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Louis Karoniaktajeh Hall believed that the Iroquois people had this Great Law given to them by the Great Deganawida, who came among the people to unite them using one Code of Conduct toward one another. The “Wampum” which has become generally associated with money, in actuality, has nothing at all to do with money. It does, however, have everything to do with the value of humanity and how we, as a society, treat one another.
According to the Great Law, while no one person has the authority to govern, rule, or dominate another, it then becomes the responsibility of EVERY person to behave in a certain way to maintain the development of a highly evolved society – which is what the Iroquois Confederacy was long before “American democracy” ever existed.
This Great Law – or Code of Conduct – outlines the importance of including the individual Nations of the Confederacy in meetings and what their roles are. The Code discusses the roles of women, men and children and their responsibility to one another and their relationship to the world around them. It discusses the responsibility of a woman’s role in society and why and men’s roles during wartime. It even discusses how one should conduct themselves at funerals.
Louis Karoniaktajeh Hall believed it was important to get these Wampum written down and distributed to anyone who wanted to conduct themselves in a responsible manner to contribute to a society where everyone has a duty to themselves and the whole because without each individual person, there is no society.
Thus, the Wampum outlined herein, has far greater value than any amount of monetary currency.
Below is a sampling of the 117 Wampum. The entire contents of the English version of the Great Law is available. Louis Karoniaktajeh Hall also translated the book into Mohawk in 1990. Both are available in book form.
The Great Law of Peace
THE GREAT LAW
click on hyperlinks below
Wampum 54: Clan Mothers Hold A Council To Select A New Chief
Wampum 58: Any Chief Or Other Persons Who Submit To Laws Of A Foreign People Are Alienated And Forfeit All Claims In The Iroquois Nations
Wampum 59: In Case Any Or All Chiefs Go Against The Great Law, They May Either Be Deposed Or Executed By The War Chief And His Men
Wampum 92: If A Part Of A Nation, A Whole Nation Or More Than A Nation Endeavor To Destroy The Great Peace By Violating The Laws, They Shall Be Driven From The Territory By The War Chief And His Men (Warrior Society)
Wampum 93: The Referendum The People Decide On The Most Important Matters
Wampum 98: Rights Of The Ordinary Man And Woman
Wampum 100: The Mid-Winter Thanksgiving Festival
Wampum 108: Funeral Of A Chief
Wampum 109: Funeral Of A War Chief
Wampum 110: Funeral Of A Warrior
Wampum 112: Funeral Of A Clan Mother
Wampum 116: The Burial Rights
Wampum 117: Speaking At The Burial And At The Tenth Day Of Mourning
Note: Several translators have been given credit for the translation from the Indian to English. No doubt some meaning got lost in the shuffle and again in the translation to Mohawk. However, it must be easier to translate into Mohawk as it is a language and not a dialect which have sounds missing and words shortened. The purpose of the "Note" section is to explain some terms which have puzzled many readers. I am solely responsible for this translation and the only one to be criticized.
Louis Karoniaktajeh Hall