The Two Row Wampum and the Rules of Law

Dear editors,
An agreement between the Mohawk Workers and Guswenta Holdings Ltd. (a Canadian Holdings Company) has the Kanienke:haka and the Haudenosaunee community-at-large conflicted with the recent signing of that agreement.

The two row wampum can be used as a mechanism that will break down the logic, the positions and identities of our “subject” in the paramount question, “who is who?”, and “where they are coming from?” Once we know who is who, and where each stand, the law of each and the conflicts that exist may become clear.

Before the who, lets define the where, lets “discover” the foundations of the two possibilities, this and that, here and there, our rule of law and their rule of law.

The Kaianere:kowa (which I translate as the “Great Way of Life”) it sets out the path for the Haudenosaunee (which I translate as the Extended Families) a path that is considered the first steps of democracy for those who picked up the burden of peace. The founding nations who accepted the Great Way of Life went on to unify and protect the new burden called the Great Peace (or the Kanienkeh: Skennen:kowa).

In the search for peace, territorial land claims became obsolete. The fact is that claiming a portion of land meant that all the people within the land were seen as subjects or slaves. Since it the same with all those outside of the claimed land, those people then became enemies and seen as potential threats to life itself.

When the peace was affirmed by the newly formed Haudenosaunee League of Nations, it was agreed that all lands would be made open for anyone who would follow the great way of life and carry the burden of peace. This established the Dish with One Spoon way, a collective rights agreement that made the peaceful sharing the resources over large areas of land possible.

Within the Great way of life we are warned from submitting to the laws of foreign nations, in fact in doing so would alienate and forfeit that individual’s birthrights to the Haudenosaunee Law. Tehonatonkoton means “they have alienated themselves.”

According to wampum 58 of the Kaianere:kowa, “any persons who submit to the laws of a foreign people are alienated and forfeit all claims to the Iroquois [Haudenosaunee] nations”

This is a harsh reality for the Haudenosaunee, however if we are to experience the Great Way of Life and fulfill the duties set forth within, then we must honor our responsibilities. This means that we have to pick one row or the other row, here or there, our rule of law or their rule of law.

There are many forces pushing people away from the Great Way of Life, but the strongest come from the foreign elements. This was obvious during the adoptions of the Great Way of Life, and so a safeguard was included, so that any who walk away from the circle could not carry away the rights of any others and what he walked away with he carried as an individual.

Honoring the Dish and One Spoon as way to understand collective rights, meaning that the lands and resources are entrusted and embodied within all Onkwehon:we as a collective rights agreement, protected by the collective nations who honor the memory of our original duties.

In wampum law, there is also the ever growing tree wampum, If we walk too far from our path the ever growing tree wampum reminds us how to follow our roots back to the Great Way of Life.

So in recognition of the rule of law “wampum 58”, who really signed this controversial agreement between Mohawk Workers and the Guswenta Holdings Incorporated, Kanienkehaka or Canadian individuals?

Benjamin II

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  1. Not too sure what the message is here except that following the laws of a foreign entity effectively places one into ship and out of the canoe. Following this logic would mean that all of us Onkewonwe who have a Canadian driver’s license, Canadian SIN card, Canadian passport, or follows Ontario’s rules of the road, etc. has ceded our citizenship as Haudenosaunne. With all due respect I cannot agree with this argument.

    1. Following the Law(gic) means we have a law Or if we follow the Law(gic) of another government and we dont.

      The Tree of Great Peace

      I am Dekanawidah and with the Five Nations Confederate Lords I plant the Tree of the Great Peace. I plant it in your territory, Adodarho and the Onondaga nation, in the territory of you who are Firekeepers.

      I name the tree the Tree of the Great Long Leaves. Under the shade of this Tree of the Great Peace we spread the soft white feathery down of the globe thistle as seats for you, Adodarho and your cousin Lords. We place you upon those seats, there beneath the spreading branches of the Tree of Peace. There you shall sit and watch the Council Fire of the Confederacy of the Five Nations, and all the affairs of the Five Nations shall be transacted at this place before you, Adodarho, and your cousin Lords, by the Confederate Lords of the Five Nations.

      Roots have spread out from the Tree of Peace, one to the north, one to the east, one to the south and one to the west. The name of these roots is The Great White Roots and their nature is Peace and Strength.

      If any man or any nation outside the Five Nations shall obey the laws of the Great Peace and make known their disposition to the Lords of the Confederacy, they may trace the Roots to the Tree and if their minds are clean and they are obedient and promise top obey the wishes of the Confederate Council, they shall be welcome to take shelter beneath the Tree of the Long Leaves.

      We place at the top of the Tree of the Long Leaves an Eagle who is able to see afar. If he sees in the distance any evil approaching or any danger threatening he will at once warn the people.

      I, Dekanawida, and the Union Lords now uproot the tallest pine tree and into the cavity thereby made we cast all weapons of war. Into the depths of the earth, down into the deep under-earth currents of water flowing to the unknown regions we cast all weapons of strife. We bury them from sight and we plant again the tree.

      Thus shall the Great Peace, Kayenarhekowa, be established.

      The Constitution of the Five Nations
      by Seth Newhouse

      1. ignorance of the law if no excuse, if we have submitted to the laws of a foreign nation and we are aware of it we can drop the “club” and follow the great white roots back or not its up to each “Roots have spread out from the Tree of Peace, one to the north, one to the east, one to the south and one to the west. The name of these roots is The Great White Roots and their nature is Peace and Strength.”

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