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THE GREAT LAW (ENGLISH)

The Great Law of Peace

THE GREAT LAW
OF THE
IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY

WAMPUM 46: CLAN MOTHERS ARE KEEPERS OF THE AUTHORIZED NAMES

The women of the 48 (now 50) noble families shall be the heirs of the authorized names for all time to come.

When an infant of the Five Nations is given an Authorized Name at the Midwinter Festival or at the Green Corn and Strawberry and Harvest Festival, one in the cousinhood of which the infant is a member shall be appointed a speaker. He shall announce to the opposite cousinhood the names of the father and mother of the child together with the clan of the mother. Then the speaker shall announce the child's name twice. The uncle of the child shall then take the child in his arms and walking up and down the room shall sing, "My head is firm; I am of the League." As he sings, the opposite cousinhood shall respond by chanting: "Hyen, Hyen, Hyen, Hyen...", until the song is ended.

Note: The "cousinhood" is the other Clan. The purpose of announcing the Clan of the mother is to point out the Clan of the child. A child is born a Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, etc., but when he is named in the Great Law ceremony, the child becomes an Iroquois or Rotinonsonni. He is a Mohawk by blood and an Iroquois by law, for Gayanerekowa is also known as the Great Law, is the Constitution of the Kanonsonnionwe or the Iroquois Confederacy. By the same token, if an individual or a whole Nation leaves the Iroquois Confederacy and in time realizes their great error and decide to be reinstated, they would be required to go through the Naming Ceremony or in their case, a re-naming ceremony and hold the Pledge Wampum and re-accept the Great Law and this act could be called the Iroquois Pledge of Allegiance.