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THE GREAT LAW (ENGLISH)

The Great Law of Peace

THE GREAT LAW
OF THE
IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY

WAMPUM 19: AN ERRANT CHIEF DEPOSED BY CLAN MOTHER THROUGH THE WAR CHIEF

If at any time it shall be apparent that a chief of the League has not in mind the welfare of the people or disobeys the rules of the Great Law, the men or women of the League, or both jointly, shall come to the Council and scold the erring chief through his War Chief. If the complaint of the people through the War Chief is not heeded on the first occasion, it shall be uttered again and then if no attention is given, a third complaint and a warning shall be given. If the chief is still disobedient, the matter shall go to the Council of War Chiefs. The War Chiefs shall then take away the title of the erring chief by order of the women in whom the title is vested. When the chief is deposed, the women shall notify the chiefs of the League through their War Chief and the Chiefs of the League shall sanction the act. The women will then select another of their sons as a candidate and the chiefs shall elect him. Then the chosen one shall be installed by the Installation Ceremony.

When a chief is deposed, his War Chief shall address him as follows:

"So you, ..., disregard and set at naught the warnings of your women relatives. You fling the warnings over your shoulder to cast them behind. Behold the brightness of the Sun, and in the brightness of the Sun's light, I depose you of your title and remove the emblem of your chieftainship title. I remove from your brow the deer's antlers which was the emblem of your position and token of your nobility. I now depose you and return the antlers to the women whose heritage they are."

The War Chief shall now address the women of the deposed Chief and say:

"Mothers as I have deposed your chief, I now return to you the emblem and the title of chieftainship; therefore, repossess them."

Again addressing the deposed chief, he shall say:

"As I have deposed and discharged you, so you are no longer chief. The rest of the people of the League shall not go with you, for we know not the kind of mind you possess. As the Creator has nothing to do with wrong, so he will not come to rescue you from the precipice of destruction in which you have cast yourself. You shall never be restored to the position you once occupied."

Then shall the War Chief address himself to the Chiefs of the nation to which the deposed chief belongs and say:

"Know you, my chiefs, that I have taken the deer's antlers from the brow of ..., the emblem of his position and token of his greatness."

The chiefs of the League shall have no other alternative than to sanction the discharge of the offending chief.