The Constitution of The Five Nations or Great Law

SKU: 0919645224

Arthur Caswell Parker
Grade Levels:
Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Adult Education, College, University
Cayuga, Iroquois, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, Tuscarora, Woodland
Book Type:

Sale price$13.50


The Constitution of the Five Nations or The Iroquois Book of the Great Law is a reprint of Arthur C. Parker's monograph published as New York State Museum Bulletin no. 184 in 1916. This text includes two English translations of the Iroquois Great Law. Parker collected the first manuscript from Seth Newhouse, a Mohawk from Six Nations of the Grand River, who prepared the story of the founding of the Great Law of Peace. Newhouse attempted to have the Six Nations Chiefs approve of his version of the Great Law but they refused. The second manuscript reproduced by Parker is the Six Nations Chiefs version of The Great Law. This version was published as Traditional History of the Confederacy of the Six Nations in 1912. Parker fails to acknowledge the publication of the second version. In spite of this, the reissue of Parker's text is an important resource for anyone interested in Iroquois governance. While there are several published English translations of The Great Law, there is no authorized version. Included in the 1916 publication are five appendices. These cover previously published articles such as Parker's essay, Certain Iroquois tree myths and symbols. Records of two Six Nations Councils held in 1839 and 1869 are reprinted as well as an article about Passamaquoddy wampum records. The editor has added several photographs and two reviews of the original publication. An important addition to our knowledge of contemporary Six Nations condolence ceremonies is the inclusion of rough notes from an April 1964 condolence held at Oka, Quebec. The final appendix contains excerpts from the minute book of the Six Nations Council of Chiefs from October 1924 to February 1941. The editor has produced a valuable record of Six Nations/Haudenosaunee government with this reprint.

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