Ten Important Points to Remember About the Haudenosaunee

 

1. We exist as distinct peoples in the 21st century. The Haudenosaunee are unique in that we maintain one of the very few traditional governments in North America, free from the oppression of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and free from the lunacy of tribal elections. Our leaders are selected according to the oldest constitutional democratic systems and serve under the Great Law of Peace. We are six different nations of people united under one law. 
 

2. We live a contemporary lifestyle and are not frozen in the past. While we still maintain practices that are rooted in the past, we apply those practices to define our place in the modern world. Our traditional culture is forward thinking, to assure our long-term survival. Our culture allows us to deal with the realities of the modern world, not by embracing any new fad, but continuing to absorb new traditions on our own terms.

 

3. We continue to maintain our culture. Culture is not just the relic of the past, but patterns of thought and cycles of behavior that form the basic building blocks of our lives. Our culture is our way of life as described by the Original Instructions, the Great Law of Peace and the Gaiwiio, or Good Message of Handsome Lake, the Seneca prophet.

 

4. We have our own world view. To say we are Haudenosaunee means that we have deep seated beliefs in our traditions and are committed to their survival. We are connected to a living earth and a spiritual universe. We have sacred duties to fulfill. To be Haudenosaunee means that you support the traditions including respecting the authority of the Chiefs and Clan Mothers.

 

5. We continue to live on portions of our original territories. Our lands were never conquered by outsiders. We never consented to American or Canadian authority over our territories. Our lands were never placed in trust with the United States, as are most other Indian reservations. Our current territories were defined by four federal treaties.

 

6. We maintain our distinct laws and customs. Within our territories, where the Council of Chiefs are the sole governing authority, our own laws are in place, not the laws of the United States or Canada. We operate the Grand Council of Chiefs of the Six Nations under the Great Law of Peace which promotes peace, power, and righteousness.

 

7. We have made many contributions to world culture. The Haudenosaunee have been instrumental in colonial history. After three hundred years of contact, the emerging American settlers adopted many Iroquoian ideas and practices in order to survive in our land.

 

8. We have a unique relationship to the United States and other nations. The federal treaties we have are very distinctive, and provide the Haudenosaunee with a special status in Indian law. We maintain a government-to-government relationship. We are not wards of the United States. We are independent nations, sovereign and free in our own territories.

 

9. The portrayal of Indians in the media perpetuates stereotypes that effect our relationships to non-Indians. Most people are seriously uninformed about the Haudenosaunee because of distorted textbooks, misguided movies and biased history books. Seldom have people been able to hear directly from the recognized traditional people of the Haudenosaunee to counteract the negative racial and cultural stereotypes perpetuated by American popular culture.

 

10. We are committed to maintaining our survival as distinct peoples. We believe that the lessons from Creation; the guidance of the Original Instructions; the unity of the Great Law of Peace, and the moral imperatives of the Gaiwiio provide the cultural and spiritual road map to our future. We still face serious threats from the outside governments as well as forces within our own people who want to destroy the Confederacy for their own personal financial gain.

 

 

* Haudenosaunee Press Guide. More information on the Haudenosaunee is available at: www.sixnations.org