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THE NINE IROQUOIS TRIBES. 1668.
[Paris Doc. 1.]
The Iroquois Nation consists of nine tribes, which form two divisions j one of four tribes, and the other of five.
They call the first division Guey-niotiteshesgue, which means the four tribes; and the second division they call it Ouiche-niotiteshesgue, which means the five tribes.
The first is that of the Tortoise, which calls itself Jltiniathin. It is the first, because they pretend? when the Master of Life made the Earth, that he placed it on a tortoise; and when there are earthquakes, it is the tortoise that stirs.
The second tribe is that of the Wolf, and calls itself Enanthayonni, or Cahenhisenhonon, and brother of the Tortoise tribe. When there is question of war they deliberate together; and if the affair is of great moment, they communicate it to the other tribes to deliberate together thereupon, so of all the other tribes. They assemble in the hut of a war-chief when the question is of war, and in the hut of a council-chief when it is for ordinary matters of state.
The third tribe is that of the Bear, which they call Atinionguin*
The fourth tribe is that of the Beaver, and brother to that of the Bear. These four tribes compose the first division, which they call Guey-niotiteshesgue.
The fifth tribe is that of the Deer, which they call Canendeshe.
The sixth is that of the Potatoe, which they call Schoneschioronon.
The seventh is that of the Great Plover, which they call Otinanchahe.
The eighth is that of the Little Piover, which they call Jlsco, or JYicohes.
The ninth is that of the Kiliou [Eagle], which they call Chanon-chahonronon. They call these five tribes Ouiche-niotiteshesgue.
These nine tribes formerly occupied nine villages, which were finally collected together in order to sustain war more easily.
The ninth tribe derives its origin from a cabin that was in the interior (dans les terres), and composed of several fires or establishments. In the middle of the cabin was a partition which divided the cabin in two.
Weary of knowingno one,and consequently unable to marry, they all married among themselves; which is the reason that their name signifies two cabins united together.
Each tribe has in the gable end of its cabin, the animal of the tribe painted; some in black, others in red.
When they assemble together for consultation, the first Division ranges itself on one side of the fire in a cabin; and the other Division places itself on the other side.
When the matter on which they have met has been discussed on one side and the other, they accompany the decision with much ceremony.
The Division which decides the matter gives two opinions, so that the best may be adopted, and offers all possible opposition in proposing its opinions, in order to show that it has well considered what it sa}^s.
They adopt, usually, the first opinion, unless there be some strong motive to the contrary.
When they go to war, and wish to inform those of the party who may pass their path, they make a representation of the animal of their tribe, with a hatchet in his dexter paw; sometimes a sabre or a club; a&d if there be a number of tribes together of the same party, each draws the animal of his tribe, and their number, all on a tree from which they remove the bark. The animal of the tribe which heads the expedition is always the foremost.
They generally have a rendezvous when they propose to strike a blow, where in case of pursuit, they leave a part of their clothes and ammunition. When they fight, they are very Molochs, and have merely the waistcloth on, with a pair of mocasins on the feet.
When the expedition is numerous they often leave a party a hundred or a hundred and fifty leagues (lieues, qy. paces?) from the village which they are about to attack. When they have finished, if they have casse-tetes or clubs, they plant them against the corpse inclining a little towards the village of the slain.
On their return, it they have prisoners or scalps, they paint the animal of the tribe to Which they belong, rampant, (debout) with a staff on the shoulder along which are strung the scalps they may have, and in the same number. After the animal are the prisoners they have made, with a chichicois (or gourd filled with beans which rattle), in the right hand. If they be women, they represent them with a Cadenette or queue and a waistcloth.
. If there be several tribes in the war party, each paints the animal of his tribe with the scalps and prisoners it has made, as before, but always after that which is head of the party.
When they have scalps they give them to one or twro men who suspend them behind them to their girdle.
These men who carry these scalps follow the others at a distance, that is to say, at a quarter of a league, because they pretend that wdien they retreat and have scalps, if these precede the others they cannot march any further because they are seized with terror at the sight of the dripping blood. But this is only the first day, sometimes the second and third when they are pursued.
When they come again together, they proceed to notify the others and then each one takes his station or awaits the enemy. When night falls they make a hole in the earth where they kindle a fire with bark to cook their meat, if they have any, and that during three or four days.
They tie the prisoners to stakes set in the ground, into which they fix their leg or rather foot, and this stake is closed by another tied together at a man's height. They place a man at each side who sleeps near them and who is careful to visit the prisoners from time to time during the night.
When they have lost any men on the field of battle they paint the men with the legs in the air, and without heads and in the same number as they have lost; and to denote the tribe to which they belonged, they paint the animal of the tribe of the deceased on its back, the paws in the air, and if it be the chief of the party that is dead, the animal is without the head.
If there be only wrounded, they paint a broken gun which however is connected with the stock, or even an arrow, and to denote where they have been wounded, they paint the animal of the tribe to which the wounded belong with an arrow piercing the part in which the wound is located; and if it be a gunshot they make the mark of the ball on the body of a different color.