Akwesasne Mohawk Nation Hosts Kaienerakowa


The main speakers, left to right, front row: Bobby Brown, Kanento:ken, Tom Porter, Leroy Hill, and Sid Hill. Back row, left to right: Ernest David, Richard Mitchell, Howard Elijah, Ken Maracle, Jamie Jacobs, and Howard Thompson. Photo by the Great Law of Peace Committee Photographer & Videographer Artie k. Martin.

Akwesasne was host to over one thousand people from across the Confederacy this past week. Delegates and representatives from Oneida, Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Tuscarora arrived in Mohawk country to hear the recital of the Kaienerakowa, an account of the formation of the Haudenosaunee, the structure of the constitutional and political foundation of the Confederacy. As was said by one speaker, "in the best words I have..." the Kaienerakowa is more, its an staggering story, yet not a legend, it is spiritual but not religious, and they had on display sacred, but not holy wampum belts.

Original and replicas of wampum belts; Left to right, top to bottom; Seneca Wolf Belt, Five Nations Belt, Donehogah Belt, Condolence Belt, Dish With One Spoon Belt, Women's Nominating Belt, Huron Belt, Aionwatha Belt, Antler's (Chiefs) Belt and a portion of the Five Nations Belt.

In a conundrum of words and descriptions the Kaienerakowa is many things, but most of all, it is the foundation of which all of Haudenosaunee function on a daily basis with three basic but not at all simple concepts; "Peace and Righteousness". Where as most governments are formed for the purpose of establishing tranquility, the Peacemaker went beyond the formation of a government and lay forth how we as humans should relate to one another peacefully and how we should co-exist in our world as all being equals. Afternoons were spent interpreting the morning speeches and appropriately called, "Decolonization". One afternoon was spent on talking about the various wampum belts on display.

The reading of the Kaienerakowa was by all accounts a spiritual event, it strengthened the spirit, gave strength in the sense we were on a good path trying our best to use a "Good Mind", we are learning our language, carrying out our ceremonies and teaching our young children. And why we must never stop, only giving us more "power", power in the sense of the Kaienerakowa.


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