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SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE

Bringing the heritage of Schenectady County, New York to the world since 1996

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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
The False Face Ceremony of the Cayugas

[This information is from Vol. I, p. 119 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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False Face Ceremony of the Cayugas.

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Photo: The False Face Ceremony of the Cayugas.

This group depicts the period after the coming of the white man, who brought steel tools, cloth and beads. The Indians now lived in log houses and wore cloth clothing cut in native style. This ceremony represents the mid-winter purification rite of the False Face Companions, who build a new fire, sweep the lodge, sprinkle ashes upon the heads of the people, bring good cheer and drive out the witches of evil and disease. The building here used is a real Indian log house from the Tonawanda reservation.

Iroquois Indian Exhibit — False Face Ceremony — Scene, Cayuga Lake. State Museum, Education Building, Albany, N. Y.

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