Each town was divided in two groups, Talalewequa, "Peace," called Unega, "White," and Danawa, "War," called Geigagei, "Red." The White group was to argue for peace in councils at all times. The Red group was to argue for war at all times. Both groups would pursue the edict tey were to promote with all the passion they could muster. Whenever the vote called for war, the people making up the White group would stop all talk of peace and join their brothers to support the war effort. If called to war, the warrior of the White group went to war. Some of the greatest warriors on the warpath were members of the White group. If the vote was for peace, the Red group would cease talk of war and put up their atsa, "war clubs," and join the White warrior in a peace dance. Each group would follow the edict of the council.
Each town had two leaders; a Tlalequanuguweasu, "Peace Chief," or "White Chief," and a Danawanuguweasu, "War Chief," or "Red Chief." Usually the Peace Chief was an older, more mature man. He was also considered the Civil Chief and handled the day-to-day problems of the town. But the chief with the strongest personality became the dominant leader. The members of their town, both men and women voting, elected both of the chiefs.
The position of War Chief was the hardest to keep. When the warriors went on a small warpath, they would elect a war chief for that attack. If the warriors on the warpath felt a War Chief had done wrong and gotten too many of his people killed, they would kick him out of his office on the spot and elect a new War Chief. He was forced to give up his war drum and whistle. The warriors could, without fear of clan reprisals, kill the unlucky chief in a fit of anger. They would elect a new war chief and continue the mission. The Ani-Tsalagi was noted for their outstanding War Chiefs. Only the best survived. The War Chief was also charged with handling all foreign diplomacy.
The clans of each town send a delegation, elected by the people, to the National Council. These delegates elected an ugu for all the people. The ugu was the head chief of all the chiefs. Some later recorded him with a new title of Nuguweasu Yvganuweuwe, "Principal Chief." It meant the same thing, only the English word "principal" seems to have more meaning of power, which is a little naive. The delegation also elected the Nation's Peace Chief and War Chief. All citizens who wished to come and vote with the elected delegates could do so. No one could deny a Tsalagi man or woman the right to choose their leader.
Although the entire tribe elected the Ugu, Tribal War Chief and Tribal Peace Chief, there was no absolute authority for the Tsalagi. The independent people had one of the purest democracies with an elected representative republic in the history of man. All people, men and women could vote on any and all things dealing with their tribe. There were no slaves: tribal law forbade it.
Each town was governed as a city-state with its loyalties centered first and formost on the the Sacred Fire in its own Town House. Yet each town was always loyal to the Sacred Fire fo the tribe, no matter which town it was located. The tribal Sacred Fire could never be denounced. The first Sacred Fire was located in Kituwa. It was moved west, across the Great Smokey Mountains as the Europeans encroached on Ani-Tsalagi lands. There was great fear that the white people would put out the fire. The Sacred Fire was brought to Itsati, which the English called Chota, which was located on the south bank of the Little Tennessee River.
A town voted as a body whether it wished to participate with the rest of the Tribe. Each individual decided for himself whether he would participate with the rest of the town. No one ever thought of calling a fellow Tsalagi a traitor to his people because he didn't go along with the rest of the people, for the Tsalagai were the most patriotic people who ever banded together to form a nation. Great warriors did not in a war because of some personal reason.
There were two tribal Council of Elders, one made up of women and one made up of men. These tribal Elders were advisors to the Ugu and his staff. Each town had a Council of Elders. The Ani-Tsalagi had a great respect for age, the age of experience being considered as wisdom.
Elections were held on a regular basis. Chiefs who held their positions for many years did so because of their ability and the respect of their people. There were no hereditary positions in the Ani-Tsalagi tribe. There are no indications that there ever were any.
One title, which was given by the people, could be held for life. That title was Agigaue, "Beloved Woman." The title could be earned by a woman who, over the years, had done great things for her town, people or tribe. The second way for a woman to earn the title was as a reward in battle through bravery in bravery in battle as a War Woman. No matter what the official status in other positions, as a Beloved Woman, she was at all times the most powerful and repsected woman in a Tsalagi town. Her title was respected in every town she visited. She had the deciding say over the status of all captives, giving directions of who would die, by knife of the gauntlet, who would be ransomed and who would be adopted. She could override any decision made by anyone in her town. She usually used the veto power with much restraint and discretion, for those who gave the title could also take it away.
A higher title of Agigaue was Chigau, "Greatly Beloved Woman," who was the Beloved Woman of the entire tribe. She was the leader of all the tribe's Beloved Women, and she sat in the National Council No Ugu, or any other man, had the power of a Greatly Beloved Woman in her many powers in Tsalagi life. She could personally veto the decisions of the Tribal Council, which she did not often do. Usually when she was upset by a decision, a Greatly Beloved Woman, to keep from causing dissension among her people, would go her own way, as was her right.
[First Town is Formed]
[Building the Mound and Sacred Fire]
[Tribal Government] [Leaders] [Red and White Organizations] [The War Women] [Warriorship and War Titles]
[Diplomacy] [Immunity of Ambassadors] [Marriage and Divorce] [Tobacco Pipes] [The Ceremonial War Hatchet]
[Take Up The Hatchet] [Bury The Hatchet] [Traders and Merchants] [Craftsmen and Industrial Arts] [Games]
[Taboo] [Burial] [Book Main]