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Ways of mankind. Legend of the longhouse. A study in authority. A program in the series of mankind. Presented under the supervision of Walter Goldschmidt of the University of California Los Angeles by the National Association of educational broadcasters. A series designed to show how human beings live together in different times and places. A study in authority. A legend of the longhouse. This is not an Indian legend but a legend about Indians. Some of it is the truth of legends and some of it is only the truth of fact. We should try and tell you which is which legend is all about the Iroquois the Six Nations the longhouse people the Indian tribes who once lived near the Great Lakes under a very
remarkable system of authority. The League of the Iroquois really existed and existed in one form or another for some hundreds of years and the Iroquois themselves had many legends about how their league was formed and how the six tribes were brought together. But this is not an Indian legend. It is a legend we have made up about the Indians to see how the league worked how authority was given and how authority was checked. For whatever men lived together there must be some kind of authority and whatever that is authority. Two things are important. How it is given and how it is checked. Once upon a time there were no six tribes not to talk. It was only the great Chief Beck and I what. Was so great as to be almost a god and his friend the newly restored chief Hiawatha was nearly so great as to be nearly almost a god. And these two sat by the Great Lakes one afternoon smoking
their pipes and finishing off the job of creating that. They'd been ordered to do by the Great Spirit. How do you like this plant. It looks dasi and prosperous. What is its name. Poison Ivy. The quiet dumb vegetables we've been to speak to the more because of this shiny creeping fellow about who is going to respect him. We must make man and he will respect poison ivy just as he will respect rattlesnake and mosquito. Now sprinkle tobacco in the fire and let us concentrate his bones I take the birches. He's flesh the salmon of the Stag the black bears hide should be his and the good red clay he's keen on the dock of deep water right in the shadow of his eyes. He's private spiritual big strong magic and great medicine. His nature should be no file to him Benton proud and in the book of the law his name spelled the written
man. Greetings Putin Welcome to the world what how my you are man. MAN WHAT IS THAT IS THAT GOOD VIDEO good. Man is the highest form of life as you get. Are there other for many many other forms. Oh who is the leader. I don't understand. Am I in charge of the other things or is one of them in charge of me. You are all in charge of each other and and poison ivy a mosquito and rattlesnake will remind you of the rights of the smaller creatures as the photos tell you also the beasts of the fattest the lakes and streams are yours and in them the fish. Be brave be noble fire they haven't been proud. I take my destiny. Nothing in the world shall be as ambitious as my own. Spend a day entered into your domain enjoy yourself and I will raise a family. Thank you I will. But how.
How are they going to Wadeye Have we forgotten. You have forgotten woman to live with man and be his comfort and his comfort to his mistress and his wife. His toilet and his autocrat his chattel and his choice. Of Bones I take the slim white clouds for her flesh the dove the dove the Black Bird gloss shall be little and sweet fruit ripen in her skin the black tears of the pine tree shall be melted in her eyes. Private spirit shall be great medicine and strong magic nature should be yielding predictable resilient and bright. And in the book of that name shall be written. Women. Very nice indeed. Greetings my gaff. I suppose so. You are a woman you are the wife of this person who is man everything you see
is under my protection. Everything you see is my property. Come along. I have my destiny to attend to. But what about my destiny your destiny is to attend to my destiny I have no time to lose her right arm but I can see we shall have to talk about destiny. Where should we go to them Hiawatha. Decide between you is that your best answer. Certainly and a very good answer it is if you think so. Well then decide between you. Farewell farewell farewell. I am Mother COBOL I survey. Oh just one thing. What's that. Watch out for the poison ivy. Degenaar Aida years and many years have passed since you and I sat and spoke on the shores of Onondaga Lake and made the fast man in the first woman. I wonder how many children they have. A great many I expect they will be very happy.
Let them decide for themselves. That was my policy. Remember you can't go wrong these perfect teeth. What was that. Peace perfect peace. Someone's in trouble. I thought they would be sooner or later why they didn't understand the thought of stop you. Don't throw that rock at your life. We were close I don't know she won't. Both of you come here. Now then what's all this about. Your face is swollen pies and I think I told him to make the lodge by the river but know he always knows best. He kept it. The biggest patch of poison ivy I ever saw All right shut up any man's entitled to make a mistake of course he is. Is this enough to take a club to your husband. Surely he is punished enough as it is we always take clubs to each other for years we've been doing this and the children. I dread anything having to be decided. First we all scream at each other then the fighting starts.
Sometimes I think our children do not kill us only because we're stronger than they are for the time being. That is something you must learn what how to decide if people live together they must learn how to decide. They must know what is allowed and what is not to love teach us how to decide what is the way that is not one way that as many ways as that are stars. How do you build a lodge of wood a long house with the door to the west and the fire at the other end down each side there are seats then you and your wife and all parents must sit on one side of this long house of yours and your children and all children must sit on the other side. The father's side must have a thought of tea over the son's side but only so far as the son's own good. The son sighed. Must obedience to the father's side but only so far as the father asks what he is entitled to. Outside the lodge the man should be mustered inside the lodge. The woman will be mistress.
So whenever you went to your lodge and sit down in the long house the patterns on the one side and the children on the other you will remember and know that each has all faggoty and each has responsibility. Now go my children and be happy. So far so good. The League of the inequality it in fact base its authority in the family on the principle of the longhouse. And you notice the woman was given a certain amount of authority to women in the six tribes had more authority than perhaps in any other society except on authority then in the league of the Iroquois began in the family and was bound up with the idea of the Long House office a more legend. A well thought I have created many more men and women. In fact I have created a number of families of Dr. Have you thought of a name for them. I created them
and then they shall be called the Onondaga. The people of the hill. These people are coming to be told how to live together. Would you like to tell them how to do it. Nothing could be simpler. Let them decide for themselves. Though of course they don't have to be taught the proper way to decide that as many proper ways as there are stars in the sky. All you need do is teach them one way then that could be the Onondaga way and they will all live and learn that nothing could be simpler. All right. Going to bring out this Onondaga type of ya's And let's begin. I didn't know you people be silent. Open your ears and shut your mouth. I'm going to tell you something important. My colleague has created you people to be a tribe the Onondagas and you will live in the long houses according to the long house rule.
I go and be happy to hunt the DIA and the grouse and fish the lakes and the river and plant your crops and enjoy the growth of the earth. Oh about remember when it comes to crops that the spirit of the call and the spirit of the beans and the spirit of the squash sisters and these three young ladies don't like to be separated. So plant Kong beings and squash all together the three spirit will be happy and you will have much more to eat. Thank you for your confidence in my creating you and your patience in this thing to me. Go and be happy. Who's in charge. You were forgotten. Teach them how to decide. Remember what happened in the family. Oh yes. Stop stop. Come back. Again. Open your ears and shut your mouths. My colleague has just told me that
he forgot something. I must teach you how to decide as a tribe. Now let me see. Authority must go to somebody. What is your name my name is. Told to die. Oh then coated a hole I usually have the authority of the tribe. Whatever you say shall be done. You all hear is that all. What else is there. I've now given the authority and nothing else remains. Just you wait and see. Oh. My colleague expresses his appreciation of the arrangements. Thank you very much and goodbye people of the hills and your commander toto out I hope. Well Hiawatha IMHO is total dog as he said his factory is legal the Onondagas. Oh I haven't heard a word but when people are happy and industrious they're always wrapped up in their own affair has. Have you heard anything.
Not up to the present. Who is this running through the post. Oh Toto Don Ho. And he looks like a man running for his life. I hope I hope. How often are. They going to try to. Help me. Protect me. What's happened. Why is the leader of the Onondagas doubling through the forest like a hunted deer. Asked to try it. A man Chris bring order to a pack of wolves really don't seem to want to cut throats. I didn't create the people in the form of a total doll. I only created the men and this is bad enough. Yes they're here. Yes Aviano in darkness there is the tribe that you created while you are trying to kill your leader. He ordered us to leap off the bluffs into the river to test our bravery. We will not kill ourselves for him. I have to go find a teacher wanted him to do it. He gave it to me so I did. Did you give him the authority to kill off the tribe if he felt like it. No no no I you see now what you have done. You gave the authority that is good but you forgot to check it. You
forgot to say how much authority now you have learned that good intentions are not enough. We must have a way of protecting ourselves against the authority we have had to give. Well now men are always going to behave foolishly. Perhaps the authority had better not be with men at all. What on earth do you mean by that. Whom. Perhaps some Oracle a talking tree talking rock. Something my dear Hiawatha do not make up stories. The acts of authority must rest in the hands of men. But men being what they are the seed of safe God must rest death to now every person here lives in a long house. And in that house parents face their children and remember their rights and responsibilities. Then I say to authority over you. Fourteen wise men more sanctions and these men will meet in a long house like their home to be a remembrance to them of rights and responsibilities. Also I set limit to that authority in this way. These sanctions shall be elected by all of you. They should say what is to be
done and you shall do it. But again there should be a check on this authority. Every one of you shall watch the sections carefully and since they some old men let the women do the best part of the watching then if the seach and does badly or does not do what you feel is for the general good then you may recall him and choose another man to be raised up a seach him in his place. Also before anything is done every single saint Chim shall agree this will be the government of the people of the Hebrews. So much authority is given and in such a way that the thought of T is checked. Go now Onondagas and peace go with you. How are when or why the government of the tribes of the Iroquois was set up. We don't know but we do know how they worked and they worked as we have just heard. Each tribe was governed by the unanimous vote of a group of wise men say Jim's chosen by everybody and
subject to the call if they happen to misbehave and the family structure of the longhouse was carried over to the Council of the tribe. And again you will notice that the women had a good deal of say in things. Now the dog has had 14 say Jim's and the other tribes. I always find out about them in a moment. So here's Degenaar why Ada hotted work creating them. You showed me the likers of the sacred fire was unusual because the people of the Flint the Mohawks. You created on this mountain shall be called the people of the great to the center because. You are created in the land of the glittering rocks something called the people of the granite and they all made us. Go created among the swamps and lakes and the standing water. So they called the people of the
marshes the cut you does. And you will come into this land to take science from a flop place wetting your own peculiar buckskin shirts. You shall be the sixth tribe and be known as the people of the shop the dust cut off. Butler. So you know the land these people every place has its proper drive. But this morning I saw some young men from the Mohawks meet some young guys on the trail of a deer or a moment there was death in the air and I do not think it was the death of the deer. These tribes cannot live next to each other in peace without some giving up of authority. Each tribe is ruled well enough by sections the Onondagas have their 14 the Mohawks nine the Yugas din and so forth. Each has a number suitable to the size of a tribe and each council seat sure sits in the long house.
But then let all the situation come together and let this grand council make the six tribes into a leak and let the Council of the League meet in a longhouse too. Which are the strongest tribes the Mohawks the Onondagas the city because then let their SH sit on the parent's side of the Long House of the league and let the UN aid as the Cayugas and the Tuscaroras sit on the children side then each man may continue to remember his rights and responsibilities concerning those who are sitting opposite him. Do you know Hiawatha. I think by this idea that you are to be nocive we must all learn and I flatter myself that I learn faster than most people I think I understand the way men operate halfs because all men are put alike but all the same that it is many ways of giving and taking authority as the leaves in the forest. This is only one of them. Now I understand that quite well and I found my how know do let me flatter you instead. You have made a very good suggestion. There is only one thing that what is me and you we have a suggestion for that too. Anything I can suggest I say and we will use it and it will indeed Now
come along with me. Look through the trees. What do you see in WA. Paint with his quiver full of arrows. He's crouching behind a tree looking across the river that river divides the land of the Eucharist and the end of the Onondagas. Let us go across that. Look behind those rocks there as you see here and I'm da guy in WA paint with his gonna follow the House he's crouching behind a boulder and he too is looking across the river that derivative indeed divides the land of AK You know this in the Onondagas that is asking why his own god readings friend greetings greetings.
Why you're wearing your wallpaper while you're watching across the river. Is there some good enemy approaching. I'm on duty watching the Cayugas just because you want to know what they're doing. I can tell you that the U.S. the pine tree between the two sugar maple is behind that tree that is a brave also in wall paint and also carrying his weapons is there and we were right to watch them each watching the other. They have nothing to fear from us but who knows what we have to fear from them. Thank you for telling me I was reported to our council of stations at once. You yourself are surely one of the Sixers. I am surely if you were to meet in the longhouse there will be no need for the suspicion. Think of the len. Indeed the homeland has a great long house. Perhaps so but we live in our territory where the people of the hills and they live in there is there the people of the swamp. We don't mix much and I think we'd feel safer just keeping a good lookout all the same. So certainly we'd always be happy to talk things over. Now what are you going to do with those two tribes I just huddled up behind their boundaries glaring at each
other. It's going to take a very wise council to make those to relax. I don't think it is just those two. Wherever two tribes meet you will find the sentries peering at each other suspiciously ridiculous and I've been told You will not understand men Hiawatha if you think everything that you wouldn't do is ridiculous what they're doing is dangerous and may be disastrous. But it is not ridiculous. You see each tribe is so proud and delighted with the country what it lives that it thinks that all the other tribes must necessarily feel envious and suspicious. And what can we do. I think I have an idea. And tonight when I have told the people about the Grand Council of the league I will tell them what else they must do so that the six tribes may live together in peace. The Grand Council of the children made up of the 50 sections of the tribes who will
sit together in the long house of the council. As I have to do every decision must be unanimous so that any say Chair may veto what is wished for by the others. This will help to check the authority of the council but remember this the council is not to be a battleground for arguing say choose the best Sichem is not he who argues best. It is rather he in whose presence men find it easiest to arrive at the truth. So much then for the Council of the B. Now open your ears and close your mouths. But I am going to tell you something else very important. Every person belongs to a tribe. Everyone is a mohawk and a cynical whatever. And everyone loves his tribe and its territory and is anxious to defend it to the death so that those who belong to a tribe are drawn together by a bond. Now I say to you of this that every man should belong not only to a tribe but to a plan. Plan should be the family made larger and spread wider and like the family taken from the mother's
side. There should be eight clams. The wolf the bear the beaver the Turk to the DIA the snipe the head and the hole. Each plan would extend across all six tribes and each tribe will extend across all eight clams so that the moon hawk would also be a beaver on a snipe and find brother beavers in every other tribe. This then would be another bond. Just as strong as the bond of the tribe. So the two would be drawn together one way by a tribe by being for instance a mohawk and the other way by your plan by being for instance a beaver the clan should be a chick of the tribe. The cry shall be a check upon the clam. No you want all the warlike people though you will never walk upon each other and what is to be done about those chiefs would not say Jim's but will become proud and important. Degen awide I must've taken all night to explain his league. We haven't time to tell you
about all the refinements and details such as the one you've just heard. The vertical division into tribes and the horizontal division into clans. All we have time to tell you is to say once again that the League of the Iroquois which really existed is one of the most remarkable examples of the organization of primitive authority and legend about the league has tried to make clear the two points about authority. First that whenever men live together authority has to be given and second that goodwill is not enough to prevent abuses. Authority must not only be given it must also be mocked out and checked. A legend of the longhouse a study in authority a program in the
series ways of mankind designed to show dramatically how human beings live together in different times and places. The script was written by Lister center and produced in the studios of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Toronto by Andrew Allen. Original music by Lucho Augustine E.. The program you have just heard is made possible under a grant from the fund for adult education an independent organization established by the Ford Foundation. The programs are presented and distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters.
Ways of mankind
Legend of the longhouse
Producing Organization
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
"A Legend of the Longhouse" is a study in authority, based on an Iroquois legend.
Series Description
This series is an exploration into the origin and development of cultures, customs and folkways in various parts of the world.
Iroquois mythology
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Composer: Agostini, Lucio, 1913-
Funder: Fund for Adult Education (U.S.)
Producer: Allan, Andrew, 1907-1974
Producing Organization: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Writer: Sinclair, Lister
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 52-39-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
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Chicago: “Ways of mankind; Legend of the longhouse,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2023,
MLA: “Ways of mankind; Legend of the longhouse.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2023. <>.
APA: Ways of mankind; Legend of the longhouse. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from