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Handsome Lake Religion

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					• An Iroquoian prophet who lived in New York
(1735-1815).

• Fought in the
  American
  Revolution and
  may have been
  present during
  various debates
  and treaty
  discussions.
• Became an alcoholic after losing his homeland due
  to unfair land treaties

• Spent 4 years suffering debilitating diseases

• In 1799, he swore off alcohol and returns to his
  sick bed
• Later that year, he claims he died and while dead,
  saw visions
    • 4 Heavenly messengers from the Creator tell
      him about 4 words (alcohol, witchcraft, black
      magic and abortion) which are evils plaguing
      his people.
    • The Creator is sad because of the trouble that
      these words bring, and Handsome Lake is
      asked to tell his people about them.

• When he recovered, he explained that his visions
  were a Message of Gaiwiio (good word), and
  begins to spread the wisdom he had gained.
  Visions were turned
  into a code that          •   The evils: alcohol,
  followed these themes:        witchcraft, abortion, sexual
                                promiscuity, abuse of any
• The decline of the            kind, gambling
  Iroquois people as a
  result to immorality      •   The creation of various
  and sin                       festivals, including
                                Thanksgiving
• The good of the Creator
  and the evil of the       •   Moving away from a
  Tormentor                     matrilineal society to a
                                patrilineal, nuclear family
• Punishment for those
  who don’t lead a
  proper life
   Handsome Lake believed in incorporating
    Christian/Quaker elements like confession, church,
    ideas of heaven and hell

   1802: Travels with President Jefferson, who
    endorsed the prophet’s messages and helped it
    become mainstream

   Religion is still practiced today, as the Longhouse
    Religion. Followers concentrate on silent prayer
    and doing good deeds.
• Handsome Lake’s teachings are recorded 40 years
  after his death when his brother Cornplanter tells
  them to his nephew A.C. Parker

• There are over 130 messages in the Code of
  Handsome Lake.

				
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