Wyandot Tribal Regulations

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Name Regulations
It has been previously explained that there is a body of names, the exclusive property of each gens. Once a year, at the green-corn festival, the council women of the gens select the names for the children born during the previous year, and the chief of the gens proclaims these names at the festival. No person may change his name, but every person, man or woman, by honorable or dishonorable conduct, or by remarkable circumstance, may win a second name commemorative of deed or circumstance, which is a kind of title.

Regulations Of Personal Adornment
Each clan has a distinctive method of painting the face, a distinctive chaplet to be worn by the gentile chief and council women when they are inaugurated, and subsequently at festival occasions, and distinctive ornaments for all its members, to be used at festivals and religious ceremonies.

Regulations Of Order In Encampment And Migrations
The camp of the tribe is in an open circle or horse-shoe, and the gentes camp in following order, beginning on the left and going around to the right:

Deer, Bear, Highland Turtle (striped), Highland Turtle (black), Mud Turtle, Smooth Large Turtle, Hawk, Beaver, Wolf, Sea Snake, Porcupine.

The order in which the households camp in the gentile group is regulated by the gentile councilors and adjusted from time to time in such a manner that the oldest family is placed on the left, and the youngest on the right. In migrations and expeditions the order of travel follows the analogy of encampment.

Property Rights
Within the area claimed by the tribe each gens occupies a smaller tract for the purpose of cultivation. The right of the gens to cultivate a particular tract is a matter settled in the council of the tribe, and the gens may abandon one tract for another only with the consent of the tribe. The women councillors partition the gentile land among the householders, and the household tracts are distinctly marked by them. The ground is re-partitioned once in two years. The heads of households are responsible for the cultivation of the tract, and should this duty be neglected the council of the gens calls the responsible parties to account.

Cultivation is communal; that is, all of the able-bodied women of the gens take part in the cultivation of each household tract in the following manner:

The head of the household sends her brother or son into the forest or to the stream to bring in game or fish for a feast; then the able-bodied women of the gens are invited to assist in the cultivation of the land, and when this work is done a feast is given.

The wigwam or lodge and all articles of the household belong to the woman—the head of the household—and at her death are inherited by her eldest daughter, or nearest of female kin. The matter is settled by the council women. If the husband die his property is inherited by his brother or his sister’s son, except such portion as may be buried with him. His property consists of his clothing, hunting and fishing implements, and such articles as are used personally by himself.

Usually a small canoe is the individual property of the man. Large canoes are made by the male members of the gentes, and are the property of the gentes.



MLA Source Citation:

Powell, J. W. Wyandot Government: A short study of tribal society First Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 1879-1880, p. 57-69. Washington Government Printing Office. 1881. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 20 December 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/wyandot-tribal-regulations.htm - Last updated on Sep 16th, 2012


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