The purpose of presenting the following information here is to allow the general public and present generations to become aware of and to know of the existence of the TWO ROW WAMPUM TREATY – which by this action is in fact in compliance with some of the stipulations contained within it.


"This belt symbolizes the agreement and conditions under which the Iroquois welcomed the white peoples to this land. 'You say that you are our father and I am your son.' We say, 'We will not be like Father and Son, but like Brothers.' This wampum belt confirms our words. These two rows will symbolize two paths or two vessels, traveling down the same river together. One, a birch bark canoe, will be for the Indian People, their laws, their customs and their ways. We shall each travel the river together, side by side, but in our own boat. Neither of us will make compulsory laws or interfere in the internal affairs of the other. Neither of us will try to steer the other's vessel."

Six Nations' Cayuga Chief Jake Thomas described the meaning of the Two Row Wampum: "one purple row of beads represents the path of the natives' canoe which contains their customs and laws. The other row represents the path of the Whiteman's vessel, the sailing ship, which contains his customs and laws. The meaning of the parallel paths is that neither boat should outpace the other, and the paths should remain separate and parallel forever, that is, as long as the grass grows, the rivers flow, the sun shines, and will be everlasting, and they shall always renew their treaties."

International Treaties: Quite often we hear about the Guswentah or Tekeni Teiohate more commonly referred to as The Two Row Wampum Treaty. This treaty made between the Nation of Holland and the Five Nations may have been the first treaty between Onkwehonwe and a European nation, but it was certainly not the first treaty that the Onkwehonwe had ever entered into, in fact Onkwehonwe nations have been engaged in the treaty making process between them for centuries.

The formation of the Kaianerekowa (Great Law of Peace) is a fine example of possibly one of the most highly advanced Peace treaties ever negotiated between sovereign nations. The agreements reached between each of the Five Nations in order to put an end to the conflict that they had been embroiled in, as well as enable each nation to retain their sovereignty and jurisdiction is beyond anything seen in the history of mankind. The first 12 Wampum’s of the Kaianerekowa lays out the procedures and protocol for each nation to follow in order to resolve any issues that may threaten one or all of the Five Nations. These 12 articles also guarantees the jurisdiction and sovereignty of each individual nation so that each nation shall have a forum to voice their position.

Foreign Governments and Their Laws: The Haudenosaunee viewed all Onkwehonwe who did not live under the umbrella of the Kaianerekowa as a foreign nation referring to them as Ti-ho-ti-na-ke-ra-se-ra-teh (they who live in different places) this would extend to the white man with his arrival in the 1500’s. Different Indian nations who did not follow the Kaianerekowa were still recognized as independent nations and so Wampum 73, which proclaims that ‘People made different, put in different lands and speak different languages” was enacted in order to recognize as well as respect the existence of these other nations. Wampum 71, explained “About emigrating to a distant region” which meant that when an individual [s] of the Five Nations emigrated to a territory away from the territory of the Five nations they would be asked in some cases to return, if they refused to do so then Wampum 58, which states that “anyone who submits to the laws of a foreign nation are alienated and forfeit all claims in their nation” would apply. This principle of respecting the laws of foreign nations as well as the concept of citizenship; came into existence long before the arrival of the white man. Wampum’s 58, 71, and 73 were just three of the many laws adopted into the formation of the Two Row Wampum Treaty.

Nation to Nation: In an attempt to make it more simple for the European to understand the Two Row Wampum and the idea of respect between nations, our people used the symbols of the white mans vessel and the canoe of our own people to explain the distinct diversities that existed between the Europeans and the Onkwehonwe, explaining that in our canoe we have all our laws, culture, and beliefs and in their vessel they have all their laws, culture, and beliefs, traveling side by side through life as equals never enforcing or interfering in each others affairs as long as the sun shall shine the grass shall grow and the rivers shall flow this will be everlasting.

The Two Row Wampum treaties major objective is to create a dialogue on a nation to nation level which in the process developed the legal concept that only nations can make treaties.



There are now the Five Nations League Chiefs standing with joined hands in a circle. This signifies and provides that should any of the chiefs of the League leave the Council and the League, his crown of deer’s antlers, the emblem of his chieftainship title, together with his birthright, shall lodge on the arms of the union chiefs whose hands are so joined. He forfeits his title and the crown falls from his brow, but it shall remain in the League.

A further meaning of this is that if, at any time, anyone of the chiefs of the League choose to submit to the law of a foreign people, he is no longer in but out of the League and persons of this class shall be called, “They have alienated themselves” (Tehonatonkoton). Likewise, such persons who submit to laws of foreign nations shall forfeit all birthrights and claims of the League of Five Nations and territory: “You, the League of Five Nations Chiefs, be firm so that if a tree should fall upon your joined hands, it shall not separate you or weaken your hold. So shall the strength of union be preserved.”

Note: This means that the Indians who follow the laws made by foreigners and it includes Canada’s Indian Act and the United States Federal Indian Law have alienated themselves from their own nations. That is why an Indian such as a Mohawk who voted in the elections devised by the Canadian or United States governments have to be reinstated in a special ceremony to regain their lost Iroquois citizenship which they lost by the simple act of voting in the Canadian Band Council or United States Tribal Council elections, as well as voting in Canada’s national or the United States national elections.


When a person or family belonging to the Five Nations desires to abandon their Nation and the territory of the Five Nations they shall inform the chiefs of their Nation and the Council of the League of Five Nations shall take notice of it.

When a person or any of the people of the Five Nations emigrate and reside in a distant region away from the territory of the League of Five Nations, the chiefs of the Five Nations at will may send a messenger carrying a broad belt of black shells and when the messenger arrives, he shall call the people together or address them personally, displaying the belt of black shells and they shall know that this is an order for them to return to their original homes and to their Council Fires.

Note: The Rotiyaner may or may not recall an emigrant depending on the circumstances.


The Great Creator has made us of one blood and of the same soil he made us, and as only different tongues constitute different nations, he established different hunting grounds and territories and made boundary lines between them.

Note: Each nation has a boundary line to stay within. Also no race of people has a “God given” right to invade other races.

Additional Information: