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BRUCE TALMADGE-Mohawk Indian-9/18/02

    Centuries ago the Mohawk, Onondaga, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida Peoples were in a cycle of violence and intertribal war, some of which were blood feuds for revenge. In that world of violence was born the Huron peacemaker Dekanawida.

    North of the beautiful Lake of Ontario Dakanawida grew up with a vision of the Great Tree of Peace. In his dream he envisioned democracy and unity with an end to the tribal battles of his time. It was in his dream that Dakanawida saw Tsioneratase Kowa, The Great White Pine, reaching out to the creator in strength and unity.

    Dakanawida was a stutterer and sought the aid of the great Onondaga speaker,
Hayonhwatha (also known as Hiawatha). In his search for Hiawatha, he found the Great Chief grieving the murder of his wife and three daughters. Dakanawida consoled the grieving man with a string of white shells “wampum.” Together, they sought out thedemonic Shaman Adodarhoh, as that Onondaga war chief refused to bring his people into the confederacy which Dakanawida envisioned. They came to his council meeting singing the song of peace to sooth his rage and made him the guardian of the council fire for
the new Confederation of the 5 Nations.

     With Hiawatha, it took Dekanawida five years to manifest his vision of peace and abolish all the blood feuds. The Mohawk, Onondaga, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida came together in 1390 AD to protect the roof of their Long House, which is known as(Ongwe’oneka) or the Long House Way. It offered adherents, a place to gather for social, political and religious purposes . 

    The women had a great deal of strength and helped pull together and appoint some of the wisest and purest men who became the advisors of the people and made the rules that were selected. Under the great tree of peace they became known as Ongwe onwe ("human being") or native, original, true, or natural (Original people). This feat was recorded in the Hiawatha Belt (Wampum Belt), as "The Law of the Great Peace of the People of the Long House." This forum for speakers at the council fires in the first republic of the separate nations was a model which statesmen of the new United States of America used to establish their Congress. The peoples of the new Iroquois League had a rich oral tradition but lacked a written language. Resourcefully, wampum were used as memory aides to record tribal history and sacred pacts. This was done through bead color and design. White beads meant purity, beads reddened with ocher meant war, and purple beads stood for grief. A row of beads in squares signified the council fire. The information conveyed by wampum's design and color was memorized by the wampum keepers and passed from generation to generation. The Hiawatha Belt and the Huron Mohawk Peace Belt of l677 are some examples. These belts are records of peace and unity in The Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

    Today, Dakanawida’s Great Tree of Peace reaches out to the creator and according to the “Great Law " we place an eagle at the top of the tree where it is able to see very far. If it sees in the distance any danger threatening, it will at once warn the people of the League to work in unity under the Great Law of Peace. It is America’s oldest constitution and its council fire has never been covered since it was first kindled in 1390. Sustaining this unity, many Chiefs have traveled afar planting the
trees of peace, even to the United Nations, as they must know as we do that what befalls the Earth befalls the children of the Earth.

For a further reading of this article and more stories of Peace read "Chicken Soup for the Soul" --Stories for a better world, copyright 2005 , Jack Canfield, Mark Hansen.
http://www.chickensoup.com/  == Http://chickensoup.peacestories.info/

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