The U.S. before the U.S.

Techtor left a comment about the Cahokia post which I answered in that section. However, I think it deserves a wider audience.

Techtor's comment: – – “but I’ll not be surprised to know if there was a US before the US was actually founded (well, something to that effect).”

Well, yes there was – the Iroquois Confederation.

I'm not going to write much about it because I doubt there is much more that I could say that isn't already in these websites. Except for one thing, about the position of women in the Iroquois Confederation, because it provides a glimpse of the philosophy on which it was based.

It was a long battle for women to be allowed to vote in the United States. This “enlightened European based bastion of freedom” was determined to keep women as second class citizens.
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THE INDIAN WOMEN: We whom you pity as drudges
reached centuries ago the goal that you are now nearing

We, the women of the Iroquois
Own the Land, the Lodge, the Children
Ours is the right to adoption, life or death;
Ours is the right to raise up and depose chiefs;
Ours is the right to representation in all councils;
Ours is the right to make and abrogate treaties;
Ours is the supervision over domestic and foreign policies;
Ours is the trusteeship of tribal property;
Our lives are valued again as high as man's.

From The Six Nations: Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth – http://www.ratical.org/many_worlds/6Nations/

There is a ton of information jam-packed into the website above. I recommend it to any who might be interested in the subject.
The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations: The Great Binding Law. Gayanashagow – http://www.iroquoisdemocracy.pdx.edu/html/greatlaw.html

Well, I lied, one other thing I'll write about is a character many in the English speaking world have known about since childhood. In fact, he was probably as responsible for the founding of the Iroquois Confederation as anybody – Hiawatha.

Hiawatha was a real person, not just a poem or a Disney cartoon character. I am going to editorialize here a bit.

Hiawatha was among the greatest of men ever to have lived on the North American Continent.

The poem about him by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was in its own way a tribute, accurate or not. But when the Disney animators turned him into nothing more than a cutesy cartoon character, it was sort of like making George Washington no more than the equal of Micky Mouse. – End of editorial. – The following is quoted from my response to Techtor in the comments section:

“And for those of you who are familiar with the poem about Hiawatha, he actually lived and became the spiritual leader of the Haudenosaunee.

“Tadadaho” is the title for that position and is still used for the leagues spiritual leader. It means “The 50th Chief.”

Today Hiawatha’s current successor in that position of spiritual leadership is Sid Hill of the Onondaga nation.”

“Hiawatha and the Iroquois Confederation” – http://www.markshep.com/nonviolence/Hiawatha.html

Hiawatha lived during the 15th century according to most sources, though some have him as early as the 12th century.

If anybody would like to read the poem, all 22 chapters of it are here: – http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/LonHiaw.html

I still cry at the end.

Not all great civilizations have left monuments in stone, fantastic art, towers reaching to the heavens, or even crumbling mud brick foundations.

Some have merely left their good reputations. And that may be a better memorial than many empty piles of stone and mud.

Digs

2 Responses to “The U.S. before the U.S.”

  1. Bear says:

    A small correction here. Hiawatha was not Tadadaho. He was responsible for bringing the great law of peace to Tadadaho and changing him from an evil man with snakes in his hair to the spiritual leader for the Haudenosaunee. (http://www.agevolution.com/dgnwda.htm)
    Hiawatha was first man that accepted the great law of peace from the Peacemaker and was sent to spread the invitation. Jingosaseh is considered a co-founder of the league and is the mother of clanmothers.
    When it comes to the story of women’s sufferage and the Haudenosaunee women, hers is a very important story to know as well.

  2. Bear says:

    My bad… Jigonsaseh was known as the Mother of Nations, and I meant to provide a link as well.
    http://www.rmsc.org/museum/exhibits/online/lhm/IAPpaintings.htm