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THE GREAT LAW (ENGLISH)

The Great Law of Peace

THE GREAT LAW
OF THE
IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY

WAMPUM 20: FOR THE CHIEF GUILTY OF MURDER

If a chief of the League of Five Nations should commit murder, the other chiefs of the nation shall assemble at the place where the corpse lies and prepare to depose the criminal chief. If it is impossible to meet at the scene of the crime, the chiefs shall discuss the matter at the next Council of their nation and request their War Chief to depose the chief guilty of the crime, to "bury his women relatives" and to transfer the chieftainship title to a sister family.

The War Chief shall address the chief guilty of murder and say:

"So you, ..., did kill ... with your own hands! You have committed a grave crime in the eyes of the Creator. Behold the bright light of the Sun and in the brightness of the Sun's light, I depose you of your title and remove the horns, the sacred emblems of your chieftainship title. I remove from your brow the deer's antlers which was the emblem of your position and token of your nobility. I now depose you and expel you and you shall depart at once from the territory of the League of the Five Nations and never more return again. We, the League of Five Nations, moreover, bury your women relatives because the ancient chieftainship title was never intended to have any union with bloodshed. Henceforth, it shall not be their heritage. By the evil deed that you have done they have forfeited it forever."

The War Chief shall then hand the title to a sister family and he shall address it and say:

"Our Mothers, ..., Listen attentively while I address you on a solemn and important subject. I hereby transfer to you an ancient chieftainship title for a great calamity has befallen it in the hands of the family of a former chief. We trust that you, our Mothers, will always guard it and that you will warn your chief always to be dutiful and to advise his people to ever live in love, peace and harmony that a great calamity may never happen again."

Note: "Bury his women relatives" means political relatives. "Sister Family" is a part of a clan which is composed of three parts with a Chief and a Clan Mother in each part. The Chieftainship Title is lost by the involved part and transferred to another part of the clan. "His women relatives" is that one third part of the clan associated with the deposed killer chief. "Family of a former chief"; political family of the deposed chief, a third part of the clan.