"Reproduces and analyzes descriptions of the Midwinter dating from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. Ethnologists and ethnohistorians alike will be much indebted to the author for bringing this scattered information together and providing a careful evaluation of it."—Barbara Graymont, author of The Iroquois in the American Revolution
"Tooker has writer an excellent book valuable not only to the North American Indian specialist, but also to any student of comparative religion."—Journal of American Folklore
"The book, carefully researched, is a valuable addition to the growing literature of Iroquois ritualism, supplementing the works of Beauchamp, Hewitt, Morgan, Speck, Parker, Blau, and Fenton. Especially recommended for students of anthropology and religion."—Choice
"“Tooker’s work is written from a point of view outside Iroquois culture, its very objectivity constitutes a virtue to all non-Iroquois. . . . In the sense that it indicates the religious forms people still have as live options in today’s world. The Iroquois Ceremonial of Midwinter may be quite valuable to the younger generation."—Saturday Review
The Midwinter ceremonial—the longest and most complex of the rituals of the Longhouse religion—is examined here in three parts. Following a short cultural history of the Iroquois and a description of the present geographical location of the various longhouses and tribes, Elisabeth Tooker discusses the principles of Iroquois ritualism. The second part of the book is devoted to detailed accounts of the Midwinter ceremonial as it is performed today at six Iroquois longhouses. The third part presents the historical perspective of the ceremony through excerpts from writings of Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries, captives, travelers, local residents, and anthropologists.
About the Author
Elisabeth Tooker is the author of Native North American Spirituality of the Eastern Woodlands: Sacred Myths, Dreams, Vision Speeches, Healing Formulas, Rituals and Ceremonials; Lewis H. Morgan on Iroquois Material Culture; and Ethnography of the Huron Indians, 1615-1649, the latter also published by Syracuse University Press.
Series: The Iroquois and Their Neighbors
6 x 9, 204 pages, 10 black and white illustrations, 1 maps