For all of you who tend to follow my blogs, you’ll know that I’ve been talking about the incredible Iroquois Confederacy for a few blogs. Having just finished my newest book which deals with the Iroquois, I have even more to share with you today.
The eagle here is the symbol of the Iroquois Confederation, and is supposed to be on watch for any who would try to bring the Confederacy down.
Long ago, and it appears that it was as long ago as August 31st, 1142 AD, the Iroquois Confederacy was founded. It is dated by an eclipse. Some historicans date it later — around 1451 and others dated later — depending on the eclipse. But for me, I believe that it was founded August 31st, 1142 AD. The reason I say this is because when the white man first met representatives of the Iroquois Confederation, notation was made (and this was in 1600’s) that the Confederation was centuries old.
This picture by the way is an artist’s rendition of Hiawatha, one of the founders of the Iroquois Confederation. Long ago — back in 1142 AD — there were problems with brother vs brother, clan vs clan, tribe vs tribe. Wars were fought to avenge a dead relative — the dead themselves urging their loved ones on to avenge them. But imagine –someone is killed through evil doing or through a mistake. A clan member then kills a member of the offending clan — this is then repeated by the “offending clan,” which is then repeated over and over and over. Two men, the Peacemaker and Hiawatha (the real one, not the one of Longfellow’s poem) came together to ease the suffering not only of the one who had lost a loved one, but to ease the suffering of the dead, as well — and they sought to end war forever.
They introduced a beautiful ceremony called the Condolence ceremony that — using strings of wampum — would wipe away the grief of the deceased and his relatives and bring about in him a good frame of mind. They would say the Three Bare Words that would relieve one of his grief and would open up his eyes and his heart to the beauty of the sky. Thus, by wiping away the insanity of grief (this is what the Peacemaker and Hiawatha called grief — an insanity — for it makes a person do deeds that he normally wouldn’t do) — and by wiping away one’s grief, one would wipe away war forever from the face of what they called Turtle Island.
Here is an example of wampum (white and purple beads) gotten from the website www.wampumchronicles.com . How many governments can you name that were started not by war, but to end war forever? And how successful were they? The Peacemaker and Hiawatha set up a government that was made By the People, Of the People, and For the People, long before our own American government was set into place. There are certain laws within the Iroquois Conferation that were set down by the Peacemaker long, long ago. From all calculations, it appears that this Confederation lived in relative peace for over 500 years before it began to crumble. 500 hundred years. Wow!
This picture by the way if of Grandfather George Randall, who lives with us. He is a Native American actor and elder. Okay, so not until the incoming Europeans came to America did the Iroquois Confederation begin to crumble. The cause? There were many. Propaganda from the incoming culture, pitting again brother against brother in wars that the Europeans brought with them. Not only the English, but the French and the Dutch went from town to town, village to village, to recruit Indians to fight for them in their causes. Also, incoming priests began to divide brother against brother and the French and Indian war — particularly the battle at St. George — pitted Mohawk against Mohawk — a condition that the Peacemaker and Hiawatha warned against.
There were also problems with trade. The Iroquois became dependent on the trade goods from England and Holland and France. This again pitted tribe against tribe bringing with it war after war after war, whereas before the coming of the European, the place called Turtle Island had been built on relative peace and independence and liberty, as well as built on love. And as we all know, love is a potent force in this world of ours. I wish there were more of it, and perhaps more understandings between peoples as well.
America has a long tradition of freedom, independence and liberty. It was here, put here by postulate, long, long ago, by two men who wished to wipe away grief from the world at large and thus bring about an end to war. It’s a beautiful start; it’s a beautiful thought. May that postulate (decision/wish) go on and on and on and may no tyranny ever come to roost here on what the Iroquois knew as Turtle Island.
So I hope you have enjoyed this little bit of history. I find it utterly beautiful and very inspiring. Please come on in and tell me your thoughts. And I will be giving away a copy of the book RED HAWK’S WOMAN to some lucky blogger today — only condition is that you must leave a comment and this contest is applicable only to the several states of the United States. And please if you haven’t already done so, pick up your copy of BLACK EAGLE today, by Gen Bailey, my new pen name.
I look forward to your comments.