Iroquois Confederacy | Haudenosaunee

Also known as The League of Six Nations or the Haudenosaunee.

Founding members of the Haudenosaunee. Artist unnamed.

Sometime after 1370 Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, and Seneca leaders responded to a call by Skennenrahawi (‘Two River Currents Flowing Together,’ called also the Great Peacemaker) to form a confederacy.The Tuscarora joined the Confederacy much later, in the early 18th century.

The confederacy was the most dominant group in the northeast of the continent for an extended period. Historians believe this had to do with the way that Skennenrahawi and the other leaders instrumental in the founding of the league set priorities.

From Wikipedia:

Iroquois dominance 

The Great Peacemaker established a council of clan and village chiefs to govern the confederacy. In each tribe, which had matrilineal kinship systems of descent and property-holding,  power was shared between the sexes. Men held the positions of hereditary chiefs through their mother’s line; clan mothers ruled on the fitness of chiefs and could depose any that they opposed.

Most decisions in council were made by consensus, to which each representative had an equal voice. Early anthropologist Lewis H. Morgan attributed the regional dominance achieved by the Iroquois to their superior organization and coordination compared to other tribes; George Hunt also thought there was a factor of economic determinism, with their need for furs for the European trade and their superior geographic position controlling most of central and western New York. The oral laws and customs of the Great Law of Peace became the constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy, established by the 16th century or earlier.

Of the six nations, two play central roles in the novels

The Mohawk | Kanienʼkehá꞉kain their own language, called Keepers of the Eastern Door.  There is (or will be) a Mohawk.

The Seneca, or Onödowáʼga: in their own language, called Great Hill People

Currier & Ives: North American Indians/Osage, Iroquois, Pawnee


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