception, there were the

Five Nations discussed in this Constitution. In about 1715,

the Tuscarora Nation, once part of the Iroquois peoples in a

much earlier period of their history, moved up from North

Carolina to avoid warfare with the invading white settlers,

and were adopted into the Confederacy. At this point in time,

the Iroquois controlled many parts of our now eastern states

from their homelands in what is now New York state. The

original Five Nations were:

Mohawk: People Possessors of the Flint

Onondaga: People on the Hills

Seneca: Great Hill People

Oneida: Granite People

Cayuga: People at the Mucky Land

Tuscarora: Shirt Wearing People became the Sixth Nation.

The founder of the Confederacy of the Five Nations is

generally acknowledged to be Dekanawida, born near the Bay of

Quinte, in southeastern Ontario, Canada. During his travels,

he associated himself with a Mohawk tribal lord in what is now

New York, and named him Hahyonhwatha (Hiawatha) (He who has

misplaced something, but knows where to find it). Hiawatha

left his family and friends, and joined Dekanawida in his

travels, becoming his chief spokesman. One legend has it

that Dekanawida, while brilliant, had a speech impediment,

and depended on Hiawatha to do his public speaking for him.

Together, they traveled the length and breadth of the lands

on the south shores of Lakes Erie and Ontario, as well as the

river to the sea, now known as the St. Lawrence. These were

the homelands of tribes with a common heritage, but who had

been warring with one another for many years. Dekanawida

united them into a League of Nations that we now call the

Iroquois League. Centuries later, Longfellow "borrowed" the

name of Hiawatha to be his hero in a fictional legend; there

is no other connection between the two Hiawathas nor their


Here is their original Constitution, as best it can be

recontructed from legend and spoken history. Read it and be

amazed...keep in mind it is over 500 years old!


Prepared by Gerald Murphy (The Cleveland Free-Net - aa300)

Distributed by the Cybercasting Services Division of the

National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN).

Permission is hereby granted to download, reprint, and/or otherwise

redistribute this file, provided appropriate point of origin

credit is given to the preparer(s) and the National Public

Telecomputing Network.



1. I am Dekanawidah and with the Five Nations' Confederate

Lords I plant the Tree of Great Peace. I plant it in your

territory, Adodarhoh, and the Onondaga Nation, in the territory

of you who are Firekeepers.

I name the tree the Tree of the Great Long Leaves. Under

the shade of this Tree of the Great Peace we spread the soft

white feathery down of the globe thistle as seats for you,

Adodarhoh, and your cousin Lords.

We place you upon those seats, spread soft with the

feathery down of the globe thistle, there beneath the shade of

the spreading branches of the Tree of Peace. There shall you

sit and watch the Council Fire of the Confederacy of the Five

Nations, and all the affairs of the Five Nations shall be

transacted at this place before you, Adodarhoh, and your cousin

Lords, by the Confederate Lords of the Five Nations.

2. Roots have spread out from the Tree of the Great Peace,

one to the north, one to the east, one to the south and one to

the west. The name of these roots is The Great White Roots and

their nature is Peace and Strength.

If any man or any nation outside the Five Nations shall

obey the laws of the Great Peace and make known their

disposition to the Lords of the Confederacy, they may trace the

Roots to the Tree and if their minds are clean and they are

obedient and promise to obey the wishes of the Confederate

Council, they shall be welcomed to take shelter beneath the

Tree of the Long Leaves.

We place at the top of the Tree of the Long Leaves an

Eagle who is able to see afar. If he sees in the distance any

evil approaching or any danger threatening he will at once warn

the people of the Confederacy.

3. To you Adodarhoh, the Onondaga cousin Lords, I and the

other Confederate Lords have entrusted the caretaking and the

watching of the Five Nations Council Fire.

When there is any business to be transacted and the

Confederate Council is not in session, a messenger shall be

dispatched either to Adodarhoh, Hononwirehtonh or Skanawatih,

Fire Keepers, or to their War Chiefs with a full statement of

the case desired to be considered. Then shall Adodarhoh call

his cousin (associate) Lords together and consider whether or

not the case is of sufficient importance to demand the

attention of the Confederate Council. If so, Adodarhoh shall

dispatch messengers to summon all the Confederate Lords to

assemble beneath the Tree of the Long Leaves.

When the Lords are assembled the Council Fire shall be

kindled, but not with chestnut wood, and Adodarhoh shall

formally open the Council.

[ ed note: chestnut wood throws out sparks in burning,

thereby creating a disturbance in the council ]

Then shall Adodarhoh and his cousin Lords, the Fire

Keepers, announce the subject for discussion.

The Smoke of the Confederate Council Fire shall ever

ascend and pierce the sky so that other nations who may be

allies may see the Council Fire of the Great Peace.

Adodarhoh and his cousin Lords are entrusted with the

Keeping of the Council Fire.

4. You, Adodarhoh, and your thirteen cousin Lords, shall

faithfully keep the space about the Council Fire clean and you

shall allow neither dust nor dirt to accumulate. I lay a Long

Wing before you as a broom. As a weapon against a crawling

creature I lay a staff with you so that you may thrust it away

from the Council Fire. If you fail to cast it out then call

the rest of the United Lords to your aid.

5. The Council of the Mohawk shall be divided into three

parties as follows: Tekarihoken, Ayonhwhathah and Shadekariwade

are the first party; Sharenhowaneh, Deyoenhegwenh and

Oghrenghrehgowah are the second party, and Dehennakrineh,

Aghstawenserenthah and Shoskoharowaneh are the third party.

The third party is to listen only to the discussion of the

first and second parties and if an error is made or the

proceeding is irregular they are to call attention to it, and

when the case is right and properly decided by the two parties

they shall confirm the decision of the two parties and refer

the case to the Seneca Lords for their decision. When the

Seneca Lords have decided in accord with the Mohawk Lords, the

case or question shall be referred to the Cayuga and Oneida

Lords on the opposite side of the house.

6. I, Dekanawidah, appoint the Mohawk Lords the heads and the

leaders of the Five Nations Confederacy. The Mohawk Lords are

the foundation of the Great Peace and it shall, therefore, be

against the Great Binding Law to pass measures in the

Confederate Council after the Mohawk Lords have protested

against them.

No council of the Confederate Lords shall be legal unless

all the Mohawk Lords are present.

7. Whenever the Confederate Lords shall assemble for the

purpose of holding a council, the Onondaga Lords shall open it

by expressing their gratitude to their cousin Lords and

greeting them, and they shall make an address and offer thanks

to the earth where men dwell, to the streams of water, the

pools, the springs and the lakes, to the maize and the fruits,

to the medicinal herbs and trees, to the forest trees for their

usefulness, to the animals that serve as food and give their

pelts for clothing, to the great winds and the lesser winds, to

the Thunderers, to the Sun, the mighty warrior, to the moon, to

the messengers of the Creator who reveal his wishes and to the

Great Creator who dwells in the heavens above, who gives all

the things useful to men, and who is the source and the ruler

of health and life.

Then shall the Onondaga Lords declare the council open.

The council shall not sit after darkness has set in.

8. The Firekeepers shall formally open and close all councils

of the Confederate Lords, and they shall pass upon all matters

deliberated upon by the two sides and render their decision.

Every Onondaga Lord (or his deputy) must be present at

every Confederate Council and must agree with the majority

without unwarrantable dissent, so that a unanimous decision may

be rendered.

If Adodarhoh or any of his cousin Lords are absent from a

Confederate Council, any other Firekeeper may open and close

the Council, but the Firekeepers present may not give any

decisions, unless the matter is of small importance.

9. All the business of the Five Nations Confederate Council

shall be conducted by the two combined bodies of Confederate

Lords. First the question shall be passed upon by the Mohawk

and Seneca Lords, then it shall be discussed and passed by the

Oneida and Cayuga Lords. Their decisions shall then be

referred to the Onondaga Lords, (Fire Keepers) for final


The same process shall obtain when a question is brought

before the council by an individual or a War Chief.

10. In all cases the procedure must be as follows: when the

Mohawk and Seneca Lords have unanimously agreed upon a

question, they shall report their decision to the Cayuga and

Oneida Lords who shall deliberate upon the question and report

a unanimous decision to the Mohawk Lords. The Mohawk Lords

will then report the standing of the case to the Firekeepers,

who shall render a decision as they see fit in case of a

disagreement by the two bodies, or confirm the decisions of the

two bodies if they are identical. The Fire Keepers shall then

report their decision to the Mohawk Lords who shall announce it

to the open council.

11. If through any misunderstanding or obstinacy on the part

of the Fire Keepers, they render a decision at variance with

that of the Two Sides, the Two Sides shall reconsider the

matter and if their decisions are jointly the same as before

they shall report to the Fire Keepers who are then compelled to

confirm their joint decision.

12. When a case comes before the Onondaga Lords (Fire Keepers)

for discussion and decsion, Adodarho shall introduce the matter

to his comrade Lords who shall then discuss it in their two

bodies. Every Onondaga Lord except Hononwiretonh shall

deliberate and he shall listen only. When a unanimous decision

shall have been reached by the two bodies of Fire Keepers,

Adodarho shall notify Hononwiretonh of the fact when he shall

confirm it. He shall refuse to confirm a decision if it is not

unanimously agreed upon by both sides of the Fire Keepers.

13. No Lord shall ask a question of the body of Confederate

Lords when they are discussing a case, question or

proposition. He may only deliberate in a low tone with the

separate body of which he is a member.

14. When the Council of the Five Nation Lords shall convene

they shall appoint a speaker for the day. He shall be a Lord

of either the Mohawk, Onondaga or Seneca Nation.

The next day the Council shall appoint another speaker,

but the first speaker may be reappointed if there is no

objection, but a speaker's term shall not be regarded more

than for the day.

15. No individual or foreign nation interested in a case,

question or proposition shall have any voice in the Confederate

Council except to answer a question put to him or them by the

speaker for the Lords.

16. If the conditions which shall arise at any future time

call for an addition to or change of this law, the case shall

be carefully considered and if a new beam seems necessary or

beneficial, the proposed change shall be voted upon and if

adopted it shall be called, "Added to the Rafters".

Rights, Duties and Qualifications of Lords

17. A bunch of a certain number of shell (wampum) strings

each two spans in length shall be given to each of the female

families in which the Lordship titles are vested. The right

of bestowing the title shall be hereditary in the family of

the females legally possessing the bunch of shell strings and

the strings shall be the token that the females of the family

have the proprietary right to the Lordship title for all time

to come, subject to certain restrictions hereinafter mentioned.

18. If any Confederate Lord neglects or refuses to attend the

Confederate Council, the other Lords of the Nation of which he

is a member shall require their War Chief to request the female

sponsors of the Lord so guilty of defection to demand his

attendance of the Council. If he refuses, the women holding

the title shall immediately select another candidate for the


No Lord shall be asked more than once to attend the

Confederate Council.

19. If at any time it shall be manifest that a Confederate

Lord has not in mind the welfare of the people or disobeys the

rules of this Great Law, the men or women of the Confederacy,

or both jointly, shall come to the Council and upbraid the

erring Lord through his War Chief. If the complaint of the

people through the War Chief is not heeded the first time it

shall be uttered again and then if no attention is given a

third complaint and warning shall be given. If the Lord is

contumacious the matter shall go to the council of War Chiefs.

The War Chiefs shall then divest the erring Lord of his title

by order of the women in whom the titleship is vested. When

the Lord is deposed the women shall notify the Confederate

Lords through their War Chief, and the Confederate Lords shall

sanction the act. The women will then select another of their

sons as a candidate and the Lords shall elect him. Then shall

the chosen one be installed by the Installation Ceremony.

When a Lord is to be deposed, his War Chief shall address

him as follows:

"So you, __________, disregard and set at naught the

warnings of your women relatives. So you fling the warnings

over your shoulder to cast them behind you.

"Behold the brightness of the Sun and in the brightness of

the Sun's light I depose you of your title and remove the

sacred emblem of your Lordship title. I remove from your brow

the deer's antlers, which was the emblem of your position and

token of your nobility. I now depose you and return the

antlers to the women whose heritage they are."

The War Chief shall now address the women of the deposed

Lord and say:

"Mothers, as I have now deposed your Lord, I now return to

you the emblem and the title of Lordship, therefore repossess


Again addressing himself to the deposed Lord he shall say:

"As I have now deposed and discharged you so you are now

no longer Lord. You shall now go your way alone, the rest of

the people of the Confederacy will not go with you, for we know

not the kind of mind that possesses you. As the Creator has

nothing to do with wrong so he will not come to rescue you from

the precipice of destruction in which you have cast yourself.

You shall never be restored to the position which you once


Then shall the War Chief address himself to the Lords of

the Nation to which the deposed Lord belongs and say:

"Know you, my Lords, that I have taken the deer's antlers

from the brow of ___________, the emblem of his position and

token of his greatness."

The Lords of the Confederacy shall then have no other

alternative than to sanction the discharge of the offending


20. If a Lord of the Confederacy of the Five Nations should

commit murder the other Lords of the Nation shall assemble at

the place where the corpse lies and prepare to depose the

criminal Lord. If it is impossible to meet at the scene of the

crime the Lords shall discuss the matter at the next Council of

their Nation and request their War Chief to depose the Lord

guilty of crime, to "bury" his women relatives and to transfer

the Lordship title to a sister family.

The War Chief shall address the Lord guilty of murder and


"So you, __________ (giving his name) did kill __________

(naming the slain man), with your own hands! You have comitted

a grave sin in the eyes of the Creator. Behold the bright

light of the Sun, and in the brightness of the Sun's light I

depose you of your title and remove the horns, the sacred

emblems of your Lordship title. I remove from your brow the

deer's antlers, which was the emblem of your position and token

of your nobility. I now depose you and expel you and you shall

depart at once from the territory of the Five Nations

Confederacy and nevermore return again. We, the Five Nations

Confederacy, moreover, bury your women relatives because the

ancient Lordship title was never intended to have any union

with bloodshed. Henceforth it shall not be their heritage.

By the evil deed that you have done they have forfeited it


The War Chief shall then hand the title to a sister

family and he shall address it and say:

"Our mothers, ____________, listen attentively while I

address you on a solemn and important subject. I hereby

transfer to you an ancient Lordship title for a great calamity

has befallen it in the hands of the family of a former Lord.

We trust that you, our mothers, will always guard it, and that

you will warn your Lord always to be dutiful and to advise his

people to ever live in love, poeace and harmony that a great

calamity may never happen again."

21. Certain physical defects in a Confederate Lord make him

ineligible to sit in the Confederate Council. Such defects are

infancy, idiocy, blindness, deafness, dumbness and impotency.

When a Confederate Lord is restricted by any of these

condition, a deputy shall be appointed by his sponsors to act

for him, but in case of extreme necessity the restricted Lord

may exercise his rights.

22. If a Confederate Lord desires to resign his title he shall

notify the Lords of the Nation of which he is a member of his

intention. If his coactive Lords refuse to accept his

resignation he may not resign his title.

A Lord in proposing to resign may recommend any proper

candidate which recommendation shall be received by the Lords,

but unless confirmed and nominated by the women who hold the

title the candidate so named shall not be considered.

23. Any Lord of the Five Nations Confederacy may construct

shell strings (or wampum belts) of any size or length as

pledges or records of matters of national or international


When it is necessary to dispatch a shell string by a War

Chief or other messenger as the token of a summons, the

messenger shall recite the contents of the string to the party

to whom it is sent. That party shall repeat the message and

return the shell string and if there has been a sumons he shall

make ready for the journey.

Any of the people of the Five Nations may use shells (or

wampum) as the record of a pledge, contract or an agreement

entered into and the same shall be binding as soon as shell

strings shall have been exchanged by both parties.

24. The Lords of the Confederacy of the Five Nations shall be

mentors of the people for all time. The thickness of their

skin shall be seven spans -- which is to say that they shall

be proof against anger, offensive actions and criticism. Their

hearts shall be full of peace and good will and their minds

filled with a yearning for the welfare of the people of the

Confederacy. With endless patience they shall carry out their

duty and their firmness shall be tempered with a tenderness for

their people. Neither anger nor fury shall find lodgement in

their minds and all their words and actions shall be marked by

calm deliberation.

25. If a Lord of the Confederacy should seek to establish any

authority independent of the jurisdiction of the Confederacy of

the Great Peace, which is the Five Nations, he shall be warned

three times in open council, first by the women relatives,

second by the men relatives and finally by the Lords of the

Confederacy of the Nation to which he belongs. If the

offending Lord is still obdurate he shall be dismissed by the

War Chief of his nation for refusing to conform to the laws of

the Great Peace. His nation shall then install the candidate

nominated by the female name holders of his family.

26. It shall be the duty of all of the Five Nations

Confederate Lords, from time to time as occasion demands, to

act as mentors and spiritual guides of their people and remind

them of their Creator's will and words. They shall say:

"Hearken, that peace may continue unto future days!

"Always listen to the words of the Great Creator, for he

has spoken.

"United people, let not evil find lodging in your minds.

"For the Great Creator has spoken and the cause of Peace

shall not become old.

"The cause of peace shall not die if you remember the

Great Creator."

Every Confederate Lord shall speak words such as these to

promote peace.

27. All Lords of the Five Nations Confederacy must be honest

in all things. They must not idle or gossip, but be men

possessing those honorable qualities that make true royaneh.

It shall be a serious wrong for anyone to lead a Lord into

trivial affairs, for the people must ever hold their Lords high

in estimation out of respect to their honorable positions.

28. When a candidate Lord is to be installed he shall furnish

four strings of shells (or wampum) one span in length bound

together at one end. Such will constitute the evidence of his

pledge to the Confederate Lords that he will live according to

the constitution of the Great Peace and exercise justice in all


When the pledge is furnished the Speaker of the Council

must hold the shell strings in his hand and address the

opposite side of the Council Fire and he shall commence his

address saying: "Now behold him. He has now become a

Confederate Lord. See how splendid he looks." An address may

then follow. At the end of it he shall send the bunch of shell

strings to the oposite side and they shall be received as

evidence of the pledge. Then shall the opposite side say:

"We now do crown you with the sacred emblem of the deer's

antlers, the emblem of your Lordship. You shall now become a

mentor of the people of the Five Nations. The thickness of

your skin shall be seven spans -- which is to say that you

shall be proof against anger, offensive actions and criticism.

Your heart shall be filled with peace and good will and your

mind filled with a yearning for the welfare of the people of

the Confederacy. With endless patience you shall carry out

your duty and your firmness shall be tempered with tenderness

for your people. Neither anger nor fury shall find lodgement

in your mind and all your words and actions shall be marked

with calm deliberation. In all of your deliberations in the

Confederate Council, in your efforts at law making, in all your

official acts, self interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast

not over your shoulder behind you the warnings of the nephews

and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may

do, but return to the way of the Great Law which is just and

right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and

have always in view not only the present but also the coming

generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface

of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation."

29. When a Lordship title is to be conferred, the candidate

Lord shall furnish the cooked venison, the corn bread and the

corn soup, together with other necessary things and the labor

for the Conferring of Titles Festival.

30. The Lords of the Confederacy may confer the Lordship title

upon a candidate whenever the Great Law is recited, if there be

a candidate, for the Great Law speaks all the rules.

31. If a Lord of the Confederacy should become seriously ill

and be thought near death, the women who are heirs of his title

shall go to his house and lift his crown of deer antlers, the

emblem of his Lordship, and place them at one side. If the

Creator spares him and he rises from his bed of sickness he may

rise with the antlers on his brow.

The following words shall be used to temporarily remove

the antlers:

"Now our comrade Lord (or our relative Lord) the time has

come when we must approach you in your illness. We remove for

a time the deer's antlers from your brow, we remove the emblem

of your Lordship title. The Great Law has decreed that no Lord

should end his life with the antlers on his brow. We therefore

lay them aside in the room. If the Creator spares you and you

recover from your illness you shall rise from your bed with the

antlers on your brow as before and you shall resume your duties

as Lord of the Confederacy and you may labor again for the

Confederate people."

32. If a Lord of the Confederacy should die while the Council

of the Five Nations is in session the Council shall adjourn for

ten days. No Confederate Council shall sit within ten days of

the death of a Lord of the Confederacy.

If the Three Brothers (the Mohawk, the Onondaga and the

Seneca) should lose one of their Lords by death, the Younger

Brothers (the Oneida and the Cayuga) shall come to the

surviving Lords of the Three Brothers on the tenth day and

console them. If the Younger Brothers lose one of their Lords

then the Three Brothers shall come to them and console them.

And the consolation shall be the reading of the contents of the

thirteen shell (wampum) strings of Ayonhwhathah. At the

termination of this rite a successor shall be appointed, to be

appointed by the women heirs of the Lordship title. If the

women are not yet ready to place their nominee before the Lords

the Speaker shall say, "Come let us go out." All shall leave

the Council or the place of gathering. The installation shall

then wait until such a time as the women are ready. The

Speaker shall lead the way from the house by saying, "Let us

depart to the edge of the woods and lie in waiting on our


When the women title holders shall have chosen one of

their sons the Confederate Lords will assemble in two places,

the Younger Brothers in one place and the Three Older Brothers

in another. The Lords who are to console the mourning Lords

shall choose one of their number to sing the Pacification Hymn

as they journey to the sorrowing Lords. The singer shall lead

the way and the Lords and the people shall follow. When they

reach the sorrowing Lords they shall hail the candidate Lord

and perform the rite of Conferring the Lordship Title.

33. When a Confederate Lord dies, the surviving relatives

shall immediately dispatch a messenger, a member of another

clan, to the Lords in another locality. When the runner comes

within hailing distance of the locality he shall utter a sad

wail, thus: "Kwa-ah, Kwa-ah, Kwa-ah!" The sound shall be

repeated three times and then again and again at intervals as

many times as the distance may require. When the runner

arrives at the settlement the people shall assemble and one

must ask him the nature of his sad message. He shall then say,

"Let us consider." Then he shall tell them of the death of the

Lord. He shall deliver to them a string of shells (wampum) and

say "Here is the testimony, you have heard the message." He

may then return home.

It now becomes the duty of the Lords of the locality to

send runners to other localities and each locality shall send

other messengers until all Lords are notified. Runners shall

travel day and night.

34. If a Lord dies and there is no candidate qualified for the

office in the family of the women title holders, the Lords of

the Nation shall give the title into the hands of a sister

family in the clan until such a time as the original family

produces a candidate, when the title shall be restored to the

rightful owners.

No Lordship title may be carried into the grave. The

Lords of the Confederacy may dispossess a dead Lord of his

title even at the grave.

Election of Pine Tree Chiefs

35. Should any man of the Nation assist with special ability

or show great interest in the affairs of the Nation, if he

proves himself wise, honest and worthy of confidence, the

Confederate Lords may elect him to a seat with them and he may

sit in the Confederate Council. He shall be proclaimed a 'Pine

Tree sprung up for the Nation' and shall be installed as such

at the next assembly for the installation of Lords. Should he

ever do anything contrary to the rules of the Great Peace, he

may not be deposed from office -- no one shall cut him down --

but thereafter everyone shall be deaf to his voice and his

advice. Should he resign his seat and title no one shall

prevent him. A Pine Tree chief has no authority to name a

successor nor is his title hereditary.

Names, Duties and Rights of War Chiefs

36. The title names of the Chief Confederate Lords' War Chiefs

shall be:

Ayonwaehs, War Chief under Lord Takarihoken (Mohawk)

Kahonwahdironh, War Chief under Lord Odatshedeh (Oneida)

Ayendes, War Chief under Lord Adodarhoh (Onondaga)

Wenenhs, War Chief under Lord Dekaenyonh (Cayuga)

Shoneradowaneh, War Chief under Lord Skanyadariyo (Seneca)

The women heirs of each head Lord's title shall be the

heirs of the War Chief's title of their respective Lord.

The War Chiefs shall be selected from the eligible sons of

the female families holding the head Lordship titles.

37. There shall be one War Chief for each Nation and their

duties shall be to carry messages for their Lords and to take

up the arms of war in case of emergency. They shall not

participate in the proceedings of the Confederate Council but

shall watch its progress and in case of an erroneous action by

a Lord they shall receive the complaints of the people and

convey the warnings of the women to him. The people who wish

to convey messages to the Lords in the Confederate Council

shall do so through the War Chief of their Nation. It shall

ever be his duty to lay the cases, questions and propositions

of the people before the Confederate Council.

38. When a War Chief dies another shall be installed by the

same rite as that by which a Lord is installed.

39. If a War Chief acts contrary to instructions or against

the provisions of the Laws of the Great Peace, doing so in the

capacity of his office, he shall be deposed by his women

relatives and by his men relatives. Either the women or the

men alone or jointly may act in such a case. The women title

holders shall then choose another candidate.

40. When the Lords of the Confederacy take occasion to

dispatch a messenger in behalf of the Confederate Council,

they shall wrap up any matter they may send and instruct the

messenger to remember his errand, to turn not aside but to

proceed faithfully to his destination and deliver his message

according to every instruction.

41. If a message borne by a runner is the warning of an

invasion he shall whoop, "Kwa-ah, Kwa-ah," twice and repeat

at short intervals; then again at a longer interval.

If a human being is found dead, the finder shall not touch

the body but return home immediately shouting at short

intervals, "Koo-weh!"

Clans and Consanguinity

42. Among the Five Nations and their posterity there shall be

the following original clans: Great Name Bearer, Ancient Name

Bearer, Great Bear, Ancient Bear, Turtle, Painted Turtle,

Standing Rock, Large Plover, Deer, Pigeon Hawk, Eel, Ball,

Opposite-Side-of-the-Hand, and Wild Potatoes. These clans

distributed through their respective Nations, shall be the sole

owners and holders of the soil of the country and in them is it

vested as a birthright.

43. People of the Five Nations members of a certain clan shall

recognize every other member of that clan, irrespective of the

Nation, as relatives. Men and women, therefore, members of the

same clan are forbidden to marry.

44. The lineal descent of the people of the Five Nations shall

run in the female line. Women shall be considered the

progenitors of the Nation. They shall own the land and the

soil. Men and women shall follow the status of the mother.

45. The women heirs of the Confederated Lordship titles shall

be called Royaneh (Noble) for all time to come.

46. The women of the Forty Eight (now fifty) Royaneh families

shall be the heirs of the Authorized Names for all time to come.

When an infant of the Five Nations is given an Authorized

Name at the Midwinter Festival or at the Ripe Corn Festival,

one in the cousinhood of which the infant is a member shall be

appointed a speaker. He shall then announce to the opposite

cousinhood the names of the father and the mother of the child

together with the clan of the mother. Then the speaker shall

announce the child's name twice. The uncle of the child shall

then take the child in his arms and walking up and down the

room shall sing: "My head is firm, I am of the Confederacy."

As he sings the opposite cousinhood shall respond by chanting,

"Hyenh, Hyenh, Hyenh, Hyenh," until the song is ended.

47. If the female heirs of a Confederate Lord's title become

extinct, the title right shall be given by the Lords of the

Confederacy to the sister family whom they shall elect and that

family shall hold the name and transmit it to their (female)

heirs, but they shall not appoint any of their sons as a

candidate for a title until all the eligible men of the former

family shall have died or otherwise have become ineligible.

48. If all the heirs of a Lordship title become extinct, and

all the families in the clan, then the title shall be given by

the Lords of the Confederacy to the family in a sister clan

whom they shall elect.

49. If any of the Royaneh women, heirs of a titleship, shall

wilfully withhold a Lordship or other title and refuse to

bestow it, or if such heirs abandon, forsake or despise their

heritage, then shall such women be deemed buried and their

family extinct. The titleship shall then revert to a sister

family or clan upon application and complaint. The Lords of

the Confederacy shall elect the family or clan which shall in

future hold the title.

50. The Royaneh women of the Confederacy heirs of the Lordship

titles shall elect two women of their family as cooks for the

Lord when the people shall assemble at his house for business

or other purposes.

It is not good nor honorable for a Confederate Lord to

allow his people whom he has called to go hungry.

51. When a Lord holds a conference in his home, his wife, if

she wishes, may prepare the food for the Union Lords who

assemble with him. This is an honorable right which she may

exercise and an expression of her esteem.

52. The Royaneh women, heirs of the Lordship titles, shall,

should it be necessary, correct and admonish the holders of

their titles. Those only who attend the Council may do this

and those who do not shall not object to what has been said nor

strive to undo the action.

53. When the Royaneh women, holders of a Lordship title,

select one of their sons as a candidate, they shall select one

who is trustworthy, of good character, of honest disposition,

one who manages his own affairs, supports his own family, if

any, and who has proven a faithful man to his Nation.

54. When a Lordship title becomes vacant through death or

other cause, the Royaneh women of the clan in which the title

is hereditary shall hold a council and shall choose one from

among their sons to fill the office made vacant. Such a

candidate shall not be the father of any Confederate Lord.

If the choice is unanimous the name is referred to the men

relatives of the clan. If they should disapprove it shall be

their duty to select a candidate from among their own number.

If then the men and women are unable to decide which of the two

candidates shall be named, then the matter shall be referred to

the Confederate Lords in the Clan. They shall decide which

candidate shall be named. If the men and the women agree to a

candidate his name shall be referred to the sister clans for

confirmation. If the sister clans confirm the choice, they

shall refer their action to their Confederate Lords who shall

ratify the choice and present it to their cousin Lords, and if

the cousin Lords confirm the name then the candidate shall be

installed by the proper ceremony for the conferring of Lordship


Official Symbolism

55. A large bunch of shell strings, in the making of which the

Five Nations Confederate Lords have equally contributed, shall

symbolize the completeness of the union and certify the pledge

of the nations represented by the Confederate Lords of the

Mohawk, the Oneida, the Onondaga, the Cayuga and the Senecca,

that all are united and formed into one body or union called

the Union of the Great Law, which they have established.

A bunch of shell strings is to be the symbol of the

council fire of the Five Nations Confederacy. And the Lord

whom the council of Fire Keepers shall appoint to speak for

them in opening the council shall hold the strands of shells

in his hands when speaking. When he finishes speaking he shall

deposit the strings on an elevated place (or pole) so that all

the assembled Lords and the people may see it and know that the

council is open and in progress.

When the council adjourns the Lord who has been appointed

by his comrade Lords to close it shall take the strands of

shells in his hands and address the assembled Lords. Thus will

the council adjourn until such time and place as appointed by

the council. Then shall the shell strings be placed in a place

for safekeeping.

Every five years the Five Nations Confederate Lords and

the people shall assemble together and shall ask one another if

their minds are still in the same spirit of unity for the Great

Binding Law and if any of the Five Nations shall not pledge

continuance and steadfastness to the pledge of unity then the

Great Binding Law shall dissolve.

56. Five strings of shell tied together as one shall represent

the Five Nations. Each string shall represent one territory

and the whole a completely united territory known as the Five

Nations Confederate territory.

57. Five arrows shall be bound together very strong and each

arrow shall represent one nation. As the five arrows are

strongly bound this shall symbolize the complete union of the

nations. Thus are the Five Nations united completely and

enfolded together, united into one head, one body and one

mind. Therefore they shall labor, legislate and council

together for the interest of future generations.

The Lords of the Confederacy shall eat together from one

bowl the feast of cooked beaver's tail. While they are eating

they are to use no sharp utensils for if they should they might

accidentally cut one another and bloodshed would follow. All

measures must be taken to prevent the spilling of blood in any


58. There are now the Five Nations Confederate Lords standing

with joined hands in a circle. This signifies and provides

that should any one of the Confederate Lords leave the council

and this Confederacy his crown of deer's horns, the emblem of

his Lordship title, together with his birthright, shall lodge

on the arms of the Union Lords whose hands are so joined. He

forfeits his title and the crown falls from his brow but it

shall remain in the Confederacy.

A further meaning of this is that if any time any one of

the Confederate Lords choose to submit to the law of a foreign

people he is no longer in but out of the Confederacy, and

persons of this class shall be called "They have alienated

themselves." Likewise such persons who submit to laws of

foreign nations shall forfeit all birthrights and claims on

the Five Nations Confederacy and territory.

You, the Five Nations Confederate Lords, be firm so that

if a tree falls on your joined arms it shall not separate or

weaken your hold. So shall the strength of the union be


59. A bunch of wampum shells on strings, three spans of the

hand in length, the upper half of the bunch being white and the

lower half black, and formed from equal contributions of the

men of the Five Nations, shall be a token that the men have

combined themselves into one head, one body and one thought,

and it shall also symbolize their ratification of the peace

pact of the Confederacy, whereby the Lords of the Five Nations

have established the Great Peace.

The white portion of the shell strings represent the women

and the black portion the men. The black portion, furthermore,

is a token of power and authority vested in the men of the Five


This string of wampum vests the people with the right to

correct their erring Lords. In case a part or all the Lords

pursue a course not vouched for by the people and heed not the

third warning of their women relatives, then the matter shall

be taken to the General Council of the women of the Five

Nations. If the Lords notified and warned three times fail to

heed, then the case falls into the hands of the men of the Five

Nations. The War Chiefs shall then, by right of such power and

authority, enter the open concil to warn the Lord or Lords to

return from the wrong course. If the Lords heed the warning

they shall say, "we will reply tomorrow." If then an answer is

returned in favor of justice and in accord with this Great Law,

then the Lords shall individualy pledge themselves again by

again furnishing the necessary shells for the pledge. Then

shall the War Chief or Chiefs exhort the Lords urging them to

be just and true.

Should it happen that the Lords refuse to heed the third

warning, then two courses are open: either the men may decide

in their council to depose the Lord or Lords or to club them to

death with war clubs. Should they in their council decide to

take the first course the War Chief shall address the Lord or

Lords, saying: "Since you the Lords of the Five Nations have

refused to return to the procedure of the Constitution, we now

declare your seats vacant, we take off your horns, the token of

your Lordship, and others shall be chosen and installed in your

seats, therefore vacate your seats."

Should the men in their council adopt the second course,

the War Chief shall order his men to enter the council, to take

positions beside the Lords, sitting bewteen them wherever

possible. When this is accomplished the War Chief holding in

his outstretched hand a bunch of black wampum strings shall say

to the erring Lords: "So now, Lords of the Five United Nations,

harken to these last words from your men. You have not heeded

the warnings of the women relatives, you have not heeded the

warnings of the General Council of women and you have not

heeded the warnings of the men of the nations, all urging you

to return to the right course of action. Since you are

determined to resist and to withhold justice from your people

there is only one course for us to adopt." At this point the

War Chief shall let drop the bunch of black wampum and the men

shall spring to their feet and club the erring Lords to death.

Any erring Lord may submit before the War Chief lets fall the

black wampum. Then his execution is withheld.

The black wampum here used symbolizes that the power to

execute is buried but that it may be raised up again by the

men. It is buried but when occasion arises they may pull it

up and derive their power and authority to act as here


60. A broad dark belt of wampum of thirty-eight rows, having a

white heart in the center, on either side of which are two

white squares all connected with the heart by white rows of

beads shall be the emblem of the unity of the Five Nations.

[ ed note: This is the Hiawatha Belt, now in the

Congressional Library. ]

The first of the squares on the left represents the Mohawk

nation and its territory; the second square on the left and the

one near the heart, represents the Oneida nation and its

territory; the white heart in the middle represents the

Onondaga nation and its territory, and it also means that the

heart of the Five Nations is single in its loyalty to the Great

Peace, that the Great Peace is lodged in the heart (meaning the

Onondaga Lords), and that the Council Fire is to burn there for

the Five Nations, and further, it means that the authority is

given to advance the cause of peace whereby hostile nations out

of the Confederacy shall cease warfare; the white square to the

right of the heart represents the Cayuga nation and its

territory and the fourth and last white square represents the

Seneca nation and its territory.

White shall here symbolize that no evil or jealous

thoughts shall creep into the minds of the Lords while in

Council under the Great Peace. White, the emblem of peace,

love, charity and equity surrounds and guards the Five Nations.

61. Should a great calamity threaten the generations rising

and living of the Five United Nations, then he who is able to

climb to the top of the Tree of the Great Long Leaves may do

so. When, then, he reaches the top of the tree he shall look

about in all directions, and, should he see that evil things

indeed are approaching, then he shall call to the people of the

Five United Nations assembled beneath the Tree of the Great

Long Leaves and say: "A calamity threatens your happiness."

Then shall the Lords convene in council and discuss the

impending evil.

When all the truths relating to the trouble shall be

fully known and found to be truths, then shall the people seek

out a Tree of Ka-hon-ka-ah-go-nah, [ a great swamp Elm ], and

when they shall find it they shall assemble their heads

together and lodge for a time between its roots. Then, their

labors being finished, they may hope for happiness for many

days after.

62. When the Confederate Council of the Five Nations declares

for a reading of the belts of shell calling to mind these laws,

they shall provide for the reader a specially made mat woven of

the fibers of wild hemp. The mat shall not be used again, for

such formality is called the honoring of the importance of the


63. Should two sons of opposite sides of the council fire

agree in a desire to hear the reciting of the laws of the

Great Peace and so refresh their memories in the way ordained

by the founder of the Confederacy, they shall notify Adodarho.

He then shall consult with five of his coactive Lords and they

in turn shall consult with their eight brethern. Then should

they decide to accede to the request of the two sons from

opposite sides of the Council Fire, Adodarho shall send

messengers to notify the Chief Lords of each of the Five

Nations. Then they shall despatch their War Chiefs to notify

their brother and cousin Lords of the meeting and its time and


When all have come and have assembled, Adodarhoh, in

conjunction with his cousin Lords, shall appoint one Lord who

shall repeat the laws of the Great Peace. Then shall they

announce who they have chosen to repeat the laws of the Great

Peace to the two sons. Then shall the chosen one repeat the

laws of the Great Peace.

64. At the ceremony of the installation of Lords if there is

only one expert speaker and singer of the law and the

Pacification Hymn to stand at the council fire, then when this

speaker and singer has finished addressing one side of the fire

he shall go to the oposite side and reply to his own speech and

song. He shall thus act for both sidesa of the fire until the

entire ceremony has been completed. Such a speaker and singer

shall be termed the "Two Faced" because he speaks and sings for

both sides of the fire.

65. I, Dekanawida, and the Union Lords, now uproot the tallest

pine tree and into the cavity thereby made we cast all weapons

of war. Into the depths of the earth, down into the deep

underearth currents of water flowing to unknown regions we cast

all the weapons of strife. We bury them from sight and we

plant again the tree. Thus shall the Great Peace be

established and hostilities shall no longer be known between

the Five Nations but peace to the United People.

Laws of Adoption

66. The father of a child of great comliness, learning,

ability or specially loved because of some circumstance may, at

the will of the child's clan, select a name from his own (the

father's) clan and bestow it by ceremony, such as is provided.

This naming shall be only temporary and shall be called, "A

name hung about the neck."

67. Should any person, a member of the Five Nations'

Confederacy, specially esteem a man or woman of another clan or

of a foreign nation, he may choose a name and bestow it upon

that person so esteemed. The naming shall be in accord with

the ceremony of bestowing names. Such a name is only a

temporary one and shall be called "A name hung about the

neck." A short string of shells shall be delivered with the

name as a record and a pledge.

68. Should any member of the Five Nations, a family or person

belonging to a foreign nation submit a proposal for adoption

into a clan of one of the Five Nations, he or they shall

furnish a string of shells, a span in length, as a pledge to

the clan into which he or they wish to be adopted. The Lords

of the nation shall then consider the proposal and submit a


69. Any member of the Five Nations who through esteem or other

feeling wishes to adopt an individual, a family or number of

families may offer adoption to him or them and if accepted the

matter shall be brought to the attention of the Lords for

confirmation and the Lords must confirm adoption.

70. When the adoption of anyone shall have been confirmed by

the Lords of the Nation, the Lords shall address the people of

their nation and say: "Now you of our nation, be informed that

such a person, such a family or such families have ceased

forever to bear their birth nation's name and have buried it in

the depths of the earth. Henceforth let no one of our nation

ever mention the original name or nation of their birth. To do

so will be to hasten the end of our peace.

Laws of Emigration

71. When any person or family belonging to the Five Nations

desires to abandon their birth nation and the territory of the

Five Nations, they shall inform the Lords of their nation and

the Confederate Council of the Five Nations shall take

cognizance of it.

72. When any person or any of the people of the Five Nations

emigrate and reside in a region distant from the territory of

the Five Nations Confederacy, the Lords of the Five Nations at

will may send a messenger carrying a broad belt of black shells

and when the messenger arrives he shall call the people

together or address them personally displaying the belt of

shells and they shall know that this is an order for them to

return to their original homes and to their council fires.

Rights of Foreign Nations

73. The soil of the earth from one end of the land to the

other is the property of the people who inhabit it. By

birthright the Ongwehonweh (Original beings) are the owners

of the soil which they own and occupy and none other may hold

it. The same law has been held from the oldest times.

The Great Creator has made us of the one blood and of the

same soil he made us and as only different tongues constitute

different nations he established different hunting grounds and

territories and made boundary lines between them.

74. When any alien nation or individual is admitted into the

Five Nations the admission shall be understood only to be a

temporary one. Should the person or nation create loss, do

wrong or cause suffering of any kind to endanger the peace of

the Confederacy, the Confederate Lords shall order one of their

war chiefs to reprimand him or them and if a similar offence is

again committed the offending party or parties shall be

expelled from the territory of the Five United Nations.

75. When a member of an alien nation comes to the territory

of the Five Nations and seeks refuge and permanent residence,

the Lords of the Nation to which he comes shall extend

hospitality and make him a member of the nation. Then shall he

be accorded equal rights and privileges in all matters except

as after mentioned.

76. No body of alien people who have been adopted temporarily

shall have a vote in the council of the Lords of the

Confederacy, for only they who have been invested with Lordship

titles may vote in the Council. Aliens have nothing by blood

to make claim to a vote and should they have it, not knowing

all the traditions of the Confederacy, might go against its

Great Peace. In this manner the Great Peace would be

endangered and perhaps be destroyed.

77. When the Lords of the Confederacy decide to admit a

foreign nation and an adoption is made, the Lords shall inform

the adopted nation that its admission is only temporary. They

shall also say to the nation that it must never try to control,

to interfere with or to injure the Five Nations nor disregard

the Great Peace or any of its rules or customs. That in no way

should they cause disturbance or injury. Then should the

adopted nation disregard these injunctions, their adoption

shall be annuled and they shall be expelled.

The expulsion shall be in the following manner: The

council shall appoint one of their War Chiefs to convey the

message of annulment and he shall say, "You (naming the nation)

listen to me while I speak. I am here to inform you again of

the will of the Five Nations' Council. It was clearly made

known to you at a former time. Now the Lords of the Five

Nations have decided to expel you and cast you out. We disown

you now and annul your adoption. Therefore you must look for a

path in which to go and lead away all your people. It was you,

not we, who committed wrong and caused this sentence of

annulment. So then go your way and depart from the territory

of the Five Nations and from the Confederacy."

78. Whenever a foreign nation enters the Confederacy or

accepts the Great Peace, the Five Nations and the foreign

nation shall enter into an agreement and compact by which the

foreign nation shall endeavor to pursuade other nations to

accept the Great Peace.

Rights and Powers of War

79. Skanawatih shall be vested with a double office, duty and

with double authority. One-half of his being shall hold the

Lordship title and the other half shall hold the title of War

Chief. In the event of war he shall notify the five War Chiefs

of the Confederacy and command them to prepare for war and have

their men ready at the appointed time and place for engagement

with the enemy of the Great Peace.

80. When the Confederate Council of the Five Nations has for

its object the establishment of the Great Peace among the

people of an outside nation and that nation refuses to accept

the Great Peace, then by such refusal they bring a declaration

of war upon themselves from the Five Nations. Then shall the

Five Nations seek to establish the Great Peace by a conquest

of the rebellious nation.

81. When the men of the Five Nations, now called forth to

become warriors, are ready for battle with an obstinate

opposing nation that has refused to accept the Great Peace,

then one of the five War Chiefs shall be chosen by the warriors

of the Five Nations to lead the army into battle. It shall be

the duty of the War Chief so chosen to come before his warriors

and address them. His aim shall be to impress upon them the

necessity of good behavior and strict obedience to all the

commands of the War Chiefs. He shall deliver an oration

exhorting them with great zeal to be brave and courageous and

never to be guilty of cowardice. At the conclusion of his

oration he shall march forward and commence the War Song and he

shall sing:

Now I am greatly surprised

And, therefore I shall use it --

The powerr of my War Song.

I am of the Five Nations

And I shall make supplication

To the Almighty 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!

82. When the warriors of the Five Nations are on an

expedition against an enemy, the War Chief shall sing the War

Song as he approaches the country of the enemy and not cease

until his scouts have reported that the army is near the

enemies' lines when the War Chief shall approach with great

caution and prepare for the attack.

83. When peace shall have been established by the termination

of the war against a foreign nation, then the War Chief shall

cause all the weapons of war to be taken from the nation. Then

shall the Great Peace be established and that nation shall

observe all the rules of the Great Peace for all time to come.

84. Whenever a foreign nation is conquered or has by their

own will accepted the Great Peace their own system of internal

government may continue, but they must cease all warfare

against other nations.

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

that nation is about exterminated because of its refusal to

accept the Great Peace and if that nation shall by its obstinacy

become exterminated, all their rights, property and territory

shall become the property of the Five Nations.

86. Whenever a foreign nation is conquered and the survivors

are brought into the territory of the Five Nations' Confederacy

and placed under the Great Peace the two shall be known as the

Conqueror and the Conquered. A symbolic relationship shall be

devised and be placed in some symbolic position. The conquered

nation shall have no voice in the councils of the Confederacy

in the body of the Lords.

87. When the War of the Five Nations on a foreign rebellious

nation is ended, peace shall be restored to that nation by a

withdrawal of all their weapons of war by the War Chief of the

Five Nations. When all the terms of peace shall have been

agreed upon a state of friendship shall be established.

88. When the proposition to establish the Great Peace is

made to a foreign nation it shall be done in mutual council.

The foreign nation is to be persuaded by reason and urged to

come into the Great Peace. If the Five Nations fail to obtain

the consent of the nation at the first council a second council

shall be held and upon a second failure a third council shall

be held and this third council shall end the peaceful methods

of persuasion. At the third council the War Chief of the Five

nations shall address the Chief of the foreign nation and

request him three times to accept the Great Peace. If refusal

steadfastly follows the War Chief shall let the bunch of white

lake shells drop from his outstretched hand to the ground and

shall bound quickly forward and club the offending chief to

death. War shall thereby be declared and the War Chief shall

have his warriors at his back to meet any emergency. War must

continue until the contest is won by the Five Nations.

89. When the Lords of the Five Nations propose to meet in

conference with a foreign nation with proposals for an

acceptance of the Great Peace, a large band of warriors shall

conceal themselves in a secure place safe from the espionage

of the foreign nation but as near at hand as possible. Two

warriors shall accompany the Union Lord who carries the

proposals and these warriors shall be especially cunning.

Should the Lord be attacked, these warriors shall hasten back

to the army of warriors with the news of the calamity which

fell through the treachery of the foreign nation.

90. When the Five Nations' Council declares war any Lord of

the Confederacy may enlist with the warriors by temporarily

renouncing his sacred Lordship title which he holds through the

election of his women relatives. The title then reverts to

them and they may bestow it upon another temporarily until the

war is over when the Lord, if living, may resume his title and

seat in the Council.

91. A certain wampum belt of black beads shall be the emblem

of the authority of the Five War Chiefs to take up the weapons

of war and with their men to resist invasion. This shall be

called a war in defense of the territory.

Treason or Secession of a Nation

92. If a nation, part of a nation, or more than one nation

within the Five Nations should in any way endeavor to destroy

the Great Peace by neglect or violating its laws and resolve to

dissolve the Confederacy, such a nation or such nations shall

be deemed guilty of treason and called enemies of the

Confederacy and the Great Peace.

It shall then be the duty of the Lords of the Confederacy

who remain faithful to resolve to warn the offending people.

They shall be warned once and if a second warning is necessary

they shall be driven from the territory of the Confederacy by

the War Chiefs and his men.

Rights of the People of the Five Nations

93. Whenever a specially important matter or a great emergency

is presented before the Confederate Council and the nature of

the matter affects the entire body of the Five Nations,

threatening their utter ruin, then the Lords of the Confederacy

must submit the matter to the decision of their people and the

decision of the people shall affect the decision of the

Confederate Council. This decision shall be a confirmation of

the voice of the people.

94. The men of every clan of the Five Nations shall have a

Council Fire ever burning in readiness for a council of the

clan. When it seems necessary for a council to be held to

discuss the welfare of the clans, then the men may gather

about the fire. This council shall have the same rights

as the council of the women.

95. The women of every clan of the Five Nations shall have

a Council Fire ever burning in readiness for a council of the

clan. When in their opinion it seems necessary for the

interest of the people they shall hold a council and their

decisions and recommendations shall be introduced before the

Council of the Lords by the War Chief for its consideration.

96. All the Clan council fires of a nation or of the Five

Nations may unite into one general council fire, or delegates

from all the council fires may be appointeed to unite in a

general council for discussing the interests of the people.

The people shall have the right to make appointments and to

delegate their power to others of their number. When their

council shall have come to a conclusion on any matter, their

decision shall be reported to the Council of the Nation or to

the Confederate Council (as the case may require) by the War

Chief or the War Chiefs.

97. Before the real people united their nations, each nation

had its council fires. Before the Great Peace their councils

were held. The five Council Fires shall continue to burn as

before and they are not quenched. The Lords of each nation in

future shall settle their nation's affairs at this council fire

governed always by the laws and rules of the council of the

Confederacy and by the Great Peace.

98. If either a nephew or a niece see an irregularity in the

performance of the functions of the Great Peace and its laws,

in the Confederate Council or in the conferring of Lordship

titles in an improper way, through their War Chief they may

demand that such actions become subject to correction and that

the matter conform to the ways prescribed by the laws of the

Great Peace.

Religious Ceremonies Protected

99. The rites and festivals of each nation shall remain

undisturbed and shall continue as before because they were

given by the people of old times as useful and necessary

for the good of men.

100. It shall be the duty of the Lords of each brotherhood

to confer at the approach of the time of the Midwinter

Thanksgiving and to notify their people of the approaching

festival. They shall hold a council over the matter and

arrange its details and begin the Thanksgiving five days

after the moon of Dis-ko-nah is new. The people shall

assemble at the appointed place and the nephews shall notify

the people of the time and place. From the beginning to

the end the Lords shall preside over the Thanksgiving and

address the people from time to time.

101. It shall be the duty of the appointed managers of the

Thanksgiving festivals to do all that is needed for carrying

out the duties of the occasions.

The recognized festivals of Thanksgiving shall be the

Midwinter Thanksgiving, the Maple or Sugar-making Thanksgiving,

the Raspberry Thanksgiving, the Strawberry Thanksgiving, the

Cornplanting Thanksgiving, the Corn Hoeing Thanksgiving, the

Little Festival of Green Corn, the Great Festival of Ripe Corn

and the complete Thanksgiving for the Harvest.

Each nation's festivals shall be held in their Long


102. When the Thansgiving for the Green Corn comes the

special managers, both the men and women, shall give it

careful attention and do their duties properly.

103. When the Ripe Corn Thanksgiving is celebrated the Lords

of the Nation must give it the same attention as they give

to the Midwinter Thanksgiving.

104. Whenever any man proves himself by his good life and his

knowledge of good things, naturally fitted as a teacher of good

things, he shall be recognized by the Lords as a teacher of

peace and religion and the people shall hear him.

The Installation Song

105. The song used in installing the new Lord of the

Confederacy shall be sung by Adodarhoh and it shall be:

"Haii, haii Agwah wi-yoh

" " A-kon-he-watha

" " Ska-we-ye-se-go-wah

" " Yon-gwa-wih

" " Ya-kon-he-wa-tha

Haii, haii It is good indeed

" " (That) a broom, --

" " A great wing,

" " It is given me

" " For a sweeping instrument."

106. Whenever a person properly entitled desires to learn the

Pacification Song he is privileged to do so but he must prepare

a feast at which his teachers may sit with him and sing. The

feast is provided that no misfortune may befall them for

singing the song on an occasion when no chief is installed.

Protection of the House

107. A certain sign shall be known to all the people of the

Five Nations which shall denote that the owner or occupant of

a house is absent. A stick or pole in a slanting or leaning

position shall indicate this and be the sign. Every person not

entitled to enter the house by right of living within it upon

seeing such a sign shall not approach the house either by day

or by night but shall keep as far away as his business will


Funeral Addresses

108. At the funeral of a Lord of the Confederacy, say: Now we

become reconciled as you start away. You were once a Lord of

the Five Nations' Confederacy and the United People trusted

you. Now we release you for it is true that it is no longer

possible for us to walk about together on the earth. Now,

therefore, we lay it (the body) here. Here we lay it away.

Now then we say to you, 'Persevere onward to the place where

the Creator dwells in peace. Let not the things of the earth

hinder you. Let nothing that transpired while yet you lived

hinder you. In hunting you once took delight; in the game of

Lacrosse you once took delight and in the feasts and pleasant

occasions your mind was amused, but now do not allow thoughts

of these things to give you trouble. Let not your relatives

hinder you and also let not your friends and associates trouble

your mind. Regard none of these things.'

"Now then, in turn, you here present who were related to

this man and you who were his friends and associates, behold

the path that is yours also! Soon we ourselves will be left

in that place. For this reason hold yourselves in restraint

as you go from place to place. In your actions and in your

conversation do no idle thing. Speak not idle talk neither

gossip. Be careful of this and speak not and do not give way

to evil behavior. One year is the time that you must abstain

from unseemly levity but if you can not do this for ceremony,

ten days is the time to regard these things for respect."

109. At the funeral of a War Chief, say:

"Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were

once a War Chief of the Five Nations' Confederacy and the

United People trusted you as their guard from the enemy."

(The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral

of a Lord).

110. At the funeral of a Warrior, say:

"Now we become reconciled as you start away. Once you

were a devoted provider and protector of your family and you

were ever ready to take part in battles for the Five Nations'

Confederacy. The United People trusted you." (The remainder

is the same as the address at the funeral of a Lord).

111. At the funeral of a young man, say:

"Now we become reconciled as you start away. In the

beginning of your career you are taken away and the flower of

your life is withered away." (The remainder is the same as the

address at the funeral of a Lord).

112. At the funeral of a chief woman, say:

"Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were

once a chief woman in the Five Nations' Confederacy. You once

were a mother of the nations. Now we release you for it is

true that it is no longer possible for us to walk about

together on the earth. Now, therefore, we lay it (the body)

here. Here we lay it away. Now then we say to you, 'Persevere

onward to the place where the Creator dwells in peace. Let not

the things of the earth hinder you. Let nothing that

transpired while you lived hinder you. Looking after your

family was a sacred duty and you were faithful. You were one

of the many joint heirs of the Lordship titles. Feastings were

yours and you had pleasant occasions. . ." (The remainder is

the same as the address at the funeral of a Lord).

113. At the funeral of a woman of the people, say:

"Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were

once a woman in the flower of life and the bloom is now

withered away. You once held a sacred position as a mother

of the nation. (Etc.) Looking after your family was a sacred

duty and you were faithful. Feastings . . . (etc.)" (The

remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of a Lord).

114. At the funeral of an infant or young woman, say:

"Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were a

tender bud and gladdened our hearts for only a few days. Now

the bloom has withered away . . . (etc.) Let none of the

things that transpired on earth hinder you. Let nothing that

happened while you lived hinder you." (The remainder is the

same as the address at the funeral of a Lord).

[ Editors note: the above ellipses and 'etc.' remarks are

transcribed directly from the text I copied. ]

115. When an infant dies within three days, mourning shall

continue only five days. Then shall you gather the little boys

and girls at the house of mourning and at the funeral feast a

speaker shall address the children and bid them be happy once

more, though by a death, gloom has been cast over them. Then

shall the black clouds roll away and the sky shall show blue

once more. Then shall the children be again in sunshine.

116. When a dead person is brought to the burial place, the

speaker on the opposite side of the Council Fire shall bid the

bereaved family cheer their minds once again and rekindle their

hearth fires in peace, to put their house in order and once

again be in brightness for darkness has covered them. He shall

say that the black clouds shall roll away and that the bright

blue sky is visible once more. Therefore shall they be in

peace in the sunshine again.

117. Three strings of shell one span in length shall be

employed in addressing the assemblage at the burial of the

dead. The speaker shall say:

"Hearken you who are here, this body is to be covered.

Assemble in this place again ten days hence for it is the

decree of the Creator that mourning shall cease when ten days

have expired. Then shall a feast be 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 minds must now be freed of sorrow as

before the loss of a relative. The relatives have decided to

make a little compensation to those who have assisted at the

funeral. It is a mere expression of thanks. This is to the

one who did the cooking while the body was lying in the house.

Let her come forward and receive this gift and be dismissed

from the task." In substance this shall be repeated for every

one who assisted in any way until all have been remembered.


Prepared by Gerald Murphy (The Cleveland Free-Net - aa300)