Kayanere'kowa, Foundation of Democracy; Names, Duties, and Rights of War Chiefs, Part 4


Seal of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy


Kayanere'kowa (Ga-yaa-neh-reh-go-wuh) sometimes known as the Great Binding Law or the Great Law of Peace and outlines all contents in wampum, a type of shell used to document historical events or crate political alliances woven into different designs on belts. These belts are symbols are are not worn and are still effective to this day. The Kayanere'kowa consists of over 100 wampum each outlined in detail the matter being discussed.

In this case, the matter in itself is held to one section:


36. The title names of the Chief Confederate Lords' War Chiefs shall be:


  • Ayonwaehs, War Chief under Takarihoken (Mohawk)

  • Kahonwahdironh, War Chief under Odatshedeh (Oneida)

  • Ayendes, War Chief under Adodarhoh (Onondaga)

  • Wenenhs, War Chief under Dekaenyonh (Cayuga)

  • Shoneradowaneh, War Chief under Skanyadariyo (Seneca)


The women heirs of each head Lord's title shall be the heirs of the War Chief's title of their respective Lord. The War Chiefs shall be selected from the eligible sons of the female families holding the head Lordship titles.


37. There shall be one War Chief for each Nation and their duties shall be to carry messages for their Lords and to take up the arms of war in case of emergency. They shall not participate in the proceedings of the Confederate Council but shall watch its progress and in case of an erroneous action by a Lord they shall receive the complaints of the people and convey the warnings of the women to him. The people who wish to convey messages to the Lords in the Confederate Council shall do so through the War Chief of their Nation. It shall ever be his duty to lay the cases, questions and propositions of the people before the Confederate Council.


38. When a War Chief dies another shall be installed by the same rite as that by which a Lord is installed.


39. If a War Chief acts contrary to instructions or against the provisions of the Laws of the Great Peace, doing so in the capacity of his office, he shall be deposed by his women relatives and by his men relatives. Either the women or the men alone or jointly may act in such a case. The women title holders shall then choose another candidate.


40. When the Lords of the Confederacy take occasion to dispatch a messenger in behalf of the Confederate Council, they shall wrap up any matter they may send and instruct the messenger to remember his errand, to turn not aside but to proceed faithfully to his destination and deliver his message according to every instruction.


41. If a message borne by a runner is the warning of an invasion he shall whoop, "Kwa-ah, Kwa-ah," twice and repeat at short intervals; then again at a longer interval.

If a human being is found dead, the finder shall not touch the body but return home immediately shouting at short intervals, "Koo-weh!"


The jurisdiction of the Mohawk National Council is limited within its territory and must adhere to the resolutions passed by the Haudenosaunee Grand Council of Chiefs. However, these nine chiefs have permanent seats on the Haudenosaunee Grand Council of Chiefs. The following are the names of the nine clan chieftainship titles:


Ratiniáhton (Turtle Clan) 1. Tekarihó:ken 2. Aionwà:tha 3. Shate’karí:wate


Ronathahión:ni (Wolf Clan) 4. Sharenhó:wane 5. Teionhéhkhwen 6. Orenrehkó:wa

Rotiskaré:wake (Bear Clan) 7. Tehanakarí:ne 8. Rastaweseróntha 9. Shoskoharò:wane

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