The Longhouse Tapes

featuring Iroquois teachers, storytellers and artists Ray Teizatorens Fadden & John Kahionhes Fadden

Gustoweh (Hats of the Iroquois)

An engaging, illustrated description of the Six Nations Iroquois hats (Gustoweh) by Mohawk teacher, artist and storyteller, Ray Tehatorens Fadden. Setting the record straight on why and how the feathers are worn, Fadden gives a lesson in visual literacy - how to tell one nation from another by their hats: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondoga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora.

Each of the magnificently plumed Gustoweh was hand-made by Ray Fadden. The positioning of eagle, split turkey, blue heron and downey feathers are combined with symbolic bead work to identify the particular Nation of Iroquois as well as the personal Clan of the wearer. How traditional winter hats utilize the furs of animals and the significance of the deer antlers in identifying Chiefs is explained.

Gustoweh making is the living tradition of designing and wearing hats up through modern times, including the current use of beadwork and an Iroquois ironworkers hat. The tape is framed by the beautiful sights and sounds of Iroquois social dancing by the Jim Sky Dancers.

Why the Bear Clan Know Medicine

A traditional, Iroquois "children's" story told by Iroquois teacher and storyteller, John Kahionhes Fadden, of the Six Nations Indian Museum in Onchiota, New York. The colorful Bear Clan, pictographic, beaded record belt provides the visual cues to the storyteller, as it has been handed down for generations in the oral tradition.

It is a story of how the Iroquois learned of medicinal information, through the kindness of the Bear Clan woman who unselfishly offers shelter and treatment to an old man, who is Sokwaiatiso, the Creator, in disguise. In the process of treating his myriad of illnesses, he teaches the kind woman of the Bear Clan all the secrets of the forest - the medicine plants, the bark, the roots, the herbs that cure. The story also teaches respect for aged people and the importance of hospitality.

Beaded Record Belt by: Ray Tehatorens Fadden, Iroquois teacher, storyteller and founder of the Six Nations Indian Museum, Onchiota, New York

This story was told to Ray Fadden by George Nash (born the later half of the 19th Century) an Oshweken Tuscarora.

Aysha Quinn Work