In the rich tradition of oral storytelling, Chief Irving Powless Jr. of the Beaver Clan of the Onondaga Nation reminds us of an ancient treaty. It promises that the Haudenosaunee people and non-Indigenous North Americans will respect each other's differences even when their cultures and behaviors differ greatly.
Powless shares intimate stories of growing up close to the earth, of his work as Wampum Keeper for the Haudenosaunee people, of his heritage as a lacrosse player, and of the treaties his ancestors made with the newcomers. He also pokes fun at the often-peculiar behavior of his non-Onondaga neighbors, asking, "Who are these people anyway?" Sometimes disarmingly gentle, sometimes caustic, these vignettes refreshingly portray mainstream North American culture as seen through Haudenosaunee eyes. Powless illustrates for all of us the importance of respect, peace, and, most importantly, living by the unwritten laws that preserve the natural world for future generations.
About the Author:
Irving Powless Jr. has been a chief of the Beaver Clan of the Onondaga Nation since 1964. An historian, statesman, actor, musician, and veteran, he has lectured about Indigenous culture and sovereignty, and has been a key spokesperson for the Haudenosaunee nations.
Lesley Forrester is the editor of And Grandma Said . . . Iroquois Teachings: as passed down through the oral tradition.