Cosmology of De-ka-na-wi-da's government of the Iroquois confederacy, 1885


Date: 1885 | Size: 1 volume(s), 1 volume, 302 p.


This item contains the story of the Great Law of Peace, lists of chiefs of the League, ceremonial chants (including Condolence Council), constitution and its acceptance (pages 1-200). There is a version of the same in Mohawk, with interlinear translations, names of principal families, and incomplete "aboriginal dictionary." This copy is duplicated from the microfilm of the original (Mss.Film.348), with marginal notes in pencil by William N. Fenton, and accompanying correspondence with the American Philosophical Society from Ray Fadden. The original is not at the American Philosophical Society, but now in possession of the Mohawk tribe.

Background note

Seth Newhouse (also known as Da-yo-de-ka-ne) was Mohawk, from Six Nations, Grand River, Ontario.

Collection Information

Physical description

1 volume, 302 p.


Received from William N. Fenton and accessioned, 1949. Fuller account of provenance according to Fenton, given in his article, "Seth Newhouse's Traditional History and Constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 93 (1949): 141-158: "Dayodekane's manuscript had come to the American Philosophical Society Library from Ray Fadden (Aren Akweks) of Hogansburg, N Y, which is the post office of the St. Regis Indian Reservation where the Mohawks live astride the International Boundary, through the good offices of Paul A. W. Wallace who had been in correspondence with Mr. Fadden. Aren Akweks is a teacher and student of Indian lore, and he had secured the loan of the opus from Mohawk chiefs on Caughnawaga Reserve, outside Montreal, who in turn had borrowed it from the Confederate Chiefs of the Six Nations Reserve on Grand River, Ontario. It is possible that it was borrowed by Angus Horn, a Mohawk chief of Caughnawaga who is known at Ohsweken on Grand River, for between pages 112 and 113 is the cover of a letter addressed to him. Recent years have seen considerable agitation at Six Nations to restore the system of hereditary chiefs which was abolished in favor of an elective system by the Canadian Indian Act of 1924, and the Mohawks of Caughnawaga and St. Regis, who had long ago forsaken the old system, have felt the ground swell of the nativistic movement to revive the old Confederacy, so it may be presumed that the manuscript went from the Grand River to the St. Lawrence for some such political purpose. During the short time that the manuscript was in Philadelphia it was microfilmed, and the two films, which have since been printed in enlargement to seventy per cent of natural size, constitute a permanent record in the Library of the Society. The document has meanwhile passed back through the same channels to the Mohawks."

Location of originals:

From the original formerly in possession of Ray Fadden, St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, Hogansburg, New York; now in possession of Mohawk tribe.

Alternate formats available

This item is also available on microfilm (Film 348).

Indexing Terms


  • Indians of North America
  • Iroquoian Indians -- Politics and government
  • Mohawk Indians -- Folklore