Sacred Texts  Native American  Iroquois 

The Code of Handsome Lake, the Seneca Prophet

by Arthur C. Parker


Contents    Start Reading

The Gaiwiio Code
The Great Message
Recitation of the Second Day
Recitation of the third day: Now At Tonawanda
The Journey Over the Great Sky-Road
Part 2: Field Notes On The Rites And Ceremonies Of The Ganio`Dai'io` Religion

Handsome Lake (1735-1815) was a religious reformer among the Iroquois, the prominent alliance of New York tribes. His 'Code', presented in this book in full, attempted to simplify the spiritual practices of the Iroquois, preaching temperance, a strict moral code, and self-determination. It also contains some startling prophecies: Handsome Lake believed the world would end (by fire) in the year 2100; he predicted the destruction of the environment, famines, and war; and one of his visions (see section 93) appears to describe the destruction of the ozone layer. This book also contains invaluable descriptions of Iroquois religious rituals and myths at the turn of the twentieth Century.

Arthur Parker (1881-1955) was an anthropologist who at the beginning of the 20th Century studied the Iroquois, gaining full access to their culture and language. Highly respected both by academics and the Iroquois, he wrote numerous works on their material culture, linguistics, folklore, archeology and ethnology.

Title Page


Handsome Lake's Religion
Handsome Lake
Present Effects of Handsome Lake's Teaching
How the White Race Came to America and why The Gaiwiio Became a Necessity

The Gaiwiio Code

A Time of Trouble
The Sick Man
The Two Ways He Thinks
The Strange Death of the Sick Man
The People Gather About the Dead Man
The Dead Man Revives
The Message of the Four Beings
Ganiodaiio Commanded to Proclaim the Gaiwiio

The Great Message

Section I
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17
Section 18
Section 19

Recitation of the Second Day

Section 20
Section 21
Section 22
Section 23
Section 24
Section 25
Section 26
Section 27
Section 28
Section 29
Section 30
Section 31
Section 32
Section 33
Section 34
Section 35
Section 36
Section 37
Section 38
Section 39
Section 40
Section 41
Section 42
Section 43
Section 44
Section 45
Section 46
Section 47
Section 48
Section 49
Section 50
Section 51
Section 52
Section 53
Section 54
Section 55
Section 56
Section 57
Section 58
Section 59
Section 60
Section 61
Section 62
Section 63
Section 64
Section 65
Section 66
Section 67
Section 68
Section 69
Section 70
Section 71
Section 72
Section 73
Section 74
Section 75
Section 76
Section 77

Recitation of the third day: Now At Tonawanda

Section 78
Section 79
Section 80
Section 81

The Journey Over the Great Sky-Road

Section 82
Section 83
Section 84
Section 85
Section 86
Section 87
Section 88
Section 89
Section 90
Section 91
Section 92
Section 93
Section 94
Section 95
Section 96
Section 97
Section 98
Section 99
Section 100
Section 101
Section 102
Section 103
Section 104
Section 105
Section 106
Section 107
Section 108
Section 109
Section 110
Section 111
Section 112
Section 113
Section 114
Section 115
Section 116
Section 117
Section 118
Section 119
Section 120
Section 121
Section 122
Section 123
Section 124
Section 125
Section 126
Section 127
Section 128
Section 129
Section 130

Part 2: Field Notes On The Rites And Ceremonies Of The Ganio`Dai'io` Religion

The White Dog Sacrifice
Ne Ganeowo: One of the four sacred ceremonies of the Seneca
Outlines of the Cornplanting and the Maple Thanksgivings
Special Annual Ceremonies
Legend of the Coming of Death
The Funeral Address
The Death Feast
Secret Medicine Societies of the Seneca
The Little Water Company
Pygmy Society, The Dark Dance Ceremony
The Society of Otters
Society of Mystic Animals
The Eagle Society
The Bear Society
The Buffalo Society
Chanters for the Dead
The Woman's Society
Sisters Of The Dio`he:'ko
The False Face Company
The Tobacco Throwing Ceremony
The Husk-Faces
Iroquois Sun Myths
Anecdotes of Cornplanter
Key to Phonic System
Glossary of Seneca Words