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
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
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
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
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
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
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 way.
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 preserved.
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 Nations.
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 individually 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
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 described.
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.
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
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
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 law.
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 place.
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 opposite 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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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 annulled 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
persuade other nations to accept the Great Peace.
=[ ]=[ ]-/\-[ ]=[ ]=
Swamp Elm is Ulmus Americana, also known as American elm, American
soft elm, American weeping elm, American white elm, Florida elm, gray elm,
gray hard elm, rock elm, springwood, soft elm, swamp elm, water elm, white
Mother - the word "mother" also refers to "mother's
sister", maternal aunt.