by Barbara Gray-Kanatiyosh
The Great Peace...The Gathering of Good Minds
The Kaianeraserakowa (The Great Law of Peace) is an epic narrative of the Haudenosaunee (People of the Longhouse). The Great Law of Peace contains the traditional teachings of the Haudenosaunee, for it contains the values, mores, laws, and the acceptable moral behavior of the community. The Great Law of Peace along with the Ohen:ton Kariwatehkwen (Thanksgiving Address) and the Creation Story teaches people how to interact with all the Natural World, and together they form the foundation on which our spiritual and political ways of life are built. Therefore, anyone interested in researching and understanding Haudenosaunee Culture must have an understanding of the Creation story, the Great Law of Peace, and the Thanksgiving Address because they contain the traditional laws, environmental philosophies, political and spiritual principles, and the governmental and religious structures of the Haudenosaunee.
The Great Peace...The Gathering of the Good Minds, which was created by native peoples, has taken these traditional teachings from an array of reliable sources and offers them on a CD-ROM that is both extremely educational and fun for all ages. It is amazing what can be done when one puts to power the Good Mind as the creators of this CD-ROM have done with The Great Peace...The Gathering of the Good Minds.
The Great Peace...The Gathering of the Good Minds CD-ROM is a must have educational tool for libraries, individuals, students, scholars, educational institutions, and children, for it contains multiple layers of information, and most importantly, it is culturally sensitive and factual. The CD-ROM is organized with 5 main sections entitled: "Creation Story", "Dark and Troubled Times", "Birth of the Great Law", "Great Peace Interactive Journey", and "Peace", which allows the user to easily navigate throughout the program. The creators of this CD-ROM recommend that one begins their journey by starting with the "Creation Story" and navigating counterclockwise until finding "Peace", which is located in the center.
In the "Creation Story" section, the narrator, whose voice is female, begins the story about the Sky Woman by explaining the importance of starting with the Creation Story, "because it is how we [the Onkwehonweh ( People)] came to be." I was spellbound by this wonderfully narrated animation of Sky Woman's journey and the creation of Turtle Island (North American), for it took me back to being a young child at the knee of my grandmother as she told me this Creation Story. Everyone will love this section of the CD-ROM, especially the children.
The "Dark and Trouble Times" section is narrated with illustrations that tell of the war and bad times that were destroying the Onkwehonwe (the People) because they had forgotten their original instructions given to them by the Creator. This was all before the Peacemaker came to the Onkwehonwe with his Message of the Great Peace.
In the "Birth of the Great Law" section, the narrator begins by correctly stating that there are different versions of the Great Law of Peace, but the truths remain the same, which is an important fact to keep in mind as one studies this epic narrative. The "Birth of the Great Law" begins with the Peacemaker who as a very young child, knew that it was his duty to stop the warring and bloodshed through his Message of Peace. This section contains wonderful illustrations and photographs that are accompanied by text. A wonderful feature offered in this section is an icon that when pressed, allows young children unable to read to hear what is written on the page. There are also navigation icons that allow the user to travel forward, backward, and to jump to other pages. This section also contains underlined words that offers a further explanation, photo, video, or illustration of particular terms, which adds to the wealth of knowledge provided by The Great Peace...The Gathering of the Good Minds CD-ROM.
The "Great Peace Interactive Journey" section contains a great wealth of information concerning the culture and history of the Haudenosaunee people. The main screen for this section contains a beautiful triptych, (3 pictures that when viewed together form one scene), created by Tuscarora artist Raymond Skye. When the user presses on one of the three sections of artwork, they can then explore further by using the pointer to click on various areas within each picture. For example, if you click on the first picture, then click on the lake "Environment", you are taken to a screen that contains three levels of reading. If one clicks on the white blocks icon, they are given an elementary level of information, which is about the Thanksgiving Address. If one clicks on the yellow book icon, they are taken to the secondary level of readings, which contains an essay about the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force. If one clicks on the mortarboard icon, they are taken to the post-secondary level of reading, which provides a list of essays, which you can go to and read. This is a valuable tool for all scholars because many of the essays, books, and articles contained within this CD-ROM are hard to find in print today, but with The Great Peace...The Gathering of the Good Minds this information is provided and available at one's fingertips. . In the "Great Peace Interactive Journey" section, there are also videos of respected Haudenosaunee peoples who give further information about the subject being studied, which adds dimensions to the wealth of information provided on this CD-ROM.
The "Peace" section investigates the three basic principles of the Great Law of Peace, which are Peace, Power, and Righteousness. These concepts are difficult to understand, but The Great Peace...The Gathering of the Good Minds CD-ROM does an excellent job in explaining the multiple concepts such as unity, love, respect, power, and health, that are imbued within the three basic principles of the Great Law of Peace. Once we understand and live by these traditional teachings, we can be of the Good mind, and have Peace, as one body, one heart, one mind.
The Great Peace...The Gathering of the Good Minds CD-ROM also provides the user with an icon for "More Info". The More Info" section contains three sections "Resources", "Index", and "Activities". The "Resources" section allows the user, with Internet capability, to connect to the resources available at The Great Peace...The Gathering of the Good Minds web site at http://www.greatpeace.org. The second section contains a printable index that is also a searchable database, which is very helpful in finding key concepts contained with in the CD-ROM. The third section, "Activities", contains three interactive games. The "Headdress Activity" allows the user to test their knowledge of the geographical region of each Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and then the game has a match the headdress to each Nation. This challenge is great fun and educational. The "Extreme Canoe game" allows the user to navigate a canoe through obstacles in the river. This game is also lots of fun for all ages. The "Grand Council Challenge" is very impressive, and it is a wonderful way to educate about the seating arrangement, number of, and names of the chiefs. When the user clicks on a chief, he stands and states his name in the language of the Nation he is from, and then he gives an interpretation of the name's meaning in English. These activities provide the user with fun, and at the same time they are extremely educational.
I wholeheartedly recommend The Great Peace...The Gathering of the Good Minds CD-ROM to libraries, students, scholars, educational institutions, and children because it provides one of the best educational, factual, and culturally sensitive resources available to the public concerning the traditional teachings and history of the Haudenosaunee. I have spent numerous hours navigating this CD-ROM, and I am amazed at its ability to keep me entertained and enlightened. I did not expect such a vast amount of knowledge to be contained within one CD-ROM. This is a must have for anyone interested in Native peoples, and interested in their unique relationship with Mother Earth. The Great Peace...The Gathering of the Good Minds CD-ROM not only tells of the gathering of the good minds in the time of the Peacemaker, but has gathered the good minds of today to create this CD-ROM, which has the ability to promote Peace in this world as its White Roots reaches out to allow the general public a path to, with understanding, take shelter beneath the Tree of Peace.
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The Great Peace...The Gathering of Good Minds
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Kanatiyosh 1999(c): Page created August 25,1999.