Teachings from the Longhouse

The Code of Handsome Lake

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Written by the late Chief Jake Thomas & Terry Boyle

Teachings from the Longhouse by the late Chief Jake Thomas is an important text that provides detailed information about the Six Nations Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) teachings based on the Handsome Lake Code.

Handsome Lake's (1735-1815) divinely inspired visions and messages received in 1799 served to help the Iroquois to return to their ceremonies of thanksgiving. The moral and ethical Code provided teachings that assist the people to return to the Good Mind.

Handsome Lake provided a blueprint through his teachings that assist the people to deal with the overwhelming change of the 19th century.

The Code provides practical ways for the people to deal with their family relationships as well as giving spiritual guidance. Anthropologists call this cultural revitalization, and many referred to Handsome Lake as a prophet.

The Good Message of Handsome Lake is still being preached today in Iroquois Longhouses in Canada and the United States.

Jake Thomas was a Cayuga Chief and was considered one of the most knowledgeable people from Six Nations regarding The Great Law and The Handsome Lake Code.
Chief Thomas was at the forefront of local community efforts to preserve and promote the languages and ceremonies.

In this book, Jake Thomas offers condensed English version of the Handsome Lake Code, as well as practical teachings for contemporary living. This is an important book that explains the traditional spiritual and moral teachings of the Six Nations Iroquois.
~ Description from: www.nativeamericanchurch.com

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Book Review

The late Chief Jacob Thomas' Teachings from the Longhouse  is by far one of the most accessible books I use in teaching college classes about the philosophical frameworks that underpin the teaching of  the Gaihwi:yo: or the Code of Handsome Lake, one of the cornerstones and meta-narratives of the Haudensosaunee worldview.    


Many academics refer only to Arthur C. Parker's work on Handsome Lake, which is useful but at times difficult for students to grasp. But for students to grasp the core values, frameworks, and concepts of the Good Mind and truly understand the Haudenosaunee culture from the perspective of Chief Thomas and his mastery of complex philosophical worldviews as a life  orator, educator, and speaker; a better book cannot be found than Teachings from the Longhouse.  

- Kevin J. White, Ph. D. (Akwesase Mohawk), SUNY Oswego

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