Poster - Tree of Peace: Circa Ninth Century AD | Syracuse Cultural Workers

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Poster - Tree of Peace: Circa Ninth Century AD

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P808OL
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The Great Law of Peace united five warring nations into the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, a powerful alliance that continues today.

Oren Lyons ©1976

With the Tadadaho’s commitment to the Great League of Peace, the Peacemaker and his partner Hiawenta gathered the five nations on the Northeast shores of Onondaga Lake and established the principles and process of governance of The Great Law of Peace.

He said, “the Earth is female, the mother to all life, therefore this great new confederacy would be matrilineal. Each large family (clan) would have five leaders, a Clanmother, a principal male leader and a male partner to lead the nation in all affairs, with a male faithkeeper and a female faithkeeper to move about and see to the ceremonies and the health and welfare of their entire extended family (clan).

The clanmother oversees the conduct of her leaders and the health and welfare of her entire extended family (clan) and leads the participation of the women’s side of the ceremonies.

The clanmother holds and is responsible for all the titles and leadership in her clan. Her choice of leaders within her clan is subject to the approval by consensus of the clan.

The clanmother holds the titles of the chief and his partner. Her duties are to oversee their attendance to meetings, attendance to their duties and their conduct as leaders. She has the responsibility and the authority through our process to remove their titles for lack of attention to their duties, malfeasance of office or misconduct. A crime against a woman or child causes automatic dismissal.

The duties of the chief is to sit and council for the welfare of the nation and to attend the Grand Council of the Six Nation Chiefs to address national and international affairs, always with an eye to the future.

One of the primary responsibilities addressed to a new leader in the process of induction into a chief’s title and council, regards the future. 

“When you sit and council for the welfare of the people, think not of yourself, nor of your family or even your generation, make your decisions on behalf of the coming generations, unto the seventh generation.”

This instruction to our leaders seven generations ago has enabled our existence as a nation today. This instruction imposes on us the same responsibility to future generations.

In the year 1712, the Tuscarora Nation, under the wing of the Oneida Nation, joined the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. It took until 1722 to complete the transition from their mid-Atlantic Coast homelands to our territories around Lake Otsego. That village site would later become Cooperstown, NY, named after James Fennimore Cooper, author of the Leatherstocking Tales. Since1722 the Haudenosaunee have also been known as the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy.

Attribution/Credit: 
Oren Lyons

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