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The Rotinonshonni

A Traditional Iroquoian History Through the Eyes of Teharonhia:wako and Sawiskera

by Brian Rice

Publication Year: 2013

In The Rotinonshonni Through the Eyes of Teharonhia:wako and Sawiskera, Brian ‘Natoway’ Rice seeks to offer a comprehensive history based on the oral traditions of the Rotinonshonni (people of the longhouse). The book has its origins in Rice’s study with traditional Cayuga royaner Jacob Thomas, who performed days-long recitations of the oral history of the Iroquois in English. Rice suggests that, “My purpose in writing this book is to not only inform the reader about the traditions of Rotinonshonni society, but to also give the reader a sense of place for those traditions. I also wanted to show that as Indigenous academics we have our own cultural based methodologies.” The book offers tellings of the Iroquois creation story, the origin of Iroquois clans, the law of peace, the European invasion, the life of Handsome Lake, and finally of Rice’s own walk 700 miles in the footsteps of the Peacemaker (founder of the Iroquois confederacy), as Rice seeks to provide a written translation into English of Iroquois oral history, taking part himself as a member of a continuous tradition.

Published by: Syracuse University Press

Series: The Iroquois and Their Neighbors

Front Flap, Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Most history written about the Rotinonshonni, by either Indigenous or non–Indigenous persons, is written as a chronology of events of what are perceived to be facts related to the past. They are based on the assumption that history can be written without taking into account the worldview of the people who are being written about. ...

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pp. xi-xii

Many depths of gratitude are owing to persons. I would first like to express my gratitude to Oneida Traditionalist and Academic, Pamela Apela Colorado, my doctoral program supervisor, for holding the door open and pointing the way, so that this work could get done. ...

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pp. 1-21

The Rotinonshonni: A Traditional Iroquoian History through the Eyes of Teharonhia: wako and Sawiskera is based on the oral interpretation of history about the Rotinonshonni, People of the Longhouse, also known as the Iroquois. The events of the story take place in what are now known as the Mississippi River Valley, upper New York State, ...

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1. The Creation Story

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pp. 22-152

A long time before the world on the back of a turtle came into existence there was another world that preceded it, existing in the firmament in the sky situated on a celestial plane above the Earth. It was inhabited by a group of beings whose numbers were few and who were becoming destitute of the light-giving energies called orenta.1 ...

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2. The Clan System and the Migration of the Rotinonshonni to Their Traditional Territory

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pp. 153-172

No sooner had the onkwe:honwe finished the ceremony of thanksgiving for the three sisters when one of them suddenly passed from the earth. The rest of the onkwe:honwe dug a hole in the ground outside the village and placed the body in the earth, just as the young man and woman who brought the corn, beans, and squash had told them to do. ...

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3. The Kayeneren:kowa (Great Way of Peace)

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pp. 173-250

During the disputes with the Mound Builders, the onkwe:honwe had become experienced in warfare. This way of life went against everything that Teharonhia:wako had taught them about living in peace. Sawiskera seemed once again to be regaining control of the minds of the onkwe:honwe. ...

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4. Sawiskera Gains Control

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pp. 251-289

After the Great Peace, the onkwe:honwe felt safe to travel anywhere without having to worry about being killed. Some of the onkwe:honwe including Wendat, Kenienké:haka and Onontaka:haka had moved to the north, to a great river that led into the sea. There they resided for many years, living in peace. ...

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5. The Kari:wio of Skanyiatar:io

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pp. 290-310

Teharonhia:wako had seen his children war against one another and lose their land. He felt sad inside but knew that he could not return any longer. If he appeared in full form, then so would his brother. They would then fight one another and destroy the world. The onkwe:honwe were falling like leaves to the mind changer. ...

Notes Select Bibliography

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pp. 311-312


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pp. 313-324

Select Bibliography

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pp. 325-328

Back Flap, Back Cover

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pp. 346-347

E-ISBN-13: 9780815652274
E-ISBN-10: 0815652275
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815610212
Print-ISBN-10: 0815610211

Page Count: 314
Illustrations: 14 black and white illustrations
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: The Iroquois and Their Neighbors