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THE GREAT LAW (ENGLISH)

The Great Law of Peace

THE GREAT LAW
OF THE
IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY

WAMPUM 108: FUNERAL OF A CHIEF

At the funeral of a chief of the League, these words are said:

"How we become reconciled as you start away. You were once a Chief of the League of Five Nations, and the united people trusted you. Now we release you, for it is true that it is no longer possible for us to walk about together on the earth. Now, therefore, we lay it (the body) here. Here we lay it away. Now then we say to you, persevere onward to the place where the Creator dwells in peace. Let not the things of the earth hinder you. Let nothing that transpired while you lived hinder you. In hunting, you once delighted; in the game of lacrosse, you once took delight, and in the feast and pleasant occasions, your mind was amused, but now do not allow thoughts of these things to give you trouble.

"Let not your relatives hinder you and also let not your friends and associates trouble your mind. Regard none of these things.

"Now the, in turn, you here present who are related to the man, and you who were his friends and associates, behold the path that is yours also! Soon we ourselves will be left in that place. For this reason, hold yourselves in restraint as you go from place to place. In your actions and in your conversation do no idle thing. Speak no idle talk, neither gossip. Be careful of this and speak not and do not give away to evil behavior. One year is the time that you must abstain from unseeming levity, but if you cannot do this for ceremony, ten days is the time to regard these things for respect."

Note: The Handsome Lake religion wanted to impose the one year period of mourning but according to the Great Law, a new Chief must be raised ten days after the death of a Royaner when the Condolence Ceremony is performed and a new Royaner is raised and the ten days of mourning is lifted according to the Great Law.