CONFEDERACY'S CREATION

Hiawatha wampumThe Haundenosaunee Confederacy has been in place since time immemorial. The Peacemaker was sent by the Creator to spread the Kariwiio or good mind. With the help of Aiionwatha commonly known as Hiawatha, the Peacemaker taught the laws of peace to the Haudenosaunee. Travelling from community to community they both succeeded in persuading the Chiefs of each nation to join in the Great League of Peace and founded the only government with a direct connection to the Creator.

Asking the Clan Mothers of each tribe to present their Chiefs, he placed deer antlers on each of their heads to symbolize their authority to the five nations. The Mohawks had nine Chiefs of the bear, wolf and turtle clans, the Oneida also had nine of the bear, wolf and turtle clans, Onondaga presented 14 of the turtle, snipe, bear, hawk, deer, wolf, eel, and beaver clans, Cayuga had 10 from the heron, deer, turtle, bear and snipe clans and finally Seneca presented eight Chiefs from the bear, snipe, turtle, wolf and eagle clans. The Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca and Onondaga accepted the long house as a symbol of their unity. In the Onondaga community the Peacemaker planted a tree naming it the Great Tree of Peace. He directed the Chiefs of the council to sit beneath the shade of the tree and watch the council fire of the confederacy of the five nations. He told them that all issues concerning the confederacy would be discussed and deliberated under this tree.

The roots outstretching from the tree reached north, south, east and west and were labeled the Great White Roots. The Peacemaker declared that any nation choosing to follow the guidelines of the Great Peace should follow the Great White Roots and make themselves known to the Chiefs of the confederacy. If they promised to obey the laws of peace they would be welcomed beneath the shade of the tree.

Above the tree an eagle was placed to see far and alert the confederacy of approaching enemies. Beneath the tree the Peacemaker asked that all men throw in their weapons to bury any greed, hatred and jealousy.

Finally the Peacemaker took an arrow from each of the five nations and bound them together. In this way the nations were united in their powers and the union was complete. Each nation retained their own council with Chiefs chosen by Clan Mothers of families holding hereditary rights to office titles. The rights and duties of Chiefs are explained to them as they stand up as Chiefs and it is the Clan Mother who maintains his moral obligations and keeps him in a straight line.

One by one the Peacemaker took wampum strings, one for each of the laws of the Great Peace and described what each signified. With this action the Great Confederation of the Five Nations was formed. With his mission fulfilled the Peacemaker vanished promising that if the Great Peace should fail the people were to call his name in the bushes and he would return.

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy thrives today and continues to enjoy the support of the Six Nations as their representative government even though an elective system was established in 1924.