Confederacy Structure

Covenant ChainEach council meeting must have representation from every nation. The Onondaga opened council by greeting other members and offering thanks to the Earth and to the Creator. The Fire Keepers, the Onondaga, formally open and closed all councils and were responsible for passing on all matters deliberated upon by both sides and render their decision. Adodarhoh and the Chiefs of the Onondaga announce the issue for discussion.

The method for debating policies began with the Senecas and Mohawks. Once their decision is achieved it is then thrown across the fire to the Oneida and Cayuga for discussion. With their decision made the Oneida and Cayuga then give the discussion back to the Senecas and Mohawks for confirmation. The matter is then put before the Onondagas who shall make the final decision in the case of a disagreement between the Younger and Elder brothers or shall confirm the decisions if they agree.

With the decision before the Onondagas they may at this point raise objections only if they believe the plan of action is inconsistent with the Great Law. With the Onondaga agreement in place it is then passed on to Tadadaho and Honowireton, ceremonial leaders, to confirm the decision that has been reached. This decision is shared with the Mohawks and Senecas who are at will to announce it to the open council.

Grand Council
As a gathering of all the Chiefs from all nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy the Grand Council is the world’s oldest representative democracy.

With 50 Chiefs in total representing all the clans from all the nations they work to resolve disputes and plan for the welfare of all the people. As stated by the Peacemaker, Onondaga stands as the fire keepers for the Grand Council. Grand Council Chiefs are divided into Elder Brothers and Younger Brothers with the Mohawks, Onondagas and Senecas making up the Elder Brothers with the Cayugas and Oneidas as the Younger Brothers.

The Tuscaroras who joined the league after the original joining have no voice within Grand Council and can only speak if it will help the nations. When they do have an issue to be discussed it is voiced through the Cayugas.