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Council of the Mohawks

Sending the rest of the country into economic chaos will not always solve the problem, but when the time comes to pull on the covenant chain to get the attention of the occupying government that seems to be the only way to get them at the table. The power that we possess as Haudenosaunee, it is not only in a spiritual realm but in the physical realm as well.

The strength of our ancestors has allowed us to be here to this day, to continue to care for creation. The position that the Canadian federal government has decided to lay itself out across the land is not by chance, but purposefully planned. They are fully aware of how the Kayanere’ko:wa works, and have been making legislation against it along with other Nations’ Traditional Laws as well. Ottawa is the Canadian Capital which places itself in the middle of all the Kanyen’keha:ka communities as a watchful eye with Canadian Forces Base Trenton, the largest military base in Canada, right between Tyendinaga and Six Nations. One of the oldest branches of the Canadian Military (Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment; UK 1863-1867, CAN 1867-Present) stationed around Kanyen’keha:ka and Anishinaabe territories.

When the Confederacy formed, Doorkeepers were assigned for the farthest ends of the territory that the Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy would span. The Seneca were assigned to be the Keepers of the Western Door as they are farthest west geographically, and the Mohawks were assigned the role of Keepers of the Eastern Door for the same reason. Because the Kanyen’keha:ka were the first to accept Kayanere’ko:wa, they were also given the responsibility to be present for all business that takes place within the Grand Council as they had been the ones listening to and practicing it the longest, in the sense we were the first to accept the message of peace.

Wampum number 5 read:

“The Council of the Mohawks shall be divided into three parts

The first party is to listen only to the discussion of the second and third parties and if an error is made or the proceeding irregular, they are to call attention to it and when the case is right and properly decided by the two parties, they shall confirm the decision of the two parties and refer the case to the Seneca statesmen for their decision. When the Seneca statesmen have decided, in accord with the Mohawk statesmen, the case or question shall be referred to the Cayuga and Oneida statesmen on the opposite side of the house.

And wampum 6:

I, Deganawida, appoint the Mohawk statesmen the head and the leaders of the Five Nations League. The Mohawk statesmen are the foundation of the Great Peace and it shall therefore be against the Great Binding Law to pass measures in the Council of the League after the Mohawk statesmen have protested against them. No Council of the League shall be legal unless all of the statesmen of the Mohawks are present.

Much to the dismay of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, the Chiefs did not have the final say in all matters and their positions were given to them by the women of the family the titles belong to and agreed upon by the people. Before the formation of the United States government there was no title called “President”. This came only after lengthy discussion between Haudenosaunee leaders and the Founding Fathers when they didn’t want to refer to their leaders as Kings or any other term related to the Monarchy. From Miriam-Webster:

“The history and etymology for President comes from Middle English, from Anglo-French

1: an official chosen to preside over a meeting or assembly

2: an appointed governor of a subordinate political unit

3: the chief officer of an organization (such as a corporation or institution) usually entrusted with the direction and administration of its policies

4: the presiding officer of a governmental body

5a: an elected official serving as both chief of state and chief political executive in a republic having a presidential government

b: an elected official having the position of chief of state but usually only minimal political powers in a republic having a parliamentary government”

The first historical case of a country electing a President is in the United States of America, because it was an attempt to whitewash the Kayanere’ko:wa and manipulate it to benefit the settler population. The attempt to set themselves apart from the monarchy only went so far, the need for power and to fill the space where their spirit should be had an endless craving. To them, appropriating someone else’s laws and manipulating it were something that their ancestors did for centuries. This reflects even in the language that they used and continue to use to this day, where what is said is derived from something else but has origins in another culture altogether. English is nothing but a garbage dump of colonial history. The American Constitution is replicated and based on the Kayanere’ko:wa, which was federally recognized in 1988 through Congress Resolution 331.

The democratic republic that is in place now loosely resembles that of how the Haudenosaunee Confederacy operates, the difference is that the Haudenosaunee are a United Nations organization with their own cultures, languages, and traditions that are all very similar but have their differences. What the United States did was attempt to bring in all the roles and responsibilities of all the Nations and bestow them upon themselves.

This in itself breaks Kayanere’ko:wa immediately because nobody but the women of the families are to give titles to anyone.

The patriarchy that existed before continued on within the beginnings of both the United States of America and Canada. The misogynistic culture came hand in hand with the religious indoctrination and implementation in the laws. The institutional racism began when they couldn’t just accept the laws of the land that they lived on and created an entire government for themselves.

Women are the foundation of the Haudenosaunee Nations, and to an extent the Founding Fathers could see this but couldn’t understand it. They only saw the man standing in front delivering a message, completely neglecting the fact it was the words of the people he was passing on and not the words of himself.

Respect and relationships are core in Kayanere’ko:wa, and to uphold them is a key to achieving a sustainable future. The ability to leave emotions out of decision making has been a paramount aspect to the Law in itself and the power the words possess, and reflects the strength and resilience of the people. This is how business can be done for the better of present and future generations.

Elders always say “when you enter the longhouse for a meeting leave all your personal issues at the door”, and this simple fact that can be traced back through oral tradition has helped guide the people. What is made very clear in the beginning of the Kayanere’ko:wa is for us to acknowledge each other and bring all our minds together as one acknowledging our place in creation and this is done by the recital of Ohenton Karihwatehkwen before any business takes place.

“Whenever the statesmen of the League shall assemble for the purpose of holding a council, the Onondaga Rotiyaner shall open it by expressing their gratitude to their cousin statesmen and greeting them and they shall make and address and offer thanks to the Earth where men dwell, to the streams of water, the pools and the lakes, to the maize and the fruits, to the medicinal herbs and trees, to the forest trees for their usefulness, and to the animals that serve as food and give their pelts for clothing, to the great winds and the lesser winds, to the thunderers; to the Sun, the mighty warrior, to the moon; to the messengers of the Creator who reveals his wishes and to the Great Creator who dwells in the heavens above who gives all the things useful to men, and who is the source and the ruler of health and life. Then shall the Onondaga Rotiyaner declare the council open. The Council shall not sit after darkness has set in. (wampum 7)

The Firekeepers shall formally open and close all councils of the statesmen of the League, they shall pass upon all matters deliberated upon by the two sides and render their decision. Every Onondaga statesman (or his deputy) must be present at every Council of the League and must agree with the majority without unwarrantable dissent, so that a unanimous decision may be rendered. If Atotarho or any of his cousin statesmen are absent from a Council of the League, any other Firekeeper may open and close the Council, but the Firekeepers present may not give any decisions, unless the matter is of small importance. (wampum 8)”

With the Kanyen’ke:haka what are considered politics to settlers are deeply embedded in our day to day routines. As many may or may not know, the Ohenton Karihwatehkwen is also used on a daily basis among all Haudenosaunee Nations. It is our personal acknowledgement to creation and promise to continue the work we were intended to do. This includes caring for ourselves, each other, and maintaining the balance of nature. When we speak these words, it is always considered a ceremony as we are speaking directly to creation and the one who made our bodies from the clay of Turtle Island.

When we perform this ceremony we always acknowledge ourselves as human beings first not because we believe we are superior to any other element, but because we understand we are the smallest part of creation and that everything that we mention afterward allows us to exist.

When speaking about ourselves to creation we practice a sense of humility which allows us to acknowledge the duties and responsibilities that many hold to themselves as individuals and to their families, and Nation. Remembering and reminding ourselves of what our ancestors have done and what we have done to honor their memory and carry on the tradition of sustaining balance in the universe. Ensuring we acknowledge the children, women, elders, and leaders is always part of the process without putting self below them. All people have a role to play in creation and a responsibility laid out in Kayanere’ko:wa which will allow them to live a peaceful and prosperous life.

When you are sitting in the longhouse listening to Ohenton Karihwatehkwen, you can hear the breeze outside or a pin drop. There is no sound other than the voice of the speaker and the flames burning the tobacco into smoke to carry the message to creation. When all the people agree at once with “yoh”, the power that the people carry lifts and the energy begins to shift.

After giving thanks to all human life and acknowledging the roles and responsibilities that are still being observed and executed to this day we focus on the elements of creation, beginning with Mother Earth, as we are made from her soil. Through our laws and daily recognition of who we are and where we come from has made it possible for us to survive culturally as we understand our identity through everyday routines such as giving thanks, this lends itself to the explanation of why we fight so hard for the land and preservation of the natural world. We defend the land with our lives because we literally are part of the land, and not even a standing army could stop us.

As we move on to mention all of the water, we always acknowledge and give thanks for the sustenance it provides for us and the rest of the natural world.

Respect is echoed throughout Ohenton Karihwatehkwen as it is part of the foundation of Kayanere’ko:wa and it shows through each wampum where it states that the Chiefs must be present for all decisions to be made. This ensures that the voices of all the people of the Haudenosaunee Nations have been heard. From the Keepers of the Eastern Door to the Firekeepers, everyone is designated to specific roles and responsibilities; this ensures political, economic, and social stability, which is another reason why the United States is a failed government.

With “In God We Trust” plastered all over their currency which is used as a tool of oppression, there is no separation from church and state which they had always claimed:

“...legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”

― Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

What we see in modern American policy has always been predominant in Canadian culture as well. With a fear for people that they did not understand nor have the will to, it was the primary agenda of Sir. John A. MacDonald and Egerton Ryerson to openly eradicate the Indigenous population utilizing religion through legislation and so-called education.

”The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change.”

-Sir. John A. MacDonald

"Agriculture being the chief interest, and probably the most suitable employment of the civilized Indians, I think the great object of industrial schools should be to fit the pupils for becoming working farmers and agricultural labourers, fortified of course by Christian principles, feelings and habits."

-Egerton Ryerson

The words that they chose were careful and appeased the settler population who had been told to fear and hate the Onkwehonwe population, given stories and stereotypes to perpetuate, and created legislation to make it appear as though their stories were true. The Canadian government has been gaslighting its population since before the British North America act which reached Royal Assent on March 29, 1867 and was put into effect on July 1, 1867 uniting the territories of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and divided the Province of Canada into Ontario and Quebec.

None of these decisions are legal according to the law of the land, because they lack Onkwehonwe approval. Canada never had any right to form its own country to rule over a land that they do not hold any title or ownership to. The Mohawks are to be treated as allies to the Crown, and on top of that are the leaders of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Meaning that all business that could affect all Nations of the Haudenosaunee will go through the Mohawks first.

Although the Kanyen’keha:ka are the leaders, their duty is to clearly explain the situation for the other Nations to base their decisions on. This lends to the historical profound ability of the Kanyen’keha:ka as master orators. All details must be in place and lend themselves to logic and reason so all members of the Haudenosaunee may understand the situations at hand.

“All the business of the Five Nations League Council shall be conducted by the two combined bodies of Confederate statesmen. First, the question shall be passed upon by the Mohawk and Seneca statesmen, then it shall be discussed and passed by the Oneida and Cayuga statesmen. Their decision shall then be referred to the Onondaga statesmen, the Firekeepers, for final judgment. The same process shall be followed when a question is brought before the Council by an individual or a War Chief. (wampum 9)

In all cases, the procedure must be as follows: when the Mohawk and Seneca statesmen have unanimously agreed upon a question, they shall report their decision to the Cayuga and Oneida statesmen, who shall deliberate upon the question and report a unanimous decision to the Mohawk statesmen. The Mohawk Rotiyaner will then report the standing of the case to the Firekeepers, who shall render a decision as they see fit in case of a disagreement by the two bodies or confirm the decisions of the two bodies, if they are identical. The Firekeepers shall then report their decision to the Mohawk statesmen who shall announce it to the open Council. (wampum 10)

If, through any misunderstanding or obstinacy on the part of the Firekeepers, they reach a decision at variance with that of the two sides, the Two Sides shall reconsider the matter and if their decisions are jointly the same as before, they shall report to the Firekeepers, who are then compelled to confirm their joint decision. (wampum 11)”

All decisions that are made are done upon the approval of the people and Clan Mothers before going to the Chiefs who deliver the messages to Council. There was an attempt made by the colonial government to cloak their insidious ways and begin the tradition of pageantry while continuing on the path to assimilation. The first elected council in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory was on October 10th, 1870.

With a smokescreen in place, the federal government had begun its plan of assimilation through a divide and conquer tactic which they had been using on their own settler population since before their arrival on our shores on Turtle Island. Though the titles are there, they do not suit to benefit the people only the individual in that position. Even the person in that position is held accountable to the colonial government by which it was created therefore the illusion of power itself is even weaker than the power the position holds.

Mohawk Turtle Clan

Kenhte:ke (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory)

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