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CONDOLENCE CEREMONY
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Seneca Condolence BeltWithin Haudenosaunee culture there are two ceremonies addressing the loss of loved ones. A small condolence is performed for anyone who is suffering the emotional turmoil of death and is a process performed to clear the mind of distress. In this case only the first three strings of the condolence wampum would be used on the eyes, ears and throats of the mourning.

A large condolence is performed for the passing of leaders and the raising of their successors. In the case of raising a Chief the condolence ceremony takes place partly in the long house and partly outside. The first part is called Journeying on the Trail and recalls the installation of the original 50 Chiefs. The second part called Welcome at the Woods Edge prepares the participants for the Requickening Address. The requickening address is the heart of the ceremony where the 15 sympathy strings of wampum (139kb/1sec)sound bite are offered to the grieving family to clear the mind and reduce the pain of mourning. The whole ceremony can take six to eight hours to perform and may be stretched over a two day period.

In any condolence ceremony, big or small, the long house (153kb/1sec)sound bite is split into two sides of elder brothers and younger brothers with one side condoling the other.