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FEATURE - HOLIDAYS
13 Moons of Gratitude
by Doug George-Kanentiio, Akwesasne Mohawk
The Iroquois are a people with a deep sense of spirituality rooted in elaborate rituals of gratitude in which we specifically address the natural world through word, music and dance.
There are collective gatherings in the longhouses located on most Iroquois territories, plain rectangular structures without adornment and with a large open floor flanked by benches with wood burning stoves on each end of the building.
Each longhouse is built on an east-west access with doorways on each end with the exception of the Onondagas who place their entryways towards the north and south. Upon entry there is a separation of genders with the women sitting together on the west end while the males congregate to the east. Only upon certain ceremonies, such as a funeral or wedding, are the genders mixed. Seating places are, among the Mohawks and Oneidas, determined by clan affiliation. Each of their three clans (wolf, bear, turtle) sit with their clan: bears to the south, wolves to the north and turtles to the east (or west on the women's side). Read More...