Apr 28/97: Warrior Societies integral to Haudenosaunee


Rotiskenrakete/Warrior Society Communique
Monday, April 28, 1997

"If a Nation, part of a Nation, or more than one Nation within the Five Nations should in any way endeavor to destroy the Great Peace by neglect or violating its laws and resolve to dissolve the League and the Great Peace, such a Nation of such Nations shall be guilty of treason and called ememies of the Confederacy and the Great Peace. It shall then be the duty of the Chiefs of the League who remain faithful to resolve to warn the offending people, they shall be warned once and if a second warning is necessary, they shall be driven from the territory of the League by the War Chief and his Men." (Wampum 92)

"There whall be one War Chief for each Nation and their duties shall be to carry messages for their Chiefs and to take up arms in case of Emergency. They shall not participate in the proceedings of the council, but shall watch its progress and in case of an erroneous action by a Chief, the War Chief shall receive the complaints of the people and convey the warnings of the women to him. The People who wish to convey messages to the Chiefs of the League shall do so through the War Chief of their Nation. It shall always be his duty to lay the cases, questions and propositions of the people before the Council of the League."(Wampum 37)

Adodarho and the Chief Statesmen are responsible for promoting peace, not war. If the territory of the Confederacy is threatened, the authority to defend the people is transferred to the War Chiefs. The title names of the Chief Confederate War Chiefs shall be:

Ayonwehs, War Chief under Tekarihoken - Mohawk
Kahonwahdironh, War Chief under Odatshedeh - Oneida
Ayendes, War Chief under Adodarhoh - Onondaga
Wenenhs, War Chief under Kekaenyonh - Cayuga
Shoneradowaneh, War Chief under Skanyadariyo - Seneca
The women heirs of each head title shall be the heirs of the War Chief's title of their respective Chief Statesmen. The War Chiefs shall be selected from the eligible sons of the female families holding the head titles.

All of the traditional males within the Confederacy are Warriors. The understanding of the word "rotiskenrahkehteh" is 'the burden of peacekeeping and harmony is our men'. The responsibilities of the men uncludes acting as grandfathers, fathers, brothers, and uncles to all of the people, from the youngest to the oldest. There are many duties such as teaching, public speaking, protecting human rights, in other words to promote the welfare of the people. They must work to provide for the people. Today, that means a shift from land based projects such as agriculture, hunting and fishing that are now insufficient, to capital based projects. The Warrior Society is actually the power of the people in action. Many times they have had to respond to deadly confrontations with the American and Canadian police forces and even armies. During those times, they have reacted with consideration, control and discipline.

The Wariors/Rotiskenrahkehteh are also protectors of the Haudenosaunee - People of the Longhouse; protectors of the Kaienerekowa - the Iroquois Constitution. It is the collective responsibility to our future generations that our ways always continue. The People govern themselves by consensus as is described in the Constitution, a constitution over a thousand years old. It is democracy in its truest sense. The American and Canadian systems of elective politics still has not developed to this stage of equality and human freedom, within a context of mutual respect for all life in the universe.

Among the various checks and balances designed to prevent the abuses of power is the division of our system into two equal parts, the Women's Society and the Men's Society. Each has separate functions and responsibilities, though the final political decision principles remain: Skennen, Ioriwiio, Kasastensera, Tekaiehnawakon - Peace, Righteousness, Strength, and Unity. The power of the body and mind cannot dominate. Domination, dependence, and therefore inequality is not our way.

"The lineal descent of the people of the Five Nations shall run in the female line. Women shall be considered the progenitors of the Nation. They shall own the Land and the Soil. Men and Women shall follow the status of their mother." (Wampum 44)

These responsibilities continue today. The Women of the Confederacy have a responsibility for the land and the soil. They care for and nurture our greates asset, our children. They are also responsible for selecting our Roitaner - Chiefs. Today the women also bear the weight of the Nations working to free themselves from oppression; Nations working to take their rightful place within the Confederacy.

So, the responsibility of Warriors and Women is an honorable task. Do not allow anyone to deter you from what the Kaienerekowa has provided for us in the pursuit of justice, harmony and survival. There will be much negativity attatched to being a Warrior but the strength of the Women's support will overcome any rough waters that may arise. When there is balance, there is strength.

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