The Iroquois Book of Rites
by Horatio Hale
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The phonology of the language is at once simple and perplexing. According to M. Cuoq, twelve letters suffice to represent it: a, c, f, h, i, k, n, o, r, s, t, w. Mr. Wright employs for the Seneca seventeen, with diacritical marks, which raise the number to twenty-one. The English missionaries among the Mohawks found sixteen letters sufficient, a, d, e, g, h, i, j, k, n, o, r, s, t, u, w, y. There are no labial sounds, unless the f, which rarely occurs, and appears to be merely an aspirated w, may be considered one. No definite distinction is maintained between the vowel sounds o and u, and one of these letters may be dispensed with. The distinction between hard and soft (or surd and sonant) mutes is not preserved. The sounds of d and t, and those of k and g, are interchangeable. So also are those of l and r, the former sound being heard more frequently in the Oneida dialect and the latter in the Canienga. From the Western dialects,—the Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca,—this l or r sound has, in modern times, disappeared altogether. The Canienga konoronkwa, I esteem him (in Oneida usually sounded konolonkwa), has become konoenkwa in Onondaga,—and in Cayuga and Seneca is contracted to kononkwa. Aspirates and aspirated gutturals abound, and have been variously represented by h, hh, kh, and gh, and sometimes (in the works of the early French missionaries) by the Greek [Greek: chi] and the spiritus asper. Yet no permanent distinction appears to be maintained among the sounds thus represented, and M. Cuoq reduces them all to the simple h. The French nasal sound abounds. M. Cuoq and the earlier English missionaries have expressed it, as in French, simply by the n when terminating a syllable. When it does not close a syllable, a diaeresis above the n, or else the Spanish tilde (n) indicates the sound. Mr. Wright denotes it by a line under the vowel. The later English missionaries express it by a diphthong: ken becomes kea; nonwa becomes noewa; onghwentsya is written oughweatsya.

A strict analysis would probably reduce the sounds of the Canienga language to seven consonants, h, k, n, r, s, t, and w, and four vowels, a, e, i, and o, of which three, a, e, and o, may receive a nasal sound. This nasalizing makes them, in fact, distinct elements; and the primary sounds of the language may therefore be reckoned at fourteen. [Footnote: A dental t, which the French missionaries represent sometimes by the Greek theta and sometimes by th, and which the English have also occasionally expressed by the latter method, may possibly furnish an additional element. The Greek theta of the former is simply the English w.] The absence of labials and the frequent aspirated gutturals give to the utterance of the best speakers a deep and sonorous character which reminds the hearer of the stately Castilian speech.

The "Book of Rites," or, rather, the Canienga portion of it, is written in the orthography first employed by the English missionaries. The d is frequently used, and must be regarded merely as a variant of the t sound. The g is sometimes, though rarely, employed as a variant of the k. The digraph gh is common and represents the guttural aspirate, which in German is indicated by ch and in Spanish by j. The French missionaries write it now simply h, and consider it merely a harsh pronunciation of the aspirate. The j is sounded as in English; it usually represents a complex sound, which might be analysed into ts or tsi; jathondek is properly tsiatontek. The x, which occasionally appears, is to be pronounced ks, as in English. An, en, on, when not followed by a vowel, have a nasal sound, as in French. This sound is heard even when those syllables are followed by another n. Thus Kanonsionni is pronounced as if written Kanonsionni and yondennase as if written yondennase. The vowels have usually the same sound as in German and Italian; but in the nasal en the vowel has an obscure sound, nearly like that of the short u in but. Thus yondennase sounds almost as if written yondunnase, and kanienke is pronounced nearly like kaniunke.

The nouns in Iroquois are varied, but with accidence differing from the Aryan and Semitic variations, some of the distinctions being more subtle, and, so to speak, metaphysical. The dual is expressed by prefixing the particle te, and suffixing ke to the noun; thus, from kanonsa, house, we have tekanonsake, two houses. These syllables, or at least the first, are supposed to be derived from tekeni, two. The plural, when it follows an adjective expressive of number, is indicated by the syllable ni prefixed to the noun, and ke suffixed; as, eso nikanonsake, many houses. In other cases the plural is sometimes expressed by one of the words okon (or hokon) okonha, son and sonha, following the noun. In general, however, the plural significance of nouns is left to be inferred from the context, the verb always and the adjective frequently indicating it.

All beings are divided into two classes, which do not correspond either with the Aryan genders or with the distinctions of animate and inanimate which prevail in the Algonkin tongues. These classes have been styled noble and common. To the noble belong male human beings and deities. The other class comprises women and all other objects. It seems probable, however, that the distinction in the first instance was merely that of sex,—that it was, in fact, a true gender. Deities, being regarded as male, were included in the masculine gender. There being no neuter form, the feminine gender was extended, and made to comprise all other beings. These classes, however, are not indicated by any change in the noun, but merely by the forms of the pronoun and the verb.

The local relations of nouns are expressed by affixed particles, such as ke, ne, kon, akon, akta. Thus, from ononta mountain, we have onontake, at (or to) the mountain; from akehrat, dish, akehratne, in (or on) the dish; from kanonsa, house, kanonsakon, or kanonskon, in the house, kanonsokon, under the house, and kanonsakta, near the house. These locative particles, it will be seen, usually, though not always, draw the accent towards them.

The most peculiar and perplexing variation is that made by what is termed the "crement," affixed to many (though not all) nouns. This crement in the Canienga takes various forms, ta, sera, tsera, kwa. Onkwe, man, becomes onkweta; otkon, spirit, otkonsera; akawe, oar, akawetsera; ahta, shoe, ahhtakwa. The crement is employed when the noun is used with numeral adjectives, when it has adjective or other affixes, and generally when it enters into composition with other words. Thus onkwe, man, combined with the adjective termination iyo (from the obsolete wiyo, good) becomes onkwetiyo, good man. Wenni, day, becomes in the plural niate niwenniserake, many days, etc. The change, however, is not grammatical merely, but conveys a peculiar shade of meaning difficult to define. The noun, according to M. Cuoq, passes from a general and determinate to a special and restricted sense. Onkwe means man in general; asen nionkwetake, three men (in particular.) One interpreter rendered akawetsera, "the oar itself." The affix sera or tsera seems to be employed to form what we should term abstract nouns, though to the Iroquois mind they apparently present themselves as possessing a restricted or specialized sense. Thus from iotarihen, it is warm, we have otarihensera, heat; from wakeriat, to be brave, ateriatitsera, courage. So kakweniatsera, authority; kanaiesera, pride; kanakwensera, anger. Words of this class abound in the Iroquois; so little ground is there for the common opinion that the language is destitute of abstract nouns. [Footnote: See, on this point, the remarks of Dr Brinton to the same effect, in regard to the Aztec, Qquichua, and other languages, with interesting illustrations, in his "American Hero Myths", p. 25]

The adjective, when employed in an isolated form, follows the substantive; as kanonsa kowa, large house; onkwe honwe (or onwe) a real man. But, in general, the substantive and the adjective coalesce in one word. Ase signifies new, and added to kanonsa gives us kanonsase, new house. Karonta, tree, and kowa, or kowanen, great, make together karontowanen, great tree. Frequently the affixed adjective is never employed as an isolated word. The termination iyo (or iio) expresses good or beautiful, and aksen, bad or ugly; thus kanonsiyo, fine house, kanonsasken, ugly house. These compound forms frequently make their plural by adding s, as kanonsiyos, kanonsaksens.

The pronouns are more numerous than in any European language, and show clearer distinctions in meaning. Thus, in the singular, besides the ordinary pronouns, I, thou, he and she, the language possesses an indeterminate form, which answers very nearly to the French on. The first person of the dual has two forms, the one including, the other excluding, the person addressed, and signifying, therefore, respectively, "thou and I," and "he and I." The first person plural has the same twofold form. The third persons dual and plural have masculine and feminine forms. Thus the language has fifteen personal pronouns, all in common use, and all, it may be added, useful in expressing distinctions which the English can only indicate by circumlocutions. These pronouns are best shown in the form in which they are prefixed to a verb. The following are examples of the verb katkahtos, I see (root atkahto) and kenonwes, I love (root nonwe), as conjugated in the present tense:—

katkahtos, I see. satkahtos, thou seest. ratkahtos, he sees. watkahtos, she sees, iontkahtos, one sees. tiatkahtos, we two see (thou and I.) iakiatkahtos, we two see (he and I.) tsiatkahtos, ye two see. hiatkahtos, they two see (masc.) kiatkahtos, they two see (fem.) tewatkahtos, we see (ye and I.) iakwatkahtos, we see (they and I.) sewatkahtos, ye see. rontkahtos, they see (masc.) kontkahtos, they see (fem.)

kenonwes, I love. senonwes, thou lovest. rononwes, he loves. kanonwes, she loves. icnonwes, one loves. teninonwes, we two love (thou and I) iakeninonwes, we two love (he and I) seninonwes, ye two love. hninonwes, they two love (masc.) keninonwes, they two love (fem.) tewanonwes, we love (ye and I.) iakwanonwes, we love (they and I.) sewanonwes, ye love. ratinonwes, they love (masc.) kontinonwes, they love (fem.)

It will be observed that in these examples the prefixed pronouns differ considerably in some cases. These differences determine (or are determined by) the conjugation of the verbs. Katkahtos belongs to the first conjugation, and kenonwes to the second. There are three other conjugations, each of which shows some peculiarity in the prefixed pronouns, though, in the main, a general resemblance runs through them all. There are other variations of the pronouns, according to the "paradigm," as it is called, to which the verb belongs. Of these paradigms there are two, named in the modern Iroquois grammars paradigms K and A, from the first or characteristic letter of the first personal pronoun. The particular conjugation and paradigm to which any verb belongs can only be learned by practice, or from the dictionaries.

The same prefixed pronouns are used, with some slight variations, as possessives, when prefixed to a substantive; as, from sita, foot, we have (in Paradigm A) akasita, my foot, sasita, thy foot, raosita, his foot. Thus nouns, like verbs, have the five conjugations and the two paradigms.

Iroquois verbs have three moods, indicative, imperative, and subjunctive; and they have, in the indicative, seven tenses, the present, imperfect, perfect, pluperfect, aorist, future, and paulo-post future. These moods and tenses are indicated either by changes of termination, or by prefixed particles, or by both conjoined. One authority makes six other tenses, but M. Cuoq prefers to include them among the special forms of the verb, of which mention will presently be made.

To give examples of these tenses, and the rules for their formation, would require more space than can be devoted to the subject in the present volume. The reader who desires to pursue the study is referred to the works of M. Cuoq already mentioned.

The verb takes a passive form by inserting the syllable at between the prefixed pronoun and the verb; and a reciprocal sense by inserting atat. Thus, kiatatas, I put in; katiatatas, I am put in; katatiatatas, I put myself in; konnis, I make; katonnis, I am made; katatonnis, I make myself. This syllable at is probably derived from the word oyala, body, which is used in the sense of "self," like the corresponding word hakty in the Delaware language.

The "transitions," or the pronominal forms which indicate the passage of the action of a transitive verb from the agent to the object, play an important part in the Iroquois language. In the Algonkin tongues these transitions are indicated partly by prefixed pronouns, and partly by terminal inflections. In the Iroquois the subjective and objective pronouns are both prefixed, as in French. In that language "il me voit" corresponds precisely with RAKAthatos, "he-me-sees." Here the pronouns, ra, of the third person, and ka of the first, are evident enough. In other cases the two pronouns have been combined in a form which shows no clear trace of either of the simple pronouns; as in helsenonwes, thou lovest him, and hianonwes, he loves thee. These combined pronouns are very numerous, and vary, like the simple pronouns, in the five conjugations.

The peculiar forms of the verb, analogous to the Semitic conjugations are very numerous. Much of the force and richness of the language depends on them. M. Caoq enumerates—

1. The diminutive form, which affixes ha; as knekirhaHA, I drink a little; konkweHA (from onkwe, man), I am a man, but hardly one (i.e., I am a little of a man).

2. The augmentative, of which tsi is the affixed sign; as, knekirhaTSI, I drink much. This is sometimes lengthened to tsihon; as wakatonteTSIHON, I understand perfectly.

3 and 4. The cislocative, expressing motion towards the speaker, and the translocative, indicating motion tending from him. The former has t, the latter ie or ia, before the verb, as tasataweiat, come in; iasataweiat, go in.

5. The duplicative, which prefixes te, expresses an action which affects two or more agents or objects, as in betting, marrying, joining, separating. Thus, from ikiaks, I cut, we have tekiaks, I cut in two, where the prefix te corresponds to the Latin bi in "bisect". The same form is used in speaking of acts done by those organs of the body, such as the eyes and the hands, which nature has made double. Thus tekasenthos, I weep, is never used except in this form.

6 The reiterative is expressed by the sound of s prefixed to the verb. It sometimes replaces the cislocative sign; thus, tkahtenties, I come from yonder; skahtenties, I come again.

7. The motional is a form which by some is considered a special future tense. Thus, from khiatons, I write, we have khiatonnes, I am going to write; from katerios, I fight, katerioseres, I am going to the war; from kesaks, I seek, kesakhes, I am going to seek. These forms are irregular, and can only be learned by practice.

8. The causative suffix is tha; as from k'kowanen, I am great, we have k'kowanaTHA, I make great, I aggrandize. With at inserted we have a simulative or pretentious form, as katkowanaTHA, I make myself great, I pretend to be great. The same affix is used to give an instrumental sense; as from keriios, I kill, we have keriiohTHA, I kill him with such a weapon or instrument.

9. The progressive, which ends in tie (sometimes taking the forms atie, hatie, tatie), is much used to give the sense of becoming, proceeding, continuing, and the like; as wakhiatontie, I go on writing; wakatrorihatie, I keep on talking; wakeriwaientatie, I am attending to the business. The addition of an s to this form adds the idea of plurality or diversity of acts; thus, wakhiatonties, I go on writing at different times and places; wakatrorihaties, I keep on telling the thing, i. e., going from house to house.

10. The attributive has various forms, which can only be learned by practice or from the dictionaries. It expresses an action done for some other person; as, from wakiote, I work, we have kiotense, I work for some one; from katatis, I speak, katatiase, I speak in favor of some one.

11. The habitual ends in kon. From katontats, I hear, I consent, we have wakatontatskon, I am docile; from katatis, I speak, wakatatiatskon, I am talkative.

12. The frequentative has many forms, but usually ends in on, or ons. From khiatons, I write, we have in this form khiatonnions, I write many things; from katkahtos, I look, katkahtonnions, I look on all sides.

These are not all the forms of the Iroquois verb; but enough have been enumerated to give some idea of the wealth of the language in such derivatives, and the power of varied expression which it derives from this source.

The Iroquois has many particles which, like those of the Greek and French languages, help to give clearness to the style, though their precise meaning cannot always be gathered by one not perfectly familiar with the language. Ne and nene are frequently used as substitutes for the article and the relative pronouns. Onenh, now; kati, then, therefore; ok, nok, and neok, and; oni and neoni, also; toka and tokat, if, perhaps; tsi, when; kento, here; akwah, indeed, very; etho, thus, so; are, sometimes, again; ken, an interrogative particle, like the Latin ne—these and some others will be found in the Book of Rites, employed in the manner in which they are still used by the best speakers.

It must be understood that the foregoing sketch affords only the barest outline of the formation of the Iroquois language. As has been before remarked, a complete grammar of this speech, as full and minute as the best Sanscrit or Greek grammars, would probably equal and perhaps surpass those grammars in extent. The unconscious forces of memory and of discrimination required to maintain this complicated intellectual machine, and to preserve it constantly exact and in good working order, must be prodigious. Yet a comparison of Bruyas' work with the language of the present day shows that this purpose has been accomplished; and, what is still more remarkable, a comparison of the Iroquois with the Huron grammar shows that after a separation which must have exceeded five hundred years, and has probably covered twice that term, the two languages differ less from one another than the French of the twelfth century differed from the Italian, or than the Anglo-Saxon of King Alfred differed from the contemporary Low German speech. The forms of the Huron-Iroquois languages, numerous and complicated as they are, appear to be certainly not less persistent, and probably better maintained, than those of the written Aryan tongues.


[Originally presented as one page Iroquois, followed by one page English translation. This is confusing in electronic texts, so have changed it here to be the complete Iroquois text followed by the complete English translation.]




1. Onenh weghniserade wakatyerenkowa desawennawenrate ne kenteyurhoton. Desahahishonne donwenghratstanyonne ne kentekaghronghwanyon. Tesatkaghtoghserontye ronatennossendonghkwe yonkwanikonghtaghkwenne, konyennetaghkwen. Ne katykcnh nayoyaneratye ne sanikonra? Daghsatkaghthoghseronne ratiyanarenyon onkwaghsotsherashonkenhha; neok detkanoron ne shekonh ayuyenkwaroghthake jiratighrotonghkwakwe. Ne katykenh nayuyaneratye ne sanikonra desakaghserentonyonne?

2. Niyawehkowa katy nonwa onenh skennenji thisayatirhehon. Onenh nonwa oghseronnih denighroghkwayen. Hasekenh thiwakwekonh deyunennyatenyon nene konnerhonyon, "Ie henskerighwaghfonte." Kenyutnyonkwaratonnyon, neony kenyotdakarahon, neony kenkontifaghsoton. Nedens aesayatyenenghdon, konyennedaghkwen, neony kenkaghnekdnyon nedens aesayatyenenghdon, konyennethaghkwen, neony kenwaseraketotanese kentewaghsatayenha kanonghsakdatye. Niyateweghniserakeh yonkwakaronny; onidatkon yaghdekakonghsonde oghsonteraghkowa nedens aesayatyenenghdon, konyennethaghkwen.

3. Niyawenhkowa kady nonwa onenh skennenjy thadesarhadiyakonh. Hasekenh kanoron jinayawenhon nene aesahhahiyenenhon, nene ayakotyerenhon ayakawen, "Issy tyeyadakeron, akwah deyakonakorondon!" Ayakaweron oghnonnekenh niyuiterenhhatye, ne konyennedaghkwen.

4. Rotirighwison onkwaghsotshera, ne ronenh, "Kenhenyondatsjistayenhaghse. Kendeyughnyonkwarakda eghtenyontatitenranyon orighokonha." Kensane yeshotiriwayen orighwakwekonh yatenkarighwentaseron, nene akwah denyontatyadoghseronko. Neony ne ronenh, "Ethononweh yenyontatenonshine, kanakdakwenniyukeh yenyontatideron."

5. Onenh kady iese seweryenghskwe sathaghyonnighshon:

Karhatyonni. Oghskawaserenhon. Gentiyo. Onenyute. Deserokenh. Deghhodijinharakwenh. Oghrekyonny. Deyuyewenton.

Etho ne niwa ne akotthaghyonnishon.

6. Onenh nene shehhawah deyakodarakeh ranyaghdenghshon:

Kaneghsadakeh. Onkwehieyede. Waghkerhon. Kahhendohhon. Dhogvvenyoh. Kayyhekwarakeh.

Etho ne niwa ne ranyaghdenshon.

7. Onenh nene jadadeken roskerewake: Deyaokenh. Jonondese. Otskwirakeron. Onaweron.

8. Onenh nene onghwa kehaghshonha: Karhawenghradongh. Karakenh. Deyuhhero. Deyughsweken. Oxdenkeh.

Etho ne niwa roghskerewake. Eghnikatarakeghne orighwakayongh.

9. Ne kaghyaton jinikawennakeh ne dewadadenonweronh, "ohhendonh karighwadeghkwenh" radiyats. Doka enyairon, "Konyennedaghkwen; onenh weghniserade yonkwatkennison. Rawenniyo raweghniseronnyh. Ne onwa konwende yonkwatkennison nene jiniyuneghrakwah jinisayadawen. Onenh oaghwenjakonh niyonsakahhawe jinonweh nadekakaghneronnyonghkwe. Akwah kady okaghserakonh thadetyatroghkwanekenh."

10. "Onenh kady yakwenronh, wakwennyonkoghde okaghsery, akwah kady ok skennen thadenseghsatkaghthonnyonhheke."

11. "Nok ony kanekhere deyughsihharaonh ne sahondakon. Onenh kady watyakwaghsiharako waahkwadeweyendonh tsisaronkatah, kady nayawenh ne skennen thensathondeke enhtyewenninekenneh."

12. "Nok ony kanekhere deyughsihharaonh desanyatokenh. Onenh kady hone yakwenronh watyakwaghsihharanko, akwah kady ok skennen deghsewenninekenne dendewadatenonghweradon."

13. Onenh are oya, konyennethaghkwen. Nene kadon yuneghrakwah jinesadawen. Niyadeweghniserakeh sanekherenhonh ratikowanenghskwe. Onghwenjakonh niyeskahhaghs; ken-ony rodighskenrakeghdethaghkwe, ken-ony sanheghtyensera, ken-ony saderesera. Akwagh kady ok onekwenghdarihengh thisennekwakenry.

14. Onenh kady yakwenronh wakwanekwenghdarokewanyon jisanakdade, ogh kady nenyawenne seweghniserathagh ne akwah ok skennen then kanakdiyuhake ji enghsitskodake denghsatkaghdonnyonheke.

15. Onenh nene Karenna,

Yondonghs "Aihaigh."

Kayanerenh dcskenonghweronne; Kheyadawenh deskenonghweronne; Oyenkondonh deskenonghweronne; Wakonnyh deskenonghweronne. Ronkeghsotah rotirighwane,— Ronkeghsota jiyathondek.

16. Enskat ok enjerennokden nakwah oghnaken nyare enyonghdentyonko kanonghsakonghshon, enyairon.

17. "A-i Raxhottahyh! Onenh kajatthondek onenh enyontsdaren ne yetshiyadare! Ne ji onenh wakarighwakayonne ne sewarighwisahnonghkwe ne kayarenghkowah. Ayawenhenstokenghske daondayakotthondeke."

18. "Na-i Raxhottahyh! Ne kenne iesewenh enyakodenghthe nene noghnaken enyakaonkodaghkwe."

19. "Na-i Raxhottahyh! Onenh nonwa kathonghnonweh dhatkonkoghdaghkwanyon jidenghnonhon nitthatirighwayerathaghkwe."

20. "Na-i Raxbottahyh! Nene ji onenh wakarighwakayonne ne sewarighwisahnonghkwe, ne Kayarenghkowa. Yejisewatkonseraghkwanyon onghwenjakonshon yejisewayadakeron, sewarighwisahnhonkwe ne Kayanerenhkowah. Ne sanekenh ne seweghne aerengh niyenghhenwe enyurighwadatye Kayanerenghkowah."

* * * * *

21. Eghnikonh enyerighwawetharho kenthoh, are enjonderennoden enskat enjerenokden, onenh ethone enyakohetsde onenh are enjondentyonko kanonghsakonghshon, enyairon wahhy:

22. "A-i Raxhotthahyh! Onenh jatthondek kady nonwa jinihhotiyerenh,—orighwakwekonh natehaotiya-doreghtonh, nene roneronh ne enyononghsaghniratston. A-i Raxhotthahyh! nene ronenh: 'Onen nonwa wetewayennendane; wetewennakeraghdanyon; watidewenna-karondonnyon.'"

23. "Onenh are oya eghdeshotiyadoreghdonh, nene ronenh: 'Kenkisenh nenyawenne. Aghsonh thiyenjide-watyenghsaeke, onok enjonkwanckheren.' Nene ronenh: 'Kenkine nenyawenne. Aghsonh denyakokwanentonghsaeke, onok denjontadenakarondako. Nene doka ok yadayakonakarondatye onghwenjakonh niyaonsakahawe, A-i Raxhottahyh,' none ronenh, 'da-edewenhheye onghteh, neok yadayakonakarondatye onghwenjakonh niyaonsakahawe.'"

24. "Onenh are oya eghdeshodiyadoreghtonh, nai Raxhottahyh! Nene ronenh ne enyononghsaghniratston. Nene ronengh: 'Doka onwa kenenyondatyadawenghdate, ne kenkarenyakeghrondonhah ne nayakoghstonde ne nayeghnyasakenradake, ne kenh ne iesewenh, kenkine nenyawenne. Kendenyethirentyonnite kanhonghdakde dewaghsadayenhah."

25. "Onenh are oya eghdejisewayudoreghdonh, nene isewenh: 'Yahhonghdehdeyoyanere nene kenwedewayen, onwa enyeken nonkwaderesera; kadykenh niyakoghswathah, akwekonh nityakawenonhtonh ne kenyoteranentenyonhah. Enyonterenjiok kendonsayedane akwah enyakonewarontye, onok enyerighwanendon oghnikawenhonh ne kendeyerentyonny; katykenh nenyakorane nenyerighwanendon akare onenh enyakodokenghse. Onok na entkaghwadasehhon nakonikonra, onenh are ne eh enjonkwakaronny.'"

26. "Onenh are oya eghdeshotiyadoreghdonh, nene ronenh: 'Kenkine nenyawenne. Endewaghneghdotako skarenhhesekowah, enwadonghwenjadethare eghyendewasenghte tyoghnawatenghjihonh kathonghdeh thienkahhawe; onenh denghnon dentidewaghneghdoten, onenh denghnon yaghnonwendonh thiyaensayeken nonkwateresera.'"

27. "Onenh are oya eghdeshotiyadoreghdonh, nene roneronh ne enyononghsaghniratston. Nene ronenh: 'Onenh wedewaweyennendane; wedewennakeraghdanyon. Doka nonkenh onghwajok onok enjonkwanekheren. Ken kady ne nenyawenne. Kenhendewaghnatatsherodarho ken kanakaryonniha deyunhonghdoyenghdongh yendewanaghsenghde, kennikanaghseshah, ne enyehharako ne kaneka akonikonghkahdeh. Enwadon ok jiyudakenrokde thadenyedane doghkara nentyewenninekenne enjondatenikonghketsko ne enyenikonghkwenghdarake. Onokna enjeyewendane yenjonthahida ne kayanerenghkowa.'"

28. "Onenh kady ise jadakweniyu ken Kanonghsyonny, Dekanawidah, ne deghniwenniyu ne rohhawah Odadsheghte; onenh nene yeshodonnyh Wathadodarho; onenh nene yeshohowah akahenyonh; onare nene yeshodonnyh Kanyadariyu; onenh nene yeshonarase Shadekaronyes; onenh nene onghwa kehhaghsaonhah yejodenaghstahhere kanaghsdajikowah."

* * * * *

29. Onenh jatthondek sewarihwisaanonghkwe Kayarenhkowah. Onenh wakarighwakayonne. Onenh ne oknejoskawayendon. Yetsisewanenyadanyon ne sewariwisaanonghkweh. Yejisewahhawihtonh, yetsisewennitskarahgwanyon; agwah neok ne skaendayendon. Etho yetsisewanonwadaryon. Sewarihwisaanonghkwe yetsisewahhawitonh. Yetsisewatgonseraghkwanyon sewarihwisaanonghkwe, Kayanerenhkowah.

30. Onenh kady jatthondek jadakweniyosaon sewarihwisaanonghkwe:

DEKARIHAOKESH! Jatthontenyonk! Jatagweniyosaon,

AYONHWAHTHA! Jatthontenyonk! Jatagweniyosaon,

SHATEKARIWATE! Etho natejonhne! Sewaterihwakhaonghkwe, Sewarihwisaanonghkwe. Kayanerenhkowah.

31. Jatthontenyonk! Jatagweniyosaon,

SHARENHAOWANE! Jatthontenyonk! Jatagweniyosaon,

DEYONNHEHGONH! Jatthontenyonk! Jatagweniyosaon,

OGHRENREGOWAH! Etho natejonhne! Sewaterihwakhaonghkwe, Sewarihwisaanonghkwe, Kayanerenhkowah.

32. Jatthontenyonk! Jatagweniyosaon,

DEHENNAKARINE! Jatthontenyonk! Jatagweniyosaon,

AGHSTAWENSERONTHA! Jatthontenyonk! Jatagweniyosaon,

SHOSGOHAROWANE! Etho natejonhne, Sewatarihwakhaonghkwe, Sewarihwisaanonghkwe, Kayanerenhkowah.

33. Ise seniyatagweniyohkwe, Jatathawhak. Senirighwisaanonghkwe, Kayanerenghkowah. Ne deseniyenah; Seninonsyonnitonh. Onenh katy jatthontenyonk Jatakweniyosaon,

ODATSEGHTE! Jatthontenyonk! Jatakweniyosaon,

KANONHGWENYODON! Jatthontenyonk! Jatakweniyosaon,

DEYOHHAGWENTE! Etho natejonhne! Sewaterihwakhaonghkwe. Sewarihwisaanonghkwe, Kayanerenhkowah.

34. Jatthontenyonk! Jatakweniyosaon,

SHONONSESE! Jatthontenyonk! Jatakweniyosaon,

DAONAHROKENAGH! Jatthontenyonk! Jatakweniyosaon.

ATYATONNENHTHA! Etho natejonhne! Sewaterihwakhaonghkwe, Sewarihwisaanonghkwe, Kayanerenhkowah.

35. Jatthontenyonk! Jatakweniyosaon,

DEWATAHONHTENYONK! Jatthontenyonk! Jatakweniyosaon,

KANIYATAHSHAYONK! Jatthontenyonk! Jatakweniyosaon,

ONWATSATONHONH! Etho natejonhne! Sewaterihwakhaonghkwe, Sewarihwisaanonghkwe, Kayanerenhkowah.

36. Eghyesaotonnihsen: Onenh jatthontenyonk! Jatakweniyosaon,

THATOTARHO! Jatthontenyonk! Etho ronarasehsen: Jatakweniyosaon,

ENNESERARENH! Jatthontenyonk! Jatakweniyosaon,

DEHATKAHTHOS! Jatthontenyonk! Waghontenhnonterontye. Jatakweniyosaon,

ONYATAJIWAK! Jatthontenyonk! Jatakweniyosaon,

AWEKENYADE! Jatthontenyonk! Jatakweniyosaon,

DEHAYADKWARAYEN! Etho natejonhne!

37. Yeshohawak: Rokwahhokowah. Etho kakeghrondakwe Ne kanikonghrashon,


38. Etho yeshotonnyh, Tekadarakehne.


HAGHRIRON! Etho nadehhadihne!

39. Wahhondennonterontye,



SHAKOKENGHNE! Etho nadejonhne!

40. Etho niyawenonh, Karihwakayonh. Shihonadewiraratye, Tehhodidarakeh. Rakowanenh,

RASERHAGHRHONK! Etho wahhoronghyaronnyon: Roghskenrakeghdekowah, Rakowanenh, Tehhotyatakarorenh,

SKANAWADYH! Etho natejonhne!

41. Yeshohhawak,

TEKAHENYONK: Yeshonadadekenah:

JINONTAWERAON! Etho natejonhne!



ATYASERONNE! Etho natejonhneh!

43. Yeshondadekenah,



WATHYAWENHETHON! Etho natejonhne!


TESKAHE! Etho natejonhneh!

45. Yeshotonnyh,

SKANYADARIYO! Yeshonaraseshen,

SHADEKARONYES! Etho natejonhneh!

46. SATYENAWAT! Yeshonaraseshen,

SHAKENJOWANE! Etho natejonhneh!

47. KANOKARIH! Yeshonarase,—onwa

NISHARYENEN! Etho natejonhneh!

48. Onghwa keghaghshonah Yodenaghstahhere Kanaghstajikowah. Yatehhotihohhataghkwen. Etho ronaraseshen, Yadehninhohhanonghne:

KANONGHKERIDAWYH! Yeshonaraseshen,

TEYONINHOKARAWENH! Etho natejonhneh!

49. Onenh watyonkwentendane Kanikonrakeh.




1. Now [Footnote: The paragraphs are not numbered in the original text. The numbers are prefixed in this work merely for convenience of reference.] to-day I have been greatly startled by your voice coming through the forest to this opening. You have come with troubled mind through all obstacles. You kept seeing the places where they met on whom we depended, my offspring. How then can your mind be at ease? You kept seeing the footmarks of our forefathers; and all but perceptible is the smoke where they used to smoke the pipe together. Can then your mind be at ease when you are weeping on your way?

2. Great thanks now, therefore, that you have safely arrived. Now, then, let us smoke the pipe together. Because all around are hostile agencies which are each thinking, "I will frustrate their purpose." Here thorny ways, and here falling trees, and here wild beasts lying in ambush. Either by these you might have perished, my offspring, or, here by floods you might have been destroyed, my offspring, or by the uplifted hatchet in the dark outside the house. Every day these are wasting us; or deadly invisible disease might have destroyed you, my offspring.

3. Great thanks now, therefore, that in safety you have come through the forest. Because lamentable would have been the consequences had you perished by the way, and the startling word had come, "Yonder are lying bodies, yea, and of chiefs!" And they would have thought in dismay, what had happened, my offspring.

4. Our forefathers made the rule, and said, "Here they are to kindle a fire; here, at the edge of the woods, they are to condole with each other in few words." But they have referred thither [Footnote: That is, to the Council House.] all business to be duly completed, as well as for the mutual embrace of condolence. And they said, "Thither shall they be led by the hand, and shall be placed on the principal seat."

5. Now, therefore, you who are our friends of the Wolf clan:

In John Buck's MS. Supposed Meaning. Ka rhe tyon ni. The broad woods. Ogh ska wa se ron hon. Grown up to bushes again. Gea di yo. Beautiful plain. O nen yo deh. Protruding stone. De se ro ken. Between two lines. Te ho di jen ha ra kwen. Two families in a long-house, Ogh re kyon ny. (Doubtful.) [one at each end.] Te yo we yen don. Drooping wings.

Such is the extent of the Wolf clan.

6. Now, then, thy children of the two clans of the Tortoise:

Ka ne sa da keh. On the hill side. Onkwi i ye de. A person standing there. Weg'h ke rhon. (Doubtful.) Kah ken doh hon. " Tho gwen yoh. " Kah he kwa ke. "

Such is the extent of the Tortoise clan.

7. Now these thy brothers of the Bear clan: De ya oken. The Forks. Jo non de seh. It is a high hill. Ots kwe ra ke ron. Dry branches fallen to the ground. Ogh na we ron. The springs.

8. Now these have been added lately: Ka rho wengh ra don. Taken over the woods. Ka ra ken. White. De yo he ro. The place of flags (rushes). De yo swe ken. Outlet of the river. Ox den ke. To the old place.

Such is the extent of the Bear clan.

These were the clans in ancient times.

9. Thus are written the words of mutual greeting, called "the opening ceremony." Then one will say, "My offspring, now this day we are met together. God has appointed this day. Now, to-day, we are met together, on account of the solemn event which has befallen you. Now into the earth he has been conveyed to whom we have been wont to look. Yea, therefore, in tears let us smoke together."

10. "Now, then, we say, we wipe away the tears, so that in peace you may look about you."

11. "And, further, we suppose there is an obstruction in your ears. Now, then, we remove the obstruction carefully from your hearing, so that we trust you will easily hear the words spoken."

12. "And also we imagine there is an obstruction in your throat. Now, therefore, we say, we remove the obstruction, so that you may speak freely in our mutual greetings."

13. "Now again another thing, my offspring. I have spoken of the solemn event which has befallen you. Every day you are losing your great men. They are being borne into the earth; also the warriors, and also your women, and also your grandchildren; so that in the midst of blood you are sitting."

14. "Now, therefore, we say, we wash off the bloodmarks from your seat, so that it may be for a time that happily the place will be clean where you are seated and looking around you."

* * * * *

15. Now the Hymn,


I come again to greet and thank the League; I come again to greet and thank the kindred; I come again to greet and thank the warriors; I come again to greet and thank the women. My forefathers,—what they established,— My forefathers,—hearken to them!

16. The last verse is sung yet again, while he walks to and fro in the house, and says:

17. "Hail, my grandsires! Now hearken while your grandchildren cry mournfully to you,—because the Great League which you established has grown old. We hope that they may hear."

18. "Hail, my grandsires! You have said that sad will be the fate of those who come in the latter times."

19. "Oh, my grandsires! Even now I may have failed to perform this ceremony in the order in which they were wont to perform it." "Oh, my grandsires! Even now that has become old which you established,—the Great League. You have it as a pillow under your heads in the ground where you are lying,—this Great League which you established; although you said that far away in the future the Great League would endure."

* * * * *

So much is to be said here, and the Hymn is to be sung again, and then he is to go on and walk about in the house again, saying as follows:

"Hail, my grandsires! Now hear, therefore, what they did—all the rules they decided on, which they thought would strengthen the House. Hail, my grandsires! this they said: 'Now we have finished; we have performed the rites; we have put on the horns.'

"Now again another thing they considered, and this they said: 'Perhaps this will happen. Scarcely shall we have arrived at home when a loss will occur again.' They said, 'This, then, shall be done. As soon as he is dead, even then the horns shall be taken off. For if invested with horns he should be borne into the grave,' oh, my grandsires, they said, 'we should perhaps all perish if invested with horns he is conveyed to the grave.'

"Then again another thing they determined, oh my grandsires! 'This,' they said, 'will strengthen the House.' They said, if any one should be murdered and [the body] be hidden away among fallen trees by reason of the neck being white, then you have said, this shall be done. We will place it by the wall in the shade."

25. "Now again you considered and you said: 'It is perhaps not well that we leave this here, lest it should be seen by our grandchildren; for they are troublesome, prying into every crevice. People will be startled at their returning in consternation, and will ask what has happened that this (corpse) is lying here; because they will keep on asking until they find it out. And they will at once be disturbed in mind, and that again will cause us trouble.'"

26. "Now again they decided, and said: 'This shall be done. We will pull up a pine tree—a lofty tree—and will make a hole through the earth-crust, and will drop this thing into a swift current which will carry it out of sight, and then never will our grandchildren see it again.'"

27. "Now again another thing they decided, and thought, this will strengthen the House. They said: 'Now we have finished; we have performed the rites. Perhaps presently it will happen that a loss will occur amongst us. Then this shall be done. We will suspend a pouch upon a pole, and will place in it some mourning wampum—some short strings—to be taken to the place where the loss was suffered. The bearer will enter, and will stand by the hearth, and will speak a few words to comfort those who will be mourning; and then they will be comforted, and will conform to the great law.'"

28. "Now, then, thou wert the principal of this Confederacy, Dekanawidah, with the joint principal, his son, Odadsheghte; and then again his uncle, Wathadodarho; and also again his son, Akahenyonh; and again his uncle, Kanyadariyu; and then again his cousin, Shadekaronyes; and then in later times additions were made to the great edifice."

* * * * *

29. Now listen, ye who established the Great League. Now it has become old. Now there is nothing but wilderness. Ye are in your graves who established it. Ye have taken it with you, and have placed it under you, and there is nothing left but a desert. There ye have taken your intellects with you. What ye established ye have taken with you. Ye have placed under your heads what ye established—the Great League.

30. Now, then, hearken, ye who were rulers and founders: [Footnote: The names in this version are in the orthography of John Buck's MS.]

TEHKARIHHOKEN! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, HAYENWATHA! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, SHADEKARIHWADE! That was the roll of you, You who were joined in the work, You who completed the work, The Great League.

31. Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, SHARENHHOWANE! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, TEHYONHEGHKWEN! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, OWENHEGHKOHNA! That was the roll of you, You who were joined in the work, You who completed the work, The Great League.

32. Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, TEHHENNAGHKARIHNE! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, AGHSTAWENSERONTTHA! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, SHAGHSKOHAROWANE! That was the roll of you, You who were joined in the work, You who completed the work, The Great League.

33. Ye two were principals, Father and son, Ye two completed the work, The Great League. Ye two aided each other, Ye two founded the House. Now, therefore, hearken! Thou who wert ruler, ODATSEGHDEH! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, KAHNONKWENYAH! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, TEHYOHHAKWENDEH! That was the roll of you, You who were joined in the work, You who completed the work, The Great League.

34. Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, SHONONGHSESEH! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, THONAEGHKENAH! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, HAHTYADONNENTHA! That was the roll of you, You who were joined in the work, You who completed the work, The Great League.

35. Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, TEHWAHTAHONTENYONK! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, KAHNYADAGHSHAYEN! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, HONWATSHADONNEH! That was the roll of you, You who were joined in the work, You who completed the work, The Great League.

36. These were his uncles: Now hearken! Thou who wert ruler, WATHADOTARHO: Continue to listen! These were the cousins: Thou who wert ruler, ONEHSEAGHHEN! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, TEHHATKAHDONS! Continue to listen! These were as brothers thenceforth: Thou who wert ruler, SKANIADAJIWAK: Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, AWEAKENYAT! Continue to listen! Thou who wert ruler, TEHAYATKWAYEN! That was the roll of you!

37. Then his son: He is the great Wolf. There were combined The many minds! HONONWIREHDONH! That was the roll of you.

38. These were his uncles, Of the two clans: KAWENENSEAGHTONH! HAHHIHHONH! That was the roll of them!

39. These were as brothers thenceforth: HOHYUNHNYENNIH! SHOTEHGWASEH! SHAHKOHKENNEH! This was the roll of you.

40. This befell In ancient times. They had their children, Those the two clans. He the high chief, SAHHAHWIH! This put away the clouds: He was a war chief; He was a high chief— Acting in either office: SKAHNAHWAHTIH! This was the roll of you!

41. Then his son, TAHKAHENHYUNH! With his brother, JIHNONTAHWEHHEH. This was the roll of you!


43. Then they who are brothers: TEHYUHENHYUNHKOH! TEHYUHTOHWEHGWIH! TYAWENHHEHTHONH! This was the roll of you.

44. HAHTONHTAHHEHHAH! TESHKAHHEA! This was the roll of you!

45. Then his uncle, SKAHNYAHTEIHYUH! With his cousin, SHAHTEHKAHENHYESH. This was the roll of you!

46. SAHTYEHNAHWAHT! With his cousin, SHAKENHJOHNAH! This was the roll of you!

47. KAHNOHKAIH! With his cousin,—then NISHAHYEHNENHHAH This was the roll of you!

48. Then, in later times, They made additions To the great mansion. These were at the doorway, They who were cousins, These two guarded the doorway: KANONHKEHIHTAWIH! With his cousin, TYUHNINHOHKAWENH This was the roll of you!

49. Now we are dejected In our minds.



[Originally presented as one page Onandaga, followed by one page English translation. This is confusing in electronic texts, so have changed it here to be the complete Onandaga text followed by the complete English translation.]

[*** Original used ' ' for syllable breaks and ' ' (two spaces) for word breaks. Changed to '-' for syllable breaks and a single space for word breaks.]

1. a. Yo o-nen o-nen wen-ni-sr-te o-nen wa-ge-ho-gar-a-nyat ne-tha-non-ni-sr-son-tar-yen na-ya-ne o-shon-tar-gon-go-nar nen-tis-no-war-yen na-ye-ti-na gar-weear-har-tye ne swih-ar-gen-ahr ne-tho-se hen-ga-ho-gar-a-nyat nen-tha-o-ta-gen-he-tak ne-tho-har-ten-gar-ton-ji-yar-hon-on nar-ye-en-gwa-wen-ne-kentar ne-ten-gon-nen-tar-hen na-a-yen-tar.

1. b. Tar onon na-on-gen shis-gis-war-tha-en-ton-tye na on-gwr-non-sen-shen-tar-qua nar-te-har-yar-ar-qui-nar nan-gar-wen-ne-srh-ha-yo-ton-har-ye nen-gar-nen-ar-ta ho-ti-sgen-ar-ga-tar nen-o-ne gar-nen-ar-ti kon-hon-wi-sats nen-o-ni tar-ga-non-tye na on-quar-sat-har nen-o hon-tar-gen-hi-se-non-tye nen-o wen-gr-ge go-yar-da-nen-tar-hon nen-tho nr-ta-war ta-har-yar-ar-qui-nar nen-gar-wen-ne-sar han-yo-ton-hr-tye tar o-nen-ti tya-quar-wen-ne-gen-har nen-a-shen ne-yar-quar-tar-ta-gen.

1. c. O-nen-ti-a-wen-hen nar-ya-he-yr-genh thar-ne-ho-ti-e-quar-te nen-on-quar-noh-shen-ta-qua nen-o on-qua-jas-harn-ta-qua nar-ye-gen-na-ho-nen nar-ye-na te-was-hen nen-ne-gon-hi-war na-tho na-ho-te-yen-nen-tar-e tar-day-was-shen nen-ne-yo-e-wa na-ar-wen-ha-yo-dar-ge nen-on-quar-twen-non-ty o-nen en-hen-wa-yar-shon nen-nat-ho-on-ne-yar-quar-ya-ar nen-a-shen ne-yar-quar-tar-te-ken.

1. d. O-nen-ti-eh-o-yar nen-ton-ta-yar-quar-wen-ni-ken-ar nar-ya-hi-yar-gen na-ar-quar-ton sis-jih-wa-tha-en-ton-tye o-yar-na son-quar-yo-ten-se-nar tar-nr-ye-ti-na hon-sar-ho-har-we-ti-har-tye nen-qr-nen-hr-te ho-ti-sken-ar-ga-tar nen-o-ne gar-nen-har-te gon-thon-we-sas on-sar-ho-na-tar-que-har-tye nar-ya-har-tes-gar-no-wen na o-nen na-en-gar-ya-tye-nen-har nen-war-thon-wi-sas ar-ques-sis-jit nar-te-yo-nen-ha-ase en-war-nten-har-wat-tha nen-on-quar-ta-shar o-nen o-yar-nen-eh-te-ge-non-tyes on-quar-te-shar nr-ya-o-ne sar-o-har-we-ti-har-tye o-nen o-yar nens-o-ni-ta-gen-hi-se-non-tyes o-wen-gar-ge ga-yr-tr-nen-tak-hon ne-tho nr-te-war on-sar-ho-har-we-ti-har-tye.

I. e. O-nen ty-a on-yar ta-ya-quar-wen-ne-ken-har nen-a-sen ne-yar-quar-tar-te-gen o-nen-ty ton-tar-wen-ten-eh nen-o-nen thon-tar-yar-tyar-ton-tye nen-wa-gon-yon-wenjar-nan-har tar-o-nen ha-o-yar nen-ta-yo-quar-wen-ne-ken-e-har-tye. O-nen-te-ar-wen-han o-nen war-quar-de-yen-non-nyar-hen na-shar-non-wa nr-o-tas-are-quar-hen-ten o-nen wa-tya-quar-ha-tar-wen-ya-hon nen-ar-o-ar-shon-ar nen-tar-yon-quar-ty ne-tho hon-ne-yar-quar-ya-ar nen-ar-shen ne-yar-quar-ta-te-kenh.

2. O-nen-ti-eh-o-yar nen-ton-tar-yar-quar-wen-ne-ken-har nen-o-son-tar-gon-go-nar nen-ti-sno-war-gen. O-nen-ti ton-sar-gon-en-nya-eh-tha ar-guas hi-yar-ga-tha te-jo-ge-grar O-nen-ti sar-gon-ar-gwar-nen-tak-ten sken-nen-gink-ty then-skar-ar-tayk. O-nen en-gar-ar-qui-ken-nha ne-tho tens-shar-ar-tyen. O-nen yo-nen-tyon-ha-tye. Ar-ghwas ten-yo-ten-har-en-ton-nyon-ne. Ne-tho tens-gar-ar-tye a-ghwas sken-non-jis ten-yo-yar-neh ne onen en-gr-ar-gwen-har o-ty-nen-yar-wen-har hen-jo-har-ten-har sar-ne-gon-are. Ne-tho han-ne-yar-gwar-ya-ar nen-ar-sen ne-yar-quar-tr-ta-gen.

3. O-nen-ti-ch-o-yar nen-ton-ta-yar-quar-wen-ne-ken-har. O-nen-nen-ti war-tyar-war-see-har-an-qua te-shar-hon-tar-gar-en-tar nen-they-yon-tar-ge-har-te nen-te-sar-nar-ton-ken hon-ne-ty ar-war-na-gen-tar wen-jar-wa-gar ha-e nar-ya-har ten-skar-har-we-tar-han nen-o-ge-gwr-en-yone nen-tye-sar-nar-ton-ken o-ty-nen-yar-wen-har nen-en-jo-har-ten-ar sar-ne-gon-are ne-tho hon-ne-yar-war-ya-ar nen-a-sen ne-yar-quar-tar-te-kenh.

4. O-nen-ti-eh-o-yar nen-ton-tar-yr-quar-wen-ne-ken-tye hon-nen ton-sar-war-kon-ha-jar-ha-jan nen-they-gar-kon-ha-shon-ton-har-tye hon-nen-ti nen-sar-kon-ge-ter-yen-has hon-nen-oni nen-ton-sar-gon-nen-ha-tieh o-nen o-tieh-nen-yar-wen-har nen-en-jo-har-tyen-har sar-ne-gon-are ne-tho hon-ne-yar-quar-yar-ar nen-a-sen ne-yar-qwr-tar-te-kenh.

5. O-nen-ti-eh-o-yar nen-ton-tar-yar-qwar-wen-ne-ken-har nar-ya-ti-ar-wen-han nen-tar-ehe-tar-nen-jar-tar-ti-war-ten nen-ton-gar-ke-sen nen-na-hon-yar-na on-har-wen-ne-gen-tar nar-ya-na sar-hon-ta-je-wants as-kar-we ar-san-nen-sen-wen-hat ne-tho o-ni nis-nen-yar-wen-hon-sken-are-gen-tar hor-go-war-nen-nen-hon-yar-na an-har-wen-ne-gen-tar are-we ar-sen-nen-sun-sar-wen-hat ne-tho on-ne-yar-quar-ya-ar nen-ar-sen ne-yr-qwar-tr-ta-kenh.

6. O-nen-ti-eh-o-yar nen-ton-tar-yar-quar-wen-ne-ken-hr nar-ye-ti-na-ar-wen-han nen-an-har-ya-tye-nen-har nen-na-hon-yar-na nr-ya-ti-nar nen-ne-yo-sar-tar ken-yar-tar nen-ji-gar-han nen-ta-hon-gren-tar wi-nar-na-ge-ne-yo-snon-wa nen-o-yar-en-sar-tyar-tar-nyar-ten a-ren ne-tho one-yar-qwar-yaar nen-ar-sen ne-yr-quar-tar-te-kenh.

7. O-nen-ti-eh-o-yar nen-ton-tr-yar-quar-wen-ne-ken-har nr-ya-ti-ar-wen-han sar-gon-nr-tar-eh-ya-tars nen-gr-nr-gar-yon-ne-ta-ar nen-jar-ne-qr-nar-sis-ah nen ne-tho war-ar-guar-sins-tar na-tho-ti-an-sar-wa nen-thon-gr-gey-san e-his-an-skas-gen-nen one-ha-yat nen-war-o-yan-quar-a-ton-on-tye nen-yar-gar-ker ta-gr-nr-squaw-ya-an-ne ne-tho on-ne-yar-quar-ya-ar nen-ar-sen ne-yar-quar-ta-te-kenh.

7. b. Tar-o-nen sar-gon-yan-nen-tar-ah tar-o-nen-ti ton-tar-ken-yar-tas.



I. a. Now—now this day—now I come to your door where you are mourning in great darkness, prostrate with grief. For this reason we have come here to mourn with you. I will enter your door, and come before the ashes, and mourn with you there; and I will speak these words to comfort you.

I. b. Now our uncle has passed away, he who used to work for all, that they might see the brighter days to come,—for the whole body of warriors and also for the whole body of women, and also the children that were running around, and also for the little ones creeping on the ground, and also those that are tied to the cradle-boards; for all these he used to work that they might see the bright days to come. This we say, we three brothers.

I. c. Now the ancient lawgivers have declared—our uncles that are gone, and also our elder brothers—they have said, it is worth twenty—it was valued at twenty—and this was the price of the one who is dead. And we put our words on it (i.e. the wampum), and they recall his name—the one that is dead. This we say and do, we three brothers.

I. d. Now there is another thing we say, we younger brothers. He who has worked for us has gone afar off; and he also will in time take with him all these—the whole body of warriors and also the whole body of women—they will go with him. Rut it is still harder when the woman shall die, because with her the line is lost. And also the grandchildren and the little ones who are running aruund—these he will take away; and also those that are creeping on the ground, and also those that are on the cradle-boards; all these he will takeaway with him.

1. e. Now then another thing we will say, we three brothers. Now you must feel for us; for we came here of our own good-will—came to your door that we might say this. And we will say that we will try to do you good. When the grave has been made, we will make it still better. We will adorn it, and cover it with moss. We will do this, we three brothers.

2. Now another thing we will say, we younger brothers. You are mourning in the deep darkness. I will make the sky clear for you, so that you will not see a cloud. And also I will give the sun to shine upon you, so that you can look upon it peacefully when it goes down: You shall see it when it is going. Yea! the sun shall seem to be hanging just over you, and you shall look upon it peacefully as it goes down. Now I have hope that you will yet see the pleasant days. This we say and do, we three brothers.

3. Now then another thing we say, we younger brothers. Now we will open your ears, and also your throat, for there is something that has been choking you and we will also give you the water that shall wash down all the troubles in your throat. We shall hope that after this your mind will recover its cheerfulness. This we say and do, we three brothers.

4. Now then there is another thing we say, we younger brothers. We will now remake the fire, and cause it to burn again. And now you can go out before the people, and go on with your duties and your labors for the people. This we say and do, we three brothers.

5. Now also another thing we say, we younger brothers. You must converse with your nephews; and if they say what is good, you must listen to it. Do not cast it aside. And also if the warriors should say anything that is good, do not reject it. This we say, we three brothers.

6. Now then another thing we say, we younger brothers. If any one should fall—it may be a principal chief will fall and descend into the grave—then the horns shall be left on the grave, and as soon as possible another shall be put in his place. This we say, we three brothers.

7. Now another thing we say, we younger brothers. We will gird the belt on you, with the pouch, and the next death will receive the pouch, whenever you shall know that there is death among us, when the fire is made and the smoke is rising. This we say and do, we three brothers.

7. b. Now I have finished. Now show me the man! [Footnote: i. e., "Point out to me the man whom I am to proclaim as chief, in place of the deceased."]


* * * * *

The meaning of the general title, Okayondonghsera Yondennase, has been already explained (Introduction, p. 48). In the sub-title, the word oghentonh is properly an adverb, meaning firstly, or foremost. This title might be literally rendered. "First the ceremony, 'At-the-wood's-edge' they call it."

1. The chiefs, in their journey to the place of meeting, are supposed to have passed the sites of many deserted towns, in which councils had formerly been held. Owing to the frequent removals of their villages, such deserted sites were common in the Iroquois country. The speaker who welcomes the arriving guests supposes that the view of these places had awakened in their minds mournful recollections.

Desawennawenrate, "thy voice coming over." This word is explained in the Glossary. It is in the singular number. According to the Indian custom, the speaker regards himself as representing the whole party for whom he speaks, and he addresses the leader of the other party as the representative and embodiment of all who come with him. Throughout the speeches "I" and "thou" are used in the well understood sense of "we" and "ye." In like manner, tribes and nations are, as it were, personified. A chief, speaking for the Onondagas, will say, "I (that is, my nation) am angry; thou (the Delaware people) hast done wrong." This style of bold personification is common in the scriptures. Moses warns the Israelites: "Thou art a stiff-necked people." "Oh my people!" exclaims Isaiah; "they which lead thee cause thee to err."

2. Denighroghkwayen, "let us two smoke." This word is in the dual number, the two parties, the hosts and the guests, being each regarded as one individual.

The difficulties and dangers which in the early days of the confederacy beset the traveler in threading his way through the forest, from one Indian nation to another, are vividly described in this section. The words are still employed by their speakers as an established form, though they have ceased to have any pertinence to their present circumstances.

3. Alnuah deyakonakarondon, "yea, of chiefs,"—literally, "yea, having horns." The custom of wearing horns as part of the head-dress of a chief has been long disused among the Iroquois; but the idiom remains in the language, and the horns, in common parlance, indicate the chief, as the coronet suggests the nobleman in England. Among the western Indians, as is well known, the usage still survives. "No one," says Catlin, "wears the head-dress surmounted with horns except the dignitaries who are very high in authority, and whose exceeding valor, worth, and power are admitted by all." These insignia of rank are, he adds, only worn on special and rare occasions, as in meeting embassies, or at warlike parades or other public festivals, or sometimes when a chief sees fit to lead a war-party to battle. [Footnote: Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians. By George Catlin; p. 172.] The origin of the custom is readily understood. The sight, frequent enough in former days, of an antlered stag leading a herd of deer would be quite sufficient to suggest to the quick apprehension of the Indian this emblem of authority and pre-eminence.

5. Sathaghyortnighson, "thou who art of the Wolf clan." The clan is addressed in the singular number, as one person. It is deserving of notice that the titles of clan-ship used in the language of ceremony are not derived from the ordinary names of the animals which give the clans their designations. Okwatho is wolf, but a man of the Wolf clan is called Tahionni,—or, as written in the text, Taghyonni. In ordinary speech, however, the expression rokwaho, "he is a Wolf," might be used.

The English renderings of the names in the list of towns are those which the interpreters finally decided upon. In several instances they doubted about the meaning, and in some cases they could not suggest an explanation. Either the words are obsolete, or they have come down in such a corrupt form that their original elements and purport cannot be determined. As regards the sites of the towns, see the Appendix, Note E.

6. Deyako-larakeh ranyaghdenghshon,—"the two clans of the Tortoise." Respecting the two sub-gentes into which the Tortoise clan was divided, see ante, p. 53. Anowara is the word for tortoise, but raniahten (or, in the orthography of the text, ranyaghdengh) signifies, "he is of the Tortoise clan."

7. Jadadeken roskerewake, "thy brother of the Bear clan." Okwari is bear, but roskerewake signifies "he is of the Bear clan." Rokwari, "he is a Bear," might, however, be used with the same meaning.

8. Onghwa kehaghshonha, "now recently." It is possible that onghwa is here written by mistake for orighwa. The word orighwakayongh, which immediately follows, signifies "in ancient times," and the corresponding word orighwake-haghshonha would be "in younger times." The period in which these additions were made, though styled recent, was probably long past when the "Book of Rites" was committed to writing; otherwise many towns which are known to have existed at the latter date would have been added to the list. In fact, the words with which the catalogue of towns closes—"these were the clans in ancient times,"—seem to refer these later additions, along with the rest, back to a primitive era of the confederacy.

9. Rawenniyo raweghniseronnyh, "God has appointed this day," or, literally, "God makes this day." In these words are probably found the only trace of any modification of the Book of Rites caused by the influence of the white visitors and teachers of the modern Iroquois. As the very fact that the book was written in the alphabet introduced by the missionaries makes us certain that the person who reduced it to writing had been under missionary instruction, it might be deemed surprising that more evidences of this influence are not apparent. It is probable, however, that the conservative feeling of the Council would have rejected any serious alterations in their ancient forms. It seems not unlikely that David of Schoharie—or whoever was the penman on this occasion—may have submitted his work to his missionary teacher, and that in deference to his suggestion a single interpolation of a religious cast, to which no particular objection could be made, was allowed to pass.

The word Rawenniyo, as is well known, is the term for God which was adopted by the Catholic missionaries. It is, indeed, of Huron-Iroquois origin, and may doubtless have been occasionally employed from the earliest times as an epithet proper for a great divinity. Its origin and precise meaning are explained in the Appendix, Note B. The Catholic missionaries appropriated it as the special name of the Deity, and its use in later times is probably to be regarded as an evidence of Christian influence. That the sentence in which it occurs in the text is probably an interpolation, is shown by the fact that the words which precede this sentence are repeated, with a slight change, immediately after it. Having interjected this pious expression, the writer seems to have thought it necessary to resume the thread of the discourse by going back to the phrase which had preceded it. It will be observed that the religious sentiment proper to the Book of Rites appears to us confined to expressions of reverence for the great departed, the founders of the commonwealth. This circumstance, however should not be regarded as indicating that the people were devoid of devotional feeling of another kind. Their frequent "thanksgiving festivals" afford sufficient evidence of the strength of this sentiment; but they apparently considered its display out of place in their political acts.

15. Nene karcnna, "the song," or "hymn." The purport of this composition is explained in the Introduction (ante, p. 62). Before the Book of Rites came into my possession I had often heard the hymn repeated, or sung, by different individuals, in slightly varying forms. The Onondaga version, given me on the Syracuse Reservation, contains a line, "Negwiyage teskenonhenhne" which is not found in the Canienga MS. It is rendered "I come to greet the children." The affection of the Indians for their children, which is exhibited in various passages of the Book, is most apparent in the Onondaga portion.

Kayanerenh. This word is variously rendered,—"the peace," "the law," and "the league," (see ante, p. 33). Here it evidently stands for Kayancrenhkowa, "the Great Peace," which is the name usually given by the Kanonsionni to their league, or federal constitution.

Deskenonghweronne, or in the modern French orthography, teskenonhweronne, "we come to greet and thank," is a good example of the comprehensive force of the Iroquois tongue. Its root is nonhwe, or nanwe, which is found in kenonhws, I love, like, am pleased with—the initial syllable ke being the first personal pronoun. In the frequentative form this becomes kenonhweron, which has the meaning of "I salute and thank," i.e., I manifest by repeated acts my liking or gratification. The s prefixed to this word is the sign of the reiterative form: skenonhweron, "again I greet and thank." The terminal syllable ne and the prefixed te are respectively the signs of the motional and the cislocative forms,—"I come hither again to greet and thank." A word of six syllables, easily pronounced (and in the Onondaga dialect reduced to five) expresses fully and forcibly the meaning for which eight not very euphonious English words are required. The notion that the existence of these comprehensive words in an Indian language, or any other, is an evidence of deficiency in analytic power, is a fallacy which was long ago exposed by the clear and penetrative reasoning of Duponceau, the true father of American philology. [Footnote: See the admirable Preface to his translation of Zeisberger's Delaware Grammar, p. 94.] As he has well explained, analysis must precede synthesis. In fact, the power of what may be termed analytic synthesis,—the mental power which first resolves words or things into their elements, and then puts them together in new forms,—is a creative or co-ordinating force, indicative of a higher natural capacity than the act of mere analysis. The genius which framed the word teskenonhweronne is the same that, working with other elements, produced the steam-engine and the telephone.

Ronkeghsota jivathondek. Two translations of this verse were given by different interpreters. One made it an address to the people: "My forefathers—hearken to them!" i.e., listen to the words of our forefathers, which I am about to repeat. The other considered the verse an invocation to the ancestors themselves. "My forefathers! hearken ye!" The words will bear either rendering, and either will be consonant with the speeches which follow.

The lines of this hymn have been thus cast into the metre of Longfellow's "Hiawatha:"—

"To the great Peace bring we greeting! To the dead chiefs kindred, greeting! To the warriors round him, greeting! To the mourning women, greeting! These our grandsires' words repeating, Graciously, O grandsires, hear us!"

16. Enyonghdentyonko kanonghsakonghshen,-"he will walk to and fro in the house." In councils and formal receptions it is customary for the orator to walk slowly to and fro during the intervals of his speech. Sometimes, before beginning his address, he makes a circuit of the assembly with a meditative aspect, as if collecting his thoughts. All public acts of the Indians are marked with some sign of deliberation.

21. Eghnikonh enyerighwawetharho kenthoh,—"thus they will close the ceremony here." The address to the forefathers, which is mainly an outburst of lamentation over the degeneracy of the times, is here concluded. It would seem, from what follows, that at this point the candidate for senatorial honors is presented to the council, and is formally received among them, with the usual ceremonies, which were too well known to need description. The hymn is then sung again, and the orator proceeds to recite the ancient laws which the founders of their confederacy established.

22. Watidewennakarondonnyon, "we have put on the horns;" in other words, "we have invested the new chief with the ensigns of office,"—or, more briefly, "we have installed him." The latter is the meaning as at present understood; but it is probable that, in earlier days, the panoply of horns was really placed on the head of the newly inducted councillor.

23. Aghsonh denvakokwanentonghsacke, etc., "as soon as he is dead" (or, according to another rendering, "when he is just dying") the horns shall be taken off. The purport and object of this law are set forth in the Introduction, p.67.

24. Ne nayakoghstonde ne nayeghnyasakenradake, "by reason of the neck being white." The law prescribed in this section to govern the proceedings of the Council in the case of homicide has been explained in the Introduction, p. 68. The words now quoted, however, introduce a perplexity which cannot be satisfactorily cleared up. The aged chief, John S. Johnson, when asked their meaning, was only able to say that neither he nor his fellow councillors fully understood it. They repeated in council the words as they were written in the book, but in this case, as in some others, they were not sure of the precise significance or purpose of what they said. Some of them thought that their ancestors, the founders, had foreseen the coming of the white people, and wished to advise their successors against quarreling with their future neighbors. If this injunction was really implied in the words, we must suppose that they were an interpolation of the Christian chief, David of Schoharie, or possibly of his friend Brant. They do not, however, seem to be, by any means, well adapted to convey this meaning. The probability is that they are a modern corruption of some earlier phrase, whose meaning had become obsolete. They are repeated by the chiefs in council, as some antiquated words in the authorized version of the scriptures are read in our own churches, with no clear comprehension—perhaps with a total misconception—of their original sense.

27. Enjonkwanekheren, "we shall lose some one," or, more literally, we shall fail to know some person. This law, which is fully explained in the Introduction, p. 70, will be found aptly exemplified in the Onondaga portion of the text, where the speeches of the "younger brothers" are evidently framed in strict compliance with the injunctions here given.

28. Jadakweniyu. This word, usually rendered "ruler," appears to mean "principal person," or perhaps originally a "very powerful person." It is a compound word, formed apparently from oyata, body or person, kakwennion, to be able, and the adjective termination iyu or iyo, in its original sense of "great." (See Appendix, Note B.) M. Cuoq, in his Iroquois Lexicon, defines the verb kiatakwenniyo as meaning "to be the important personage, the first, the principal, the president." It corresponds very nearly to the Latin princeps, and, as applied in the following litany to the fifty great hereditary chiefs of the Iroquois, might fairly enough be rendered "prince."

Kanonghsyonny, in modern orthography, Kanonsionni. For the origin and meaning of this word, and an explanation of the following section, see the Introduction, p. 75.

Yejodenaghstahhere kanaghsdajikowah, lit., "they added frame-poles to the great framework." Each of these compounds comprises the word kanaghsta, which is spelt by Bruyas, gannasta, and defined by him, "poles for making a cabin,—the inner one, which is bent to form the frame of a cabin." The reference in these words is to the Tuscaroras, Tuteloes, Nanticokes, and other tribes, who were admitted into the confederacy after its first formation. From a manuscript book, written in the Onondaga dialect, which I found at "Onondaga Castle," in September, 1880, I copied a list of the fifty councillors, which closed with the words, "shotinastasonta kanastajikona Ontaskaeken"—literally, "they added a frame-pole to the great framework, the Tuscarora nation."

29. Onenh jathondek, sewarihwisaanonghkwe Kayanerenghkowa,—"now listen, ye who completed the work, the Great League." This section, though written continuously as prose, was probably always sung, like the list of chiefs which follows. It is, in fact, the commencement of a great historical chant, similar in character to the 78th Psalm, or to some passages of the Prophets, which in style it greatly resembles. In singing this portion, as also in the following litany to the chiefs, the long-drawn exclamation of hai, or haihhaih, is frequently introduced. In the MS. book referred to in the last note, the list of councillors was preceded by a paragraph, written like prose, but with many of these interjections interspersed through it. The interpreter, Albert Cusick, an intelligent and educated man, assured me that this was a song, and at my request he chanted a few staves of it, after the native fashion. The following are the words of this hymn, arranged as they are sung. It will be seen that it is a sort of cento or compilation, in the Onondaga dialect, of passages from various portions of the Canienga Book of Rites, and chiefly from the section (29) now under consideration:—

Haihhaih! Woe! Woe! Jiyathonick! Hearken ye! Xivonkliti! We are diminished! Haihhaih! Woe! Woe! Tejoskawayenton. The cleared land has become a thicket. Haihhaih! Woe! Woe! Skakentahenyon. The clear places are deserted. Hai! Woe! Shatyherarta— They are in their graves— Hotyiwisahongwe— They who established it— Hai! Woe! Kayaneengoha. The great League. Netikenen honen Yet they declared Nene kenyoiwatatye— It should endure— Kayaneengowane. The great League. Hai! Woe! Wakaiwakayonnheha. Their work has grown old. Hai! Woe! Netho watyongwententhe. Thus we are become miserable.

The closing word is the same as the Canienga watyonkwentendane, which is found in the closing section of the Canienga book. The lines of the Onondaga hymn which immediately precede this concluding word will be found in Section 20 of that book, a section which is probably meant to be chanted. It will be noticed that the lines of this hymn fall naturally into a sort of parallelism, like that of the Hebrew chants.

30. Dekarihaokenh, or Tehkarihhoken. In John Buck's MS. the list of chiefs is preceded by the words "Nene Tehadirihoken," meaning the Caniengas, or, literally, "the Tekarihokens." For an explanation of this idiom and name, see ante, p. 77.

Ayonhwahtha, or Hayeirwatha. This name, which, as Hiawatha, is now familiar to us as a household word, is rendered "He who seeks the wampum belt." Chief George Johnson thought it was derived from oyonwa, wampum-belt, and ratiehwatha, to look for something, or, rather, to seem to seek something which we know where to find. M. Cuoq refe/s the latter part of the word to the verb katha, to make. [Footnote: Lexique de la Langue Iroquois, p. 161] The termination atha is, in this sense, of frequent occurrence in Iroquois compounds. The name would then mean "He who makes the wampum-belt," and would account for the story which ascribes to Hiawatha the invention of wampum. The Senecas, in whose language the word oyonwa has ceased to exist, have corrupted the name to Hayowentha, which they render "he who combs." This form of the name has also produced its legend, which is referred to elsewhere (p. 87). Hiawatha "combed the snakes out of Atotarho's head," when he brought that redoubted chief into the confederacy.

Shatekariwalf, "two equal statements," or "two things equal." This name is derived-from sate or shate, equal, and kariwa, or karihwa, for which see the Glossary.

Etho natejonhne, "this was your number," or, this was the extent of your class. These words, or the similar form, etho natehadinhne, "this was their number," indicate apparently that the roll of chiefs belonging to a particular class or clan is completed. They are followed by three other words which have been already explained (ante, pages 33 and 80), sewater-ihwakhaonghkwe, sewarihwisaanonghkwe, kayanerenhkowa. In the written litany these three words are omitted toward the close,—probably to save the penman the labor of transcription; but in the actual ceremony it is understood that they are chanted wherever the formula etho natejonhne, or etho natchadinhne, occurs. In the modern Canienga speech this verb is thus conjugated in the plural,—etho being contracted to eh:—

ehnatetionhne, we were that number; ehnatejionhne, ye were that number; ehnatehadinhne, they were that number.

The three Canienga councillors of the first class all belong to the Tortoise clan.

31. Sharenhowane; in Onondaga, Showenhona. This name was translated by the interpreters, "he is the loftiest tree." It seems properly to mean "he is a great tree-top," from karenha, or garenha, which Bruyas renders cime d'arbre, and kowane, great.

Deyonnhehgonh, or Teyonhehkwen, "double life," from onnhe, life. My friend, Chief George Johnson, who bears this titular appellation, tells me that it is properly the name of a certain shrub, which has a great tenacity of life.

Ohrenregowah; in Onondaga, Owenhegona. The interpreters differed much in opinion as to the meaning of this name. Some said "wide branches;" another, "a high hill." The root-word, ohrenre, is obsolete, and its meaning is apparently lost.

The three chiefs of the second class or division of the Caniengas belong to the Wolf clan.

32. Dehennakarine; in Onondaga, Tehennakaihne; "going with two horns." The root is onakara, horn; the termination ine, or ihne, gives the sense of going; de or te is the duplicative prefix.

Aghstawenserontha (Onon. Hastawensenwa), "he puts on the rattles." Mr. Bearfoot writes, "Ohstawensera seems to have been a general name for anything denuded of flesh, but is now confined to the rattles of the rattlesnake."

Shosgoharowane (Onon. Shosgohaehna), "he is a great wood-drift." "Yohskoharo, writes Mr. Bearfoot, means an obstruction by driftwood in creeks or small rivers."

The councillors of the third Canienga class are of the Bear clan.

33. Ise seniyatagweniyohkwe, "ye two were the principals." Atagweniyo, or adakweniyu (see ante, note to Sec. 28) here becomes a verb in the imperfect tense and the dual number. The reference is either to Dekanawidah and Odatsehte, the chiefs of the Caniengas and Oneidas, who worked together in founding the confederacy, or, rather, perhaps, to their two nations, each regarded as an individual, and, in a manner, personified.

Jatatawhak, or, more properly jatatahwak, means, literally, "son of each other." It is from the root-word kaha-wak (or gahawak), which is defined by Bruyas, avoir pour enfant, and is in the reciprocal form. Here, however, it is understood to mean "father and son," in reference to the political relationship between the Canienga and Oneida nations.

Odatsehte (Onon., Tatshehte), "bearing a quiver,"—or the pouch in which the arrows are carried. According to the tradition, when Dekanawidah's brother and ambassador formally adopted Odatsehte as the political son of the Canienga chief, he took the quiver off his own shoulder, and hung it upon that of the Oneida chieftain.

Kanonhgwenyodon, "setting up ears of corn in a row." From ononhkwenha, an ear of corn.

Deyohhagwente (Onon., Tyohagwente), "open voice" (?) This is another obsolete, or semi-obsolete word, about which the interpreters differ widely in opinion. "Hollow tube," "windpipe," "opening in the woods," "open voice," were the various renderings suggested. The latter would be derived from ohakwa or ohagwa, voice, and the termination wente or gwente, which gives the sense of "open."

The three chiefs of the first Oneida class belong to the Wolf clan.

34. Shononhsese (Onon., Shononses), "his long house." or, "he has a long house." From kanonsa, house, with the adjective termination es, long.

Daonahrokenagh (Onon., Tonaohgena), "two branches." This is another doubtful word. In modern Canienga, "two branches" would be Tonenroken.

Atyatonentha (Onon., Hatyatonnentha), "he lowers himself," or, literally, "he slides himself down," from oyata, body, self, and tonnenta, to slide.

The councillors of the second Oneida class are of the Tortoise clan.

35. Dewatahonhtenyonk (Onon., Tehatahonhtenyonk), "two hanging ears," from ohonta, ear.

Kaniyatahshayonk (Onon., Kanenyatakshayen). This name was rendered "easy throat," as if derived from oniata, throat; but the Oneida form of the word seems to point to a derivation from onenya (or onenhia), stone. This word must be regarded as another obsolete compound.

Onwatsatonhonk (Onon., Onwasjatenwi), "he is buried."

The three chiefs of the third Oneida class are of the Bear clan.

36. Eghyesaotonnihsen, lit., "this was his uncle,"—or, as the words would be understood by the hearers, "the next are his uncles." The Onondaga nation, being the brother of the Canienga, was, of course, the uncle of the Oneida. In John Buck's MS. the Onondagas are introduced with more ceremony, in the following lines:

Etho yeshodonnih; These are the uncles; Rodihsennakeghde, They, the name-bearers— Tehhotiyena, They took hold here; Rodihnonsyonnihton. They made the League.

That is, they helped, or joined, in making the League.

Thatotarho, Wathatotarho (Onon., Thatotarho). Thatotarho is the passive voice and cislocative form of otarho, which is defined "to grasp," or "catch" (accrocher) but in the passive signifies "entangled." This great chief, whose name is better known as Atotarho (without the cislocative prefix), is of the Bear clan.

Etho ronaraschsen, "these were cousins," or rather, "the next were cousins." This cousinhood, like all the relationships throughout the book, is political, and indicates some close relationship in public affairs. The announcement applies to the following chiefs, Enneserarenh and Dehatkahthos, who were the special aids and counselors of Atotarho.

Enneserarenh (Onon. Hanesehen). One Onondata chief said that he knew no meaning for this word. Another thought it might mean "the best soil uppermost." It is apparently from some obsolete root.

Dehatkahthos (Onon. Tchatkahtons), "he is two-sighted," or, "he looks both ways." Another rendering made it "on the watch." This and the preceding chief belong now to the Beaver clan. In one of the Onondaga lists which I received, these two, with their principal, Atotarho, formed a "class" by themselves, and were doubtless originally of the same clan.

Waghontenhnonterontye, "they were as brothers thenceforth;" or, more fully rendered, "the next continued to be brothers." This declaration refers to the three next following chiefs, who were connected by some special political tie. The first who bore the name were, probably, like the two preceding chiefs, leading partisans and favorites of the first Atotarho.

Onyatajiwak, or Skanyadajiwak (Onon., Oyatajiwak). One authority makes this "a fowl's crop;" another, "the throat alone," from oniata, throat, and jiwak, alone; another defined it, "bitter throat." Mr. Morgan renders it "bitter body,"—his informant probably seeing in it the word oyata, body. This chief belongs now to the Snipe clan.

Awekenyade. "the end of its journey,"—from awe, going, and akonhiate(Can.) "at the end." This chief is of the Ball tribe, both in Canada, and at Onondaga Castle. In the list furnished to Mr. Morgan by the Senecas, he is of the Tortoise clan.

Dehadkwarayen (Onon., Tchatkwayen). This word is obsolete. One interpreter guessed it to mean "on his body;" another made it "red wings." He is of the Tortoise clan.

In the Book of Rites the first six chiefs of the Onondagas make but one class, as is shown by the fact that their names are followed by the formula, etho natejonhne, "this was the number of you." It may be presumed that they were originally of one clan,—probably that of the Bear, to which their leader, Atotarho, belonged.

37. Yeshohawak, rakwahhokowah, "then his next son, he the great Wolf." The chief who follows, Ronenghwireghtonh, was evidently a personage of great importance,—probably the leading chief of the Wolf class. He forms a "clan" by himself,—the only instance of the kind in the list. The expression, "there (or, in him) were combined the minds," indicates—as Mr. Bearfoot suggests—his superior intellect. It may also refer to the fact that he was the hereditary keeper of the wampum records. The title was borne in Canada by the late chief George Buck, but the duties of record-keeper were usually performed by his more eminent brother, John (Skanawati).

Rononghwireghtonh (Onon., Honanwiehti), "he is sunk out of sight." This chief, who, as has been stated, alone constitutes the second Onondaga class, is of the Wolf clan.

38. Etho yeshotonnyh tekadarakehne, "then his uncles of the two clans." The five chiefs who follow probably bore some peculiar political relation to Rononghwireghton. The first two in modern times are of the Deer clan; the last three are of the Eel clan. It is probable that they all belonged originally, with him, to one clan, that of the Wolf, and consequently to one class, which was afterwards divided into three. Kawenenseronton (Onon., Kawenensenton). A word of doubtful meaning; one interpreter thought it meant "her voice suspended." Haghriron (Onon., Hahihon), "spilled," or "scattered."

39. Wahhondennonterontye. This word has already occurred, with a different orthography, and is explained in the Note to Section 36. Ronyennyennih (Onon., Honyennyenni). No satisfactory explanation could be obtained of this word. Chief John Buck did not know its meaning. Shodakwarashonh (Onon., Shotegwashen), "he is bruised." Shakokenghne (Onon. Shahkohkenneh), "he saw them." As stated above, the three chiefs in this class are of the Eel clan.

40. Shihonadewiraralye, "they had children," or, rather, "they continued to get children." Mr. Bearfoot writes in regard to this word: "Yodewirare, a fowl hatching, referring to the time when they were forming the league, when they were said to be hatching, or producing, the children mentioned—i.e., the other tribes who were taken into the confederacy." Tehhodidarakeh, "these the two clans." Taken in connection with the preceding lines of the chant, it seems probable that this expression refers to the introduction of other clans into the Council besides the original three, the Bear, Wolf and Tortoise, which existed when the confederacy was formed. Raserhaghrhonh (Onon., Sherhakwi), "wearing a hatchet in his belt," from asera, hatchet. This chief is of the Tortoise clan. Etho wahhoronghyaronnyon, "this put away the clouds." These "clouds," it is said, were the clouds of war, which were dispelled by the great chief whose name is thus introduced, Skanawadyh, or as now spelt, Skanawati. He had the peculiar distinction of holding two offices, which were rarely combined. He was both a high chief, or "Lord of the Council," and a "Great Warrior." In former times the members of the Great Council seldom assumed executive duties. They were rarely sent out as ambassadors or as leaders of war-parties. These duties were usually entrusted to the ablest chiefs of the second rank, who were known as "Great Warriors," rohskenrakehte-kowa. Skanawati was an exception to this rule. It would seem that the chief who first bore this title had special aptitudes, which have come down in his family. A striking instance, given in the "Relations" of the Jesuit missionaries among the Hurons, has been admirably reproduced by Mr. Parkman in the twenty-third chapter of his "Jesuits in North America," and cannot be better told than in his words. In the year 1648, during the desperate war between the Kanonsionni and the Hurons, the Onondagas determined to respond to the pacific overtures which they had received from their northern foes.

"They chose for their envoy," continues the historian, "Scandawati, a man of renown, sixty years of age, joining with him two colleagues. [Footnote: Scandawali is the Huron—and probably the original Onondaga—pronunciation of the name.] The old Onondaga entered on his mission with a troubled mind. His anxiety was not so much for his life as for his honor and dignity; for, while the Oneidas and the Cayugas were acting in concurrence with the Onondagas, the Senecas had refused any part in the embassy, and still breathed nothing but war. Would they, or still more, the Mohawks, so far forget the consideration due to one whose name had been great in the Councils of the League, as to assault the Hurons while he was among them in the character of an ambassador of his nation, whereby his honor would be compromised and his life endangered? 'I am not a dead dog,' he said, 'to be despised and forgotten. I am worthy that all men should turn their eyes on me while I am among enemies, and do nothing that may involve me in danger.' Soon there came dire tidings. The prophetic heart of the old chief had not deceived him. The Senecas and Mohawks, disregarding negotiations in which they had no part, and resolved to bring them to an end, were invading the country in force. It might be thought that the Hurons would take their revenge on the Onondaga envoys, now hostages among them; but they did not do so, for the character of an ambassador was, for the most part, held in respect. One morning, however, Scandawati had disappeared. They were full of excitement; for they thought that he had escaped to the enemy. They ranged the woods in search of him, and at length found him in a thicket near the town. He lay dead, on a bed of spruce boughs which he had made, his throat deeply gashed with a knife. He had died by his own hand, a victim of mortified pride. 'See,' writes Father Ragueneau, 'how much our Indians stand on the point of honor!'"

It is worthy of note that the same aptitude for affairs and the same keen sense of honor which distinguished this highspirited chief survives in the member of his family who, on the Canadian Reservation, now bears the same title,—Chief John Buck,—whom his white neighbors all admit to be both a capable ruler and an able and trustworthy negotiator.

In Canada Skanawati is of the Tortoise clan. At Onondaga, where the original family has probably died out, the title now belongs to the Ball clan.

41. Yeshohawak, "then his next son,"—or rather, perhaps, "then, next, his son." The Cayuga nation was politically the son of the Onondaga nation. Tekahenyonk (Onon., Hakaenyonk), "he looks both ways," or, "he examines warily." In section 28 (ante p. 126) this name is spelt Akahenyonh. The prefixed te is the duplicative particle, and gives the meaning of "spying on both sides." This and the following chief belong, in Canada, to the Deer clan, and constitute the first Cayuga class. Jinontaweraon (Onon., Jinontaweyon), "coming on its knees."

42. Katakwarasonh (Onon., Ketagwajik), "it was bruised." This name, it will be seen, is very similar to that of an Onondaga chief,—ante, Note to Section 39. The chief now named and the one who follows are of the Bear clan. Shoyonwese (Onon., Soyonwes), "he has a long wampumbelt." The root-word of this name is oyonwa, wampum-belt, the same that appears in Hayonwatha. Atyaseronne (Onon., Halyasenne), "he puts one on another," or "he piles on." This chief is of the Tortoise clan, and completes, with the two preceding councillors, the second Cayuga class.

43. Yeshonadadekenah, "then they who are brothers." The three chiefs who follow are all of the Wolf clan, and make the third class of the Cayuga councillors. Teyoronghyonkeh (Onon., Thowenyongo), "it touches the sky." Teyodhoreghkonh (Onon., Tyotowegwi), "doubly cold." Wathyawenhehetken (Onon., Thaowethon), "mossy place."

44. The two following chiefs are of the Snipe clan, and constitute the fourth and last Cayuga class. Atontaraheha (Onon., Hatontaheha) "crowding himself in." Teskahe (Onon., Heskahe) "resting on it."

45. Yeshotonnih, "and then his uncle." The Seneca nation, being the brother of the Onondaga, is, of course, the uncle of the Cayuga nation. Skanyadariyo (Onon., Kanyataiyo), "beautiful lake;" originally, perhaps, "great lake." (See Appendix, Note B.) This name is spelt in Section 28 (ante, p. 128) Kanyadariyu. The prefixed s is the sign of the reiterative form, and when joined to proper names is regarded as a token of nobility,—like the French de, or the German von. [Footnote: See J. A. Cuoq: Jugement Errone, etc., p. 57. "Le reiteratif est comme un signe de noblesse dans les noms propres."] Kanyadariyo, was one of the two leading chiefs of the Senecas at the formation of the confederacy. The title belongs to the Wolf clan. Yeshonaraseshen, lit., "they were cousins." In the present instance, and according to the Indian idiom, we must read "Skanyadariyo, with his cousin, Shadekaronyes." Shadekaronyes (Onon., Shatekaenyes), "skies of equal length." This chief (whose successor now belongs to the Snipe clan) was in ancient times the head of the second great division of the Senecas. These two potentates were made a "class" in the Council by themselves, and were thus required to deliberate together and come to an agreement on any question that was brought up, before expressing an opinion in the council. This ingenious device for preventing differences between the two sections of the Seneca nation is one of the many evidences of statesmanship exhibited in the formation of the League.

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