Midwinter Rites of the Cayuga Longhouse

SKU: 0803292317

William N. Fenton, Frank Gouldsmith Speck
Grade Levels:
Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Adult Education, College, University
Cayuga, Iroquois, Woodland
Book Type:
Nebraska Press

Sale price$39.55


Midwinter Rites of the Cayuga Long House is a reprint of the 1949 classic of ethnohistory by anthropologist Frank G. Speck (1881-1950). This Bison Book edition from University of Nebraska Press includes a six-page introduction by ethnologist William N. Fenton, who discusses the significance of Speck's text. In the original text, the Frank Speck acknowledges his collaboration with Cayuga Chief Alexander Jack General who held the title, Deskaheh. Speck's research into the ceremonies at the Sour Springs Long House, Six Nations of the Grand River, began in 1932 and lasted until 1947 when the author reviewed the manuscript with his Cayuga informants. In part one of the study, the religious framework of Cayuga culture is examined through a brief history of the Sour Springs Long House; a description of symbolism; the role of clans and moieties in Cayuga ceremonial-social organization; a description of Cayuga world view; and a description of the annual ceremonial cycle including officials, food, musical instruments and clothing. The second part of the book examines the midwinter ceremony, the medicine societies, the four sacred ceremonial rites, and social dances. The final section outlines the family condolence ceremony at Sour Springs. The book includes photographs of people who attend Sour Springs, a list of Sour Springs families, bibliography and an index. The author avoids theoretical discussion allowing Alexander General's knowledgeable “voice” to be heard throughout. Speck clearly respected the people who attended Sour Springs Long House and his acceptance into their ceremonies makes this text a positive example of collaboration between Native People and an anthropologist. Recommended for students interested in Iroquois/Haudenosaunee spirituality.

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