Good Morning (or afternoon)!

horseheader11.jpgI’m late today!  Please excuse.  For some reason I went to bed last night forgetting to post.  Sigh…  But the good part is that to make it up to you, I’ve decided to give away two different books today.  As usual all you have to do is leave a comment and you’re automatically entered into the contest.  What I do is take all the name and put them in a hat and then draw out the winners.  So come on in and leave a post.

red_road_pic[1]In just a few weeks I have a new book that’s due out in the stores (April 6, 2010).  It’s a book once again about the Iroquois and their unusal history.   This is a book of revenge, of great love, and also of freedom.  It’s about that freedom that I thought I’d look at in more detail today.

Some of you who have been following the blog for some years might remember me saying in previous blogs how the Iroquois Confederacy came about.  But if you’re new to the blog, or if your memory is sketchy on it, let me refresh it a bit.

images15Long ago (the Iroquois place the date at 1140AD), before the white man ever stepped foot on the North American continent, there was a Native American confederation that was established for the purpose of bringing peace to the land they called Turtle Island (the known world at that time), and to abolish war forever.  That confederation was and still is called the Iroquois confederation or the League of the Five/Six Nations.

95021_d0767b1thumbnail1The confederation was composed of five— and eventually six — Nations who were related by custom, language and blood.  These Nations were the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Onondagas, the Cayuga and the Seneca.  In the early eighteenth century (sometimes around 1722) the Tuscaroras joined the confederation, making the league six instead of five nations.

What is called the Great Peace of the Iroquois came about because of two men, Deganawida and Hiawatha (the real Hiawatha, not the Hiawatha of Longfellow’s poem).  Each of these men had a vision of ending war and the fear associated with war, and bringing peace and unity to a people that would not only make the people strong, but would allow the people to live their lives in freedom.

The Council of the Great Peace was an extraordinary government, unparalleled in European culture.  It made each man, woman and child free of government rule. and provided strong provisions to ensure that the chiefs remained responsible to the people.  So strict and astute were these laws that if any chief began to serve his own needs, instead of those of the people, the offending chief was at once removed by the elder women of the tribe.  That such men lived the rest of their lives in disgrace was evident.

adam-beach.jpgWithin the council a majority could not force the minority to their will.  All had to agree before any law or action came into being, thus debate and oratory were highly valued.  The Great Peace was a government truly of, by and for the people, and it influenced Benjamin Franklin,  Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson.  When it came time to set up our own government and constitution, Benjamin Franklin studied the Iroquois confederation in detail.  This is a fact that I didn’t learn in school, and in case you didn’t either, I thought I would bring the information to your attention.

There truly was a spirit of freedom and independecne that filled Native America long before the white man “discovered” America.  This was so much the case, that it was unwittingly written into James Fenimore Cooper’s books.  In his prose, one can lay witness to a taste of this spirit.  In fact, if one were to watch Michael Mann’s most recent rendition of THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS (1992), and listen to our hero, Nathaniel, one can hear him state that he is not SUBJECT to much at all.  Such was the attitude prevalient throughout Native America.  It was a country of free men and free women, and no “subjects” were to be found.

85URD00Z[1]It was this concept of freedom and independence that met and influenced the first European settlers.  Indeed, the European people who came ot the shores of America had not been indoctrinated in the idea of freedom of thought.  Instead, the Europeans came to America to escape oppression, and a government that considered people little more than chattle; the right to have an individual thought was almost nonexistent.  Instead the “Devine Right of Kings,” where the King owned everything and everyone, ruled England and Europe.

Although the doctrines of Greece influenced our Founding Fathers,  not even in Greece was the concept of equality and the idea of being beholden to none better embraced than in Native America.  This was particularly so amongst the Iroquois, who gave our founding country so much.

sf[8]The roots of freedom as we here in America have come to know it, grow deep in Native America.

In 1774, Iroquois Chief Canassatego issued some advice to the newly forming country of America.  It was at a meeting in Lancaster that he said, “Our wise forefathers established Union and Amity between the Five Nations.  This has made us formidable.  This has given us great weight and authority with our neighboring nations.  We are a powerful Confederacy; and by your observing the same methods our wise forefathers have taken, you will acquire such Strength and Power.  Therefore whatever befalls you, never fall out with one another.”

images27I’ll leave you with this for today.  In Britain in 1776, it was said, “The daring passion of the Ameircan is liberty and that in its fullest extent; nor is it the original natives only to whom this passion is confined: our colonists sent thither seem to have imbibed the same principles.”

Seneca+Surrender[1]SENECA SURRENDER is a book about the Seneca.  It’s a book of passion, of unending love, of revenge, but it is also a book about the Irquois confederacy and their own idea of how the world should be free.

It’s due for release on April 6, 2010, and it can be ordered ahead of time at Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Hastings.  If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, do so today.

So the question today is, what is your concept of freedom?  Are we as free today as we were, say in 1834?  1850’s?  1900?  Come on in and let’s chat.

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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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51 thoughts on “Good Morning (or afternoon)!”

  1. Hi Kay, two of my favorite things….the Iroquois and Adam Beach. Yay. I love this post. The information is so terrific. I did not know until I taught American Lit (not even when I studied it for my college degree!) that the Iroquois Constitution was the basis for our own! Go Iroquois. This is definitely on my TBR list. I love your books. oxoxoxoxoxox

  2. I do think we are losing our freedom bit by bit. It’s to bad our Senators and Representatives of today think more about themselves than about the Country.

  3. Hi Tanya!

    Missed you at the recent meeting of LARA — not that I expect you to come there every week. But just thought I’d let you know. Yes, I found this history fascinating. It’s something that we should know about — because it is so very important, I think. 🙂

  4. Hi Goldie!

    I would have to agree with you. It certainly appears that our “representatives” think more of themselves than those people they are supposed to represent. Perhaps there should be an amendment that says that they must also be sujected to the same laws that they pass for us. Of course, when all is said and done, they truly are. They just don’t see it in the beginning, and probably won’t be aware of it until it’s too late to change. Sigh…

  5. Hello Kay,

    Congrats on your next release… another wonderful cover! I agree with Goldie H… it is sad when they do as they want and I hate the wheelin and dealin they do…
    Thanks for sharing such wonderful and interesting history with us! 😀

  6. Kay,
    What a timely subject. We definitely have less freedom than we did im the olden days. Heck, we have less freedom than we did 10 or 20 years ago.

    Good luck on your new book. It sounds wonderful!

  7. Kay,

    What a wonderful cover and subject. I have always said that I would love to live in the 1800’s and that is so true. Of course, with the natives in their tipi.

    Thanks for sharing I must have this new book

    Walk in harmony,

  8. Hi Kay! About freedom . . . what a timely and insightful questione. I read a quote somewhere, something about freedom and responsibility going hand-in-hand, the notion being that if we behave irresponsibly, we endanger our freedoms. I think that’s true.

    The Iroquois are fascinating . . . I’m looking forward to your book!

  9. Great post! Love the cover, Nathan Kamp on the cover is always a plus! And great shots of Adam Beach! Hey, he’s from Canada, like me!

    Yes, I would say less freedom, esp. since 9/11. Just take an airplane. Now they are putting in full body scanners. I know it is for safety, but it is starting to infringe on one’s privacy and freedom.
    Yep, we have less freedom now. Not what the founding fathers in envisioned, I’ll bet. (either in the US or Canada)

    Great topic!

  10. Hello Kay,
    Can’t wait for the new book, I already pre ordered it. Looking forward to the Warriorettes in it too.
    You have one of my most favorite actors on this site here,, I am big fan of Adam Beach.
    Thanks for all the writing you do.
    Debbie Mercer

  11. Hi! I love your books! Your story lines are awesome and I usually can’t put the book down… I love the pictures you have on your blog. Great reading! Thanks so much for your writing and for your updates!!
    Kristina Owen

  12. What has been the price of freedom? Is it worth the sacrifice? I am so thankful for the men and women who serve in our military. We live in a free country, but sometimes I don’t feel like it.

  13. Great post – thanks for the history lesson. I agree with the rest that we are losing many of our freedoms. I hate that congress is so divided along party lines. Things are seldom black or white – they’re mostly gray. I’d like to see the Independent party prevail.

  14. Hi Vicki!

    That’s so true. One can’t be free without at the same time being responsible. They go hand in hand. It’s a different time period from when the only crimes were if you harmed another person or his property. God’s law.

  15. what a wonderful post kay! made me want to crawl back in time and live with these Indians who were so wise.
    If only we could have a Council of Great Peace today! I love that the elder women got to run “checks and balances” on the Chiefs…very wise indeed!

    Freedom today…when you scan the world, we have it pretty good I suppose…but because of the way society and government is I feel we have really lost a lot of our liberties.

    I’m adding your book to my wish list–sounds like it’s going to be very moving!

  16. Hi Karen!

    Yes, those full body scanners are not something that I agree with. Particularly, if one hears how a man in a suit had to convince the airline to put the man onboard. As though it were a set up.

    It will probably hurt travel, as there are those who simply won’t participate. But then, even in those days when we didn’t have cars or airplanes, people got around quite nicely. 🙂

  17. Hi Debbie!

    So nice to hear from you here on this. And thanks for pre-ordering the book. Yes, I’m a great fan of Adam Beach, too. So handsome… 🙂

  18. Hello Kristina!

    Thanks for your compliments. You know, Kristina, in my very first book, the heroine’s name was Kristina. She was named after my best friend in high school. But I changed the spelling of her name and I simply love the name Kristina. Just so you know. The name of that book is LAKOTA SURRENDER. 🙂

  19. Hello Denises!

    I so agree with you. All these people who have given their all — literally — to support the idea of freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom to worship as we choose, freedom of travel, etc. May it never be in vain.

  20. Hi Karen!

    Yeah, me, too. It seems to me we’d do alot better if we had 3, 4 or more parties. Much choice. I, too, feel that we are losing our freedoms bit by little bit. This recent one being a big chunk. Sigh…

  21. Hello Tabitha!

    Thanks for your compliments. I think you’re right — we have it better than most — but isn’t that a little like saying we’re not the quite dead in the graveyard of the long gone? A very wise man once said that, and I would have to agree.

    It’s so nice to talk to you.

  22. I also want to thank one of the bloggers who named the model on the cover. Someone had asked me recently, and I couldn’t remember. Nathan Kamp. Thank you very much.

  23. I think the government is slowly taking a lot of freedoms that the people had in the 1800’s.
    I am looking forward to reading Seneca Surrender.

  24. Hi, Karen! Thank you for another thoughtful post. Also, thanks for Adam Beach : ) I often think about freedom, and how precious it is. Precious enough that American men and women continue to fight and make the ultimate sacrifice so that I may enjoy my freedom. None of us will ever enjoy the true freedom of the original Native Americans. Ironically, their free way of life was compromised by the arrival of the English colonists in their own struggle for individual rights. Our free society today is extremely complex and imperfect, yet I would live in no other country but America. I love the song “Freedom” by Paul McCartney:

    This is my right, a right given by God
    To live a free life, to live in Freedom

    We talkin’ about Freedom
    Talkin’ bout Freedom
    I will fight, for the right
    To live in Freedom

    Anyone, who wants to take it away
    Will have to answer,
    Cause this is my right

    Congratulations on “Seneca Surrender”. Another gorgeous cover which is enough to make me surrender : ) Thank you for reminding us that our past is always our future. We must remember it, revisit it and revere it.

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  25. I love the fact that the women of the tribe were given the role of ousting the offending chief!!!

    I had no idea that this nation had it’s beginning tied so closely to the Iroquois. Fascinating!!!

    As a woman, I think we have way more freedom than those before us. But on a whole, I think we have lost many of our freeedoms. There are so many rules and regulations that restrict what we can do. Not to mention that our taxes and fees take over 50% of our earnings….and to think the colonists revolted because they thought 2% was outrageous.

  26. Hi Kay, congrat on your up and coming release! Great post and history lesson! To tell you the truth I don’t think we have as much freedom now! This post reminds me of how much freedom is lost! Right now they take our rights away all the time. Insurance companies tell us what doctors we can go to, which medicines we are aloud to take and so on! All about what they will pay for! Even the town i live in, you can’t even buy a playboy mag. Its not aloud! You are not aloud to smoke anywhere any more, for the smokers out there! They put the smokers out of this town but brought in alcohol, don’t figuir! So a lot of our freedom has been taken away! I think it will get worse, just not sure whats ahead!

  27. I missed Adam too 🙂 We have it better than some but we’ve lost a lot. Our forefathers actually paid for the priviledge of serving but now it’s mostly how much they can get for themselves.

  28. You never disapoint I always feel a little more educated after reading your post. I feel the Government is slowly but surely taking away alot of freedom. Love the pictures you posted and your new book sounds wonderful and love the book cover!!

  29. Hi Estella!

    I’d have to agree. Here’s another one for you. Did you know that my 2nd book (ever written) — the heroine’s name was Estrela — a very similar name to yours. That book was LAKOTA PRINCESS. 🙂

  30. Hi Virgina!

    A very thoughtful post. Thank you for that. Again, I so agree with you, and that song by Paul McCartney is wonderful. Believe it or not, I didn’t know he ever wrote such a song. I’m not particularly a Beatles fan (although I was in my youth) — and so I wasn’t familiar with it. Thanks for posting it. 🙂

  31. Yeah, Mitzi, this is another thoughtful post. We seem today to be able to withstand more oppression than that of our forefathers. 50% of our labor going to taxes. Isn’t that just a little like the gov’t owning our labor?

    Another little bit of trivia, just trivia, mind you. Long ago — before 1913, the games of tag and hide-and-seek and that sort of thing were adult games, played right up to that eventful date. Interestingly after that date, those games faded away from the adults playing them and they became more of a child’s game. What happened in 1913 — Income tax and the Federal Reserve. Remember in the long ago past, reading stories written in the early 1800’s of the royalty playing these games in England and in France? Well, apparently here in the States, they were also played, right up to that eventful date.


  32. Dear Quilt Lady,

    They put the smokers out of your town? I know here in CA, they have prohibited smoking now not only in public places, but now in parks, as well. Seems to me that if we do own our own bodies (and we each one should), we have the right to put into our own bodies what we want. Unfortunately, we seemed to be ruled more by unelected groups and bureaucracies than by our own common law (which is really another term for God’s law).

    Isn’t that what they had in Russia? Rule by bureaucracy? Does anyone know? Or am I way off base here?

    I digress. I so agree with you. I, too, don’t know what the future holds. I do hold up much hope, however. Those long ago founding fathers (the Peacemaker and Hiawatha — as well as our own founding fathers) made a wish for this country that is still there. Still in place. I only wish it will always be so.

  33. Yeah, Jeanne, you are right. In our forefathers day, there was no such thing as a man who earned his living by being a politican. I don’t think they ever envisioned such a thing. Serving office was a duty that went unpaid mostly at that time — and in the Constitution they made a provision that Congress had to meet at least once a year. 🙂 Oh, if only that were so today.

  34. Oh, I love the cover! I too love Native American heros…I’m married to one. Course he’s not full blooded but he has a lot of Cherokee in him. I would love to be entered into your drawing. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Cindy W.


  35. Karen,
    Good post. Adam Beach always makes a post better. The topic of the Iroquois Confederation is also important. Native peoples were considered savages and ignorant. Nothing was further from the truth. The English penchant for taking what they wanted, disrespecting local cultures, and subjugating & displacing native peoples has made itself known all over the world. Even the Irish were victims of it. The tribes involved in the Confederation knew peace was the answer for prosperity. They respected the wisdom of women and reined in ambition for personal gain. All members of their society had responsibilities, and all were cared for. Our politicians today have forgotten their duty. They are to represent the best interest of the people in the country. Not the interests of industry or those with personal (financial) interests. Our education has become second rate and there is no good reason the people of this country do not all have good health care. Politicians are no longer statesmen interested in the good of the people and the country as a whole. Most are too busy trying to make the other party look bad, pander to special interests, and work on their own reelection and wealth.
    Most disturbing of all has been the lack of civility. The name calling, rumor spreading, and outright telling of untruths has gotten out of control. The behavior of protestors spitting on legislators, using racial slurs and being physically aggressive is very disturbing. Certain media personalities urge them on and spread the flames. The clock is being turned back to a less civil time when people did not have equal rights and the rule of law was ignored and lynch mobs were too common.

    My husband just read that Texas is taking Thomas Jefferson out of their history text books because he put separation of church and state in the constitution. Change history and the truth because you don’t agree with it? How short sighted and dumb can you get. Everyone is entitled to their religious views, but they don’t have the right to impose them on someone else. We don’t all have the same religious beliefs. (Sorry, I fought book banning all the time at our library.)

    Sorry, it has been “a day.” I look forward to your new book. Maybe we can make the history and principles of the Confederation required reading for all. It certainly couldn’t hurt.
    Good luck with the release and keep writing those books. May the “Cover Gods” continue to smile on you.

  36. Great post! Thanks for the history lesson, I learned some new information and remembered some of it from before. I love the cover of Seneca Surrender and can’t wait for it to come out.
    I agree with everyone esle, I don’t think we have as much freedom now as we did in the past.

  37. Oh Patricia, you made me smile. The cover “gods” have indeed been kind to me, haven’t they?

    I loved your post. I hardly know what to say. This country is founded on the writings and teachings of Jefferson. Okay, so he was human and had some human failings. Like we are all perfect?

    What he did love was freedom and not simply freedom for himself, but for the common man. If you look back in history, when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, he originally put in there a clause to free all slaves (something they have ignored of late). It was the south — I think particularly the representative of So. Carolina — can’t recall his name — who would not sign it with that clause in there.

    He fought for it. If his personal life was less than perfect, then at least we know he was human.

    I look with suspicion on anyone who tries to tear down our Constitution. It was written not as a guideline for government, but as a means of reining in government and saying to government — “you can’t do this”– “you can’t do that.”

    An enemy will always try to tear down the founding principles and laws upon which a people depend. Only in this way can they take over a country really.

    I so agree with you on books. Simply not offering them anymore is to me a form of cyber “book burning.” May we always remember that Nazi Germany started that way.

    Thanks for your thought, Patricia. 🙂

  38. Hi Becky, and thank you. Yeah, I agree with you. I think we enjoyed more freedom even as short a time ago as ten years. Thanks for your post. 🙂

  39. Great post! and exceptionally timely, given our current world.
    Your book looks amazing.
    To answer your question. IMO, we are no longer free individuals, at all. I was raised to be proud of our beloved country and to value our freedom beyond all else.
    Now, it’s gone. Oh, how I long for what the Iroquois conceived and achieved. How I long for the true freedom intended by our founding fathers and mothers.
    What a beautiful world we could have, if such freedom were brought into existence.

  40. Oh, Savanna, how I echo your sentiments. I, too, was taught to value our freedoms, and to watch almost helpless as they drift away is sad beyond belief. The Iroquois lost this battle, too. They became divided as brother fought brother — fighting on different sides of the French and English and eventually the Americans and the English. But they left us one thing that can never be taken away — and that was a prophesy they gifted us — and that prophesy is that this land of Turtle Island (America) will lead the world toward freedom and peace for all tribes and peoples.

    That wish, that vision, that foretelling of things to come, is still with us today. And it mirrors a prophesy of George Washington — one of the 3 he had when at Valley Forge. In his vision — his 3rd vision — he foretold of a time when America would have to fight the world for her freedom — but that America would win her freedom and again be a beacon to the world of a free people.

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