The Anticolonial Resistance and the Paradigm of the PKK

Originally published in Lêgerîn Issue No 1. The Lêgerîn mission statement is “Difusión de la ideología de la revolución en Rojava, y de las ideas de Rêber Apo, el Confederalismo Democrático.” The original article and magazine can be viewed here. They are also available in Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

The context in Latin America and Africa is very similar, in many respects, to that of the Middle East. These similarities exist because of the inhuman exploitation of the European nation-states in their period of colonialist and imperialist expansion. Since the beginning of the “discovery” of the African and American continents, the original peoples have been suffering from the external intervention of capitalist states and their economic interests, motivated by monopoly aspirations. Because of the process of extermination and assimilation carried out in both continents, the consequences of this horrible period can be seen up to today.

Not surprisingly, from the beginning of the occupation of the territory, the natives offered great resistance to the “civilized” mentality and to their capitalist understanding of “progress”. This was one of the reasons why the colonizers committed several genocides (physical and cultural). The cultures found in the territory were diverse, from the state structures of the Aztec Empire in what is now Mexico to the Kingdom of Benin in what is now Nigeria. Dozens of already organized states were subjected to colonial domination through force, extermination and genocide. Among them, the Luba Empire, the Lunda Empire, the Kingdom of Cazembe, the Kingdom of Congo, the Inca and the Mayan
Civilization. In addition to the great empires that existed (some with more than 4 thousand years of existence), thousands of tribes lived in these territories and organized themselves in different ways.

However, it is common to find tribes that lived in common, as is the case in Brazil. With about 300 different ethnic groups and 270 different languages, most of the tribes survived from subsistence agriculture, there was no centralized form of power, the economy was based on exchange and equitable division of surplus, religion was not dogmatic or monotheistic, the education of children was the responsibility of the community, no time was not linear and animism was common to all tribes. In the African continent, tribal organization was the common way of managing the
existing societies and many were subject to the great empires of the region, (already mentioned
above) very similar to the process of domination of the empires that existed in the Middle East region throughout history (Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, Ottoman, etc.). However, multiculturalism and the diversity of these tribes and ethnicities have remained present within these societies and many still survive the process of assimilation today. It is not difficult to find similarities between these forms of organization and the societies that inhabited Mesopotamia in the Neolithic period, the difference is that instead of a city-state being the colonizer, in the case of Africa and Latin America, the nation-states were the colonizers with their capitalist and ultra-nationalist mentality.

The Similarities Between These
Regions and Kurdistan

Although they succeeded in gaining their independence from the colonizing states, some before others, they now face countless problems on both continents. Among them, extreme poverty, social inequality, economic dependence, violence, neo-colonialism, etc. Although these processes occurred in different forms and ways, we can find some similarities between them and try to understand why these societies are in the current situation. One of the points we can analyses is the formation of the nation states as their solution for national liberation, here, we can observe a parallelism between the Kurdish question and Rêber Apo’s understanding of the nation state. In the early days of the party and the Kurdish liberation movement, the idea of creating a Kurdish state to defend the interests of the Kurdish people was seen as a possibility of obtaining decent living conditions. Since the Kurdish people have been denied their own rights of existence. Their language, culture, tradition, social organization, were forbidden. They were criminalized for being who they are, in their own territory - divided between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. This reminds us of a Zapatista saying: “To be seen, we cover our faces; to be named, we deny them our names; we bet on the present, so that we have a future? and to live, we die. Once again, the similarities of the inhumane systematic form of capitalism became evident. In Kurdistan or Chiapas, this system enslaves and kills everything and everyone who dares to think differently.

However, over time and a process of deep analysis, by critics and self-critics, the idea of the nation-state was
reconsidered. The state is incapable of offering life in a free society, once its formation is directly related to a process
of assimilation, authoritarianism, subjugation of diversity, nationalism and especially patriarchy. As such, it is the main perpetrator of the mentality that enslaves and exploits people. Even some independence movements that had a progressive ideal, such as Haiti in 1804 (it was the first Latin American country to declare independence and the first to end slavery), could not escape imperialist exploitation and submitted to the external interests of other states so that it could be recognized by other states and exist as a nation-state.

Beyond the Nation-State

It is not possible to be free while being organized as a nation state, it is necessary to build an alternative to the state and its mentality. This alternative is the reorganization of society around the political and moral society (ahlaq), this can be observed initially in the primitive socialism in the societies of the neolithic period. From this analysis, democratic confederalism emerges, the Rebêr Apo paradigm expressed and implemented by the Kurdistan liberation movement in all its dimensions, from the Bakur Mountains to the Rojava revolution. This is why these democratic ideas of the party can contribute to the advancement of society in Latin America and Africa and develop a truly free space. Even more so because these are societies rich in multicultural diversity, with communal origins and a strong heritage of resistance, as well as Kurdish society. Since the reorganization of the party around the new paradigm, it is not difficult to observe and see these similarities between Kurds, Latinos and Africans. All of them went through an extremely violent colonization process, they had (and still have) their territories occupied and exploited, they have serious problems related to the patriarchal mentality. However, Rêber Apo’s ideas are not so well known in Latin America and Africa, due to the small or non-existent Kurdish community in these places. It is crucial that we try to connect with the existing struggles in these societies and develop together the alternatives to live free from the oppression and slavery of the capitalist system. Both continents have many stories of resistance, anti-colonial movements, guerrillas who fought for national liberation and original societies that still resist and try to keep their beliefs, way of life and form of organization alive.

These ideas would certainly be welcomed by the Latin and African people, as women’s liberation, ecology and freedom are issues that are already being addressed by existing movements. An easy example to note is the growing empowerment of feminist movements on both continents, as can be seen in Chile, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, etc. However, as much as they can mobilize millions of women in the streets and have achieved some improvements throughout history, they still find themselves chained to the patriarchal system and unfortunately see dozens of women being killed every day by this disgusting system. It is not by chance that these movements know the Kurdish Women’s Movement well, and no doubt, from this awareness, more fruitful relations of unity, mutual aid, bases of international solidarity, etc. could be created. These would be the first steps towards leading a unified struggle against the patriarchal state and internationalizing the women’s revolution that is taking place in the Kurdish movement.

The problems caused by the capitalist mentality can easily be observed, for example, the destruction of the environment and the global climatic consequences generated by unrestrained exploitation in the name of so-called “progress”. The same term and the same mentality that the colonizers had in the 16th century… with the passage of time, the terms could change, but the practice and the mentality is usually the same until today.

The Global Revolt of ’68 and the Youth Spirit

As in Europe, the front line of the struggles inspired by ‘68 in Latin America and Africa were young people. Bending their youthful spirit, their will to change, their dreams of revolution and hope, they were the heart of this moment and the first ones interested in building an alternative. But they lacked an understanding of the mentality of the capitalist system as a whole, beyond mercantilism. So even though they had well-intentioned actions and attitudes, it was not enough to break the system’s cycle and create a real alternative. This was the “mistake” the party understood, so that we could learn from it and the youth could redirect all their strength of spirit to revolution. At many points, the youth occupied a crucial space in the struggle against the capitalist system. Among them, the most recent one was known as the Students’ Spring, where thousands of schools were occupied by students from Chile, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Angola and some other countries, fighting for better educational conditions, a curricular table focused on their human and social capacities, which is totally opposite to the commercial logic established in our daily life. The youthful spirit could be noticed in every action carried out by the students, from the reforms made in the abandoned public schools of the State to the physical resistance in the streets during the mobilizations where the police used all their devices to attack them. This spirit is present in the youth up to now. It is not by chance that those who initiated this gigantic and beautiful mobilization in Chile, and who have been occupying the “streets” for the last months until now, were the youth (most of them were women with 15 to 18 years old). Once again it is evident that there is a need for long-term proposals and projects, as well as a paradigm, otherwise these movements will have the same end as those of ‘68. Once again, we can clearly see the flames of hope. The hope of building a true democratic alternative.

Since 2008, with the prolonged financial crises, all the relationships already established between capitalism, liberalism, sexism and conservatism have deepened and become polarized. Consequently, there is a more urgent need to understand the struggle in a deeper way and to learn from other experiences, especially the theories and practices of the Kurdish movement in the last 42 years, influenced by thousands of years of historical resistance in defense of free and communal society.

United Line for the Democratic Nation

Democratic confederalism offers a way to organize these societies, respecting their characteristics and
multiculturalism . It is increasingly clear that Rêber Apo’s ideas, although developed from Kurdish society, can be applied to other societies because of their universalism, their recognition of the existence of differences in society, the importance of women’s liberation (without it, it is impossible to overcome the current state and system), the negation of dogmatic ideas and the creation of a revolutionary personality focused on its morals and ethics, one way of visualizing the veracity of this is, for example, the participation of internationalist hevals (friends) in the party and the exchange of experiences this creates within the party. This is one of the beautiful faces of the movement, the way everyone has a space and a voice within the party, in the struggle for human freedom. The natural characteristics of the Latin and African people, such as the joy of the people, the comradeship, the celebrational of life and an internal flame that calls for a change in society, would be more than welcomed by Rebêr Apo’s understanding and would complement with more colors, the rainbow that is the Kurdish struggle. People from all continents and from all corners of the global earth working together, communally, to build a real alternative to the capitalist system.

Reconciliation is Dead: A Strategic Proposal

by Tawinikay (aka Southern Wind Woman)

This text speaks of a change in strategy in this moment of resistance, calling to widen the scope of revolt. While the main audience is other native people, the author urges settlers to read it and take away the main lessons as well. It is available here as a print-ready PDF. Print and distribute widely. Get this in the hands of as many native folks as possible.


Reconciliation is dead. It’s been dead for some time.

If only one thing has brought me joy in the last few weeks, it began when the matriarchs at Unist’ot’en burned the Canadian flag and declared reconciliation dead. Like wildfire, it swept through the hearts of youth across the territories. Out of their mouths, with teeth bared, they echoed back: reconciliation is dead! reconciliation is dead! Their eyes are more keen to the truth so many of our older generation have been too timid to name. The Trudeau era of reconciliation has been a farce from the beginning. It has been more for settler Canadians than natives all along.

“Reconciliation is dead” is a battle cry.

It means the pressure to live up to our side of the bargain is over. The younger generation have dropped the shackles to the ground. Perhaps we are moving into a new time, one where militancy takes the place of negotiation and legal challenge. A time where we start caring less about what the colonizer’s legal and moral judgement and more about our responsibilities.

Criticizing reconciliation is not about shaming those elders and people who participated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it’s about attacking a government that used that moment of vulnerability to bolster it’s global image. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I do not blame our older generation for being hopeful about a more peaceful future. Those who lived through the horror of residential schools and the 60s scoop and the road allowance days and the sled dog slaughters could only have wanted a better life for the coming generations. It is the responsibility of those younger generations to stand up and say that what is being offered is not good enough. It is up to us to say that we would rather another hundred years of struggle than to accept the gentle assimilation being offered. It is up to us to give thanks to our elders for their service and then to turn to the frontlines with our feathers and drums and fists.

Because ideas on their own don’t make change. That is a liberal lie. It takes action behind words to make a difference. That action needs to be undertaken together. Neither ideas or practice are created by individuals. Everything written here is the result of discussion and interaction with other land defenders, lovers, anarchists, mothers, children, and resistors. We need to be accountable to the things we say while also recognizing that knowledge is created by communities. It has to always be seen that way in order to subvert hierarchy, to never allow one person to be elevated over any other.

So what is written here is all of yours. Take it and do with it as you please.
Argue it. Defend it. Decry it. Make it your own.

Forget the rules.

Canada is a colonial state. It exists to govern territory and manage the resources of that territory. It is nothing less and nothing more. It has done an excellent job convincing its citizens that it stands for something, something good. This is the way it maintains its legitimacy. The national myth of politeness and civility wins the support of its constituents. This has been carefully constructed over time and it can be deconstructed. In fact, the rules of Canada change all the time. I would write more about this but the truth is I could not do a better job than something I recently came across online. @Pow_pow_pow_power recently wrote the following:

Settler governments have been making up the rules as they go from the beginning of their invasions. While each generation of us struggles to educate ourselves to the rulebook, they disregard it and do what they want when they want. This should not be a surprise. It has always been this way because they prioritize themselves about all – above other people, above animal relatives, above the balance of Nature, and certainly above “what is right”. Laws have always been passed to legitimize their whims and interests as the intentions of seemingly rational rulers, and to keep us in compliance with their needs.

We currently live in a time where our Imperialist structures have been deeply concerned with appearing ordered and civilized to fellow regimes of power to cultivate a sense of superiority. This is why the violence we have become accustomed to is no longer mass slaughters and public torture and exiles but night raids and disappearances, criminalizations and being locked into systems of neglect. It has become more reliant on structural violence & erasure than direct violence, and therefore more insidious. Insidiousness is more tidily effective and harder to pinpoint as a source of injustice.

This is why when we approach them, lawful and peaceful and rational and fair minded and smooth toned, as gracious and calm as can be, we are easily dismissed with polite white smiles of “best intentions” “deepest regrets” and “we’re doing our best”, in fact “we’re doing better than most”. And when we insist, more firmly, more impassioned, more justified, the response from Settler Governments is as clear as we see now: “Why can’t you people just obey?”

Canadians want to believe that colonial violence is a thing of the past, so the government hides it for them. That is why the RCMP doesn’t allow journalists to film them as they sick dogs on women defending their land. That is why they will get away with it.

The time has come to stop looking for justice in settler law.

For Indigenous people in Canada, it is impossible to avoid the violence inflicted on us by the state. When we raise our fist and strike back, it is always an act of self-defense. Always. Committing to non-violence or pacifism in the face of a violent enemy is a dangerous thing to do. Yet, attempting to avoid using violence until absolutely necessary is a noble principle. One which carries the most hope for a new future. But what does violence mean to the settler state?

They don’t consider it violent to storm into a territory with guns drawn and remove its rightful occupants. They don’t consider it violent to level mountaintops, or clearcut forests, or to suck oil out of the ground only to burn it into the air. They don’t consider it violent to keep chickens and pigs and cows in tiny crates, never allowing them to see sunlight, using them like food machines.

But smash a window of a government office..
Well, that goes too far.

It is time we see their laws for what they are: imaginary and hypocritical. Settler laws exist to protect settlers. We are not settlers. We are Michif. We are Anishinaabek. We are Onkwehón:we. We are Nêhiyawak. We are Omàmiwininì. We are Inuit. We are Wet’suwet’en. So why are we still appealing to their laws for our legitimacy?

Time after time, communities spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal challenges to land rights. Chippewa of the Thames First Nation used money won in a land claim to launch a legal challenge against Canada to say they were never properly consulted, nor did they consent to, the Line 9 pipeline through their territory. The Supreme Court ruled against them, saying that Indigenous peoples do not have the right to say no to industrial projects in their territories. Line 9 is still operational. The Wet’suwet’en won probably the most significant legal challenge in Canadian history. The Delgamuukw verdict saw the courts acknowledge that the We’suwet’en territory is unceded, that they hold title and legal jurisdiction, and yet look at how Canada honours that. Legal victories are not the way we win our land and dignity. Canada cares as little about Canadian law as they do Indigenous law.

The same goes for the United Nations and their precious UNDRIP. We have seen that the state will adopt United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) principles and interpret them to suit their needs. That document says that governments and companies need free, prior, and informed consent to engage in projects in their territories. BC adopted it and, yet, says that it does not mean they have to gain consent from the Wet’suwet’en. Consent will never actually mean the right to say no. And the UN has no way to enforce it.

The time has passed for legal challenge in their courts that does nothing but drain our resources and slow us down. I honour those relatives and ancestors who attempted the peaceful resolution, who trusted in the good intentions of other humans. But the settlers have proven that the peaceful options they offered us are lies. Fool us once, shame on you.

This is not only about Unist’ot’en anymore.

This is about all of us. Any day now the RCMP could attempt to move in and evict the rail blockade at Tyendinaga. I stand in solidarity with them as much as I do with the Wet’suwet’en. This moment is not just about getting the government and their militarized goons to back down at Unist’ot’en and Gitdum’ten, it’s about getting them to loosen their grip around all of our necks. This moment is about proclaiming reconciliation dead and taking back our power.

This is not to say that we should forget about Unist’ot’en and abandon them when they need us most. It is a proposal to widen our scope so that we don’t lose our forward momentum if what happens out west doesn’t meet our wildest dreams. This is about crafting a stronger narrative.

This means that we should think before claiming that the Wet’suwet’en have the right to their land because it is unceded. Do we not all have a right to the land stolen from our ancestors? For land to be unceded it means that it has never been sold, surrendered, or lost through conquest. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 urged Canada and the dominion to only take land through the making of treaty. And so agents of Canada set out to do so. They continued to make treaties across the continent, sometimes lying about the content of the treaties to ancestors who didn’t speak english, sometimes finding whoever the hell would sign the treaty without much concern for if that person was acting with the support of the community. After the signing of the last treaty, Canada made it illegal for Indians to hire lawyers to challenge land claims. And then they stole the rest of what they wanted. They continued to flood the land with settlers until native peoples had only 0.2% of the land they once protected and lived on.

I don’t care about appealing to the legitimacy of unceded territory. All land is stolen land. Canada has no jurisdiction on any of it because they have broken any agreements they ever made in the process of taking it.

The same critique rings true for holding up hereditary governance as the only true leadership of Indigenous peoples. I am not advocating for band council. But it is important to understand that many of our relations have lost the hereditary systems that once helped them live good lives. We are going to have to rekindle our governance. Some we can pull from the past, some we will have to make anew. All freely chosen forms of Indigenous governance are legitimate. Our legitimacy does not flow from the mouths of our leaders, but from our connection to the land and water and our commitment to our responsibilities to all life today and generations to come.

This is a good thing if we let it be. It is foolish to think we would not have changed and grown in 300 years. Our systems would look different today no matter what. This is an opportunity to combine new and beautiful ideas with the time-honoured traditions and ceremonies of our ancestors, spiritual communities where hierarchy is subverted and gender is liberated!

It is time to shut everything the fuck down.

Canada has always been afraid of us standing in our power. Reconciliation was a distraction, a way for them to dangle a carrot infront of us and trick us into behaving. Now is the time to show them how clear our vision is. Being determined and sure is not the same as being unafraid. There are many dangerous days ahead of us. It is dangerous to say, “I will not obey.”

The first thing we need to do is stop stabbing each other in the back. Take a seat on band council if you want, but stop letting it go to your head. Don’t ever see yourself as more than a servant, a cash distributor, a rule enforcer. Being elected is not the same as earning a place of respect in your community. It does not make you an elder. Let me take this time to say a giant “fuck you” to the Métis nations who sign pipeline agreements because they are so excited the government considered them Indigenous. The Métis have no land rights in Ontario and yet they continue to sign agreements as if they do, throwing the Indigenous nations with actual territory under the train. Let me extend that “fuck you” to the Indigenous nations who signed pipeline agreements and stand by in silence as their relations are attacked for protecting the water. Or even worse when they do interviews with pro-oil lobby groups and conservative media decrying the land defenders in their midst. Can’t they see the way Canadians eat up their words, drooling over the division amongst us, using it to devalue our way of life? I do not condone attacking our relatives who have lost the red path, but we need to find a way to bring them back home. Not everybody has to take up a frontline in their community, but at the bare minimum they should refuse to cooperate with the colonial government and their corporate minions.

The second thing we need to do is act. But we do not have to limit ourselves to actions that demand the withdrawal of forces from Wet’suwet’en territory. The federal government is the one calling the shots, not just at Unist’ot’en but at every point of native oppression across all the territories. Any attack on the state of Canada is in solidarity. Any assertion of native sovereignty is in solidarity.

It’s time to start that occupation you’ve been dreaming up.

Is there a piece of land that has been annexed from your territory? Take it back. Is there a new pipeline being slated through your backyard? Blockade the path. Are their cottagers desecrating the lake near your community? Serve them an eviction notice and set up camp. Sabotage the fish farms killing the salmon. Tear down the dam interrupting the river. Play with fire.

When we put all of our hopes and dreams into one struggle in one spot, we set ourselves up for heartbreak and burnout. Let’s fight for the Wet’suwet’en people, yes! But let’s honour their courage and their actions by letting them inspire us to do the same. Let’s fight for them by fighting for the manoomin and the wetlands and the grizzlies.

Choose your accomplices wisely. Liberals who read land acknowledgments often have too much invested in this system to actually see it change. Communists envision a system without a capitalist Canada, but they still want a communist state. One that will inevitably need to control land and exploit it. Find common heart with those who want to see the state destroyed, to have autonomous communities take its place, and to restore balance between humans and all our relations. Choose those who listen more than they talk, but not those who will do whatever you say and not think for themselves. They are motivated by guilt. Find those who have a fire burning in them for a more wild and just world. Most of them will be anarchists, but not all, and not all anarchists will come with a good mind.

Creating a battlefield with multiple fronts will divide their energies. The rail blockades are working! If the night time rail sabotage and the copper wire and the blockades keep coming, it will shut down all rail traffic across this awful economy. More is better. But do it not just for the Wet’suwet’en, do it for the rivers and streams that weave themselves under the rails. Do it for the ancestors who saw the encroaching railroad as their coming demise.

And as a critique out of Montreal wrote: don’t settle for symbolic and intentional arrest.

When they come to enforce an injunction, move to another part of the rail.

When they come with a second injunction, block the biggest highway nearby.

When they come with a third injunction, move to the nearest port.

Stay free and fierce. The folks at Unist’ot’en and Gitdum’ten didn’t have the option to, but you do. Anticipate their next move and stay ahead of them.

This is a moment among many moments. Our ancestors have been clever, sometimes biding their time quietly, sometimes striking, always secretly passing on our ceremonies and stories. I honour them as I honour you now. We are still here because of them and our children and our children’s children will still be here because of us. Never forget who we are. Fight in ceremony.

I suppose this is a proposal for adopting a strategy of indigenous anarchism here on Turtle Island. A rejection of tactics that demand things from powerful people and a return to building for ourselves a multitude of local, diverse solutions. This is a rejection of Idle No More style organizing, let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past (for a detailed critique of INM, see and while you’re there read everything else). It is a plea for us to choose our own leaders and create governance that refuses hierarchy. An ask for us to reject reconciliation and move towards a militant reclamation. The idea of indigenous anarchism is still in its infancy. Write me about it.

This is one of our moments. Let’s make it not about demanding for them to leave Unist’ot’en alone, but about demanding that they leave the land alone. Don’t make it about stopping CGL from making money, make it about denouncing the idea of money. This is about colonization everywhere. This is about all of us.

To the settlers inevitably reading this zine.

What is written here is meant for you too. Not in the “rise up and take back your land” kind of way. Been there, done that.

But I have been reading the messaging on the reportbacks and in the media and I see you falling into all sorts of tired traps. You are not just cogs in the solidarity machine, you too can take up struggles in the cities you live. Remember the Two Row: you can fight parallel battles towards the same goals.

I have heard many an elder say that we will not win this fight on our own, and that is most certainly true. Thank you for the ways you have attacked the economy and the state. Thank you for answering the call. Now take this and run with it.

You too should look for ways to defend the land and water in the places you live. You too should look for ways to undermine and weaken the power of the government over these lands. Don’t let yourself be disheartened if the RCMP don’t leave Unist’ot’en. That is only one fight of many. That is only the beginning. Don’t fall into the traps of appealing to Canadian or international law.

See yourself for what you are, for who your community is. Act in ways that bring about a world where reconciliation is possible, a world in which your people give back land and dismantle the centralized state of Canada. Don’t romanticize the native peoples you work with. Don’t feel that you can’t ever question their judgment or choose to work with some over others. Find those that have kept the fire alive in their hearts, those who would rather keep fighting than accept the reconciliation carrot. Don’t ever act from guilt and shame.

And don’t let yourself believe that you can transcend your settlerism by doing solidarity work. Understand that you can, and should, find your own ways to connect to this land. From your own tradition, inherited or created.

Print this zine and distribute it to your Indigenous comrades.

Take risk. Dream big. Pursue anarchy. Stay humble.


Contact them at [email protected]

For further writing on this (mainly for settlers), see the authors previous work – Autonomously & with Conviction: a Metis Refusal of State-led Reconciliation.

Building International Solidarity: Human Relations for Global Struggle

By Eepa

We have entered a new age of communications over the past 30 years. Our anarchic forbearers could have only dreamed of our ability to rapidly communicate with like minded anarchic people across the world but it is important to remember that effective and historically important international networks of solidarity and communication have existed as long as anarchic organizing has. When the Haymarket Martyrs were killed, the working people of the world spoke out in anger as news spread through communications networks. When Ricardo Flores Magon languished in a prison cell in the Yuma Territorial Prison, it was people like Mother Jones and Emma Goldman who used their networks to speak out and advocate for his release. Communications is a force multiplier for radical struggle. It enables us to join efforts and create more trouble for those in power than we could do as isolated groups of people.

Despite the advances in technology, radical communications has not kept pace. Sure, many anarchics are aware of other struggles through communiques, news reports, or social media posts, but there is a deep rift between these casual interactions and meaningful relation building needed for resilient, effective, and meaningful struggle.

In this brief article, I hope to outline some basic organizational networks, communications methods, and essential skills needed to build deeper relations with fellow anarchic people in struggle against colonialism, capitalism, and domination. Remember, this is only the suggestions of one person. Building relations is a deeply complex and often personal affair (when done well). The only way you will learn how to do this is by trying.

Regional, Continental, International Networks

1. Home Region

Home region communications should be the most regular form of communications. This involves people of a mutually agreed region coming together with regularity to share upcoming events, discuss regional issues, strategize on ways to combine efforts when appropriate, and to socialize as people to build bonds. These can follow strict rules for security, with only member selected representatives forming sub-groups discussing sensitive items when needed. There are guides out there discussing methods of organizing sensitive conversations to minimize the risk of damage from leaks or informants. Broader social events should minimize the sensitivity of the topics to be discussed and should work towards building relationships through shared activities (some might want a regional skype reading group, some might want to organize field trips, some might want to go bar hopping, etc.).

Building Communities through Gardening

2. Continental & Archipelagic Organizing

Continental and Archipelagic organizing really takes place between regional/island based networks of cells, collectives, crews, and organizations, with continental/archipelagic organizations acting to facilitate these regional networks communications into a broader continental/archipelagic context. Regions can either select a delegation from the region at large or a delegation of representatives from each organization to participate in this continental/archipelagic communications network. This is used to call for material aid (especially when a certain region is undergoing unrest or catastrophe), to call for advice, to call for reinforcement, or to announce new projects of continental interest. Continental networks also act to ensure that the many varied regions, cultures, and political situations have a fast and effective means of reaching every other group on the continent, without relying on word-of-mouth, algorithms, or news releases.

Indigenous Anarchist Convergence – Report Back – Indigenous Action Media

Physical meetings and movements of material aid in a continental setting will naturally be easier due to the connectedness of roads, rail, and land borders. Archipelagic meetings and movements of material aid will be much more difficult, due to compounding struggles to provide affordable ocean-going or aviation based transportation, evading state naval/marine patrols, port costs, customs, etc., and making the time for these more effort and temporal intensive efforts. One of the most important tasks is to build strong communications infrastructure and robust networks or relations. These human relationships can be developed and nurtured, all while we start to figure out how to bring back the vital oceangoing networks of our ancestors.

3. International Solidarity and Action

International networks are really vital for ensuring that our politics do not become blind to the tremendously important political developments in other continents. So much can be learned from our Indigenous comrades all over the colonized world. Too often we let our vision of political thought and our ancestral experience in struggle be limited by the horizon. Over the horizon is a world of Indigenous people who have been struggling, learning, philosophizing, creating, and fighting. To not be connected to them is to allow us all to make the same mistakes over and over again. It can not be understated how much we can avoid stumbling blocks by learning from those who have been there and done that. International networks are also keenly important for ensuring that the relative wealth of even poorer comrades in the industrialized regions of the global north, gets shared with comrades in dire struggle with access to almost no monetary/material resources. We must find ways to ensure that we are getting funds and materials to the most dire struggles. This can only be done when we have developed resilient relationships with comrades across the globe. 

Communication Methods

1. Digital

Social media, email, and websites are a good basic way to make contact. Often, you will find one or two people from any given region that have a digital presence that is in one of the major lingua francas (widely spoken language of common communication). Finding one person’s blog, an article with their contact email, or a social media account that posts anarchic or anti-colonial content, is an opportunity to reach out. They may not be aware of anyone else in their region that is also anarchic, but chances are they will. Building a relationship with even one person will help your organization better understand the political situation in the region and the needs of people who are organizing there.

2. Phone/Ham Radio

Using phone is usually a backup and sometimes more challenging than digital, because of the need to speak each others language well enough to communicate the topics needing to be discussed. Additionally, phones/amateur radios can be a big security risk in some places, so be mindful.

3. In-Person

Organizing trips to build in person relationships can be extremely effective and can build lasting bonds. Every effective revolutionary movement has made use of these types of trips, from American wobblies visiting Magonistas in Mexico, to the Zapatistas recent voyage of messengers around the world. Make sure that these types of trips are planned to be reciprocal if at all possible. This ensures that the relationship building is truly on an even playing field and not a replication of European missionary saviorship that is so disgusting.

Essential Skills

1. Language

The primary skill that you can start to develop now is language. If you have a dozen comrades in your group, you have enough people to learn lingua-francas for most of the colonized world. Monolingualism is an ethnonationalist project, multilingualism is an internationalist goal. Immigrants will tell you, knowing three to five languages at a conversational level is common. You can develop this skill.

(With respect to English speaking & European revolutionaries): It is an absolute fact, that developing this skill is a fundamental effort for developing meaningful solidarity. Is it acceptable that your comrades abroad speak to you in English, yet you can not return this effort to speak in their language? Is it acceptable that you place the burden of entire translation efforts onto the comrades who not only speak your language, but also the language of the people you wish to build solidarity with? The business of learning a new language is hard work, make no mistake, but it is work that your international comrades have already been doing.

Overlapping languages in a friend group has benefits for networking internationally and for mutual learning. It ensures language redundancy, while also covering enough language bases to have meaningful international networks. Here is an example of a small group language overlapping arrangement:

Translation of texts is also an incredibly important task for sharing revolutionary thought. Translation into and out of a language ensures that there is intellectual cross pollination, keeping us from getting stale or replicating efforts. Even a poorly translated text is better that no translation at all. Having a group of people work on a translation will also dramatically increase the quality of the translation. Tools like google translate can be used to get the bulk of text translated, with volunteers reading each and making corrections as they go. This saves time and increases productivity in getting materials into multiple languages. Overlapping languages also allows a group to perform a multitude of translations in relatively short time, making information sharing much more timely. 

2. Cultural Knowledge

Knowledge of culture is an important part of building a relationship. This doesn’t mean coming into international communications with preconceived cultural expectations, but it does mean that you are observant, you ask before assuming, and you are adaptive to cultural needs on both sides of the conversation. Politically we may not yet be at the same stage of development or we may not agree on all of the same political objectives. Ensuring that you are respectful of other peoples right to self-determination means that you don’t dictate the standards of other peoples struggle or organizing. If something is egregious, yes speak up. Make it clear why you do not agree with something. If this is something you can work through, good, try. If not, there is no need to communicate further with that particular individual or group.

3. Mutual Understanding of Boundaries

Boundaries, as within all relationships, should be communicated from the start. Ensure both parties know and agree to what topics & tactics will and won’t be discussed. Ensure both parties agree to mutually beneficial security culture. Ensure both parties understand what the forms of communication and language will be used.

In Conclusion: Reaching Out

Everything you have in life starts with reaching. A toe dipped in the water before you learn to swim, your hand reaching out to grasp a rope you are about to climb, the raised hand in greeting of a new face. You take the first step by reaching out. Communications and solidarity is no different. Making connections is an act of revolutionary faith and solidarity. Take your first language lesson. Send a DM to a comrade you respect who doesn’t live in your political geography. Sign up for a language exchange. Go to a regional meet-up. Read an anarchic/decolonial news blog that isn’t published in English. Start making time to become more meaningfully connected in true revolutionary solidarity.


Language Learning Tools (Use in Combination)

  • Interpals - Find penpals for language exchange.
  • Lingq - Learn vocabulary by reading actual text and watching actual videos that you can import. Want to learn Spanish while enjoying the writings of the Zapatistas? This app allows you to import anything you want and use it as study materials, practice with other people, and find tutors (if you desire). Very powerful resource.
  • Italki - A place to find language tutors to hire if none are available locally.
  • Babbel - An app for helping fill in gaps.
  • Conversational Listening Practice:

Keep Language Learning Motivated: Youtube Channels to Keep you Working!

Laoshu 505000

Steve Kaufmann - LingoSteve


Xiaomanyc 小马在纽约


News (Additional news found on organization sites below:)

Regional/Continental/International Anarchic Organizations



  • Black Socialists in America (United States) 



  • فدراسيون عصر آنارشيسم Federation of Anarchism Era (Iran/Afghanistan)




  • Indigenous Anarchist Federation-Federación Anarquista Indígena (North America, Central America, & Carribean)
  • Informal Anarchist Federation (Underground)






  • Solidarity Federation Jamaica @SF_Jamaica






If you have additional resources or organizations to add to this list, please email us at [email protected]

I want to thank everyone who helped me review this, in particular, Saint Andrew, who provided great insights and critiques, as well as insightful direction along with Leilani & Bandilang Itim regarding archipelagic organizing.

Autonomously and with Conviction: A Métis Refusal of State-Led Reconciliation

A cabin, built from slats of wood sits in sod covered with a light dusting of snow. A canvas tent is erected next to it and two dogs sit in the foreground, one sniffing the ground and the other observing this dog. A sled rests against the cabin.

By Tawinikay

Transcription of a talk given by Tawinikay on October 12, 2018 at the 13th annual Decolonizing Thanksgiving Dinner in Guelph, Ontario on traditional Neutral/Chonnonton, Anishinabec, and Haudenosaunee territory. This text is also available as an imposed printable brochure so you can share it and discuss it. This transcription was originally published and remains available at North Shore Counter-Info

The image above is of a Métis home built in a road allowance in Saskatchewan at the beginning of the 20th century. Excluded from any legal form of existing on land following the Red River Rebellion, the experience of the Métis shows how far the Canadian state is willing to go in crushing and dispossessing those it can’t “reconcile.

Zhaawanong Noodin Ikwe ndishnikaaz. Michif-Nêhiyaw endow. Gaawiin ningikenimaasii nindoodem. Kisiskatchewanisipi nindoonjibaa. Hamilton nindaa.

My name is ******. My Indian name is Southern Wind Woman. I am Michif-Cree. I do not know my clan. I am from Saskatchewan (Meadow Lake, specifically) and I now live in Dish with One Spoon Territory in Hamilton now. I announce my name in Anishinaabemowin because I received it in an Ojibwe Sundance lodge, a community here in these territories I have been accepted into. I have mixed French, Scottish and Swedish heritage. Furthermore, I identify as Queer/Two Spirit interchangeably (she/her), I’m an organizer, a proud feminist, and an anarchist.

Over the years I’ve been intimately involved in a wide range of movements, from animal liberation to land defense struggles, issues of Indigenous sovereignty, the fight against patriarchy, and push back against gentrification. I see all these struggles as connected.

I want to take a second to reflect on knowledge and the creation of it in our communities. What you will hear me speak on tonight is a work in progress and, you can be sure, that six months from now I’ll probably have different feelings and new thoughts about it. Ideas aren’t static. It is also important to acknowledge that our individual realities limit our ability to comprehend the diverse networks of knowledge that inform other people’s lives. Tonight, I am up here speaking and what I say will be attributed to me. What is lost is the hundreds of hours of support, reflection, and political debate that other comrades and friends have engaged in with me.

Knowledge is not created by individuals, but by communities.

Because I believe these things, I’ve decided that this will be my last speaking event of the year. I’ve been honoured with a lot of opportunities to share my opinion lately, but it is now my time to sit, listen, and reflect. And there is no better time to practice that humility than winter.

I’d just like to preface this by saying that some of the things I’m going to say tonight are going to be challenging, maybe even upsetting, for some people. If it is, I apologize. But I was also offered tobacco to speak tonight and so I have to speak my truth.

I was asked to come and speak to you tonight about reconciliation.
I think it is important for me to begin this talk by telling you that I have no interest in reconciliation (at this time) and that I think the concept is a state-led smoke screen used to advance a more sophisticated policy of assimilation. I want to talk a little bit about reconciliation, decolonization, the difference between the two, and the role of the state in all of this.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was formed in 2007 after residential school survivors won the largest class-action lawsuit in Canadian history. They modelled it after the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, which was fitting, seeing as how South Africa looked to the Canadian reservation infrastructure for inspiration in setting up their own racist and segregated system.

As most of us know, the TRC concluded with 94 actionable measures that the government, educational institutions, and individuals could take to pursue reconciliation between settler and Indigenous communities. Universities started implementing new educational curriculum about colonization. Trudeau started wearing shorter sleeves so we could all see his Haida raven tattoo. Land acknowledgements began popping up everywhere. The government of Canada recently released their 10 Points of Official Reconciliation, which is a document that I will refer back to during my talk.

I’m honoured to sit here tonight and tell you that reconciliation – as we know it – is an impossible lie.

Official Canadian reconciliation centers on accepting the past, apologizing, and moving forward together. It doesn’t necessitate physical reparations for the history of colonization. In fact, it discourages that sort of rhetoric as divisive. Counterproductive. Difficult.

There exists a fundamental problem here, because settler-colonialism doesn’t exist in the past. Its violence is pervasive and ongoing, right now, tonight, everywhere we look. Reconciliation is the erasure of this current settler-colonial violence.

Reconciliation – as a term – is about resolving a conflict, returning to a state of friendly relations. It can also mean the bringing together of two positions so as to make them compatible.

Decolonization – on the other hand – is about repealing the authority of the colonial state and redistributing land and resources. It also means embracing and legitimizing previously repressed Indigenous worldviews.

Decolonization isn’t a light word. We have to think about what colonization is to understand it: the complete administrative and economic domination of a people and place. Repealing that is a big deal.

Nevertheless, you will often see these two words thrown around almost interchangeably, especially in the university context where folks using them aren’t actually actors in struggle. I would argue that this is inappropriate.

The occupying and dominating force in our context is the state of Canada.
I don’t see the creation of the Canadian state as coinciding with the signing of the British North America Act in 1867, but as a slow process of institution-building that began at first settlement. Confederation was just the official recognition of that process.

The state – we use this word a lot, but we aren’t always using it with an understanding of what it is. Tonight when I use the term, I mean a state is a compulsory political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly on the legitimate use of force within a specific territory, mapped out within the confines of borders. This is what Canada is. Secondary are the public declarations of love for poutine and jokes about affinity for beavers.

Zoos are colonial institutions as well. And they used to hold humans. True fact, you can look it up. A lot of Indigenous humans, and Africans. Trying to shed the baggage of that racist past, they later rebranded themselves as educational and conservation organizations. But a zoo will always be a zoo.

Canada was created in order to govern, exploit, and expand the territories swindled, settled, and stolen from Indigenous peoples of this land. That wasn’t a by-product, it was its primary function. It still is. It always will be. It can’t escape that.

So how can the Canadian state reconcile with Indigenous peoples?They certainly can’t “go back” to a state of friendly relations because there never existed such a time. Reconciliation can only mean eliminating the conflict by enmeshing Indigenous and settler communities, which is the second version of that definition that I shared, making conflicting positions compatible.

This means assimilating Indigenous peoples by having them give up their claim to sovereignty in exchange for the promise of the economic equality within Canada. And it means Canadian people get to devour Indigenous ideas and symbols into their own settler stories, their own canadiana. This is the only path possible under the Canadian state.

The return of land and the power to govern said lands could never be possible under this structure. The resource-based frameworks that define land and water under the logic of Capitalism could never be reconciled with giving away so much money to Indigenous communities. The state-based frameworks that define territory under the nation-state system could never be reconciled with giving away so much power. It just couldn’t happen.

I don’t want to sit up here tonight and lecture you, I want you to be politically engaged with these ideas and thinking about your own politics. Realistically, what I’m offering you is a challenge to your own frameworks of justice and “good enough”.

I posit that you have to decide which of these ideas you are pursuing politically?
Are you interested in reconciliation or are you fighting for decolonization?
The words aren’t interchangeable. We have to stop using them that way.

I also don’t see the two ideas as compatible or complimentary. They aren’t part of some mythical umbrella of Left progressivism. One is calling for the continuation of the Canadian state and the other for its abolition.

This goes beyond simply saying that you are fighting for decolonization. Your politics matter. If you believe in Canadian democracy, if you believe the system works but is just broken, if you believe that voting in another electoral party candidate could truly make a difference, then you aren’t interested in decolonization.

Decolonization doesn’t just mean anti-capitalist, it means anti-state.
The first of these opinions is relatively uncontroversial and accepted in our activist circles, it’s the second that usually gets people.

To those who feel as though what I’m saying is too binary, that there is still good to be done under the system of a Canadian state, I offer you the logic of Canada’s 10 Points of Official Reconciliation and ask you to ponder the question of “rights”.
Let’s look together at some of these points.

1) Canada recognizes Indigenous rights to self-determination.

2) Canada sees reconciliation as fundamental to Section 35 of the
Constitution Act.

3) Canada recognizes it needs to act with integrity.

4) Canada sees Indigenous self-government as part of
the federalism of the provinces

5) Canada says it needs to uphold the treaties.

(Six and seven I’ll come back to.)

8) Canada desires to construct a new fiscal relationship.

9) Canada recognizes that reconciliation is flexible.

10) Canada recognizes that Indigenous peoples are all different.

I chose not to read out the expanded points of this list because I think it is a generally useless and boring document. A perfect example of the bureaucratic skill of using an abundance of words to say absolutely nothing. But I would encourage you to peruse it on your own, if you feel so inclined.

Pay particular attention to the careful phrasing to describe where Indigenous people fit into the imagination of this post-reconciliation utopia. For all the fancy wording, there is no promise of sovereignty, only money that will bring Indigenous people up to the standard of living of Canadians, so that they are readily available and willing to be absorbed into the project of Canada.

I give you a quote from point 2 to illustrate this:

“Reconciliation is an ongoing process through which Indigenous peoples and the Crown work cooperatively to establish and maintain a mutually respectful framework for living together, with a view to fostering strong, healthy, and sustainable Indigenous nations within a strong Canada.”

There are different incarnations of this subtle assertion of Canadian supremacy in points 2, 3, 4, 8, & 10. Now let’s go back to points 6 & 7, arguably the most important in this document.

Point 6 talks about securing the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples in regards to their land when Canada wants to take it, develop it, or exploit it. This wordy section is full of phrases like consensus and consent, collaboration and consultation: it actually has all of those in one little section.

Point 7 – a much shorter section – immediately revokes that false commitment. It says that, consultation is an aspiration, but that the control of land supposedly held by Indigenous peoples can be overridden in any situation beneficial to the state of Canada.

Indigenous peoples, even under the banner of reconciliation, do not have the right to say no to the state of Canada. The right to say no is critical to the realization of sovereignty, of consent, of freedom.

But it should come as no surprise to Canadians who are paying attention. States operate on the illusion of rights. The government has the right to seize your property too. It can expropriate any piece of land that it needs to serve its goals of economic expansion, whether that be for a dam or an airport or a highway or a pipeline.

This is because rights “given” to you by the government can be taken away by the government. These rights aren’t real. This is fake freedom.

It is my belief that there can be no reconciliation that recognizes the self-determination of Indigenous peoples so long as the state of Canada exists. Once embraced, this conclusion leads you towards a radical and revolutionary politic in search of answers. Though I I will admit I remain skeptical as an anarchist, I spent a good deal of time listening and trying to envision what Communist comrades meant when they spoke of revolution.

I asked them where Indigenous nations fit into their hope for a proletariat-dictated state. I asked them how this new world would make space for Indigenous worldviews or land-based spiritualities. I asked them how they intended to share power and return land.

Time and time again I was convinced – through their insufficient or nonexistent answers to those questions – that their proletariat-dictated state would be no better for the people or the earth than the liberal-capitalist one we have now.

Many times they would tell me that the return of land was paramount to upholding the justice of the new communist state, but their mechanisms for handing back that land were missing. In this new state, where land was to be publicly seized and redistributed among working class settlers, where was the room to authoritatively give away huge sections of it to sovereign entities without sparking massive settler-entitlement-provoked unrest?

Many times they countered that argument by saying there was more than enough Crown Land to give back to Indigenous nations that they wouldn’t have to give away cityscapes or farmland, but they fail to realize that much of that Crown Land is the site of massive resource wealth. An industrial communist state – which we could almost definitely expect – would need to produce prosperity to ensure a counterrevolution didn’t quickly overtake its new central authority. Wouldn’t it then need resources in order to keep the people happy and also to fuel the grand people’s military?

These are all huge problems, and the picture they paint doesn’t make me very enthusiastic for the coming red revolution, but most importantly, they don’t begin to address the fundamental conflict. The same conflict that the Canadian state faces now in its own reconciliatory rhetoric.

Even if this land known as Canada were to be chopped in half and half returned to Indigenous nations, the relationship between a dense, centralized state and a diverse, heterogeneous group of communities will always remain a gross imbalance of power. There is no nation-to-nation relationship, it’s one of nation-to-nations.

In address of this problem, Communists always point to the same tired solutions that Canadians do. Insisting that Indigenous people will form new federations like the AFN which will help to liaise between the parties. I am not inspired by this solution.

Since the early days of this colonial project, settlers have been trying to figure out how Indigenous governance works. And when they did figure it out, they didn’t like it. It took too long. It was too fluid. And it didn’t govern the principles of property and ownership in a way conducive to their mission.

With the realization of the Indian Act, settlers set up neo-colonial governments called Band Councils to replace traditional governance systems. These were elected positions, based on representative democracy mirroring the settler system. They considered this and only this legitimate and they enforced that legitimacy through coercive authority. Often at gunpoint.

Over time, with the Canadian state swelling to the unimaginable size that it has now through the pillaging of stolen resources, many Indigenous nations tried to gain legitimacy by forming associations based on euro-centric modes of government. The Allied Nations of BC, the Indian Association of Alberta, the Métis Nation of Ontario (of which I am a part), culminating in the UN-inspired Assembly of First Nations (AFN).

The AFN doesn’t represent the needs and desires of Indigenous people just in the same way the Canadian government doesn’t represent Canadians. Representational democracy is a far cry from “rule by the people”. Pipeline Perry is busy handing over Eagle Staffs to Justin Trudeau and thanking him for his charity while the rest of the assembly works with the RCMP to out land defenders across Turtle Island.

Now, I don’t blame our elders and community leaders for trying to do good for Indigenous peoples through the only system allowed by Canada – the current occupying force. But it’s not a secret that these systems also breed corruption. For as many good and decent people there are in these positions, when people are kept powerless on purpose, there will always be those who crave the authority of the colonizer.

But, as long as there have been the forcefully implemented representative democracy of band council, the false nations of the MNO, and the coerced federalism of bodies like the AFN, there have been Indigenous people and communities fighting to dismantle them and return to systems of traditional governance. Smaller in size and locally based on belonging in a community.

Which brings me to anarchism.

Anarchism is a political philosophy – some might say a beautiful idea – that believes in self-governed societies based on voluntary association with one another. It advocates for non-hierarchical decision making, direct participation in those decisions by affected communities, and autonomy for all living persons. Furthermore, it leaves space for the valuation of non-human entities beyond their monetary worth or usefulness to human beings.

My Indigenous teachings have communicated to me that our communities are important, but so are we as individuals. Traditional ways saw decision making as a participatory process, based on consensus, where communities made choices together. My teachings tell me that the land can offer us what we need, but never to take more than that. I see these ideas as fundamentally compatible.

Anarchism envisions a world where there exists a system of land stewardship, but not ownership. A world where there are territories, but not borders. Although. sticking with my conceptual tool, I could call this association between diverse communities of settlers and Indigenous people a nations-to-nations relationship, it wouldn’t be quite accurate either.

Anarchists don’t believe in nations. But I would argue neither do Indigenous folks. The word nation is a funny one, imposed on Indigenous communities as the most comprehensible label for their form of political organization. It’s useful in some contexts, often it’s not, and it has never quite fit.

Indigenous communities used to meet each spring to negotiate territories, form new agreements, and redistribute resources. Not all, of course, sometimes they just burned down their neighbors houses when they wanted them to move out. I am not here tonight to romanticize some pre-contact utopia free from oppression and conflict.

But the conception of their “nations” was far different than the Westphalian model followed and imposed by Western society. Decisions were made by communities. Resources were shared. Membership was fluid and adoption common. Leaders were seen as spokespeople or advocates more than authorities. Positions of honour were given to those with life-long demonstrations of service, wisdom, and integrity. Those positions were also revocable. It’s possible to reconcile this with the anarchist idea of legitimate authority. This wasn’t anarchy exactly as we know it, but it was close.

It figures then that both liberal and Marxist theories have found a story to explain away the validity of such societies. Liberals were fond of social Darwinist theories of societal evolution that saw my ancestors as stuck in a stage of savagery. Marxists preferred their theory of historical materialism to claim that Indigenous societies were just a form of primitive communism, which would need to evolve through capitalism to ever reach the more respectable industrial communism they imagine.

I’d like to challenge this framework and, instead, offer a circular view of history embraced by my Indigenous teachings. I don’t think we need to “go back” along a linear timeline of so-called progression. There is no going back. But I want to return to the ideas of my ancestors and see it as moving forward, or maybe just as movement, directionless.

I’d like to see an anarchy of my people and the anarchy of settlers (also my people) enacted here together, side by side. With an equal distribution of power, each pursuing healthy relationships, acting from their own ideas and history. Just as the Two Row imagined.

I would like to see the centralized state of Canada dismantled. I’d like to see communities take up the responsibility of organizing themselves in the absence of said central authority. Community councils meeting weekly to discuss the needs of the community and the limitations of the land to provide for those needs, with a renewed emphasis on staying within those limits. Decisions made on consensus, with a more active participation from all persons. Participation made more accessible by the lessening of work necessary with the return to a subsistence economy rather than one of accumulation. I’d like to see more conversation, more cooperation, more shared production. A system that may have regional communication and collaboration, but always with an emphasis on the primacy of the community to determine its own needs and values.

I think beautiful things would follow from these changes naturally. I think that if it were up to communities to decide whether it was worth it to open a gravel pit in their territory if it meant risking their only water source, we would see less gravel pits. The violence of centralized authority means creating sacrifice zones without a thought.

Even in this lovely future, there would still be conflict because conflict is a constant and that’s okay. Not all newly sovereign communities – Indigenous or settler – would immediately institute reciprocal relationships with the planet because, as we know, there are plenty of Indigenous capitalists out there alongside settler capitalists.

But the new relationship to place and focus on interdependence will give settlers a chance to genuinely form a new connection to this land themselves. To adopt their own traditions and values that deal with the ethics of consumption and growth.

Over time, I think we would see the blending together of communities of settlers and Indigenous folks who committed themselves to the same ideas. The love of land would bring some people closer. The new site of conflict would be less based on a racialized claim to land and more based on defending a worldview that calls for its defense.

This. This point is where I think the word reconciliation could be used between our communities.

I identify as Michif-Cree. And I always list my other European ancestry when I speak to people. Sometimes other Indigenous folks have asked me why I don’t just claim myself as nêhiyaw-iskwêw (a Cree woman). But I tell them I want to find ways to honour my mother’s ancestors as well. And it was important to my grandfather that we remember that we were Métis, and to be proud of it.

I am proud to be Métis. The Cree used to call us “Otipemisiwak”, which means those who govern themselves. My direct ancestors and their communities waged a commendable resistance against the early Canadian state, carried in whispers as the Red River Rebellion. They lived a hard life on the margins of society and paid dearly for their resistance, surviving as squatters for almost 60 years. They called them the Road Allowance People.

To be Métis means I walk in two worlds. I consider it a gift. I didn’t always think that, but I do now.

I learn so much from my political community in Hamilton, constantly expanding my ideas and challenging me to take bigger risks. I learn so much from my ceremony families at New Credit, Chippewa of the Thames, and Kipawa digging deep into my healing and my responsibilities.

Sometimes, I wish I could bring these two communities together more. I think they both have things to learn from the other. But it’s hard.

It takes a constant vigilance to both urge my settler friends to reconnect with land and spirit and to guard against them assuming too much. I love the phrase, “becoming Indigenous to place”, but I still can’t bring myself to use it. It’s too dangerous, people are too irresponsible.

The thing is, I don’t think settlers need to co-opt Indigenous worldviews or to start using our forms of governance. I really think anarchism can provide us with a political system parallel and harmonious. A set of ideas that can also allow for us to acknowledge the interdependence of the earth and to form new values based on that sacred connection.

Again, it’s not about going back. It’s about taking the knowledge that has survived and using it to create a more beautiful and just future. For all of us.

The Canadian state cannot reconcile with Indigenous communities. But you can, as individuals. It starts with you making choices. Autonomously. With conviction.

Maybe you decide tonight that you still believe in supporting Canadian state-led reconciliation, regardless of what I said. Okay. But own it. Don’t make yourself out to be a revolutionary. Because your ideas aren’t.

Maybe you decide to leave here tonight and take your politics a little more seriously. Or maybe you already are an anarchist and everything I’ve said was a reminder or a validation. To you, I say remember your politics and choose your allies carefully.

Saying you support Indigenous sovereignty doesn’t mean backing every Indigenous person on every project. There are plenty of Indigenous misogynists and ladder-climbing politicians out there, and you don’t do me any favours by helping them gain power. Fight for liberatory ideas, not for nations or bloodlines.

We do this all the time. There are Indigenous people out there who oppose pipelines and those who support them, but we align ourselves with the resistance, so we are making choices already. Own it. It’s okay. It’s good to fight for the land and for freedom.

This also means you have to do your homework. Understand what struggles are about and know who is participating in them. Get to know those people. Build relationships. Build meaningful relationships outside of the occupation, as friends. It can’t start from a place of white guilt. Don’t get swept up in your own settler redemption story.

Remember that fighting for a future that sees justice for Indigenous communities is not just done as comrades in their struggles. It should be a politic you live every day. You can do this without speaking on their behalf. Be thoughtful. And creative. And, whenever possible, just work to undermine and attack the Canadian state in all of your work. That is the work of decolonization. And it’s where you will find your own liberation too. This is your government, not theirs, and it shouldn’t be their responsibility to tear it down.

Maarsii. Thank you. That’s all I have to say.

Eyes on Starbucks: Don’t Fund Tigray Genocide! Global Week of Action, May 1-May 7

By the members of Horn Anarchists

CW: Sexual Assault, Murder, Ethnic Conflict

Since November, Ethiopian federal and allied military forces have carried out a genocidal campaign of political repression in the Tigray region. Indiscriminate bombings, mass executions, rape as a tool of war. Food supplies devastated adding starvation to the arsenal. Refugees are prevented from fleeing these horrors. Communications and outside aid have been cut off.

Tigrayan men holding a small portable radio trying to hear news, despite the information blackout.

Outside the region, Tigrayan people have faced escalating discrimination and violence due to their ethnicity. They have lost jobs and had passports canceled. Social media is filled with a cocktail of propaganda standard for modern genocidal regimes: open government hate propaganda mixes cleanly with legions of unquestioning supporters and puppet account networks.

Responding to calls from Tigrayans and other groups facing violent repression from the Ethiopian state, a decentralized, global effort is underway to stop this genocidal conflict. This means building real solidarity, beyond borders and nations.

We must also dismantle the Ethiopian state’s ability to wage this war. One way is to cut into the state’s biggest source of direct funding and foreign currency revenue: coffee. A major buyer around the globe is Starbucks. The corporation regularly engages in direct negotiations with the Ethiopian state, whose direct control of trademark licensing and access to markets puts millions into the government’s coffers. Those in solidarity around the world must take action to cut off this flow while the genocide continues.

A History of Empire

Tigrayan people are not the first to face intense repression within Ethiopia’s empire. The borders of modern Ethiopia are home to dozens of indigenous groups. The formation of central states over thousands of years has brought conflict as the Empires dominant groups have sought to impose their culture more widely. The Ethiopian Empire which resisted most European colonial encroachment in the 19th and 20th century was itself dominated by an ethnic Amharic elite.

The last Emperor Haile Selassie oversaw sometimes brutal attempts to forge an Ethiopian nationalism based on Amharic culture. When he was overthrown in the 1970s, these policies continued and reached new horrors under the following Marxist-Leninist military Derg government.

Derg government officials in military uniforms.

National Liberation oriented parties and military organizations based in Tigray, Eritrea, Oromia and other regions united to overthrew the Derg by 1991 and established a system of “ethnic federalism.”

Nine states were established on the basis of ethnic self-determination. But a degree of greater equality between ethnic groups did not end ethnic conflict. The inability to represent the messy and overlapping geography of various groups, as well as the numerous groups too small to receive their own region, provided fuel for further conflict. Ethnic conflict became intimately intertwined with political disputes.

The Oromo, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, have faced systemic discrimination for decades. An Oromo-based party central to overthrowing the Derg was pushed out of the new governing coalition early on. Despite some new autonomy within the ethnic federalist system, discrimination remains widespread, and massive protests have been met with violent reprisals as recently as last year. Many politicized Oromo are today advocate ending the Ethiopian Empire altogether.

Oromo woman in beaded traditional attire.

Recently, a new governing coalition was formed when the largest Tigrayan party (TPLF) exited the government. The rest of the former coalition merged to form the new Prosperity Party under Abiy Ahmed. The present government seeks to dismantle “ethnic federalism” in favor of a centralized state promoting a unified “Ethiopian” identity. Powerful ethnic-based political parties are a significant obstacle to this goal. To secure victory in its political agenda, Abiy’s government has made all Tigrayan people synonymous with the TPLF political party in the view of the country’s mass media and war machine, launching an all-out struggle against both.

Abiy’s construction of a nationalist base at home has been complimented by his efforts to secure support abroad. In a piece of bitter irony, he was given the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing a decades long conflict with the totalitarian government of neighboring Eritrea to an end. Violent struggle had simmered since Eritrea’s secession from Ethiopia following the collapse of the Derg. The presence of Eritrean political refugees in Tigray and ongoing resentment over the previous war made Abiy’s peace partners an ideal collaborator in genocide. Eritrean ground forces have been responsible for some of the most horrific massacres, plundering, and destruction of the countryside.

Coffee Grows Empire

Any present-day empire building project in Ethiopia needs a fervent nationalist base. Yet in the modern global system, Ethiopia’s empire is but a small and sometimes exploited player. Projecting  necessitates extensive foreign capital and support. Drones bombing civilian towns, bullets digging mass graves, media infrastructure to justify it all. This requires cash.

Some of this may come in the form of foreign aid, or the loans neocolonial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are currently trying to approve. For the Ethiopian state, though, much of their  cash comes from commodity export. King of Ethiopia’s exports is a crop it originated: coffee. A billion US dollars, 30% of the country’s total exports, sent to eighty countries around the world. 

The central state has a heavy, lucrative hand in the trade. It manages commodity exchange markets. It carries out direct diplomacy and negotiations with major buyers. The Ethiopian state even holds several international trademarks on the names of notable Ethiopian coffee. Companies selling specialty coffee using these names must pay the government a licensing fee.

Securing this funding pipeline is vital to the Ethiopian state’s functioning.

Take Action

Campaigners against the ongoing genocide in Tigray have called for a boycott of Ethiopian coffee in order to cut into Abiy Ahmed’s war chest. Among the largest and most visible buyers globally is Starbucks. The company purchases tens of millions USD of Ethiopian coffee annually, only a fraction of which makes it directly to farmers. During an ongoing genocide, this money fuels death.

We are calling for a global week of action against Starbucks to demand they cease purchase of Ethiopian coffee while the military occupation of Tigray continues.

From May 1 to May 7 we encourage solidarity in the form of a diversity of tactics from comrades around the world.

What can you do to spread the message about stopping the genocide in Tigray and take direct action against Starbucks?

  • Get a few friends to do some flyering, wheatpasting, graffiti, and/or banner drops.
  • Hold picket lines of stores, perhaps collaborating with workers.
  • Can you organize a large march locally, or small autonomous action against a Starbucks store at night.
  • Is your city home to an Ethiopian or Eritrean embassy or consulate? Consider whether you might include it in your action.

If you live in one of many areas around the world with Tigray, Oromo, and other diaspora communities, please reach out. Many major cities have a local community center and have been holding their own protests against the current government’s actions. Look for these events, often on social media, and join in solidarity.


Visit @HornAnarchists ( on twitter or check out the social media hashtag #TigrayGenocide ( for further updates.

An Ethiopian Anarchist Perspective on Tigray (

Omna Tigray (
Ethiopia Map (
Deforestation crisis:
Tigray is Being Deliberately Starved
Health facilities targeted in Tigray region, Ethiopia


SFRS 10: A Brief Introduction to Disaster Preparedness

By Lee Navy

With all of the horrors of the past year, the devastation wreaked by environmental disasters like hurricanes and wildfires have faded from the broader cultural consciousness. We ignore these threats at our own peril. As the climate crisis grows more dire, severe flooding, calamitous storms, and vast fires will become an inescapable fact of life, like mosquitoes coming out in summertime. Nearly half of all Americans [] will be exposed to some environmental hazards over the next thirty years. At their mildest, these events will disrupt utilities (especially power and water), delay emergency services, and interrupt supply chains for several days; at their most severe, they can force you from your home, lay waste to the built environment, and render life, as you have lived it, unrecognizable. The time to prepare is now; when you feel the heat of a wildfire on the back of your neck or hear the first raindrops of the oncoming storm, it is too late. 

Before Impact: Fortify 

Before preparing for an emergency that you cannot prevent, take steps to reduce your vulnerability to those you can. Install at least one smoke detector outside each bedroom in your residence, and test that they are functioning every six months. Keep at least one ABC fire extinguisher (approved for solid fuel, liquid fuel, and electrical fires) on every level of your residence, and consider a K extinguisher (for cooking fires) in your kitchen. Check the pressure gauges on all extinguishers every year. If you live in an earthquake-prone region, ensure that all heavy furniture and electronics are secured.

 If you are fortunate enough to own your own home, harden it against break-ins and burglaries. You don’t need to get an expensive camera system that collaborates [] with the local police, but you can make yourself safer by implementing a few common-sense security measures. Upgrading the striker plates in exterior door frames is quick and inexpensive; putting bars over windows, less so, and might interfere with a quick evacuation. If you have the time and resources, 3M window film is a decent compromise. Regardless, make sure all windows have functioning locks. If you can, install solar-powered motion-activated lights around the exterior of your residence. 

Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the 2021 winter storm in Texas put into sharp relief the weaknesses of the modern power grid, and millions of people found themselves without heat or power. Until you organize your neighborhood and install a community microgrid, you need to make plans to endure extended power-outages. Generators are expensive, sometimes loud, and cannot be used indoors, but if you or someone in your household requires a ventilator or dialysis machine, they are essential. Generators also can provide a valuable community resource to charge phones and run other equipment such as power tools. Inverter generators can be very quiet and portable. If you have a gasoline-powered generator, store gasoline in metal, self-venting cans, add a sufficient amount of fuel stabilizer, and rotate the supplies on a regular schedule—perhaps when you check your fire extinguishers. Never store gas cans inside your residence. If you do not require power for medical devices, an indoor-safe propane-powered space heater and a propane stove can provide heat and hot meals without the expense and noise of a generator. Whatever you decide, never run any gas-powered device in any poorly-ventilated area.

Don’t neglect digital preparedness. One day, we will submit our phones to local recycling centers so their lithium can be reclaimed and put to a more socially-beneficial use. But until then, we can take steps to make ourselves safer and less vulnerable. Encrypt [] your data, learn [] how to create strong passwords, and familiarize [] yourself with the way your phone can be used to spy on you, whether by using cell towers or GPS information to track the phone’s movements or by infecting the phone with malware that can read private data.

Once you have reduced your vulnerabilities, make a disaster plan and share it with every member of your household. Your plan should be simple and easy to remember. The plan should include:

  • Threat assessment. Discuss the most likely emergencies, which will differ based on your region. Check FEMA’s Flood Zone Maps [] if you are unsure if you are at risk of flooding. Make sure to take into account unique local hazards that might be affected in the event of a natural disaster, like chemical leakage from a local refining facility.
  • Rally points. Designate a windowless interior room to be your shelter point for tornadoes and hurricanes, and a location outside your residence to regroup if you are forced to evacuate due to a house fire or gas leak. Make sure that there are no obstacles in your halls or doorways that can interfere with a quick escape. If you live on an upper floor, make sure you can access emergency fire escapes. Make sure the evacuation routes are accessible to all members of your household, taking into account mobility restrictions, vision and hearing impairments, and age.
  • The location of utilities (water, power, and natural gas) and how to shut them off. Natural disasters can damage pipes and wires, leading to water contamination, electrical hazards, or gas leaks (and resulting explosions). You might need a special tool to shut off your water and gas; if this is the case, keep the tool close to the respective shutoff valve by taping or “dummy cording” it to the meter.
  • Practice. Periodically test the disaster plan with your housemates. Make sure everyone knows where to go, and time how long it takes for everyone to turn off the utilities, grab their gear, and get to the rally point. 

After making your plan, assemble your kit. Every member of your household should gather the following supplies:

  • Prescription medications and eyeglasses, as well as copies of the prescriptions. If you require hearing aids, you should have extra batteries.
  • Important documents. Make scans of your Social Security card, passport, birth certificate, driver’s license, concealed carry permit, insurance information, vaccination records, and any other forms or documents that are difficult to replace and necessary for establishing your identity in the aftermath of a disaster. Save the scans in both PDF and PNG (or JPG) to ensure they can be read on most platforms, encrypt the files, and store them on a USB drive and an SD card. Keep both in a waterproof storage bag. 
  • A powerful flashlight, headlamp, or both. AAA and AA batteries are ubiquitous, but for extra power, invest in a light that accepts CR123 batteries or rechargeable 18650s. Whatever you select, make sure everyone in your  household uses the same batteries. SelfBuilt’s reviews [], posted on the CandlePower forums, are considered the gold standard for anyone looking for flashlight recommendations. Check the charge of your batteries when you check your smoke detectors.
  • Personal protective equipment, like work gloves, a high-visibility vestsafety glasses, and ear plugs. Natural disasters, especially wildfires, put a great deal of hazardous particles into the atmosphere, so invest in a respirator or pack of N95 masks. Not all masks are created equal; this article [] is a comprehensive resource. Also useful are items to protect against the elements: a rain coat or poncho and some sunscreen.
  • Water. Get at least one, but ideally two, 32-ounce (or 1-liter) water bottles, like the common Nalgene or a USGI canteen. Keep them full, rotating and cleaning frequently (do not use these bottles for everyday hydration; doing so risks having these bottles on a drying rack or in a gym bag when they are most needed). 32-ounce bottles are preferable because most water purification tablets have a dose rate of 1 tablet for 1 quart (see this article [] for an introduction to the various techniques used to make water safe to drink). Steel, single wall 32 ounce bottles will also allow for water purification through boiling.
  • A first-aid kit. Prioritize trauma medicine []. Riot Medicine [] by Håkan Geijer is a free, comprehensive guide to emergency medicine of all types, and should be considered mandatory reading for all free people. Don’t ignore OTC analgesics (aspirin, paracetemol, naproxen), digestive medicine, and adhesive bandages.

Pack the items listed above in a sturdy bag and store it where it is out of the way while remaining easily accessible. Place a pair of sturdy, comfortable shoes next to the bag. It must be noted that sheltering in place is preferable in all cases to evacuation. You have more resources in your residence, and your supplies are not limited to what you can carry on your back or stuff into the trunk of a car. That said, wildfires, hurricanes, and floods have the potential to force you from your home, in which case you need to be prepared to slip on the shoes, grab your bag, and head out the door. 

In addition to the items already listed, the following items should be kept in waterproof, portable containers, for use while sheltering in place:

  • Food. The most common baseline is a three-day supply of food, but this should be considered the minimum. Build a stockpile of shelf-stable foods by buying one or two cans of soup or jars of peanut butter every time you go shopping. Prioritize foods that require neither water nor heat for preparation: cans of soup, vegetables, and fruit, peanut butter, dried meat, cookies, crackers, etc. Make sure you have a manual can opener; a USGI P-38 can opener is painfully slow, but cheap and takes up no space.
  • Water. Store extra water in food-safe containers. It is recommended to store one gallon of water per household member; you should have a minimum of three gallons per household member on hand. Keep away from sunlight and extreme temperatures. Rotate water ever six months. In addition, make sure you have some way to treat water. If you do not have water purification tablets, regular-strength unscented bleach can be used to disinfect water; 2 drops per quart (8 drops, or 1/8 teaspoon, per gallon) will disinfect clear water in 30 minutes; a double dose will disinfect cloudy water.
  • Sanitation supplies. Heavy-duty contractor trash bags, in addition to the bleach mentioned above, can be used to dispose of human waste if water service is interrupted. Hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, or camp soap that requires no water can be used to maintain personal hygiene.
  • Extra flashlights. In addition to each household member’s flashlight, have at least one quality flashlight in an easily accessible location and make sure every member of the household knows where it is. Keep a store of extra batteries forthe flashlight.
  • Some basic tools, both to harden your home in advance of extreme weather, like a hurricane, and  to rebuild after the impact. Duct tape has infinite uses, and 4mm nylon “550” or “paracord” has even more, if you take the time to learn a handful of useful knots []. There are few tasks that cannot be accomplished with a pair of quality tongue-and-groove pliers, a claw hammer, and ratcheting driver a good assortment of sockets and bits. A shovel, hand saw, and crowbar are useful for clearing debris. Tarps or plastic sheeting are handy for covering up broken windows and holes in roofs.
  • Comfort items, especially for children. Books, toys, puzzles, decks of cards, and board games can help pass the time and maintain morale.

Take special care to accommodate those members of your household with unique needs., FEMA’s collection of emergency preparation resources, is an excellent resource for the extra considerations that the elderly [], the disabled [], and pets [] all require. 

Finally, disaster preparedness is a ripe opportunity for planting the seeds of community solidarity and mutual aid, which might one day sprout into the kind of dual power [] and interdependence necessary to challenge the supremacy of the State. Get to know your neighbors, if you have not already. Share your plans with them, and encourage them to make their own preparations. Form the foundation of a network of support that can come together after a calamity to share supplies, search for survivors, and rebuild. The spontaneous “disaster communism []” that emerges in the wake of crises can be the beginning of a real movement. Mutual Aid Disaster Relief [] is a priceless resource for anyone seeking more information on how to form networks and what you can do to help.

After Impact: Rebirth

Preparedness is not, contrary to popularly invoked images, the province of the tin-foil-hatted survivalist. It is a rational, and in fact, the only rational, response to a precarious world. Between Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, and Maria, the Camp and Paradise fires, and once-unthinkable catastrophes like the Iowa derecho, there have never been more reasons to take action to ensure that you will be safe after a disaster. That said, preparedness without purpose serves only to perpetuate the individualism that infects modern society. Make a plan so that you may not only survive, but thrive, in so thriving, bring forth a new world [], as the Wobblies said, from the shell of the old.

Further Reading

[The views expressed in the following links are those of their respective authors only.] []

The Complete Guide to What to do Before, During, and After a Disaster [] [](Archived from the original, accessed on 7th February, 2021)

Disaster Planning for Less Crazy Folk []

Prepping on $40 a Week []

Lee Navy is an anarchist living on occupied Muscogee territory. He can be found on Twitter [].

Affiliate with the Indigenous Anarchist Federation

The time has come to build a true federation of Indigenous anarchics. We need to connect our struggles into a connected network of struggle. We do not advocate a centralized leadership under a single organization, but instead seek to act as a connecting point for a multitude of cells, groups, cooperatives, collectives, acting as the leaves and roots of the tree, feeding the struggle. The Indigenous Anarchist Federation seeks to be the trunk of this tree, connecting all of the leaves and roots together sharing in a common purpose.

We are anti-colonial revolutionaries. We struggle to liberate all colonized people without exception. Our internationalism is built on thousands of Indigenous nations, not on nation-states. We will not compromise anti-colonialism to fight for some proletariat who does not center anti-colonialism and abolition. There is no liberation until colonial legacies are firmly buried in the sands of time. Our revolution is as much social & psychological, as it is material. Building new relations, unlearning toxic ways of relating, and growing a new world is what we seek.

Seperated, we can do a lot to build mutual aid and organize our communities against colonialism. Connected, we can do even more, sharing not only resources, but also sharing information, expertise, and platforms. 
Affiliation creates a system whereby people have a clear understanding of where an organization stands. A group affiliated with the IAF-FAI has a clearly anarchic Indigenous project and rejects ‘authoritarian’ solutions to liberation. Affiliation allows for like-minded people to find each other through organizing. With a visit to our website, people will be able to find budding new projects to join and help grow.

 Starting an IAF-FAI affiliated group starts with you and a few friends. If you launch a project, you can send us an email ([email protected]) stating your group name, a statement of agreement to the points of agreement and affiliation guide, your logo (you can use ours once you let us know you are affiliating, use your own, or use both), and the lands your project covers (both colonial name and Indigenous lands, i.e., “New-Afrikan/Mvskoke Lands, Selma, Alabama”). If your group has a particular focus, such as a farming cooperative, tech, manufacturing, first aid, firearms training, general mutual aid, etc., you can include that as well. You can affiliate with more than one group, so if you want to join up with Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement, Black Socialists in America, Black Rose - Rosa Negra, etc., that is great!

If you are just one Black/Indigenous person, you can plant a seed with the IAF-FAI. Let us know you want to organize and provide us with a secure means of contacting you and the lands your project would cover. We will publish this as a seed project, so that like-minded people regionally can get in touch. Building intital relations can be hard, but you are not as alone as you might think. We are here to help make these connections!

We get dozens of requests in our inbox regularly asking for local chapters to affiliate with. Again, we are not a centralized organization, so there are no chapters to join. If we have an affiliated group in your area you will see it posted on our website under the Get Into It tab. If we don’t have an affiliated group in your area, start one! The best way to learn how to run an organization is to run one. Take your time, be safe, and we can build resistance and dual power together!

Points of Agreement

What we are against:    

  1. Anti-colonial, anti-authoritarian, anti-state, and anti-capitalist struggle are inseparable in the struggle for liberation.
  2. Anti-Blackness has no place in Indigenous liberation. There can be no Indigenous liberation without our Black/Indigenous relatives!
  3. Patriarchy and sexual bigotry has no home in our struggle.
  4. Domination in any form has not place in our struggle.
  5. Killing unarmed civilians is never just. Only take up arms in defense against attack or to deny the state the resources to attack.

What we are for:

  1. We want a world where many worlds fit, a world free from coercive control over individual expression, sexuality, and being.
  2. Internationalism between Indigenous peoples must be steadfast, with exception for those Indigenous organizations engaged in colonialism, authoritarianism, or capitalist domination.
  3. We want to build autonomy, creating self sufficient, resilient systems that provide for the needs of every person in our communities.
  4. We fight to protect our lands in the short term and reclaim our lands in the long term.
  5. We seek to create systems of decolonization for Indigenous people, both land connected & displaced.
  6. We will fight efforts by colonizers, fascists, and the state to harm people.
  7. We seek to live as we should in nature, restoring balance and relation with all plants, animals, fungi, lands, waters, and skies.
  8. We seek to create technologies that do not rely on destructive resource extraction to provide for people’s needs and comforts.

Understanding of Affiliation with the IAF-FAI

  • Must have a membership largely consisting of Black/Indigenous people and center Black/Indigenous leadership.
  • Must agree with the points of agreement.
  • Must agree to disassociate with members who engage in actions that endanger or dominate fellow revolutionaries.
  • Must agree to practice good security culture when engaging with other affiliated groups in the IAF-FAI.
  • Must agree not to work with the state or security entities.
  • Affiliated groups can freely use IAF-FAI logos, icons, colors, motifs, etc., freely.
  • Affiliated groups can freely raise objections on actions of other affiliated groups.
  • Affiliated groups can freely leave.
  • Affiliated groups can freely ask other organizations, who adopt the points of agreement and meet affiliation requirements, to affiliate with the federation.
  • Affiliated groups will not be asked by IAF-FAI to provide or keep membership lists.
  • Affiliated groups will not be asked by IAF-FAI to adopt any name or logo.
  • Affiliated groups will not be asked by IAF-FAI to engage in any specific tactics.
  • Affiliated groups will not be asked by IAF-FAI to spend monetary resources in any way, aside from that the funds not be used to enrich certain members of the affiliated group.
  • Resources gathered by the IAF-FAI shall be made available, as they become available, to affiliated groups conducting mutual aid, infrastructure development, and the building of dual power. 
  • Resources may be gathered by affiliated groups in the name of the IAF-FAI so long as their specific group explains which organization will be receiving and utilizing the funds.

Basic Wilderness Fieldcraft: Skills For Revolutionary Survival No.9

By Eepa

When many people think of living outdoors, they think of Camping. Camping, backpacking, and hiking are recreational activities that are an enjoyable way to experience nature during those rare moments of free time. These activities can incorporate elements of bushcraft/fieldcraft, but these activities have very different expectations for required gear, periods of time expected to be afield without resupply, and security considerations.

In this primer on living in the wilderness, we will discuss the needs of people who are living on the land as they move to safer territory and the needs of people who will be living remotely long term as a bugout or as a function of being involved in a resistance struggle. This will include the basic elements of fieldcraft for a revolutionary: water, shelter, fire, food, and navigation.


Water is what will get ya. A lack of it will leave you disoriented, tired, and dead. Unclean water will get you sick, potentially killing you, or will just taste disgusting, limiting your intake, leading to dehydration. Clean, palatable water is the first priority of any person seeking to live off grid. As a someone utilizing field craft to survive, it is advised that you maintain a redundancy of methods to get safe drinking water. We will examine three easy methods to take with you when you venture into the woods in a bugout situation.

Steel Water Bottle

The first think you should carry is a steel water bottle. Make sure the bottle doesn’t have any plastic on the main body and make sure it is single walled (not insulated double walled). This will allow you to carry water with you and will allow you to boil water to sanitize it. Boiling water for 1 minute is sufficient to clean it according to the WHO. Make sure it is a rolling boil with consistent, fast bubbling. That’s when you start the clock for the 1 minute time.

Boiling water only sanitizes it, it does not purify it. By covering the end of the bottle with a bandana and securing it to the mouth with a hair-tie or rubber band, you can filter out a lot of sediment, making the water taste significantly less gritty. This the most time consuming way to get clean water. You need to drink the remainder of your water, filter fresh water into the bottle, start a fire, get the bottle to a boil, let cool. This is a fail safe, but there are faster ways to get clean water when you are on the move. See the video below by the press filter, for a water boiling demonstration.

Tablets & Chlorine Bleach

Tried and tested, you can use water purification tablets or a small amount of unscented plain household chlorine Bleach. This option again benefits from pre filtering the water through a bandana. It will leave a taste, something that dedicated water purification tablets try to correct as much as possible. There will still be a taste with tablets.

Bleach can be purchased in bulk and stored in dropper bottles, making dispensing correct amounts easier. This is by far the cheapest and easiest to acquire method of purifying water. Here is a guide from the EPA on amounts of bleach to use with a given volume of water:

Volume of WaterAmount of 6% Bleach to Add*Amount of 8.25% Bleach to Add*
1 quart/liter2 drops2 drops
1 gallon8 drops6 drops
2 gallons16 drops (1/4 tsp)12 drops (1/8 teaspoon)
4 gallons1/3 teaspoon1/4 teaspoon
8 gallons2/3 teaspoon1/2 teaspoon

Tablets come in a wide variety of forms. One of my favorites is the two step Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets (iodine based purification), with included PA Plus, a neutralizing agent that reduces the flavor of the initial purification tablets. These come is small bottles of 50 tablets that will treat a 32 oz bottle of water 25 times. Chlorine tablets are also available, though the taste has led me to have less experience with these tablets. One special note about Iodine tablets, they will stain soft water bladders, so take that into consideration.

When treating the water in your bottle, it is important to very slightly loosen the lid of the bottle after mixing, and allow some of the water with the purification chemical to flow past the threads on the mount and lid of your bottle. Failure to do this will leave untreated water on the mouth and lid, potentially infecting you. The colder it is, the longer you will need to keep the tablets in the water before drinking (cold water reduces the efficiency of the purification chemicals). Instructions will remind you of these factors.

An alternative to these is a UV light water purification lamp. These are stirred in water while illuminated, killing harmful microbes. These have a major downside; they need batteries. If you have a solar charger integrated into your system, this is a good option. Otherwise, you will be caring a lot of heavy batteries for extended use.

Water Filters

Water filters are the top of the line when it comes to getting clean, tasty water. Filters require that water be forced through various filtering elements in order to produce clean, drinkable water.

Squeeze Filters

One of the most basic is a water bottle adaptor like the Sawyer Squeeze. The benefit to this is that you can drink from any bottle with standard water bottle threads (like a SmartWater or Aquafina). You do have to squeeze while drinking, which wears out bottles.

Pump Filters

Pump type filters are excellent for their ability to fill multiple containers fast. They require a lot of pumping, which can be taxing if you are trying to conserve calories in a long term bugout or bushcrafting situation. The MSR Guardian is the top choice in the pump filter category for its durability and self cleaning features. These are best for small groups as their size and weight is a bit much for an individual.

Gravity Filters

Gravity filters are excellent choices for static or semi-static camps with multiple people. Water is purified by hanging a bag and letting gravity pull the water through the filter. This can be done overnight and topped of throughout the day, providing a ready source of water for refills. The Katadyn Base Camp, the LifeStraw Mission, and the Platypus GravityWorks are good options for this role. These are best for small groups as their time to filter can be long, but they do filter larger volumes of water without much supervision or effort.

You can also build gravity filters for long term survival in the wilderness. Here is a good video demonstrating a self made gravity filter:

Press Filter

One of the best options for a personal use either in a bugout bag or for individual patrol is the Grayl Geopress. This all in one filter acts as both the filter and the bottle. Instead of pumping or squeezing, this bottle works by filling the bottle with water, inserting the filter, and pushing down with your body weight. This is a super efficient means of filtering water requiring very few calories of effort. You can press once to fill your steel bottle, then press again to fill the Geopress. That gives you a days worth of water extremely fast, silently, and with no trace. The filters are good for ~115 days of use with 3 uses per day. If you are filtering extremely dirty water, this may be reduced. If you are planning on being out for more than 100 days, carry a spare filter. Here’s a video explaining how to source your water for the geopress:


Shelter is what you use to insulate yourself from the elements; from the cold, from the heat, from the sun, from the wind. Typically this is used while sleeping, but it also might be useful when doing tasks around camp. The needs of fieldcraft shelters are different than the needs for camping. In fieldcraft, we need our shelters to provide three things: durability, ease of deployment/takedown, and concealment. These factors will change based on the environment so we will examine three options that can be used in the situations you might find yourself.


Tarps are the most basic form of shelter. They provide shade, protection from precipitation, and some protection from wind. Tarps can be made into a variety of shelters using surrounding trees or trekking poles as supports. Tarps can also be used to protect you from precipitation in the form of a bed roll or poncho and can be used to create a gurney in an emergency. Tarps also serve a useful role in serving as a waterproof/water resistant barrier for more semi-permanent bush shelters.

Essentially, tarps are some of the most useful objects you can have to fit a variety of situations. Important factors to look for when selecting a tarp is material, seems, and grommets.

Nylon ripstop is the way to go for tarps as it resists tearing and offers good water proofing naturally. 40D Nylon is good when you are really concerned about weight, but for long term field craft, 70D will be much more durable. Seems should be heat taped or sealed to prevent leaks. Grommets and loops should be reinforced to prevent tear-out.

The top recommendation for a good, durable tarp would be AquaQuest. Their defender series (2.4-3.3lbs) is pretty bullet proof but their guide series (0.9-1.2lbs) will work well if weight/bulk is a concern. 10×7 is good for an individual, but 10×10 expands your tarp use options and allows for up to two people sleeping, four to six sitting.

Concealment is a factor here, so depending on your environment choose an appropriate color. Remember, plain olive drab green looks more like a typical backpacker and might raise less suspicions than a camo tarp. OD green is very good at blending with backgrounds at a distance. These can be quickly taken down, even in an emergency abandonment of camp by cutting the ridge line, pulling ground spikes and stuffing it into your backpack.

There are dozens of ways to set up a tarp shelter. Try some different styles when camping and build an understanding of which styles work best for your needs.


Bivies are… intimate. They are designed to hold you and your sleeping bag, maybe with the sleeping pad inside and maybe outside. They are quick to set up, provide adequate protection, and are extremely low profile. You want to buy quality materials here, usually gore-tex, and you want to make sure that there is adequate ventilation to vent the moisture from your breath, especially if you have to zip up in inclement weather. A hoop to keep the bivy off of your face is really a creature comfort worth looking for. Bivies are incredibly good at blending in given proper site location. For urban/suburban travel in bad weather, the bivy is a good option to consider. Do your research and practice using it a lot in your local climate. I have had good experiences with the Dutch army surplus bivy, but the camo patter would stick out in urban environments.


Tents can be the most secure form of shelter you can have in a field craft situation. They resist wind and precipitation better than any form of rapidly moveable shelter out there. The type recommended for fieldcraft use is the pyramid tent. Pyramid tents com in three to twelve sided pyramids, with their unique feature being support via a single center pole. They are extremely quick to set up. Four stakes into the corners, then erect the pole inside. Done. These are very stable in wind and handle precipitation well. They are also easy to get dressed in and can protect yourself and your gear in all conditions.

The Luxe Outdoors Minipeak Pyramid Tent (2.18lbs) is a great pyramid tent that allows for mosquito netted inner tent (either one or two person).

A lightweight and rugged option (though expensive) is the Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid (1.1lbs). Built with strong silnylon or DCF, these tents are the gold standard for pyramid tents. Upgrading to an interior mosquito net is expensive.

Other tents will work, but the flat panels of a pyramid tent are easy to mend should they require it and a broken center pole can be easily replaced with a staff from a sapling or with crossed poles outside of the tent. Other tent designs, like the ones that use crossed flexible fiberglass poles, will fail under high winds, leaving you with a tent bowing down against you and transferring water onto you in the night. The more seems a tent has, the more points of failure you will have to watch. Backpacking tents are also are much slower to take down and stow should you need to evacuate camp in an emergency.

Bushcraft Shelters for Weather & Extended Stay

Bushcraft shelters are different than camping shelters in that they use materials gathered from nature to build the shelter. Bushcraft shelters offer better insulation from wind, rain, snow than tents or tarps alone, though they require more calories and time to make. If you plan on being static for a period of time, one of these shelters can serve you well. Be aware that there is a flood of trendy ‘bushcraft shelter’ construction videos that are questionable at best and downright dangerous at worst. Learn to make these shelters from books and respected outdoor survival instructors.

The most basic form of bushcraft shelter is the basic lean-to. A good lean-to built against a rock face or facing a fire can provide substantial protection from snow and winds. Learn this type of shelter first along with how to make bedding, then develop your skills from there.


Starting fire reliably is incredibly important. Unlike recreational camping or backpacking, we do not want to rely on fuel resupply to provide us with heat. This means starting a fire from scratch. As with water, we want to pack with redundancy in mind, to make sure we can start a fire no matter what happens. Usually this means having three fire starters and two sources of tinder.

Fire Starters

There are many kinds of fire starters out there, some of which you can construct in the field if you have a knife. We will look at carry along fire starters you can pack with you and practice with now, focusing on the recommended fire starters for fieldcraft. There are other options; feel free to try them as well. These are just the ones I am recommending.

Windproof Lighter or Matches

When looking for lighters, the first thing that comes to mind is the ubiquitous Bic lighter. These are butane lighters that burn for a long time and are reliable, unless they get cold or are exposed to wind. The UCO Stormproof or SM torch butane lighter are a good go-to option for lighters as they ignite butane in a high temperature torch that resists wind better. Keep lighters against your body in an inner pocket to keep them warm and ready for use.

Matches are fickle, but stormproof matches will work in all kinds of weather and will work even after being submerged in water. Stormproof matches also have longer guaranteed burn time, meaning you have longer to ignite your tinder and kindling to get your fire started. In practical use, I have found the UCO Titan Stormproof Matches, with their 25 second burn time, to be an excellent fire starter. There are other makers out there, so feel free to try some and find a match maker you like.

Ferro Rods

Ferro rods produce a shower of sparks when the spine of a knife or axe is pushed along their surface (the right knives can be found here). They produce extremely hot sparks (5,500°F/3,000°C) and are excellent for igniting dry tinder. Most of the ferro rods you see sold with survival kits or as knife accessories are incredibly small. Get a ferro rod that is 6-8″ in length for a good long strike, and 1/2″ in width for strength and long-term striking. Also, get one that is predrilled for a lanyard so that you can better grip while striking, secure the rod to your pack, and find it if you drop it (use a visible color for the lanyard).

I use a Bayite rod with great success. There are other great options out there. Make sure you get the right size and test it. Practice sparking it. As long as it produces a good, strong shower of sparks, it doesn’t matter what brand it is.

Fresnel Lens

A fresnel lens is a flat lens that concentrates light into a focused beam that can start fires. A simple, flexible, plastic lens the size of a credit card can be a failsafe fire starter, provided the sun is out. These are very cheap and easy to spread throughout your kit, so that if you become separated from your backpack, you will still have a fire starter in your wallet, boot, pocket, etc. You can buy 4-10 lenses for less than $10USD.


You gotta have tinder to get a spark going. No this isn’t marketing for a dating app. Tinder is the fundamental micro-fuel you ignite to get a fire going. Tinder ignites into an open flame, a flame that is used to ignite kindling, which in turn is used to ignite primary fuel. Most tender you need can be found in nature for free. As always, we like to carry a backup incase the weather isn’t playing nice. A good manufactured option would be a magnesium bar. When shaved into small, thin pieces, it will ignite incredibly hot and will get a fire burning in little time. Get a Doan Magnesium Fire Starter or a bar of pure magnesium. Imitations often use less pure magnesium that can be hard to ignite.

At home you can make tinder by rubbing cotton balls in petroleum jelly. These can be stored in 35mm film canisters or other sealable plastic tube. They ignite and burn for a while, allowing you to get a fire started.

Fatwood can also be found or purchased and brought with you. When shaved into thin strips, it readily takes a spark and ignites.

Building a Fire

Here are some useful videos on fire building:

Considerations for Camp Fires

Fires are extremely useful for cooking and sanitizing as well as for keeping warm and cheerful. They also can be a dead giveaway of your presence and location. Keep fires small, limit the amount of smoke produced, and construct fire reflectors to reflect light and heat into your shelter and not into the wilderness.

The best time for stealth fires is dawn and dusk, when smoke will be obscured better than in the day and light from the fire won’t act as a beacon in the night. You can use small collapsible wood stoves to cook on that efficiently burn very little fuel and produce very little light.

Remember that smell is one of your enemies when trying to conceal your position. Cooking in the evening or at night will limit the chances of accidentally exposing passers-by to the smell of your cooking. Cooking smells are also a concern when in bear country, so keep your food stuffs away from camp and hung from a tree in a bear bag.


Food for fieldcraft is a tricky thing to balance. For bugging out, you need enough calories to last you until you reach your bugout location, hopefully with comrades who have provisions or a survival camp. For a long term camp either static or nomadic, you need a consistent source of proteins, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and food preservation. This will require resupply and caching. We will examine some of the means of acquiring and storing food for long term survival and will look at short term survival foods for a bugout scenario.


Acquiring proteins in nature is usually accomplished through hunting, trapping, or fishing. Hunting firearms have already been discussed in our Secondary Firearms article in this series. What was not discussed was hunting skills for small game (what you will want if you are one to three adults) and for large game (when you have four or more adults).

Hunting & Trapping Small Game

Small game can be broken down into birds and small mammals. The most important way to practice hunting these is to a) go to the range and shoot clays with your shotgun or rolling targets with your rimfire or bow, b) practice making traps, and b) go small game hunting.


Trapping is one of the most basic low energy ways to get food. Snares, deadfalls, and cage traps can be readily constructed, placed on game trails or near burrows, yielding occasional food with minimal effort. This should not be your primary means of capturing food, but can act as a supplemental source.

Shooting Small Game

There are some very easy exercises to practice shotgun handling for hunting. Here’s a great demonstration of these exercises:

Moving target marksmanship is extremely important for hunting small game. Shooting clays has turned into a sport unto itself, but it has tremendous value for shooting moving targets.

For rimfire hunting, rolling, self-healing targets are the way to go for live fire practice. I recommend models like the top hat, which makes movement less predictable and a ball for more predictable movement.

Of course the most important way to practice is to get out and do some hunting once your fundamental marksmanship, gun handling. and gun safety are solid. You will only learn small game behavior by spending time observing them.

Hunting Large Game

For large game, be sure to take time to understand how to take an ethical shot. A bad shot can wound an animal, leaving them wandering for days, slowly dying in pain. Only take ethical shots and always track wounded game.

Field Dressing Game

Remember, if you kill it, you eat it (so long as it isn’t diseased). Here are some helpful field dressing/butchering techniques for basic game types (Trigger Warning: Graphic):

Field Dressing a Squirrel
Field Dressing a Duck
Field Dressing a Pheasant (or Turkey)
Field Dressing Pigeon (or Dove)
Field Dressing a Rabbit for Meat and Fur
Field Dressing Large Game


Fishing can provide you with very important nutrients. Active fishing can be done with a rod and reel, a spear, or with archery. Inactive fishing uses fish traps or gill nets.

Active fishing requires you to bring gear with you, or the construction of gear while in the field. The simplest way to fish is by bringing a package of hooks, a roll of line, making a fishing pole in the field and sourcing bait by finding it. Here are some examples:

Learning Indigenous skills such as fiber production, hook making, etc., will prepare you to fish with what you can gather naturally:

Here are some examples of fishing traps:

Carbs and Vitamins

Most of your carbs and vitamins will come from foraging, unless you cultivate food for long term encampments. Foraging for edibles is a highly regional pursuit. You need to spend time learning to identify edible plants, understand their nutritional/medicinal values, and understand what time of the year they will be found. This can be accomplished by reading books about wild edibles, taking survival courses in your area, and learning from elders who still have traditional knowledge of the land and plants.

I recommend the following books for my area, but local cultural and survival groups will have more regionally specific guides to check out. I use the following for where I live in southern California:

Native American Ethnobotany by Daniel E. Moerman

Probably the most important compendium of information about Indigenous plant uses in North America. I have learned about plant uses I would have never known about from this book, filling in the gaps where my elders no longer have memories. This does not teach plant identification, only traditional uses by tribe. If you live in North America, I highly advise getting a copy or requesting your library purchase a copy.

Kumeyaay Ethnobotany: Shared Heritage of the Californias by Michael Wilken-Robertson

This book is great for me because the Kumeyaay are a sister tribe to my Kwapa people. We share so many of the same traditions, plants being a big one.

California Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Evergreen Huckleberries to Wild Ginger (Regional Foraging Series) by Judith Larner Lowry

A part of a regional foraging series with good general information. Worth picking one up for your region.

The Sea Forager’s Guide to the Northern California Coast by Kirk Lombard

While this book has lots of information on seafood of the animal variety, it also has useful information about edible algaes!

Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast: A Comprehensive Guide to the Fungi of Coastal Northern California by Noah Siegel

A good guide for foraging edible mushrooms in more humid forests to the north. Mushrooms can be rewarding provided you take the time to study and practice.

You also will need to understand what kind of processing they require. Some, like acorns, require boiling to remove tannic acid. Others, like mesquite beans, require grinding to turn the pods into useable flower. Having knowledge ahead of time, without needing reference material in the field will only come with practice and developing relationships with the plants you harvest.

Minerals & Preservation

Salt. It is a vital nutrient and an effective means of preserving food. Many minerals will be naturally absorbed from the meat and plants you eat, but salt has no substitute. For shorter journeys, carrying a small 6oz container of iodized salt will serve you well. For long term encampments, you will need to buy salt in bulk and store it in caches, eventually seeking resupply through purchase or trade. Creative ways to store salt include filling a sanitized bucket with table salt / sea salt, vibrating to settle it, and add a desiccant package. You can also vacuum seal plain white, unflavored livestock salt-licks (no additives or antibiotics). you can get from a local feed store. Iodized salt though is the standard for maintaining health while cooking. You might use the bulk salt from a salt lick to make jerky for example, but use iodized salt when cooking food. Pink salt has additional minerals in it which can be a benefit for long term use.

Have a salt plan. If you can source it locally in the wilderness, you are lucky. See where your ancestors got it from (if you are Indigenous). You will need 8-9lbs of salt per person per year.


The ability to navigate is an important skill. Today, most people navigate with their cell phone. Cell phones are problematic for fieldcraft for several reasons: they rely on spotty cell phone service, they report back your position to cell phone service providers, their triangulation can be ineffective, they require charging and may be susceptible to bad weather.

GPS is the next navigation tool most people turn to. GPS can be very useful when covering large amounts of terrain as they can store a large number of maps and satellite photos, they can leave ‘breadcrumbs’ allowing you to retrace your route, they can mark cache locations and navigate you back to their location, and they can provide you with precise coordinates for coordinating with other people.

They face a few potential downfalls to the long term operation of a GPS device. First, they need batteries, which means you will need to dedicate time to charging. This can be remedied with the mobile PowerFilm LightSaver, which can be secured to your pack and charge your device as you walk, or can be left in a sunny south facing place around camp. In cold weather, you will need to sleep with the batteries for this device to keep them from losing charge in the cold. You also will want to avoid devices that have the ability to transmit or communicate, lest you unintentionally reveal your location (such as with the Garmin GPSMAP 66i). Recommended GPS units include the Garmin GPSMAP 65s, the Garmin GPSMAP 64csx, or you can use a rugged tablet like the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active3 with a USB GPS/GLONASS dongle.

The ultimate form of navigation relies on maps and a compass. Orienteering or analog navigation has the benefit of never snitching on your location and not being subject to battery charge or satellite coverage (or availability). The basic tools you will need for this are United States Geological Survey (USGS) Quadrangle (Quad, 1:24000) or Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) 1:50000 maps for all lands you expect to cover during a bugout or an encampment, waterproof map holder, a lensatic compass, and pace counting beads (often called ranger beads).

Quadrangle maps can be purchased from the USGS, NRCan, or at local sporting goods stores, parks, or book stores usually for $8-$15USD. For $15-$17USD you can get maps from the secondary market that are printed with waterproof inks on waterproof paper. These maps are bulkier and heavier, but are extremely durable, a benefit you will have to weigh given your climates propensity for sustained precipitation. Here are some videos about understanding topographic maps:

Waterproof map holders are used for storing maps in a safe manner and for navigation using the visible portion of a folded map while it is raining. There are a wide variety of makers, so shop around, read reviews, and test it with plain paper using a fountain, hose, or shower. Once you know it is secure, you should be good to go.

Lensatic compass are rugged and reliable means of navigation. Buy a quality one and practice with it as much as you can while outdoors. Recommended versions include the Cammenga Lensatic Tritium Compass 3H (self illuminating) or the Cammenga Phosphorescent Lensatic Compass 27 (needs to be charged in sunlight during the day). Here is an introductory guide to using these compasses:

The last item you will need is a pace counter (also called ranger beads). This is useful for dead reckoning, the ability to maintain awareness of your position relative to a starting point. These can be bought, but are extremely easy to make on your own. Here are some videos about making pace beads, figuring out your pace count, and utilizing them.

It is really recommended that you learn from an experienced navigator, either a friend or in a course. This is worth the money to learn to do right. You can do it, and this will save your life. There are many other navigation skills that you will develop with practice. Always keep learning!


Basic survival skills require practice to cultivate. They require an inquisitive mind that is always trying new things and learning whenever possible. Nature will reward you for responsibly practicing living in communion with the land and waters. Remember to always leave your practice camps as close to as you found them, as you can. Get out there, stay safe, and good luck!

Matrix: Yet Another Encrypted Chat App

The recent influx of millions of Signal users, and its subsequent temporary outage, caused many users to briefly move their communications to other platforms. Many alternatives were adopted to take on the task such as Telegram and good old fashioned e-mail and SMS. This event has highlighted the necessity to develop alternates and contingencies in case primary communications are knocked out. (Research “PACE plan”)

Matrix is another such network which addresses two of Signal’s most commonly cited shortcomings: Centralization, and the use of phone numbers for user ID.

Matrix is what the network is called, but there are several clients available to use it. Probably the best one out there is called Element (formerly

Matrix is also decentralized. When signing up, most people tend to create an account at, although there are many other Matrix servers that all federate with each other, as well as some that are isolated. It is no small task, but a resourceful and willing organization could even run the Matrix software on its own server for only its members to use.

Rather than requiring a phone number to create an account, Matrix only needs a username. Email addresses and phone numbers are optional. Users are searchable. Handles are in the format

Until the recent addition of Admin roles and the ability to remove members from groups, this was another advantage that Matrix had over Signal.

Matrix lets you create Public or Private rooms, as well as direct messages.

It’s important to note that Matrix does not encrypt new rooms by default. You have to toggle the “Enable encryption” switch when you create a room.

Kaianere’kó:wa - THE GREAT LAW OF PEACE

Originally from, retrieved from the Internet Archive after the site went out of service in December 2020. These are published with original commentary from the website after some of the Wampums.

These texts provide an insight into only a fraction of the political thought and structures that Indigenous people have developed over thousands of years of shifting political landscapes. Some things resonate today with us Indigenous anarchics, while some things don’t. What can be said is that we all stand to benefit from reading and considering the Great Law of Peace.





I am Deganawida. With the statesmen of the League of Five Nations, I plant the Tree of Great Peace. I plant it in your territory. Atotarho and the Onondaga Nation: in the territory of you who are the Firekeepers. I name the tree Tsioneratasekowa, the Great White Pine. Under the shade of this Tree of Great Peace, we spread the soft, white feathery down of the Globe Thistle as seats for you, Atotarho and your cousin statesmen. We place you upon those seats, spread soft with the feathery down.of the Globe Thistle, there beneath the shade of the spreading branches of the Tree of Great Peace. There shall you sit and watch the Fire of the League of Five Nations. All the affairs of the League shall be transacted at this place before you, Atotarho and your cousin statesmen, by the statesmen of the League of Five Nations

Note: The term Five Nations makes it evident that all the laws were made before 1714 at which time the Tuscarora Nation was admitted into the Confederacy, but without an equal voice, contrary to the Plan of Deganawida. Apparently, the first Grand Councils of the Iroquois Confederacy were held under the evergreen white pine, the largest tree in Eastern North America, more than 250 feet high. All cut down 200 years ago by the white men who afterwards never let the great tree grow to full size again in their haste and eagerness to exploit it.


Roots have spread out from the Tree of Great Peace: one to the north, one to the east, one to the south and one to the west. These are the Great White Roots and their nature is Peace and Strength. If any man or any nation outside of the Five Nations shall obey the laws of the Great Peace (Gayanerekowa) and shall make this known to the statesmen of the League, they may trace back the roots to the Tree. If their minds are clean and if they are obedient and promise to obey the wishes of the Council of the League, they shall be welcomed to take shelter beneath the Tree of the Long Leaves.

We place at the top of the Tree of Great Peace an eagle who is able to see afar. If he sees in the distance any danger threatening, he will at once warn the people of the League. Note: The translator from the Indian to English got his tree mixed up. Tioneratasekowa does not mean a Tree of Long Leaves, but a Great Tree with ever fresh leaves meaning evergreen or the Great White Pine. The Tree of Long Leaves could not be the White Pine. Unless they had domesticated the eagles, it is an allegory meaning that the people must be very watchful.


To you, Atotarho, and the Onondaga statesmen, I and the other statesmen of the League have entrusted the care taking and watching of the Five Nations Council Fire. When there is any business to be transacted and the Council is not in session, a messenger shall be sent to either Atotarho, Honowirehton or Skanawati, firekeepers or their War Chief, with a full statement of the business to be considered. Then Atotarho shall call his cousin chiefs together and consider whether the business is of sufficient importance to call the attention of the Council of the League: If so, Atotarho shall send messengers to summon all the chiefs of the League and to assemble beneath the Tree of Great Peace. When the statesmen are assembled, the Council fire shall be kindled but not with chestnut wood and Atotarho will formally open the Council. Then shall Atotarho and his cousin statesmen, the Firekeepers announce the subject for discussion. The smoke of the Council Fire of the League shall ever ascend and pierce the sky so that the other nations who may be allies may see the council fire of the Great Peace.

Note: Chestnut wood throws out angry sparks. The inference here is not to inspire angry moods. Seeing “The smoke of the Council Fire ascend the sky” is to induce friendly neighbors to drop in and sit a spell.


You, Atotarho, and your thirteen cousin statesmen shall faithfully keep the space about the Council Fire clean and you shall allow neither dust, nor dirt to accumulate. I lay along seagull wing (Tiowatatekowa Onerahontsa) before you as a broom.

As a weapon against a crawling creature, I lay a stick with you so that you may thrust it away from the Council Fire. If you fail to cast it out, then call the rest of the united statesmen to your aid.

Note: Keeping the space around the council fire clean may also mean that a well conducted council is being recommended and the crawling creature may be a disrespectful person or persons seeking to disrupt the council.


The Council of the Mohawks shall be divided into three parts: Tehanakarine, Ostawenserentah and Soskoharowane are the first. Tekarihoken, Ayonwatha and Satekariwate are the second. Sarenkowane, Teyonhekwen and Orenrekowa are the third.

The first party is to listen only to the discussion of the second and third parties and if an error is made or the proceeding irregular, they are to call attention to it and when the case is right and properly decided by the two parties, they shall confirm the decision of the two parties and refer the case to the Seneca statesmen for their decision. When the Seneca statesmen have decided, in accord with the Mohawk statesmen, the case or question shall be referred to the Cayuga and Oneida statesmen on the opposite side of the house.

Note: The above is the procedure when the Grand Council of the Iroquois Confederacy is in session.


I, Deganawida, appoint the Mohawk statesmen the head and the leaders of the Five Nations League. The Mohawk statesmen are the foundation of the Great Peace and it shall therefore be against the Great Binding Law to pass measures in the Council of the League after the Mohawk statesmen have protested against them.

No Council of the League shall be legal unless all of the statesmen of the Mohawks are present.

Note: The Mohawks were the first to accept the Great Law. They helped the Founder, Deganawida, to gather the other nations together. Missionaries admit they went all over America and spread propaganda among the Indians against the Iroquois Confederacy, especially against the Mohawks because they were the “most militant and great organizers.” The missionaries felt certain they checked the spread of the Great Law which “would have made it impossible for the white men to conquer. America.”


Whenever the statesmen of the League shall assemble for the purpose of holding a council, the Onondaga Rotiyaner shall open it by expressing their gratitude to their cousin statesmen and greeting them and they shall make and address and offer thanks to the Earth where men dwell, to the streams of water, the pools and the lakes, to the maize and the fruits, to the medicinal herbs and trees, to the forest trees for their usefulness, and to the animals that serve as food and give their pelts for clothing, to the great winds and the lesser winds, to the thunderers; to the Sun, the mighty warrior, to the moon; to the messengers of the Creator who reveals his wishes and to the Great Creator who dwells in the heavens above who gives all the things useful to men, and who is the source and the ruler of health and life.

Then shall the Onondaga Rotiyaner declare the council open. The Council shall not sit after darkness has set in.

Note: The above opening thanksgiving ritual is done at every gathering of the people. The orator gives thanks to all that help human life. Giving thanks to the trees, water, winds, etc., does not mean that the people worship all these useful gifts but thank the power that produces them. The word Royaner means “he makes a good path for the people to follow.” Rotiyaner is in the plural.


The Firekeepers shall formally open and close all councils of the statesmen of the League, they shall pass upon all matters deliberated upon by the two sides and render their decision. Every Onondaga statesman (or his deputy) must be present at every Council of the League and must agree with the majority without unwarrantable dissent, so that a unanimous decision may be rendered.

If Atotarho or any of his cousin statesmen are absent from a Council of the League, any other Firekeeper may open and close the Council, but the Firekeepers present may not give any decisions, unless the matter is of small importance.

Note: No chief may start any unnecessary arguments or unjustifiably delay the progress of the Council.


All the business of the Five Nations League Council shall be conducted by the two combined bodies of Confederate statesmen. First, the question shall be passed upon by the Mohawk and Seneca statesmen, then it shall be discussed and passed by the Oneida and Cayuga statesmen. Their decision shall then be referred to the Onondaga statesmen, the Firekeepers, for final judgment.

The same process shall be followed when a question is brought before the Council by an individual or a War Chief.


In all cases, the procedure must be as follows: when the Mohawk and Seneca statesmen have unanimously agreed upon a question, they shall report their decision to the Cayuga and Oneida statesmen, who shall deliberate upon the question and report a unanimous decision to the Mohawk statesmen. The Mohawk Rotiyaner will then report the standing of the case to the Firekeepers, who shall render a decision as they see fit in case of a disagreement by the two bodies or confirm the decisions of the two bodies, if they are identical. The Firekeepers shall then report their decision to the Mohawk statesmen who shall announce it to the open Council.

Note: This means that in case of a disagreement between the two parties, Mohawk-Seneca and Oneida-Cayuga, the Onondaga statesmen shall cast their “vote” on one or the other, making it a two thirds majority, making it necessary for the one third minority to go along with the decision of the majority and it becomes a unanimous decision.


If, through any misunderstanding or obstinacy on the part of the Firekeepers, they reach a decision at variance with that of the two sides, the Two Sides shall reconsider the matter and if their decisions are jointly the same as before, they shall report to the Firekeepers, who are then compelled to confirm their joint decision.


When a case comes before the Onondaga, the Firekeepers, for discussion and decision, Atotarho shall introduce the matter to his comrade statesmen, who shall then discuss it in their two bodies. Every Onondaga statesmen except Hononwireton shall deliberate and he shall listen only. When a unanimous decision shall have been reached by the two bodies of Firekeepers, Atotarho shall notify Hononwireton of the fact, then he shall confirm it. He shall refuse to confirm a decision if it is not unanimously agreed upon by both sides of the Firekeepers.

Note: In the Onondaga national council, the party for the final decision is comprised of only one individual, Hononwireton; who however has to follow the rule which is simply to confirm a unanimous decision or to refuse to confirm a decision which was not agreed upon by the two sides. He does not have to take part in the deliberation. It’s already taken care of.


No chief shall ask a question of the body of chiefs of the League when they are discussing a case, question or proposition. He may only deliberate in a low tone with the separate body of which he is a member.

Note: Such an action by a chief may result in disorder and delay the progress of the council.


When the Council of the Five Nations chiefs shall convene, they shall appoint a speaker for the day. He shall be a chief of either the Mohawk, Onondaga or Seneca nations.

The next day, the Council shall appoint another, but the first speaker may be reappointed if there is no objection, but a speaker’s term shall not be regarded more than a day.


No individual or foreign nation interested in a case, question, or proposition shall have any voice in the Council of the League except to answer a question put to him by the Speaker of the chiefs.

Note: This rule precludes hecklers and rowdy disruptions.


If the conditions which shall arise at any future time call for an addition or change of this law, the case shall be carefully considered and if a new beam seems necessary or beneficial, the proposed change shall be decided upon and if adopted, shall be called, “Added to the Rafters.”

Note: This points out the law-making privileges of the Rotiyaner.



A bunch of certain shell (wampum) strings, each two spans in length, shall be given to each of the female families in which the. chieftainship titles are vested. The right of bestowing the titles shall be hereditary in the family of females legally possessing the bunch of shell strings and the strings shall be the token that the females of the family have the ownership to the chieftainship title for all time to come, subject to certain restrictions mentioned here

Note: The families mentioned are political families called the “Clan.” The women in possession of the Chieftainship -title wampum strings are Clan Mothers. Like the Rotiyaner (Chiefs), the Clan Mother can be deposed if she does a serious wrong at which time another woman will be installed in her place as the Clan Mother.


If any chief of the League neglects or refuses to attend the Council of the League, the other Chiefs of the nation of which he is a member shall require their War Chief to request the female sponsors of the Chief so guilty of neglecting his duties to demand his attendance at the Council. If he refuses, the women holding the title shall immediately select another candidate for the title. No chief shall be asked more than once to attend the Council of the League.

Note: The Clan Mother deposes the errant. chief. The War Chief delivers the order by reciting the words of deposition to the errant chief. The three Clan mothers of the Clan of the deposed chief immediately choose another Royaner.


If at any time it shall be apparent that a chief of the League has not in mind the welfare of the people or disobeys the rules of the Great Law, the men or women of the League, or both jointly, shall come to the Council and scold the erring chief through his War Chief. If the complaint of the people through the War Chief is not heeded on the first occasion, it shall be uttered again and then if no attention is given, a third complaint and a warning shall be given. If the chief is still disobedient, the matter shall go to the Council of War Chiefs. The War Chiefs shall then take away the title of the erring chief by order of the women in whom the title is. vested. When the chief is deposed, the women shall notify the chiefs of the League through their War Chief and the Chiefs of the League shall sanction the act. The women will then select another of their sons as a candidate and the chiefs shall elect him. Then the chosen one shall be installed by the Installation Ceremony.

When a chief is deposed, his War Chief shall address him as follows:
“So you, …, disregard and set at naught the warnings of your women relatives. You fling the warnings over your shoulder to cast them behind. Behold the brightness of the Sun, and in the brightness of the Sun’s light, I depose you of your tide and remove the emblem of your chieftainship title. I remove from your brow the deer’s antlers which was the emblem of your position and token of your nobility. I now depose you and return the antlers to the women whose heritage they are.”
The War Chief shall now address the women of the deposed Chief and say:
“Mothers as I have deposed your chief, I now return to you the emblem and the title of chieftainship; therefore, repossess them.”
Again addressing the deposed chief, he shall say:
“As I have deposed and discharged you, so you are no longer chief. The rest of the people of the League shall not go with you, for we know not the kind of mind you possess. As the Creator has nothing to do with wrong, so he will not come to rescue you from the precipice of destruction in which you have cast yourself. You shall never be restored to the position you once occupied.”
Then shall the War Chief address himself to the Chiefs of the nation to which the deposed chief belongs and say:
“Know you, my chiefs, that I have taken the deer’s antlers from the brow of …, the emblem of his position and token of his greatness:”
The chiefs of the League shall have no other alternative than to sanction the discharge of the offending chief.


If a chief of the League of Five Nations should commit murder, the other chiefs of the nation shall assemble at the place where the corpse lies and prepare to depose the criminal chief. If it is impossible to meet at the scene of the crime, the chiefs shall discuss the matter at the next Council of their nation and request their War Chief to depose the chief guilty of the crime, to “bury his women relatives” and to transfer the chieftainship title to a sister family.

The War Chief shall address the chief guilty of murder and say:
“So you,…, did kill … with your own hands! You have committed a grave crime in the eyes of the Creator. Behold the bright light of the Sun and in the brightness of the Sun’s light, I depose you of your title and remove the horns, the sacred emblems of your chieftainship title. I remove from your brow the deer’s antlers which was the emblem of your position and token of your nobility. I now depose you and expel you and you shall depart at once from the territory of the League of the Five Nations and never more return again. We, the League of Five Nations, moreover, bury your women relatives because the ancient chieftainship title was never intended to have any union with bloodshed. Henceforth, it shall not be their heritage. By the evil deed that you have done they have forfeited it forever.”
The War Chief shall then hand the title to a sister family and he shall address it and say:
“Our Mothers, …, Listen attentively while I address you on a solemn and important subject. I hereby transfer to you an ancient chieftainship title for a great calamity has befallen it in the hands of the family of a former chief. We trust that you, our Mothers, will always guard it and that you will warn your chief always to be dutiful and to advise his people to ever live in love, peace and harmony that a great calamity may never happen again.”
Note: “Bury his women relatives” means political relatives. “Sister Family” is a part of a clan which is composed of three parts with a Chief and a Clan Mother in each part. The Chieftainship Title is lost by the involved part and transferred to another part of the clan. “His women relatives” is that one third part of the clan associated with the deposed killer chief. “Family of a former chief’; political family of the,deposed chief, a third part of the clan.


Certain physical defects in a statesman of the League makes him ineligible to sit in the League Council. Such defects as infancy, idiocy, blindness, deafness, dumbness and impotency. When a statesman of the League is restricted by any of these conditions, a deputy shall be appointed by his sponsors to act for him, but in cases of extreme necessity, the restricted statesman may exercise his rights.


If a statesman of the League desires to resign his title, he shall notify the statesmen of the nation of which he is a member of his intentions. . If his co-active statesmen refuse to accept his resignation, he may not resign his title.

A statesman, in proposing to resign, may recommend any proper candidate which recommendation shall be received by the statesman but unless confirmed and nominated by the women who hold the title, the candidate shall not be considered.


Any chief of the League of Five Nations may construct shell strings or wampum belts of any size of length as pledges or records of matters of national and international importance.

When it is necessary to dispatch a shell string by a War Chief or other messenger as a token of summons, the messenger shall recite the contents of the string to whom it is sent. That party shall’ repeat the message and if there has been a summons, he shall make ready for his journey.

Any of the people of the Five Nations may use shells or wampum as the record of a pledge, contract or an agreement entered into and the same shall be binding as soon as shell strings have been exchanged by both parties.


The chiefs of the League of Five Nations shall be mentors of the people for all time. The thickness of their skin shall be seven spans nine (tsatahniioronkarakeh), which is to say that they shall be proof against anger; offensive ‘action and criticism. Their hearts hall be full of peace and good will, and their minds filled with a yearning for the people of the League. With endless patience, they shall carry out their duty. Their firmness shall be tempered with a tenderness for their people. Neither anger nor fury shall find lodging in their minds and all their words and actions shall be marked by calm deliberation.


If a chief of the League should seek to establish any authority independent of the jurisdiction of the League of the Great Peace, which is the Five Nations, he shall be warned three times in open Council: first by the women relatives, second by the men relatives, and finally by the chiefs of the Nation to which he belongs.

If the offending chief is still persistent, he shall be dismissed by the War Chief of his Nation for refusing to conform to the laws of the Great Peace. His Nation shall then install the candidate nominated by the female name holders of his family.

Note: Again, the “relatives” are the people of the Clan. Political relatives. The ‘female name holders of his family” are the Clan Mothers of the Clan. The “name” is the title given to each Royaner while he is going through the ceremony of becoming a Royaner. The title he gets is the name of the original Chief whose place he assumes when installed as a Royaner.


It shall be the duty of all the chiefs of the League of Five Nations from time to time as occasion demands to act as teachers and spiritual guides of their people and remind them of their Creator’s will and words.

They shall say:
“Listen, that peace may continue unto future days! “Always listen to the words of the Great Creator, for he has spoken. “United People, let no evil find lodging in your minds. “For the Great Creator has spoken and the Cause of Peace shall not become old. “The cause of Peace shall not die if you remember the Great Creator.”
Note: Great faith shown here.


All chiefs of the League of Five Nations must be honest in all things. They must not idle and gossip, but be men possessing those honorable qualities that make true leaders. It shall be a serious wrong for anyone to lead a chief into trivial affairs for the people must ever hold their chiefs high in estimation out of respect to their honorable positions.


When a candidate Chief is to be installed, he shall furnish four strings of shells or wampum one span in length bound together at one end. Such will constitute the evidence of his pledge to the chiefs of the League that he will live according to the Constitution of the Great Peace and exercise justice in all affairs.

When the pledge is furnished, the Speaker of the Council must hold the shell strings in his hand and address the opposite side of the Council Fire and he shall begin his address saying:
“Now behold him. He has now become a chief of the League. See how splendid he looks.”
An address may then follow. At the end of it, he shall send the bunch of shell strings to the opposite side and they shall be received as evidence of the pledge. Then shall the opposite side say:
“We now do crown you with the sacred emblem of the deer’s antlers, the emblem of your chieftainship. You shall now become a mentor of the people of the Five Nations. The thickness of your skin shall be seven spans, which is to say that you shall be proof against anger, offensive actions and criticism. Your heart shall be filled with peace and good will. Your mind shall be filled with a yearning for the welfare of the people of the League. With endless patience you shall carry out your duty and your firmness shall be tempered with tenderness for your people. Neither anger nor fury shall find lodging in your mind. All your words and actions shall be marked with calm deliberation. In all your deliberations in the Council of the League, in your efforts at law-making, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast away. Do not cast over your shoulder behind you the warnings of your nephews and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the Great Law which is right and just. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people, and have always in view not only the present, but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground - the unborn of the future Nation.”

Note: A condolence ceremony is performed when a chief dies and a new one is installed. The candidate Chief shall make or buy the required string wampum, four strings of one span (four inches) in length tied together at one end. The Clan Mother keeps the string wampum after the Installation Ceremony. In the address, the Royaner holds the string pledge wampum in his hand. The Rotiyaner of the opposite side of the Council Fire from the Candidate Chief shall do the Installation Ceremony. That is, the Mohawk, Seneca and Onondaga Rotiyaner shall be installed by the Oneida and Cayuga Rotiyaner and vice versa.


When a chieftainship title is to be conferred, the candidate chief shall furnish the cooked venison, the corn bread and the corn soup, together with other necessary things and the labor for the Conferring of Titles Festival.


The chiefs of the League may confer the Chieftainship title whenever the Great Law is recited, if there is a candidate, for the Great Law speaks all the rules.


If a chief of the League should become seriously ill and be thought near death, the women who are the heirs of his title shall go to his house and lift his crown of deer antlers, the emblem of his Chieftainship, and place them at one side. If the Creator spares him and he rises from his bed of sickness, he may rise with the antlers on his brow.

The following words shall be used to temporarily remove the antlers:
“Now our comrade chief, the time has come when we must approach you in your illness. We remove for a time the deer’s antlers from your brow. We remove the emblem of your Chieftainship title. The Great Law has decreed that no chief should end his life with the antlers on his brow. We, therefore, lay them aside in the room. If the Creator spares you and you recover from your illness, you shall resume your duties as chief of the League and you may again labor for the people of the League.”
Note: The Clan Mothers depose a chief before he dies. He must not take the title with him to the grave. The title will be inherited by his successor.


If a chief of the League should die while the Council of the Five Nations is in session, the Council shall adjourn for ten days. No Council of the League shall sit within ten days of the death of a Chief of the League.

If the Three Brothers (ahsennihontatehkenah) (the Mohawks, the Onondaga and the Seneca) should lose one of their chiefs by death, the Younger Brother (iatatehkenah) (the Cayuga and the Oneida) shall come to the surviving chiefs of the Three Brothers on the tenth day and console them. If the Younger Brothers lose one of their chiefs, then the Three Brothers shall come to them and console them. And the consolation shall be the reading of the contents of the thirteenth shell wampum of Ayonwatha. At the termination of this rite, a successor shall be appointed by the women heirs of the chieftainship title. If the women are not ready to place their nominee before the chiefs, the Speaker shall say:

“Come let us go out.”
All shall then leave the Council or place of gathering. The Speaker shall lead the way from the house by saying:
“Let us depart to the edge of the woods and lie in wait on our bellies.” (Tenshakonatioswentarese).
When the women title holders shall have chosen one of.their sons, the chiefs of the League will assemble in two places, the Younger Brothers in one place and the three Older Brothers in another. The chiefs who are to console the mourning chiefs shall choose one of their number to sing the Song of Peace as they journey to the sorrowing chiefs. The singer shall lead the way and the chiefs and the people shall follow. When they reach the sorrowing chiefs, they shall hail the candidate chief and perform the rite of Conferring the Chieftainship title. (Ohkeiontentshera)

Note: “Women’ heirs of the Chieftainship Title” means that the Clan Mothers are keepers of the Chiefs string wampum which he turns over to his Clan Mother before he is given the title at the Conferring of Chieftainship rite. The title is the name of the original Chief in whose position the Candidate Royaner is inheriting. “When the women title holders shall have chosen one of the sons,” means political sons or men of the particular Clan concerned, not necessarily any of their natural sons.


When a chief of the League dies, the surviving relatives shall immediately dispatch a messenger, a mentor of another clan, to the chiefs in another locality. When the runner comes within hailing distance of the locality, he shall utter a sad wail, thusly: “Kwa-ah! Kwa-ah!” The sound shall be repeated three times, and then again and again at intervals as many times as the distance may require. When the runner arrives at the settlement, the people shall assemble and one must ask the nature of his sad message.

He shall then say:
“Let us consider.” (rakwennikonriak).
Then he shall tell them of the death of the chief. He shall deliver to them a string of shells or wampum and say:
“Here is the testimony, you have heard the message.”
He then may return home.
It now becomes the duty of the chiefs of the locality to send runners to other localities and each locality shall send messengers until all chiefs are notified. Runners shall travel day and night.

Note: The mourning relatives (members of the same clan) are consoled by the members of the clan that sits opposite to them at the Council Fire. They also do the running to distant chiefs. When their own chief dies, then the favor is returned.


If a chief dies and there is no candidate qualified for the office in the family of the women title holders, the chief of the Nation shall give the title into the hands of a sister family (Kentennonteron) in the clan until such time as the original family produces a candidate, when the title shall be restored to the rightful owners.

No chieftainship title may be carried into the grave. The chiefs of the League may dispossess a dead chief of his title even at the grave.

Note: “Sister family in the clan.” There are three chiefs and three Clan Mothers in each Clan. Each chief and each clan mother represent a ‘family” or a political family in the Clan. Makes it easy to reach decisions in Clan Councils. The Chieftainship Titles have been in existence since the Confederacy was founded and must not be buried.



Should any man of the Nation assist with special ability or show great interest in the affairs of the Nation, if he proves himself wise and honest and worthy of confidence, the Chiefs of the League may elect him to a seat among them and he may sit in the Council of the League. He shall be proclaimed a Pine Tree, sprung up for the Nation, and be installed as such at the next assembly for the installation of chiefs. Should he ever do anything contrary to the rules of the Great Peace, he may not be deposed from office - no one shall cut him down - but thereafter every one shall be deaf to his voice and his advice. Should he resign from his seat and title, no one shall prevent it. A Pine Tree Chief has no authority to name a successor, nor is his title hereditary.



The title names of the War Chiefs of the League shall be:
Ayonwehs: war chief under Chief Tekarihoken(Mohawk).
Kahonwaitiron: war chief under Chief Otatsheteh(Oneida).
Ayentes: war chief under Chief Atotarho(Onondaga).
Wenens: war chief under Chief Dekaenyon(Cayuga).
Shoneratowaneh: war chief under Chief Skanyatariio(Seneca).
The women heirs of each head chiefs title shall be the heirs of war chiefs title of their respective chief.

The war chiefs shall be selected from the eligible sons of the female families holding the chieftainship title.

Note: War Chiefs ruled absolutely over the nations when the Iroquois Confederacy was formed. The ruling war chiefs were Tekarihoken for the Mohawks, Atateheteh for the Oneidas, Atotarho for the Onondagas, Dekaenyon for the Cayugas and Skanyatariio for the Senecas. They all became part of the 49 Chiefs in the new order devised by Deganawida, Founder of the Iroquois Confederacy. They became Peace Chiefs and anew order for protection and defense was devised and the new category of War Chiefs established and they included Ayonwehs for the Mohawks, Kahonwaitiron for the Oneidas, Ayentes for the Onondagas, Wenens for the Cayugas and Shoreratowaneh for the Senecas and these new War Chiefs took instructions and directions from the former rulers of the Nations.

The Gayanerekowa has definite functions for the War Chief and his men (Warrior Society). They are charged with the protection, defense and welfare of the people. These duties may take many forms, such as keeping the peace, teaching, speaking to the people, repossessing lost lands, maintaining human rights, diplomatic relations with other nations, and any other work that promotes the welfare of the people.


There shall be one War Chief for each Nation and their duties shall be to carry messages for their chiefs and to take up arms in case of emergency. They shall not participate in the proceedings of the Council, but shall watch its progress and in case of an erroneous action by a chief, the War. Chiefs shall receive the complaints of the people and convey the warnings of the women to him. The people who wish to convey messages to the Chiefs of the League shall do so through the War Chief of their Nation. It shall always be his duty to lay the cases, questions and propositions of the people before the Council of the League.


When a War Chief dies, another shall be installed by the same rite as that by which a Chief (of the Council) is installed.


If a War Chief acts contrary to instructions or against the provisions of the Laws of the Great Peace; doing so in the capacity of his office, he shall be deposed by his women relatives and by his men relatives. Either the women alone or the men alone or jointly may act in such a case. The women title holders shall then choose another candidate.

Note: The people of the Clans here show their power. The women title holders are, of course, the Clan Mothers.


When the chiefs of the League take occasion to dispatch a messenger on behalf of the Council of the League, they shall wrap up any matter they may send and instruct the messenger to remember his errand to turn not aside, but to proceed faithfully to his destination and deliver his message according to every instruction.


If a message borne by a runner is the warning of an invasion, he shall whoop: “Kwa-ah, Kwa-ah!” twice and repeat at short intervals, then again at a longer interval.

If a human is found dead, the finder shall not touch the body, but return home immediately shouting at short intervals “Koo-weh!”



Among the Five Nations and their descendants there shall be the following Clans:
Bear, Eel, Snipe, Beaver, Hawk, Turtle, Deer, Heron, Wolf
These Clans distributed through their respected nations shall be the. sole owners and holders of the soil of the country and in them is vested, as a birthright.

Note: There are clans other than these among the S Nations.The Europeans, not being members of any of these Clans, have no right to own any land in this part of the world.


People of the Five Nations who are members of a certain clan shall recognize every member of the Clan no matter what Nation, as relatives. Men and women, therefore, who are members of the same Clan are forbidden to marry.


The lineal descent of the people of the Five Nations shall run in the female line. Women shall be considered the Progenitors of the Nation. They shall own the land and the soil. Men and women shall follow the status of their mothers.


The women heirs of the chieftainship titles of the League shall be called Oyaner or Otiyaner for all time to come.

Note: The Clan Mothers shall be called Oyaner. Oyaner is derived from the word Oyana meaning “path “. Oyaner is the female “good path maker.” Otiyaner is in the plural. Royaner means, “He makes a good path for people to follow.” Rotiyaner is in the plural.


The women of the 48 (now 50) noble families shall be the heirs of the authorized names for all time to come.

When an infant of the Five Nations is given an Authorized Name at the Midwinter Festival or at the Green Corn and Strawberry and Harvest Festival, one in the cousinhood of which the infant is a member shall be appointed a speaker. He shall announce to the opposite cousinhood the names of the father and mother of the child together with the clan of the mother. Then the speaker shall announce the child’s name twice. The uncle of the child shall then take the child in his arms and walking up and down the room shall sing, “My head is firm; I am of the League.” As he sings, the opposite cousinhood shall respond by chanting: “Hyen, Hyen, Hyen, Hyen…”, until the song is ended.

Note: The “cousinhood” is the other Clan. The purpose of announcing the Clan of the mother is to point out the Clan of the child. A child is born a Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, etc., but when he is named in the Great Law ceremony, the child becomes an Iroquois or Rotinonsonni. He is a Mohawk by blood and an Iroquois by law, for Gayanerekowa is also known as the Great. Law, is the Constitution of the Kanonsonnionwe or the Iroquois Confederacy. By the same token, if an individual or a whole Nation leaves the Iroquois Confederacy and in time realizes their great error and decide to be reinstated, then would be required to go. through the Naming Ceremony or in their case, a re-naming ceremony and hold the Pledge Wampum and re-accept the Great Law and this act could be called the Iroquois Pledge of Allegiance.


If the female heirs of a title of a chief of the League becomes extinct, the title shall be given by the chiefs of the League to a sister family whom they shall elect, and that family shall hold the name and transmit it to their female heirs, but they shall not appoint any of their sons as a candidate for a title until all the eligible men of the former family shall have died, or otherwise have become ineligible.

Note: If the Clan Mothers who hold a Royaner Title become extinct, the Chiefs of the Confederacy shall give the Royaner title to another of the three parties making up the clan, but they will not appoint a Royaner until all the eligible men in the former clan (family) have died. Which means that the Chiefs of the Confederacy can institute a new clan if necessary.


If all the heirs of a chieftainship become extinct, and so all the families in the Clan, then the title shall be given by the chiefs of the League to a family of a sister Clan whom they shall elect.

Note: The chiefs shall take from a large clan and make a new clan or keep up the extinct clan so that the title shall not be lost.


If any of the Otiyaner women, heirs of a titleship, shall willfully withhold a chieftainship or other title and refuse to bestow it, or if such heirs abandon, forsake or despise their heritage, then shall such women be deemed buried, and their family extinct. The titleship shall then revert to a sister family or Clan, upon application and complaint. The chiefs of the League shall elect the family or Clan which shall in future hold the title.

Note: How political rights are lost by one of the three parties of a Clan when it’s Clan Mother refuses to follow the rules of her position.


The Otiyaner women of the League, heirs of the chieftainship titles, shall elect two women of their family as cooks for the chief when the people shall assemble at his house for business or other purposes.


When a chief holds a conference in his home, his wife, if she wishes, may prepare the food for the union chiefs who assemble with him. This is an honorable right which she may exercise and an expression of her esteem.


The Otiyaner women, heirs of the chieftainship titles, shall, should it be necessary, correct and admonish the holders of the titles. Those only who attend the Council may do this and those who do not shall not object to what has been said nor strive to undo the action.

Note: The Clan Mothers (Otiyaner) may correct and give friendly advice to the Rotiyaner (Chiefs).


When the Otiyaner women, holders of a chieftainship title, select one of their sons as a candidate, they shall select one who is trustworthy, of good character, of honest disposition, one who manages his own affairs, and supports his own family, if any, and who has proven a faithful man to his nation.

Note: When the Clan Mothers “select one of their sons” it means one of the men in the Clan who has the proper qualifications. It does not necessarily mean one of their own natural sons, the Clan being a political family.


When a chieftainship title becomes vacant through death or other cause, the Otiyaner women of the Clan in which the title is hereditary shall hold a council and shall choose one of their sons to fill the office made vacant. Such a candidate shall not be the father of any chief of the League. If the choice is unanimous, the name is referred to the men relatives of the Clan. If they should disapprove, it shall be their duty to select a candidate from among their own number. If then the men and women are unable to decide which of the two candidates shall be named, then the matter shall be referred to the chiefs of the League in the Clan. They shall decide which candidate shall be named. If the men and women agree to a candidate, then his. name shall be referred to the sister clan for confirmation. If the sister clans confirm the choice, they shall refer their action to the chiefs of the League who shall ratify the choice and present it to their cousin chiefs, and if the cousin chiefs confirm the name, then the candidate shall be installed by the proper ceremony for the conferring of chieftainship titles.

Note: Again, “one of their sons” means the eligible men of the Clan. The. new chief shall have to meet with the approval of all the men, women, Clan Mothers and other Chiefs.



A large bunch of shell strings, in the making of which the Five Nations League Chiefs have equally contributed, shall symbolize the completeness of the unions, and certify the pledge of the Nations, represented by the chiefs of the League of the Mohawk, the Oneida, The Onondaga, the Cayuga, and the Seneca, that all are united and formed into one body, or union, called the Union of the Great Law which they have established.

A bunch of shell strings is to be the symbol of the Council Fire of the League of Five Nations. And the chief whom the Council of Firekeepers shall appoint to speak for them in opening the Council shall hold the strands of shell in his hands when speaking. When he finishes speaking, he shall place the strings on an elevated place or pole so that all the assembled chiefs and the people may see it and know that the Council is open and in progress.


A bunch of wampum strings, three spans of the hand in length, the upper half of the bunch being white and the lower half black, and formed from equal contributions of the men of the Five Nations, shall be the token that the men have combined themselves into one head, one body and one thought, and it shall symbolize their ratification of the peace pact of the League, whereby the Chiefs of the Five Nations have established the Great Peace. The white portion of the shell strings represent the women and the black portion of men. The black portion, furthermore, is a token of power and authority vested in the men of the Five Nations.

This string of wampum vests the people with the right to correct their erring chiefs. In case a part of the chiefs or all of them pursue a course not vouched for by the people and heed not the third warning of their women relatives (Wasenensawenrate). Then the matter shall be taken to the general council of the Women of the Five Nations. If the chiefs notified and warned three times fail to heed, then the case falls into the hands of the men of the Five Nations. The War Chiefs shall then by right of such power and authority, enter the open Council to warn the chief or chiefs to return from their wrong course.

If the chiefs heed the warning, they shall say:
“We shall reply tomorrow.”
If then an answer is returned in favor of justice and in accord with the Great Law, then the Chiefs shall individually pledge themselves again, by again furnishing the necessary shells for the pledge. Then shall the War Chief or Chiefs exhort the chiefs, urging them to be just and true.

Should it happen that the chiefs refuse to heed the third warning, then two courses are open: either the men may decide in their council to depose the chief or chiefs, or to club them to death with war clubs. Should they in their council decide to take the first course, the War Chief shall address the chief or chiefs saying:
“Since you, the chiefs of the Five Nations, have refused to return to the procedure of the Constitution, we now declare your seats vacant and we take off your horns, the token of your chieftainship, and others shall be chosen and installed in your seats. Therefore, vacate your seats.”
Should the men in their council adopt the second course, the War Chief shall order his men to enter the Council, to take positions beside the errant chiefs sitting between them wherever possible. When this is accomplished, the War Chief holding in his outstretched hand a bunch of black wampum strings shall say to the erring chiefs:
“So now, Chiefs of the Five Nations, harken to these last words from your men. You have not heeded the warnings of the General Council of Women and you have not heeded the warnings of the Men of the Nations, all during you to the right course of action. Since you are determined to resist and to withhold justice from you people, there is only one course for us to adopt.”
At this point, the War Chiefs shall drop the bunch of black wampum and the men shall spring to their feet and club the erring chiefs to death. Any erring chief may become submissive before the War Chief lets fall the Black Wampum. The Black Wampum here used symbolizes that the power to execute is buried, but it may be raised up again by the men. It is buried, but when the occasion arises, they may pull it up and derive their power and authority to act as here described.

Note: The right to decide on execution is held by both the General Council of the Men of the Five Nations and the General Council of the Women of the Five Nations. So is the right to decide on war. The “War Chief shall order his men.” In the present century a new title has been given to the War Chief and his men: “The Warrior Society.”


A broad belt of wampum of thirty-eight rows, having a white heart in the center, on either side of which are two white squares all connected with the heart by white rows of beads shall be the emblem of the Five Nations.

The first of the squares on the left represents the Mohawk Nation and its territory, the second square on the left and near the heart represents the Oneida Nation and its territory, and the white heart in the middle represents the Onondaga Nation and its territory. It also means that the heart of the Five Nations is single in its loyalty to the Great Peace, and that the Great Peace is lodged in the hear (meaning with Onondaga League Chiefs) and that the Council Fire is to bum there for the Five Nations. Further it means that the authority is given to advance the cause of peace whereby hostile nations out of the League shall cease warfare. The white square to the right of the heart represents the Cayuga Nation and its territory and the fourth and last square represents the Seneca Nation and its territory. White here symbolizes that no evil nor jealous thoughts shall creep into the minds of the chiefs while in Council under the Great Peace, White the emblem of peace, love, charity, and equity surrounds and guards the Five Nations.

Ayonwatha Belt
Note: The above Wampum Belt was made by Ayonwatha (Hiawatha to the white man) to commemorate the making of the Great Law.


Should a great calamity threaten the generations rising and living of the Five Nations, then he who is able to climb to the top of the Tree of the Great Long Leaves (White Pine) may do so. When he reaches the top of the Tree, he shall look about in all directions and should he see evil things indeed approaching, then he shall call to the people of the Five United Nations assembled beneath the Tree of the Great Peace and say:
“A calamity threatens your happiness.”
Then shall the Chiefs convene in Council and discuss the impending evil. When all the truths relating to the trouble shall be fully known and found to be truths, then shall the people seek a tree of Kahnonkaahkona, the great swamp elm tree and when they shall find it they shall assemble their heads together and lodge for a time between its roots. Then, their labors being finished, they may hope for happiness for many more days after.

Note: This is ancient man’s way of warning the people to be ever on the alert to danger, discuss it and do something about it.


When the League of the Five Nations Council declares for a reading of the belts of shell to mind these laws, they shall provide for the reader a specially made mat woven of the fibers of wild hemp. The mat shall not be used again, for such formality is called “honoring the importance of the law.”

Note: The reading of the Great Law from the Wampum is very important and honorable. Some Indians won’t read the Great Law in its written form because it says it should be recited every five years from the Wampum records. That’s the way it had to be done originally because there was no written language. Now that there is a written language, Deganawida would have certainly recommended and urged that the people read the Great Law often. There are chiefs who don’t even know when they are violating the law because they refuse to read it in its written form.


Should two sons of opposite sides of the Council Fire agree (istawa) in a desire to hear the reciting of the laws of the Great Peace and so refresh their memories in a way specified by the Founder of the League, they shall notify Atotarho. He shall consult with five of his cousin chiefs and they in turn shall consult with their eight brethren. Then should they decide to accede to the request of the two sons from the opposite sides of the Council Fire, Atotarho shall send messengers to notify the chiefs of each of the Five Nations. Then they. shall dispatch their War Chief to notify their brother and cousin chiefs of the meeting and its time and place.

When all have come and have assembled, Atotarho, in conjunction with his cousin chiefs, shall appoint one chief who shall repeat the laws of the Great Peace to the two sons. Then the chosen one shall repeat the laws of the Great Peace.

Note: “Two sons of opposite sides of the Council Fire” means two ordinary men, non-chiefs who are members of different clans who sit opposite each other across the Council Fire. Atotarho’s “five cousin chiefs” means those who sit opposite him in the Onondaga Council. “Their eight brethren” means brother Chiefs who sit on the same side of the Council Fire. It would seem that the Wampum reader repeats, that is, reads the Great Law twice, once to the two sons and then to everybody.


At the ceremony of the installation of chiefs, if there is only one expert speaker and singer of the Law and the Song of Peace to stand at the Council Fire, then when this speaker and singer has finished addressing one side of the Fire, he shall go to the opposite side and reply to his own speech and song. He shall act for both sides of the Fire until the entire ceremony has been completed. Such a speaker and singer shall be termed “Two-faced” because he speaks and sings for both sides of the Fire.

Note: People can become lax and negligent and suddenly find themselves without the right kind of speakers and singers.


I, Deganawida, and the United Chiefs, now uproot the tallest tree (skarenhesekowa) and into the hole thereby made, we case all weapons of war. Into the depths of the earth, down into the deep underneath currents of water (Tionswatetsien) flowing to unknown regions we cast all the weapons of strife. We bury them.from sight and we plant again the tree. Thus, shall the Great Peace be established and hostilities shall no longer be known between the Five Nations, but peace to the United People.

Note: The Five Nations buried their weapons of war so they’ll never fight and kill each other again and they haven’t. They only unbury the war club to execute a traitor. However, they did not bury the hatchet to all their enemies for they fought numerous wars and battles after the Iroquois Confederacy was founded and the Great Law was established.



The father of a child of great comeliness, learning, ability or specially loved because of some circumstance may, at the will of the child’s Clan, select a name from his own (the father’s) Clan and bestow it by ceremony, such as is provided. The naming is only temporary and shall be called, “A name hung about the neck

Note: A given name can be only temporary.


Should any person, a member of the League of the Five Nations, especially esteem a man or a woman of another Clan or of a foreign nation, he may choose a name, bestow it upon that person so esteemed. The naming shall be in accord with the ceremony of bestowing names. Such a name is only temporary and shall be called, “A name hung about the neck”. A short string of shells shall be delivered with the name as a record and a pledge.

Note: This type of name giving is more serious as a string wampum and a pledge are involved.


Should any member of the Five Nations, a family or a person belonging to a foreign nation submit a proposal for adoption into a clan or one of the Five Nations, he or she shall furnish a string of shells, a span in length, as a pledge to the Clan into which he or they wish to be adopted. The Chiefs of the Nation shall then consider the proposal and submit a decision.

Note: Adoption is how the Clans are kept at full strength.

Any member of the Five Nations, who through esteem or other feelings, wishes to adopt an individual, a family, or a number of families, may offer adoption to him or them, and if accepted, the matter shall be brought to the attention of the Chiefs for confirmation and the Chiefs must confirm the adoption.

Note: Anyone may adopt a person or many persons but must get official sanction by the Rotiyaner in Council.


When the adoption of anyone shall have been confirmed by the Chiefs of the Nation, the chiefs shall address the people of the Nation and say:
“Now you of our Nation, be informed that, … (such a person, such a family, or such families), have ceased forever to bear their birth nation’s name and have buried it in the depth of the earth. Henceforth let no one of our Nation ever mention the original name or nation of their birth. To do so will hasten the end of our peace.”

Note: The name of the adopted person’s nation or birthplace must never be mentioned as it causes trouble or end of the peace.



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 soil of the earth from one end to the other is the property of people who inhabit it. By birthright, the Onkwehonwe, the original beings, are the owners of the soil which they own and occupy and non other may hold it. The same law has been held from the oldest times.

Note: The Onkwehonwe legal opinion is that the natives of America were the first humans on this land. The originated in the land they live on and occupy and no foreigners have the right to take over the land. The so-called “conquest of America” is simply a bare-faced robbery of Indian land.


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.



When any alien nation of individual is admitted into the League, the admission shall be understood only to be a temporary one. Should the person or nation create loss or do wrong, cause suffering of any kind to endanger the peace of the League, the League statesmen shall order one of their War Chiefs to reprimand him or them. If a similar offense is committee, the offending party shall be expelled from the League.


When a member of an alien nation comes to the territory of the League and seeks refuge and permanent residence, the Statesman of the Nation to which he comes shall extend hospitality and make him a member of the Nation. Then he shall be accorded equal rights and privileges in all matters except as mentioned here.


No body of alien people who have been adopted temporarily shall have a vote in the Council of the Chiefs of the League, for only they who have been invested with chieftainship titles may vote in the Council. Aliens have nothing by blood to make claim to a vote and should they have it, not knowing all the traditions of the League, might go against the Great Peace. In this manner, the Great Peace would be endangered and perhaps be destroyed.

Note: The word “vote” is used here to mean “voice” as there is no voting or balloting in the National or Grand Councils of the Five Nations. Only the Rotiyaner have a voice in the Councils unless an individual is asked to speak by the Rotiyaner.


When the chiefs of the League decide to admit a foreign nation and an adoption is made, the chiefs shall inform the adopted nation that its admission is only temporary. They shall also say to the nation that it must never try to control; interfere with, or injure the Five Nations, nor disregard the Great Peace or any of its rules or customs. In no way should they cause disturbance or injury. Then shall the adopted nation disregard these injunctions, their adoption will be annulled and they will be expelled.

The expulsion shall be in the following manner. The Council shall appoint one of their War Chiefs to convey the message of annulment and he shall say:
“You,… (naming the nation), Listen to me while I speak. I am here to inform you again of the will of the Five Nations Council. It was clearly made known to you at a former time. Now. the chiefs of the Five Nations have decided to expel you and cast you out. We disown you now and annul your adoption. Therefore you must look for a path in which to go and lead away all your people. It was you, not we, who committed wrong and caused this sentence of annulment., -So then go your way and depart from the territory of the Five Nations and away from the League.”
Note: The Tuscaroras were admitted into the Iroquois Confederacy in 1714 and given apiece of Oneida territory. It was too close to white settlements and they asked for land further away and were given land in Seneca territory. They are not a foreign Indian nation. They had found their way back to their own people. A different situation would exist if an alien Indian nation living in their own territory asked to join the Iroquois Confederacy which was the original plan of Deganawida, to have all Indian nations unite in one big alliance. They never got beyond Five Nations. The Tuscaroras were not given a voice in the Grand Council and all other Indian nations seeking admission were given protectorate Indian nation status with no voice nor power in the Confederacy. This is not what Deganawida had in mind. Had his plan been followed, there would now be a mighty Iroquois Confederacy of more than 200 nations with a country of its own. The missionaries take the credit for this failure to create a pan American Confederacy. They say they went all over America to all Indian nations and spread propaganda against the Iroquois Confederacy, especially against the Mohawks whom they consider the most militant and most able organizers. Actually, it was the elitist Five Nations Chiefs who are responsible for the weakness of the Confederacy today.


Whenever a foreign nation enters the League or accepts the Great Peace, the Five Nations and the foreign nation shall enter into an agreement and compact by which the foreign nation shall endeavor to persuade the other nations to accept the Great Peace.

Note: They asked other nations to help spread peace among mankind.



Skanawati shall be vested with a double office, duty and double authority.: One half of his being shall hold the statesman title and the other half shall hold the title of War Chief. In the event of war, he shall notify the five War Chiefs of the League and command them to prepare for war and have the men ready at the appointed time and place for engagement with the enemy of the Great Peace.

Note: At the time the Confederacy was formed, all chiefs were war chiefs and this included Skanawati, Tekarihoken, etc. After the new order of things, the War Chiefs became apart of the National and Grand Council until they died and afterwards, the War Chiefs became a separate entity.


When the Council of the League has for its object the establishment of the Great Peace among the people of an outside nation and that nation refuses to accept the Great Peace, then by such refusal they bring a declaration of war upon themselves from the Five Nations. Then shall the Five Nations seek to establish the Great Peace by a conquest of the rebellious nation.

Note: There have been times when people were made good by force. No doubt the rebellious nation was acting aggressively.


When the men of the League, now called forth to become warriors, are ready for battle with an obstinate opposing nation that has refused to accept the Great Peace, then one of the five War Chiefs shall be chosen by the warriors of the League to lead the army into battle. It shall be the duty of the War Chief so chosen to come before his warriors and address them. His aim shall be to impress upon them the necessity of good behavior and strict obedience to the commands of the War Chiefs.

He shall deliver an oration exhorting them with great zeal to be brave and courageous and never to be guilty of cowardice. At the conclusion of his oration, he shall march forward and commence a War Song and he shall sing:

Now I am greatly surprised
And therefore I shall use it
The power of my War Song
I am of the Five Nations,
And I shall make an appeal
To the Mighty Creator
He has furnished this army
My warriors shall be mighty
In the strength of the Creator
Between him and my song they are
For it was he who gave the song
This war song that I sing.
Note: The warriors choose the War Chief and they also choose which of the War Chiefs to lead them in the war.


When the warriors of the Five Nations are on an expedition against the enemy, the War Chief shall sing the War Song as he approaches the country of the enemy and not cease until his scouts have reported that the army is near the enemy lines when the War Chief shall approach with great caution and prepare for the attack.

Note: An Indian war is not all work and no play. There is entertainment before the action and after.


When peace shall have been established by the termination of the war against a foreign nation, then the War Chief shall cause all the weapons of war to be taken from the nation. Then shall the Great Peace be established and that nation shall observe all the rules of the Great Peace for all time to come.


Whenever a foreign nation has been conquered or has by their own will accepted the Great Peace, their own system of internal government may continue, but they must cease all warfare against other nations.

Note: All wars must cease! If necessary by force.


Whenever a war against a foreign nation is pushed until the nation is about exterminated because of its refusal to accept the Great Peace and if that nation shall by its obstinacy become exterminated, all their rights, property and territory shall become the property of the Five Nations.

Note: This is what happens when a nation fights to the death of all.


Whenever a foreign nation is conquered and the survivors are brought into the territory of the League of Five Nations and placed under the Great Peace, the two shall be known as the Conqueror and the Conquered. A symbolic relationship shall be devised and be placed in some symbolic position. The conquered nation shall have no voice in the councils of the League in the body of chiefs.


When the war of the Five Nations on a foreign rebellious nation is ended, peace shall be restored to that nation by a withdrawal of all their weapons of war by the War Chief of the Five Nations. When all the terms of peace shall have been agreed upon, a state of friendship shall be established.

Note: After the war, the enemies shall become friends.


When the proposition to establish the Great Peace is made to a foreign nation, it shall be done in mutual council. The foreign nation is to be persuaded by reason and urged to come into the Great Peace. If the Five Nations fail to get the consent of the nation at the first council, a second council shall be held and upon a second failure; a third council shall be held and this third council shall end the peaceful methods of persuasion. At the third council, the War Chief of the Five Nations shall address the chief of the foreign nation and request him three times to accept the Great Peace. If refusal steadfastly follows, the War Chief shall let the bunch of white lake shells drop from his outstretched hand to the ground and shall bound quickly forward and club, the offending chief to death. War shall thereby be declared and the War Chief shall have his warriors to back any emergency. War must continue until the contest is won by the Five Nations.


When the chiefs of the Five Nations propose to meet in conference with a foreign nation with proposals for an acceptance of the Great Peace, a large band of Warriors shall conceal themselves in a secure place safe from the espionage of the foreign nation, but as near at hand as possible. Two warriors shall accompany the Union Chief who. carries the proposals, and these warriors shall be especially cunning. Should the chief be attacked, these warriors shall hasten back to the army of warriors with the news of the calamity which fell through the treachery of the foreign nation.


When the Five Nations Council declares war, any chief of the League may enlist with the warriors by temporarily renouncing his sacred chieftainship title which he holds through the nomination of his women relatives. The title then reverts to them and they may bestow it upon another temporarily until the war is over, when the chief, if living, may resume his title and seat in the council.

Note: The Royaner turned warrior cannot exert any authority in the field of action and must take orders from the War Chief like any other warrior.


A certain wampum belt of black beads shall be the emblem of the authority of the five War Chiefs to take up the weapons of war and with their men to resist invasion. This shall be called a War in the Defense of the Territory.


If a nation, part of a nation, or more than one nation within the Five Nations should in any way endeavor to destroy the Great Peace by neglect or violating its laws and resolve to dissolve the League, such a nation or nations shall be deemed guilty of treason and called enemies of the League and the Great Peace.

It shall then be the duty of the chiefs of the League who remain faithful to resolve to warn the offending people. They shall be warned once and if a second warning is necessary, they shall be driven from the territory of the League by the War Chief and his men.



Whenever an especially important matter or a great emergency is presented before League Council and the nature of the matter effects the entire body of Five Nations, threatening their utter ruin, then the chiefs of the League must submit the matter to the decision of their people and the decision of the people shall affect the decision of the League Council. This decision shall be a confirmation of the voice of the people.

Note: When the referendum (decision by the people) was first practiced.


The men of every Clan of the Five Nations shall have a Council Fire ever burning in readiness for a Council of the clan. When it seems necessary for the interest of the people, for a council to be held to discuss the welfare of the Clan, then the men may gather about the fire. This Council shall have the same rights as the Council of Women.


The women of every Clan of the Five Nations shall have a Council Fire ever burning in readiness for a council of the Clan. When in their opinion it seems necessary for the interest of the people, they shall hold a council, and their decision and recommendation shall be introduced before the Council of Chiefs by the War Chief for its consideration.


All the Clan Council Fires of a Nation or of the Five Nations may unite into one general Council Fire, or delegates from all the Council Fires may be appointed to unite in a general Council for discussing the interest of the people. The people shall have the right to make appointments and to delegate their power to others of their number. When their council shall have come to a conclusion on any matter, their decision shall be reported to the Council of the Nation of the League Council (as the case may require) by the War Chief or the War Chiefs.

Note: The League Council is also known as the Grand Council. When the people in general of the Iroquois Confederacy hold a general council, the Grand Council has to go along with their decision as the Confederacy is a people’s government.


Before the real people united their nations, each nation had its own Council Fires. Before the Great Peace. their councils were held. The Five Council Fires shall continue to burn as before and they are not quenched. The chiefs of each Nation in the future shall settle their national affairs at the Council govemed always by the laws and rules of the Council of the League and the Great Peace.


If either a nephew or a niece see an irregularity in the performance of the functions of the Great Peace and its laws, in the League Council or in the Conferring of Chief titles in an improper way, through their War Chief, they may demand that such actions become subject to correction, and that the matter conform to the ways of presented by the law of the Great Peace.

Note: The “nephew” and “niece” means ordinary men and women who are not Rotiyaner or Clan Mothers, showing that every one has the right to correct any wrong being done. The Great Peace and the Great Law seem to be interchangeable. Each is a product of the other.


The rites and festivals of each nation shall remain undisturbed and continue as before, because they were given by the people of old times as useful and necessary for the good of men.

Note: This law says not to disturb the rites and festivals, that is, not to change it or add to it, such as a new religion, etc.


It shall be the duty of the chiefs of each brotherhood to confer at the approach of the time of the Midwinter Thanksgiving and to notify the people of the approaching festival. They shall hold a council over the matter, arrange its details and begin the Thanksgiving five days after the moon of Tiskonah is new. The people shall assemble at the appointed place and the nephews shall notify the people of the time and place. From the beginning to the end, the chiefs shall preside over the Thanksgiving and address the people from time to time.

Note: The Midwinter Festival begins five days after the new moon following the Winter Solstice. The “Nephews” are runners who go to inform the people of the time of the Festival.


It shall be the duty of the appointed managers of the Thanksgiving Festivals to do all that is needful for carrying out the duties ofthe occasions.

The recognized festivals of Thanksgiving shall be the Midwinter Thanksgiving, the Maple or Sugarmaking Thanksgiving, the. Raspberry Thanksgiving, the Strawberry Thanksgiving, the Little Festival of Green Corn, the Great Festival of Ripe Corn and the Complete Thanksgiving for the Harvest. Each nation’s festivals shall be held in their Longhouses.


When the Thanksgiving for the Green Corn comes, the special managers, both men and women, shall give it special attention and do their duties properly.


When the Ripe Corn Thanksgiving is celebrated, the chiefs of the Nation must give it the same attention as they give to the Midwinter Thanksgiving.


Whenever any man proves himself by his good life and his knowledge of good things, he shall be recognized by the chiefs as a Teacher of Peace and Kariwiyo and the people shall hear him.



The song used in installing a new chief of the League shall be sung by Atotarho and it shall be:

It is good indeed
That a broom,
A great wing
Is given me
For a sweeping instrument
Whenever a person entitled properly desires to learn the Song of Peace, he is privileged to do so, but he must prepare a feast at which his teachers may sit with him and sing. The feast is provided that no misfortune may befall them for singing the song when no Chief is installed.



A certain sign shall be known to all the people of the Five Nations which shall denote that the owner or occupant of a house is absent. A stick or pole in a slanting or leaning position shall indicate this and be the sign. Every person not entitled to enter the house by right of living within, upon seeing such a sign shall not enter the house by day or night, but shall keep as far away as his business will permit.



At the funeral of a chief of the League, these words are said:

“Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were once a Chief of the League of Five Nations, and the united people trusted you. Now we release you, for it is true that it is no longer possible for us to walk about together on the earth. Now, therefore, we lay it (the body) here. Here we lay it away. Now then we say to you, persevere onward to the place where the Creator dwells in peace. Let not the things of the earth hinder you. Let nothing that transpired while you lived hinder you. In hunting, you once delighted; in the game of lacrosse, you once took delight, and in the feast and pleasant occasions, your mind was amused, but now do not allow thoughts of these things to give you trouble.”
“Let not your relatives hinder you and also let not your friends and associates trouble your mind. Regard none of these things.”
“Now then, in turn, you here present who are related to the man, and you who were his friends and associates, behold the path that is yours also! Soon we ourselves will be left in that place. For this reason, hold yourselves in restraint as you go from place to place. In your actions and in your conversation do no idle thing. Speak no idle talk, neither gossip. Be careful of this and speak not and do not give away to evil behavior. One year is the time that you must abstain from unseeming levity, but if you cannot do this for ceremony, ten days is the time to regard these things for respect.”
Note: The Handsome Lake religion wanted to impose the one year period of mourning but according to the Great Law, a new Chief must be raised ten days after the death of a Royaner when the Condolence Ceremony is performed and a new Royaner is raised and the ten days of mourning is lifted according to the Great Law.

There is a small condolence within three days of the death of a chief, which is temporary until a full condolence is held with a candidate selected by the clan.


At the funeral of a War Chief, say:

“Now we become reconciled as you start away. Once you were a War Chief of the Five Nations League and the United People trusted you as their guard from the enemy.” (The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of a chief.)


At the funeral of a warrior, say:

“Now we become reconciled as you start away. Once you were a devoted provider and protector of your family and you were ready to take part in battles for the Five Nations. The United People trusted you, …” (The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of ‘a chief.)


At the funeral of a young man, say:

“Now we become reconciled as you start away. In the beginning of your career you are taken away and the flower of your life is withered away…” (The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of a chief.)

At the funeral of a Chief Woman, say:

“Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were once a Chief Woman in the League of Five Nations. You once were a Mother of the Nations. Now we release you for it is true that it is no longer possible for us to walk about together on the earth. Now, therefore, we lay it (the body) here. Here we lay it away. Now we say to you, persevere onward to the place where the Creator dwells in peace. Let not the things of the earth hinder you. Looking after your family was a sacred duty, and you were faithful. You were one of the joint heirs of the chieftainship titles. Feastings were yours and you had pleasant occasions…” (The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of a chief)


At the funeral of a woman of the people, say:

“Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were once a women in the flower of life and the bloom is now withered away. You once held a sacred position as mother of the Nation (etc.). Looking after your family was a sacred duty and you were faithful. Feastings were yours and you had pleasant occasions…” (The remainder is the same as the funeral of a chief.)


At the funeral of an infant or young woman, say:

“Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were a tender bud and gladdened our hearts for only afew days. Now the bloom has withered away …(etc.). Let none of these things that transpired on earth hinder you. Let nothing that happened while you lived hinder you.” (The remainder is the same as at the funeral of a chief.)


When an infant dies within three days, mourning shall continue only five days. Then shall you gather the little boys and girls at the house of mourning and at the funeral feast, a speaker shall address the children and bid them to be happy once more, though by death, gloom has been cast over them, then shall the children be again in the sunshine.


When a dead person is brought to the burial place, the speaker on the opposite side of the Council Fire shall bid the bereaved family to cheer up their minds once more and rekindle their fires in peace, to put their house in order and once again be in brightness for darkness has covered them. He shall say that the black clouds shall roll away and that the blue sky is visible once more. Therefore, they shall be at peace in the sunshine again.


Three strings of shell one span in length shall be employed in addressing the assemblage at the- burial of the dead. The speaker shall say:

“Hearken you who are here, this body is to be covered. Assemble in this place again in ten days hence, for it is the decree of the Creator that mourning shall cease when ten days have expired. Then a feast shall be made.”
Then at the expiration of ten days, the Speaker shall say:

“Continue to listen you who are here. The ten days of mourning have expired and your mind must now be freed of sorrow as before the loss of your relative. The relatives have decided to make a little compensation to those who have assisted at the funeral. It is a mere expression of thanks. This is the one who did the cooking while the body was lying in the house. Let her come forward and receive this gift and be released from this task.” (In substance, this will be repeated for everyone who assisted in any way until all have been remembered.)

So ends the words of the Great Law of Peace
passed down by Deganawida