Foster, Michael K.. From the earth to beyond the sky: an ethnographic approach to four Longhouse Iroquois speech events

Table of Contents

Publication Information

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I. Introduction

Pattern And Variation In Speeches: The Organization Of The Study

The Core Sample And The Appendices

Ii. Speakers

Diversity Of Language, Diversity Of Use

The Longhouse

Formal Speaking In The Longhouse

Speaking Roles

Criteria Of Speaking Well

Speakers' Careers

Enos Williams (tehanrahtíhsõkwa[unknown] ‘quivering Leaves’)

Peter Thomas (shakotó:wih ‘he Chases Them Away’)

Hubert Cusick (hahs[unknown] :na[unknown] ‘his Name’)

Howard Sky (teyohtsi?kréhkweh ‘cloudy On Both Sides’)

George Jacobs (indian Name Unknown)

Corbett Sundown (shoke[unknown] Jó:waneh ‘big Forehead’ [chief's Title])

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Iii. Themes And Their Variations

Overall Organization Of Speeches

Structural Variation Of Types

Variations In Individual Speaking Styles

Variations Among Different Speakers

Lumpers And Splitters

Thematic Analysis Of Sections


The Assembly

The Earth

Bodies Of Water


Hanging Fruit


Wild Animals


Our Sustenance

The Thunderers

The Sun

The Moon

The Stars

The Four Beings

The Wind

Handsome Lake

The Creator

The Epilogue

Extra Sections In The Tobacco Invocation And Skin Dance

Summary: The Problem Of Variation So Far

Iv. The Structure Of The Iroquois Cosmos

Ethnographic Treatment Of The Hierarchy

The Hierarchy Principle Reconsidered

Structural Grounds

Grounds Based On Terms Of Address

Stylistic Grounds 3

Conceptual Grounds

The Layered Cosmos

V. The Compact With The Creator

Overview Of The Calendrical Cycle

Ceremonies And Rituais

The Ritual Components

The Strawberry Festival: A Representative Ceremony

The Ritual Process

First Stage

Second Stage

Third Stage

The Relationship Between The Speeches And The Calendrical Cycle

Vi. The Four Speech Types

The Thanksgiving Address

Recapitulation Of The Ritual Process In The Address

Brief Review Of Williams's Address

The Great Feather Dance

The Dance Itself

The Skin Dance

The Dance Itself

The Structure Of The Skin Dance

The Tobacco Invocation

The Tobacco Invocation As Performance


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Vii. The Oral Composition Process--(a): Whole Speeches And Sections

The Ingredients Of The Speaker's Situation

The Discourse As A Whole

Closing Versions Of The Address

Short Versions Of The Address

Building Speech Sections

Viii. The Oral Composition Process--(b): Lines And Formulas


The Formula

Hanging Fruit Revisited

Lines 97-98

Line 99

Lines 100-02

Lines 103-04

Lines 105-06

Lines 107-13

Lines 114-18

Lines 119-120

Lines 121-22

Lines 123-24

Line 125

Conclusions: Some Quantitative Aspects Of Line Formation

The Repetition Index

The Line-formula Index

Ix. General Conclusions

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Grammatical Overview Of The Texts

Cayuga Phonology



The Resonant R

Consonant Clusters


Stress And Length

Metathesis Of Laryngeals

Dialect Differences

Transcription Of Seneca Terms

Some Notes On Cayuga Morphology




Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: From the earth to beyond the sky: an ethnographic approach to four Longhouse Iroquois speech events

Published By: Original publisher Ottawa, Ont.: National Museums of Canada, National Museum of Man. 1974. xi, 448 p.

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Michael K. Foster

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 1996. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Iroquois (NM09)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Grammar (193); Phonology (194); Oratory (537); Literary texts (539); Cosmology (772); Organized ceremonial (796);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document The Longhouse Iroquois of New York State and southern Ontario are carriers of the ancient tradition of political and religious oratory of which part is devoted to speeches, chants, and songs associated with the calendrical round of ceremonies (e.g., the Midwinter Festival and Green Corn Ceremony). The first part of this study presents an analysis of four structurally related rituals which are performed in conjunction with the ceremonies, these being the Thanksgiving Address, the Great Feather Dance, the Skin Dance, and the Tobacco Invocation. The rituals are divided into sections devoted to one or more of the cosmological spirit forces -- the terrestrial (earth, plants, animals); the celestrial (sun, moon, stars); and the forces beyond the sky (the Creator and other spirits). Each of the rituals is accompanied by a prescribed formal speech which may vary somewhat between speakers. The second part of this work presents a detailed structural analysis of the contents of these speeches as well as a description of the background and qualifications of the speakers themselves. The transcribed and translated texts of these speeches appear in the appendices.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 64

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. nm09-064

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 421-432) and index

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1970 (p. ix-x)

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Linguist-4,5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. John Beierle ; 1994

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). variable

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Six Nations Reserve, Ontario, Canada

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Iroquois Indians


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