Dekanawida and the formation of the Great Peace: Part 1

This work was from an oral translation of John Arthur Gibson an Onondaga Chief who lived when the stories were told always. Thanks to my brother Tehonikonrathe for transcribing this most important part of our history.
This is Part 1


This is what happened when it originated, the Great Law. This is what happened in ancient times: There was warfare, and they habitually killed each other, the Indians of the several nations. This is what was going on: They scalped one another at the various settlements, that is, the warriors were roaming about across the bush, scalping the inhabitants. Moreover, this was happening where the Mohawks resided, at the lake shore on the northerly side of the lake, Lake Ontario, which is where a mother lived with her daughter.

The old woman was called Kaheto?ktha? (End of the Field) her daughter, as to her she was named Kah,etehsu,k (She Walks Ahead). These two left the place where they lived going far away into the bush, where they set up camp and lit a fire, at a place where no one travels; a place where the river forks, called (?); they lived there for a long time, and for several years never did any man come to visit them.

Just about then it started: She noticed, the old woman, that it was evident her daughter was going to have a child. Then the old woman was surprised at how it could be possible that her daughter was going to have a child; she was surprised at where in fact she might have gotten it, since she had never seen a man. Thereupon she questioned her daughter, saying ?Who then, is the father of the child you are going to have?? Then Kah,etehsu,k said, ?Mother I do not know what happened nor how it is,? but the old woman did not believe what she said, her daughter. Thereupon the old woman began to get angry, and said, ?Probably it is not true what she said, Kah,etehsu,k. This is how it was, every day and every night the old woman got angry, it seems, she was questioning her daughter, saying, ?Now I will question you. Moreover you will tell the truth, the real truth and nothing else, only this very true matter, that is, who is the father of the child you are going to have? Now you shall tell the truth.? Thereupon Kah,etehsu,k said, ?Mother, I will tell you that actually I do not know.?

Thereafter Kaheto?ktha? became depressed and she got angry saying, ?It is not true what she said, Kah,etehsu,k.? Thereafter the old woman, getting angry, said, ?Surely you must know who is the father of the child you are going to have.? Then her daughter became unhappy and cried , and that is the way it was for quite some time: Both the old woman and her daughter were unhappy.

This, then, is what happened when it was night and they were asleep: The old woman dreamed and she saw a man arrive where they had their house, and he said, ?I have a message along which I shall tell you: you should stop the kinds of thoughts you are having. Indeed, your thinking is that probably it is not true what she says, your daughter. This, indeed, is the reason why it is not wholesome, your preoccupation with her confinement and her saying, ?Indeed I don?t know where it came from nor how it is.? Now I will tell you what happened to your daughters life, for it is true that she does not know what happened.

This is the reason why you should now stop; don?t cause your daughter to worry. Moreover, you should ease her mind by apologizing to her. Actually a great thing has happened, for he is appointing your daughter to be the instrument of a male child?s birth. He is sending him, the one you all believe is the Ruler, and he is coming from the sky above the earth; and he will be born of Kah,etehsu,k herself. Moreover, when he is born, the boy, I will give him a name; you will say, Tekanawita?. And when you see him the two of you will be kind to him, and don?t bother him when, in the course of time, he becomes a man. In fact, he is going to be working here beneath and on the other side of the sun. Moreover, once he is born, Tekanawita?, he will grow rapidly, and it will not be long before you two will see many unusual things: He will reveal his powers, and all of the people will acknowledge them when they see Tekanawita?.

Actually, he will travel to different villages all over the bush; to small settlements of families, and there he is going to work to stop what is going on, and, indeed, what is going on is that they are killing one another, specifically they are scalping one another; in fact, they are shedding each other?s blood, people of their own kind living here on earth.

That is why he decided it, the Maker, as you say, the Ruler, who has created the world and the sun which gives light all over the earth and the islands; also the moon which gives light at night; also the rivers which keep flowing; also the lakes and the great bodies of water; and he also planted the many kinds of vegetation; also the shrubs and the forests and there, moreover he created them; that is, their shedding each others blood, just pools and flowing streams of peoples blood. This is why Haweniyo? decided to send Tekanawita? here, and his mission will be to end their killing one anther.?

As to the old woman Kaheto?ktha and her daughter Kah,etehsu,k, now another day has dawned for them. Then the old woman said, ?My daughter, I understand now that it is true, indeed, you don?t know where you got the child you are about to have, for a man I saw when I dreamed last night, told me everything, everything about where it comes from, the child you are about to have. And indeed this: It is you, especially, whom he chose and it is there from your person that Tekanawita? will be born.

This, then, is how it was and in a short time a boy was born. Thereupon the old woman said, Now, indeed, Tekanawita had arrived.? ?And it was evident that he was very healthy. Everyday he grew, and In a short while he began to walk around, and when, quite soon, he started to talk, this is what he began to speak about: It is not good for people to be unkind to one another. Every day it was evident that he was growing rapidly. Eventually it came abut that the old woman said, ?This is what I think, it is time to go to the village of our relatives.? Thereupon Kah,etehsu,k said to her son, ?My son, what will you say to your grandmother, who wants us to go to the village now?? Thereupon Tekanawita said, ?That is what I want, to see people of our own kind.? Thereupon the old woman said, ? In three days? time we will depart.? Then Tekanawita said, ? This is what will happen when I see our people: we shall converse, and I will tell them that they are now arriving, the Power and the Good Message and Peace.?

Thereupon they went home, returning to where the women had come from. When they got back to the village, one of them sent a message notifying the leading chief of the village. When he was notified, the leader, then he circulated the news and everybody gathered. Then the chief spoke, thanking them and greeting the old woman and also her daughter and also their child, and when he had completed his welcome he said, ?Now then, we will listen well to the message you two have brought along.?

Thereupon Kaheto?ktha?(?) said, ?The truth is that it is of great importance, the message we all are bringing along. This is a matter of fact, is it: For many winters we have been gone, I and my daughter, Kah,etehsu,k, and the reason we went from here was that, indeed it was too dangerous because of their killing one another. So I began to think, ?It might be possible for me and my daughter to survive somewhere by kindling a fire at a place where no one roams about.? At the place where the river forks we erected our shelter. There, moreover, an important event occurred concerning my daughter, Kah,etehsu,k , for when she had grown up, it was not long before it came to be evident that she was going to have a child. I had not seen any man, and this was the reason that I questioned her, saying, ?Who is the father of the child you are going to have?? Then she spoke saying, ?I do not know what happened.? Thereupon I, an old person, became angry, and my mind was troubled, and I was disappointed, thinking, ?It is not true what my daughter is telling me about how, then, it is happened.? This, then, is what happened: When night approached us, I dreamt I saw a man entering the place where we have our shelter. This is what he said. ? I have come to tell you to stop it, that is , indeed, your anger, your uneasiness, your disappointment at what it is like, your daughters life, in fact that she is going to have a child; it is true that she does not know where it came from and what it is that happened. This is what I came to tell you: You should repent, more specifically, you should apologize to your daughter. Actually what is happening is that a great event is taking place in that Tehaehyawa?ki, as you call the Ruler, chose your daughter Kah,etehsu,k. it is there, of her body, that he will be born, the one he sent, the one you will all see here on earth. Moreover, when he is born, you will call him Tekanawita? and he is going to work beneath the sun where the earth is located, and it will stop, the persistent matter of their slaughtering one another, their own people.? So therefore you are now seeing this one, our child, Tekanawita?, and this is the reason we came back home: we thought that you ought to hear the wonderful and important message, the message that came to us. In relation to that, you will all now see Tekanawita?.?

Thereupon the chief stood up saying, ?Truly, all of us together have heard it, every one living here. This, certainly, is true: An amazing event has taken place. It is a long time that mother and daughter have been gone, Kaheto?ktha?, that is, and her daughter, Kah,etehsu,k. Moreover, today, they have returned home; they have come back with our child. Indeed, we have been notified about how everything came about: It is from the sky that he came with his mission, an important one, for he came to work for peace to come about among the people living here on earth and for it to let up, the mutual slaughter, for it to and among us who dwell here. Now this is what will happen: We will greet them, shaking hands with Kaheto?ktha and Kah,etehsu,k and also their son, Tekanawita? — welcoming him back —which means we will thank him for visiting us and for seeking out our village first, so that we can hear the message with which he will travel to other places and different groups of people.

Now then we who live here are gathered with the one who has great power, Tekanawita?, and shortly, after he has grown to manhood here on earth, we will observe his work. So I beseech all of you to be kind to Tekanawita?. Now therefore you will stand up, now all of us living here will stand up , and furthermore we will be the first to welcome him, the children, shaking hands with Tekanawita? and also with his mother and also with his grandmother. There the whole group of old people and young people, now we will all welcome him by shaking hands with Tekanawita? and also with his mother and his grandmother.? Thereupon they all stood up, and as to Tekanawita?, all of the children welcomed him, shaking his hand and greeting him. The whole crowd came to welcome him, shaking his hand and greeting him. Thereupon their chief said, ?Now we have completed the matter,? and then they dispersed, the crowd.

Thereupon, as to Tekanawita?, this is what happened: When the children began walking around and more especially, when they played, some of the children repeatedly quarreled, and they wanted to fight. Thereupon Tekanawita? prevented them, saying, ?You will stop it because it is sinful for people to hurt one another; you especially, for you are all relatives, and so it is necessary for you to be kind to one another, as well as to other people, those you know, and those people you do not know; and you should respect them equally — all of the people ? you should be kind to everyone.?

Thereupon the children were amazed at what Tekanawita? was saying. When they got back to where they had their homes, they repeated what he had said, Tekanawita?. Thereupon the elders said, ?Now, indeed, they are beginning, the surprising events we heard about that he foretold,

Tekanawita?, for, never, in fact, has it been the case that we might hear someone say, ?It is sinful for people to hurt one another,? nor has anyone ever said, ?You should all respect one another,? nor has anyone said, ?you should be kind to the people you know as well as those you don?t know.? Now, indeed, it is coming true, the kind of thing we have heard about. As to the children, the ones with Tekanawita?, when he gathered them together, he spoke to the children, saying, ?Now you will listen well: Now it is arriving, the Good Message, also the Power and the Peace. Moreover, now it will stop, the way in which matters are proceeding here on earth beneath the sky, such that they cause pools and streams of human blood to flow. Moreover, when it stops, and when all the people are kind to one another, then all are relatives, they becoming brothers, the men, and all the women becoming sisters in future days to come, so that families will continue on.? Thereupon the children were surprised at what they heard him say, Tekanawita?.

Thereupon the children went home and when they arrived at their destination, they repeated the things he had spoken about, Tekanawita?. When the old people were informed, they said, ?Now, indeed, we hear them with amazement, these kinds of words. This we have never heard about, that someone might say, ?Good Message?, nor for someone to say ?Power?, nor for someone to say, ?Peace?, nor for someone to say, ?they are relatives, all of the people?, nor for someone to say, ? the men, all of them are brothers?, nor for someone to say, ?the women, they are all sisters?, also ?the children, they are all siblings?, nor for someone to say, ?pools and flowing streams of human blood will now cease to exist; from now on there will be peace and in the future days to come families will be ongoing?. Also there was great amazement at the kinds of words he used to speak in front of the children.

After the elders called a meeting, they invited Tekanawita?, and he joined in at the meeting when the elders decided to question Tekanawita?, saying, ?What should we do so that we might know what it means, Good Message, and also Power, and also Peace.? Thereupon Tekanawita said, ?Indeed, so be it, you shall hear about what you must do. As to that, first, as to the mothers, that is to say, the women, these will bake bread, corn bread, which they will collect. Thereupon as to you, you people, you will collect the flesh of game animals. These, then, will supply provisions of bread and meat. Then they should assemble, everyone, at the place provided; the inhabitants, all of them, will gather in the same place, and everyone will hear me tell about the matter you wish to know about.?

The older women spread the news, and everyone at the village was notified of the specific day they had chosen for them to assemble. Thereupon the inhabitants collected the corn bread and also the meat of game animals, and then they assembled. Then he joined them, Tekanawita?, who by now was a young man.

Then the older people said, ?Now then, we will ask questions about what it means for you to say ?Now it is arriving, the Good Message and this, specifically, Power and this, specifically, Peace,? so that now they will hear it, the entire crowd, when you explain what you mean.?

Thereupon Tekanawita? stood up in the center of the gathering place, and then he said, ? First I will answer what it means to say ? now it is arriving, the Good Message.? This indeed, is what it means: When it stops, the slaughter of your own people who live here on earth, then everywhere peace will come about, by day and also by night, and it will come about that as one travels around, everyone will be related. Then, indeed, (?) in future days to come.

Now again (?), secondly, I say ?now it is arriving, the Power,? and this means that the different nations, all the nations, will become just a single one, and the Great Law will come into being, so that now all will be related to each other, and there will come to be just a single family, and in the future, in days to come, this family will continue on.

Now in turn, the other, my third saying, ?now it is arriving, the Peace?, this means that everyone will become related, men and also women, and also the young people and the children, and when all are relatives, every nation, there will be peace as they roam about by day and also by night. Now, also, it will become possible for them to assemble in meetings. Then there will be truthfulness, and they will uphold hope and charity, so that it is peace that will unite all the people, indeed, it will be as though they have but one mind, and they are a single person with only one body and one head and one life, which means that there will be unity.

PART 1…. (to be continued)

poster: Thahoketoteh