There has been a recurring theme that comes up over and over which drives good people away from adding to the rafters of the Great Longhouse of Earth and Sky bestowed by Tekanawitah to the Iroquois. The recurring problem is the alienation of our own if they don’t fit the profile. I’m no stranger to this myself.
I was alienated because my mom was raised in New Credit and told by angry people whom lost their way that I wasn’t Mohawk, so let’s look: the Mohawk way is matriarchal. My Grandma was a Davis from Fourth Line, a Mohawk Wolf that moved to New Credit with my Grandad Allan. He even had a song called ‘My Ohsweken Baby’. So in matriarchal terms, I’m a Mohawk Wolf. Our ancestor Thomas Davis was the War Chief for the Mohawk Wolf Clan when we came up from Kanatsiohareke/Mohawk Valley in present day New York. I was always told we keep our own names for places in the language. Brantford is Tsitkanatahere but that is a different story. So my Granny Mary is Mohawk Wolf and my Father Cam Sr. is Mohawk Turtle – his mom Phelma Bomberry was a Mohawk Turtle so I guess that answers the dilemma.
I was raised at Bateman Line Upper End amongst Mohawks. My Dad and sister teach Mohawk and I’ve been known to “go Mohawk” on enemies of the Great Peace. Nevertheless, the people that tried to alienate me didn’t even speak or know the language. I went to Sour Springs Longhouse since my earliest memory, hiking across the field on Bateman to my Grandma Matilda Martin’s where I would help her grind her corn in a hand grinder. My Grandpa Edgar was a Chief. I used to put Crisco lard on the Houdoui/False Face mask before Longhouse. I guess that would make me a full blood as the “skins” say out in California.
People that do this alienating have to look into themselves. The Haudenosaunnee way is a strong way. It is a way of kindness and a spirit of hospitality that we all inherited from our ancestors. It’s first and foremost not mean spirited. That’s not our way. It cannot be chaos either. People who were brought in learned the way of the Earth. Anyone can come sit beneath the Great Tree that seeks peace! There cannot be peace with condemnation. There can’t be peaceful rivalries. Just Skenna.
The Europeans never had peace for thousands of years. They never knew what it was. They lost their original instructions. When they saw how peaceful, happy and free we were, it was so powerful and stirred something so far down inside that they rebelled against an oppressive hierarchy. We agreed and counselled them but greed is the natural enemy of peace. This is the eternal struggle – the duality of creation. The Two Row Wampum. Ontkon (negativity) or orenda (sunshine and love) – which wind fills your sails? This is the question.
We must come to peace within to achieve peace without or we will continue to alienate good people. This weakens ourselves and destroys our own Haudenosaunnee body like cancer cells. The choice is ours. It’s a conscious decision to make when we get up in the morning to say “Niaweh” for life before our feet even touch the floor, before the sun comes fully over the horizon when the sky is blueish grey. This is the most powerful time. This is when your celebration of the Creator’s gift of life goes straight to the ears of the Great Natural Power that already provided all to everyone. Take our prayers with the smoke. Let us know Skenna/Peace, Wakiro!!