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Ga’sä:de’/ Clans 


Each clan has a clan mother that looks out for their collective good, including making sure that the Chief meets the clan members' needs. The clan mother position is passed on hereditarily. Clans are represented by animals and are divided up by land, water, and air.

Historically, members of a clan lived together in a longhouse, as they were considered one family. Thus, marriage between clan members was strictly forbidden.


The Onöndowa’ga:’ (Seneca) are a matrilineal culture, meaning one's descent comes from one's mother's side. As such, upon marriage, husbands moved in to the longhouse of their wives' clans.


*** Note: Largely, all “she” statements begin with “go” and all “he” statements begin with “ho.” As is the case with most rules about language, there are of course exceptions (see: Turtle)


Ha’no:wa:h (hah-noh-wah) Turtle

            Genyáhdë:h (gane-yah-deh) I’m of the Turtle Clan

            Yenyahdë:h (yane-yah-deh) She's of the Turtle Clan 

            Hanyahde:h (hah-nyah-deh) He's of the Turtle Clan


Otá:yö:nih (oh-tah-yo-nee) Wolf

            Agáta:yö:nih (ah-gah-tah-yo-nee) I’m of the Wolf Clan

            Gotá:yö:nih (goh-tah-yoh-nee) She's of the Wolf Clan

            Hotá:yö:nih (hoh-tah-yoh-nee) He's of the Wolf Clan


Dzóäshä’ (dzoh-ah-sha) Heron

             Agedaë′ö:ga′ (ah-gade-ah-eh-oh-gah) I'm of the Heron Clan 

            Godáë’ö:ga’ (goh-dah-eh-oh-gah) She's of the Heron Clan 

            Hodáë’ö:ga’ (ho-dah-eh-oh-gah) He's of the Heron


Nö′jahgwë′ (noh-jah-gweh) Snipe

             Agé’nehsi:yo’ (ah-geh-nay-see-yo) I'm of the Snipe Clan 

            Go’néhsi:yo’ (goh-neh-see-yo) She's of the Snipe Clan

            Ho’néhsi:yo’ (ho-neh-see-yo) He's of the Snipe Clan


Gají’da:s (gah-jee-dah-s) Hawk

            Agéswë’gaiyo’ (ah-geh-sweh-gah-ee-oh) I'm of the Hawk Clan 

            Goswë′gai:yo′ (goh-sweh-gah-ee-oh) She's of the Hawk Clan

            Hoswë′gai:yo′ (hoh-sweh-gah-ee-oh) He's of the Hawk Clan 


Nyagwai’ (nyah-gwah-ee) Bear

             Age:jöni′ga′ (ah-gay-joh-nee-gah) I'm of the Bear Clan

             Gojöni′ga′ (goh-joh-nee-gah) She's of the Bear Clan

             Hojöni′ga′ (hoh-joh-nee-gah) He's of the Bear Clan


Neogë’ (nay-oh-geh) Deer

             Agé:nyögwaiyo’ (ah-geh-nyoh-gwah-ee-yoh) I'm of the Deer Clan. 

             Go:nyögwaiyo’ (goh-nyoh-gwah-ee-yoh) She's of the Deer Clan.

             Ho:nyögwaiyo’ (hoh-nyoh-gwah-ee-yoh) He's of the Deer Clan. 


Nöganyá’göh (noh-gah-nyah-goh) Beaver

            Agégë’ge:ga’ (ah-geh-geh-gay-gah) I'm of the Beaver Clan. 

            Gogë′ge:ga′ (goh-geh-gay-gah) She's of the Beaver Clan. 

            Hogë′ge:ga:′ (hoh-geh-gay-gah) He's of the Beaver Clan.

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