Whole Life Magazine

June / July 2018

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Page 17 of 31

I t is possible that Deganawida, known as the "Peacemaker" opened the gathering on the Solar Eclipse in the early 1700s under the Great East- ern White Pine Tree known as the "Tree of Peace" with these words. It is widely believed by historical scholars that on this day the Mohawk, the Seneca, the Oneida, the Cayuga, and the Onondaga nations gathered together to create the Iroquois Nation Confederacy. A er many years of con ict, these ve nations created a governance based on the consent of the governed. It was matrilineal, matrilocal in nature and lled with life promoting intelligence dedicated to ALL life's liberty and happiness. It is believed that this governance has been in existence for centuries. Scholars put the date as early as 1250. It should be noted that the Tuscarora Nation joined circa. 1722. When I started researching the Iroquois Nation Confederacy, also known as the Haudenosaunee (People of the Long House) I was astound- ed and moved by the intricacy of the 117 articles that comprise it. e balance of power and authority with justice and in accordance with " e Great Law" as well as dedication to egalitarianism with checks and bal- ances I found stunningly sophisticated. Even more so when I read how the incorporation of ceremony, protocol, decorum, sacred ritual, dignity, and the con rmation of mutual agreement on all matters exists through- out. To read such articles where supreme honor is held for all life present and unborn, where ways that are good must be preserved, where listening and speaking only "from truth" and wisdom are what "shall be" was like a dream come true. If it couldn't get any better, I read about the position of the women. e Clan Mothers are positioned as the "moral compass" strongly in uencing peaceful con ict resolution, the selection and the removal of chiefs, and being the caretakers-owners of the land and soil. Along with more in uence of the women what I found most beautiful was the weaving so intricately and carefully throughout, the qualities of truth, justice, gratitude, honor of brother and sisterhood, and love. Here are a few articles that illustrate honor, responsibility, and respect so beautifully. Notice the stern discipline when people are out of integrity. #24 e Lords of the Confederacy of the Five Nations. eir hearts shall be full of peace and goodwill and their minds lled with a yearning for the welfare of the people of the Confederacy. Carrying out their duty and their fairness shall be tempered with a tenderness for their people. #25 If a Lord of the Confederacy should seek to establish any authority independent of the jurisdiction of the Confederacy of the Great Peace he shall be warned three times. First by the women relatives, second by the men relatives, and nally by the Lords of the Confederacy to which he belongs. If the o ending Lord is still obdurate he shall be dismissed by the War Chief of his Nation. #27 All Lords of the Five Nations Confederacy must be honest in all things. ey must not idle or gossip, but be men possessing those honor- able qualities that make true Rayaneh (Noble). It shall be a serious wrong for anyone to lead a Lord into trivial a airs for the people must ever hold their Lords high in estimation out of respect to their honorable positions. e following articles are examples of the Rayaneh and great in uence in the government the women hold. e Women Elders have the right to sit in all Councils, the power to veto a declaration of war, and to demand a cessation of hostilities. #44 Women shall be the progenitors of the Nation. ey shall own the land and the soil. Men and women shall follow the status of the Mother. #45 e women heirs of the Confederated Lordship titles shall be called Rayaneh for all time to come. #53. When the Rayaneh women holders of a Lordship title select one of their sons as a candidate, they shall select one who is trustworthy, of good character, of honest disposition, one who manages his own a airs, supports his own family, if any and who has proven a faithful man to his Nation. Let us now turn to the United States Declaration of Independence ad- opted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, complete- ly rati ed in 1789. e Founding Fathers were highly in uenced by the Five Nations Confederacy adopting much of the governance model. e successful Haundenosaunee way was widely known. Philosophers, dele- gates, and politicians all had attended councils or invited Chiefs to attend "White Men Meetings" to share their wisdom. e European philosopher John Locke wrote about the Iroquois Nation citing their "perfect free- dom" and wisdom of the power being derived from the people — not the Monarch. Benjamin Franklin studied their ways, was invited to "Sit in Council," and wrote many articles expressing great admiration. He re- ferred to the Iroquois Nation as a wise union indissoluble and subsisting for ages. He cited "no force, no prisons, no o cers to compel obedience, or in ict punishment. ere is a sense of courtesy in Council meetings, not the raucous nature of the British House of Commons." e Found- ing Fathers considered the Greco-Roman government and aspects of the Middle East, as well as e Bible. ey ultimately were most inspired by their "Indian Friends" and adopted many of the elements of the Iroquois Nation for their brand-new government including the bald eagle which the Indigenous had held sacred for centuries. Notable di erences are: e Iroquois Nation Confederacy: 1. Has 117 Articles allowing for intricate protocol on all matters. e series of alliances and treaties between Five Nations (later six). 2. Matrilineal societies 3. Clan Mothers choose leaders 4. Concept of communal landholding and liberties of non-conquering territory e US Constitution: 1. Has seven Articles explaining how the Federal government interacts with the citizens, states, and people of the country; 27 amendments were add- ed as modi cations. e rst ten are known collectively as " e Bill of Rights" added Dec. 15, 1791. 18 wholelifetimes.com Haudenosaunee "I am Deganawida. With the Statesmen of the League of Five Nations, I plant the tree of Great Peace." By Sunny Chayes We the people — the — T O L P D E of the Iroquois N ation Eagle Illustration by William Stout

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