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Canku Ota
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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Great Law Recital July 2015
by Kaniehtonkie - Indian Time
Kaienerakowa Logo

On Saturday, July 25, 2015 Haudenosaunee from across the northern hemisphere will travel in the early morning hours to Tyendinaga, the birthplace of the Peacemaker. There a tobacco burning will take place to mark the recital of the Great Law in Akwesasne from Sunday, July 26, 2015 to Thursday, July 30, 2015. The Great Law of Peace; Kaienerakowa is the "oral constitution by which the Haudenosaunee is bound together. The protocols and principles within serve as the foundation upon which our nation is built. The recitation of the Great Law is a reminder of how our nations should be functioning to maintain peace and prosperity."

This massive undertaking has been years in the planning and for some people – a lifetime. Several years ago a number of Chiefs and Faithkeepers met to talk about the recital of the Great Law. Those who remember, men such as Huron Miller and Jake Thomas, could recite the Great Law and/or the Kariwiio entirely by themselves. With such a massive undertaking it was decided that the learning of the Great Law and the recital of it would be shared among the group. After many meetings and countless practices, a Great Law reading was held in Oneida. Interest soon flowed and when it was brought to the Mohawk Nation Council, it was said, "if you want to do this, then go ahead and organize it..."

Given the strength of Mohawk women, the recital will begin promptly on Sunday at 9:00am at the former IGA building. After years of practice, oftentimes listening to recordings of Jake Thomas, the speakers will recite the Great Law, the speakers include; Richard Mitchell, Tom Porter, Bob Brown, Leroy Hill, and Jamie Jacobs. Speakers in the afternoon include Rick Hill, Ken Maracle and Bob Antone, and Elder Advisor is Howard Elijah. The speakers gave themselves a five year plan, after reciting the Kaienerakowa in Oneida and then Onondaga, the speakers have become more confident, yet know this takes a lifetime commitment to learn in its entity the Kaienerakowa.

The Kaienerakowa is the second of gifts from the Creator, the first being the Four Dances; Great Feather Dance, Atonwa, Peach Bowl and Drum Dance. From the beginning, the recital will take the listener to the beginning when the Peacemaker was still in the chosen woman's womb and the struggles she endured to give birth to the Peacemaker and the years soon after the Peacemaker's birth. It is said her own mother tried to rid her daughter's child until she received a visit from a man telling her how special and powerful her grandson was. The next day the mother apologized to her daughter and from here marks how the women were the first to accept the Peacemakers words.

From the Kaienerakowa, the listener will piece together the foundation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy; the journey the Peacemaker takes in his stone canoe, the Circle of Wampum for the 50 titles of Chiefs, and how the Chiefs all hold hands so tight and firm, the Tree of Peace will not falter and will not fall to the ground; we are stronger than one. If a Chief leaves, his horns, his clan and his name will remain within the circle. The listener will hear of how the Peacemaker arrived before the arrival of the first immigrants and fighting was rampant among our own people, you will travel his journey that takes you to each Nation, the Mohawks, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Cayuga and how he bound five arrows together strengthening beyond the brittleness of just one arrow. And how the Tree of Peace was planted and all weapons of war were buried and replaced with a good mind; one eye, one head, one heart as all decisions to be made would be considered through this. It was here how; Aionwatha was comforted with words to wipe clear his eyes, ears and throat during Aionwatha condolence after the death of his three daughters using 15 strings of wampum to clear his mind and heart. And how the creation of the Older Brothers, the Mohawk, Onondaga and Seneca will comfort and later raised the hearts and chiefs of the Younger Brothers: the Oneida, Cayuga and later the Tutelos and Tuscarora and the same will be for the Clans.

It is here, where the listener will hear the roles of the Chiefs, Clan Mothers and Faithkeepers and how above all, we must perform our ceremonies to show our gratitude to the Creator, for as long as we are performing our ceremonies, everything will be there for us.

According to Richard Mitchell, "The Creator has never forgotten us. He gave us our beliefs, he gave us the Four Scared Songs. He has given us the strength to uphold our ceremonies."

The afternoons will be for our youth, in Darryl Thompson words, "It will be geared for the future. It will be very straightforward and very clear about things." It is a shared hope that this will help them understand their heritage and who they are and they will no longer have the need to talk or imitate others. Speakers will talk of our wampum belts and strings, decolonization and many valuable and pertinent issues that relate to all of us today.

The Kaienerakowa is oral tradition, with depth and richness to it. To thoroughly experience this and for the comfort of others, the organizers requests are simple;

Please, the recital is being recorded, they ask that you DO NOT record or take photos with recorders, cameras or cell phones. And speaking of cell phones...

Please, turn your cell phones OFF within the building.

Please, in an effort to reduce waste, bring your own dish, bowl, cup, and eating utensils.

Please, be on time.

Please, be quiet.

At a recent Great Law Recital, a woman presented all of the speakers with this drawing. L-R: Richard Mitchell, Tom Porter, Leroy Hill, Bob Brown and Jamie Jacobs.

Again, in the words of Darryl Thompson, "this is the time for your clan to shine and to work together as one." Volunteers are welcomed and needed, if you are interested in volunteering please contact your clan leader for this event. These clans are responsible for the following days;

Sunday; Turtle (Joyce King)

Monday; Wolves (Florence Seymour)

Tuesday; Bear (Karoniatha and Kawehnahare)

Wednesday: Snipe and Deer (Debbie Solomon)

Thursday – all Clans working together

Rick Oakes is responsible for security, Dave Arquette and Scott Martin for waste management (reduce, reuse, recycle when possible and water will be available for refillable containers), Bula Hill and Val Terrance for financials, Florence Seymour for food, NNATC for audio and video, Jessica Sargent for vendors (there are only a select number of vendor tables available and vendors are requested to set up AFTER 2:30pm), Elvera Sargent for communications and Maxine Cole for general organization. The Kaienerakowa Logo is original artwork created by Victoria Ransom. You can find information at and on Facebook.

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