Chiefs

Covenant Chain The role of the Chief in the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, while holding distinction, is to serve and be accountable to the nation. Chiefs are male leaders of the clans that serve as representatives of their clan in Grand Council.

Sometimes called Hoyaneh, meaning caretakers of the peace, the Chief is chosen by the Clan Mother. It is she who appoints the title which cannot be carried hereditarily through the male line. While the Chief's title belongs to the Clan Mother who installs him in his position he holds his title for life as long as he does not fall outside the guidelines set out for him upon his being raised up as Chief.

Clan Mothers choose men who are honest, reliable, and clear headed, with knowledge of confederacy laws and values. They must not gossip, have committed adultury and must possess honorable qualities that make them true mentors for their people. Chiefs must not have committed any crimes and any Chief to commit a crime while in office will be stripped of his title. Because of the criticism which can face leaders a Chief must be tough skinned and immune to harsh analysis as well he must be able to represent his people fairly. A Chief is a married man with children with the thought being that he will care for his community the same as he would his children.

Chiefs are to be mentors for their people. “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.” – Constitution of the Five Nations. During their time in power they may be called upon to remind their people of the will of the Creator.

Removing Chiefs is left to the authority of the Clan Mother. If she believes he is not acting for the benefit of the people she will warn him to change his actions. If his behaviour does not change after her warning she will then take him asside and remove his antlers, thus removing his authority as Chief. When a Chief becomes sick the Clan Mother will set his antlers on the wall to await a time when he is better. If he does not recover the antlers are passed on to the next Chief through a condolence ceremony.

Each nation has a different number of Chiefs though each has the same power and authority. The appointment of Chief is a sacred duty to ensure the future of their clan members for generations to come.

Pine Tree Chiefs

Within the Haudenosaunee Confederacy there allows for a position for a man who has proven himself worthy of belonging to Grand Council. Any man with special abilities who portrays all the values of a Chief and carries a special interest in the confederacy can be elected as a Pine Tree Chief to a seat in the Grand Council.

A Pine Tree Chief who acts against the rules of the Great Peace will not be removed from his position however his advice will not be considered.

Pine Tree Chiefs cannot name a successor and his title is not hereditary.

Currently there are no Pine Tree Chiefs within the confederacy.