Building the Mound and Sacred Fire

The first Atsila Galvkawetiyu, "Sacred Fire," was brought back to Kituwa.  They built a high mound of dirt to keep the floodwaters from rain and the overflow of rivers from extinguishing the fire.  This mound was called Gauwatlunehi, "Ceremonial or Town Mound."  They built a building on top of the mound called a Gaduyi, "Town House," where they deposited the Sacred Fire.  The Town House also became the Anaskahi, "Council House."
  The anidawehi directed that the mound be built on the level bottom lands near the river in order that the people might have an area near the water during dances and other activities.  Ama "water," was a sacred messenger, purifier and healer and has always been important in Tsalagi life.
  First a circle of stones was laid upon the ground.  Then the anidawehi brought coals from the first fire and built a fire out of the seven principal woods of the seven clans of the Ani-Kituwagi, which are ataya, "principal wood," the oak; wani, hickory; gulasetsi, maple; guletsi, locust; dalonega ata, "yellow wood," birch; gusv, beech; and dotsu, ash.  All the wood was well seasoned and the bark had been peeled from each piece, this causing the wood to burn without smoke.  Each piece of wood was prefect with no flaws, in a common size.  The fire was built in the circle of stones.  Near the fire they laid the Ulvsuti stone that Kanati, the first Great Hunter, had brought to them from a fight with the great animal, also a scale from the Uktena, a feather from the right wing of the great hawk Tlanuwa, and the bead of the seven colors of the Clans: red, white, black, blue, purple, yellow and brown.  If a town did not have a feather of Tlanuwa, it could used a feather from the right wing of Awvhili, "Eagle."  The anidawehi conjured all of these with diseases so that if an enemy were to invade the country and destroy the Mound, they would be diseased and never return to their home.
  The people would bring dirt in baskets made of split reed then built the mound.  They piled dirt up around the circle of stones where the fire lay, leaving the fire uncovered.  One end of a long hollow cedar trunk with the bark still on was placed on top of the fire and dirt poured around it.  The cedar pole protected the fire from being smothered by the dirt.  The cedar log was cut to the proper length so that it would be level with the surface of the Town House floor.  After the mound was finished off smoothly at the top, the Gatuyi was built on top of the mound.  The building was large enough to have held eight hundred people of Kituwa.
  The anidawehi instructed the Gatuyi to be constructed on top of the mound in the following manner.  The head adawehi marked a large circle upon the ground for the outside of the building.  Logs were then sunk into the ground to the height of a tall man's head.  The logs werer placed side-by-side, close enough so as to allow no space between them.  If there were any cracks between the posts, they were filled with clay.  One post was notched at the top, and then a space of posts were passed before another was notched and so on at an equal distance in the complete circle, beams or wall plates were then fitted into the notched posts.
  Within this circle, another group of posts were placed at an equal distance apart, their tops being over the length of two men's height.  Each of these posts was notched at the top to receive beams.
  A third circle of strong posts, more than three men's height in length and seven in number, were notched for beams.  The seven posts were to represent the seven clans and to section off the Gatuyi into seven parts for each clans use.
  In the center, near the Sacred Fire, a huge tree trunk was placed for the central pillar, which formed the pinnacle of the building, and to which the rafters centered at the top.  These rafters were strengthened and bound together by crossbeams and laths which held the roof.  The roof was covered with bark of the seven woods of the Ani-Tsalagi and a layer of earth covered the bark.
  There were no smoke holes or windows.  One large door served as an entrance, admitting light and allowing smoke to escape.  The door always faced east.
  Between the second range of pillars and the wall was a range of benches, the benches forming a semi-circle behind each pillar to seat the seven clans.
  Stools were placed near the fire for the Anidawehi.  Another stool near the Anidawehi was for the Leader of the Women's Council.  A stool near the fire was to be used by the War Chief during the time of war, and the Peace Chief during the time of peace.
  Near the center, the musicians seated themselves.  All dances and other ceremonial activities were to take place in the area around the center pillar and the second row of pillars.
  On the center pillar hung the Peace Pipe in the time of peace, and the War Club in the time of war.  Around the beams hung eagle dance fans, sacred dance maskes, and other artifacts of the town.
  An adawehi was to stay in the Gatuyi at all times to tend the Sacred Fire.  He was called the Atsilasvti (Fire Maker).  The coals of the fire lay smoldering until needed.  When there was a council meeting or dance, the Fire Maker pushed stalks of the Ihayaga (Fleabane) down through the opening in the cedar log where the fire lay smoldering.  He piled lichens and punk on the Ihayaga.  As the flames climbed, the weed stalks and punk caught on fire.  He then placed the seven woods of the Tsalagi upon the flames.  The fire would be ready when the activities began.  After each activity, the fire was covered with ashes, but the fire was always left smoldering below.  The fire of the Tsalagi was revered above all things, and was called Atsalagalvquetiyu (Honored, or Sacred Fire).
  The Sacred Fire was never to be taken out of the Town House, neither the coals nor ashes, except by the Fire Maker.  Fire could be taken out of a Town House by an adawehi who was taking fire out to start a new fire in a new Town House, or an adawehi who was going on the warpath as a chaplin with a war part.  At proper times, ashes were taken out of the Town House by the Fire Maker and placed in a mound near the river which was sacred and called Sgeona (Place of Spirits).  The Sgeona was not to be approached by anyone other than an adawehi.
  The Town House was open at all times for the benefit of all people.  It was a gathering place for the Anidawehi, the warriors to tell their stories of bravery, for the women to hold their meetings, for the elders to talk of old times, for the young to learn of old things and new things, and for the people to hold dances to thank the Great Being Above for all that He had given the Ani-Tsalagi.  All people of every age were to use the Town House.
  Young boys were designated to gather wood for the Sacred Fire, under the direction and supervision of an adawehi.  Only the wood which was free of blemish was then chosen by the Fire Maker to be used as fuel for the Sacred Fire.  Women had the responsibility of keeping the food in the Town House at all times, for it was the civilized custom of the Ani-Tsalagi to tell a visitor after the initial greetings, "Come, we will eat, then talk."  It was so at the Town House, as it was in every house in the tribe.
  There was to be no violent dissention or physical conflict in the Town House for any reason.  The Town House was a place of refuge from all harm, and no one would be forced to leave the Town House.  No violence could be done to them as long as they were inside the refuge.  No clan vengeance would be extracted inside the Town House to disturb its sacredness and tranquility.
  As the Ani-Tsalagi grew in population, other Town Houses and towns were built.  All built their mounds and Town Houses in the accepted manner of the anidawehi, for none could be different than the first.  Some of these towns became towns of refuge and were know as Unega Gudagi, "White Town."  The law of sanction of refuge was to cover the entire town and all were safe from retribution while within its boundaries.  Kituwa was the first Unega Gudagi.
  The town's warriors carried the War Fire when they went to war.  Four days before a war party was to set off to war, the adawehi, who was the Chaplin, made a fire near the house of the war chief of the party.  The fire was kept burning for the four days the warriors prepared themselves for war.  On the fifth day, the coals of the fire was placed in a red clay pot with a carrying handle and carried with the war party as they went forth to do battle.  It was the repsonsibility of the War Chief and the adawehi to see that the fire was taken care of and never allowed to go out.  If the fire should go out for any reason while the war party was away from their town, they were to immediately return home in defeat.  If the fire went out during battle, the War Chief called a retreat and the war party returned home.  If a war party was engaged in battle and their defeat was imminent, it was the responsibility of the War Chief, the adawehi, or any warrior left alive to see that the fire pot was broken and the War Fire scattered so it would not fall into the hands of the enemy.  If the fire was captured, the enemy could use it to bring about bad things to the town or tribe.
  When a successful war party returned from the war path, warriors went to different osi of the war party and sat by the war fire and spent four days, drinking Gvnega Adatatsi, "Black Drink," and fasted.  On the fifth day, the members of the war party went to the river and performed "go to water" as a purification and put on new clothes, discarding all that had been worn during battle.  They passed their weapons through the flames of the War Fire to purify them.  Thus were all of the warriors and their weapons of war purified.
  The adawehi and War Chief carried the fire pot into the Town House, followed by all of the members of the war party.  The War Fire was added to the Sacred Fire, adding its power to the fire.

[First Town is Formed]  [Building the Mound and Sacred Fire]  [Forming Clans]  [Family Dwellings]  [Fields]
[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]