A Wish From Native America

Good Morning!

Once — a few years back, I blogged about — of all things — Greece.  What?  Greece?  Why am I, an American Indian Romance author, talking about Greece?  Truth is, in my studies, I found much to admire in what today is known to us as the Age of  to Pericles.  And what struck me then and what keeps my attention now is that there are some striking similarties to the Age of Pericles and Native America.  Let me go back and explain a little. 

While I was writing the books, Black Eagle and Seneca Surrender I was studying the Iroquois Confederacy.  In studying it, I became fascinated by its history — not just history of tribes and such, but a history of a people who freed themselves and their neighbors of war, who lived truly Of the people, By the people and For the people.   Long ago the Iroquois Confederacy was founded by Hiawatha (the real one) and a man called the Peacemaker.  Not only did they found this Confederacy, they set into motion a wish for an entire Nation and a people — a wish that all men would live in freedom, that all men would have a voice in their government and they founded it to bring peace to the land they called Turtle Island (North America).  So what does this have to do with Greece?  Bear with me.

Pericles lived around 495? – 429 BC.  And he did much the same for Greece and Rome and England, France and the United States, as Hiwatha and the Peacemaker did for the Iroquois Confederation.  Here are some of his famous quotes from the man:

Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.  

If Athens shall appear great to you, consider then that her glories were purchased by valiant men, and by men who learned their duty.

Instead of looking on discussion as a stumbling block in the way of action, we think it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all.

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.

Make up your mind that happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.

Wow!  Words of wisdom from our past.  Now, it wasn’t that Pericles was a successful politician.  In fact, pretty much the opposite.  What he did do, however, is this:  he influenced and sparked freedom in not only Greece, but in Rome, England, France and the United States.  Those men and women who read Pericles learned not only a little of Greek history, but of how valuable freedom is.  It was Pericles who said,

 ”Every man may have a voice and my express his opinion in his government and the actions of his culture.  Men are entitled to that voice.  And the culture itself should contribute to them the availability of information so that they can know what the culture consists of.”

Not only did he say that all men should have a voice in their government, he said that all men WILL have a voice in their government, forever.  Now that’s a pretty brave thing to say, considering that time could find him to be wrong.  It sounds to me like it comes straight out of the mouth of Thomas Jefferson.

At the time , this idea — that all men should be free — that all men should have a voice in their government — that all men should be allowed to understand and contribute to their government — was a new idea.  Republics and freedom are not the average form of government on this planet I’m afraid.  There seem to be men who seek power in order to enslave — and they seem to hide their intentions so well that often they come to power before anyone can do anything about it.

Now, prior to Pericles, tyrants ruled.  But after Pericles, and since that time, those tyrants who have sought to raise their heads have perished and some not so prettily.  Sure they might succeeded for a number of years,but their demise is almost always forewarned, foretold and often accomplished messily.  Interestingly, it has been so since the Age of Pericles.

Our Founding Fathers were more than aware of the Age of Pericles and were educated in practically nothing but the Golden Age of Greece, an interesting thing to ponder, since it says that Pericles influenced people 2000 years after his life.

Now, I’m not saying that the Peacemaker and Hiawatha were as influencial as Pericles or that the American Indians had a sort of Republic of Greece established here in America.  What they did have was a government that was set up to be governed by the people.  Every man and woman was free, free to speak and to utter their opinions freely without consequence.  That the Iroquois Confederacy lost its power was not due to its inadequacy, for it influenced a people for well over 600 years and brought prosperity and peace to an entire people.  Their power was lost in duplicity, land grabs, lies, dishonesty — plus half of their people being on the wrong side of the Revolutionary War — the Mohawk sided with England mostly — due to their pledge to the English.  They were also conquered by a division of the Mohawk, which was accomplished shortly before the French and Indian war, when the Mohawk were influenced by the “Black Robes” and found that they couldn’t agree on religion.

300px-hiawatha_departure1But what the Peacemaker and Hiawatha did that was so similar to Pericles in my consideration was that they set into motion an ideal for the future.  They said that all people will have an interest in their government, that all people have a right to speak their ideas and opinions, and that Turtle Island would lead the world to peace — they wished for freedom for all people and hoped to include all people of Turtle Island in their prosperity — North America.

sacagaweaThere have been many great people who have lived on this planet.  I thought I’d mention these three, who have so captured my admiration.

I’d love to talk with you today, so please come on in and tell me what you think of all this.  Please tell me, did any of you learn this in school?  About the Iroquois or about Pericles?  I didn’t, which is why I thought I’d bring it to your attention once again.

I’ll be doing a drawing at the end of the day and will be giving away a book to one lucky blogger.  So come on in and leave a comment.  And if you haven’t already put it on your list, please pick up a copy of SENECA SURRENDER or BLACK EAGLE today!

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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.
Please refer to https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules for all contest rules.

42 thoughts on “A Wish From Native America”

  1. some interesting things but all new to me; no, we didn’t learn of Pericles in school(quite sure).

    Lovely covers for your two books.

    Yay for them wanting all men to live for freedom.

    yourstrulee(at)sasktel(dot)net

  2. I can honestly say that I was never taught about the Iroquois or Pericles. It’s really sad that there is so much rich history out there that isn’t taught in school. That is one reason I love stopping by Petticoats & Pistols because ya’ll give us a history lesson each day…and you make it so much fun!

    Ya’ll have a wonderful blessed day! Make history!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

  3. very interesting similarities…i guess there are great men all over, eh?

    i did not learn about it in school…which is very unfortunate…so much of history that we miss

    i’m actually looking forward to my children going through school so i can re-learn everything and pay better attention this time around…especially since there are aspects of history i’ll be looking for

    like cindy–i too love coming here for a little lesson every day 🙂

  4. My history classes dealt with Plato, Aristotle and Julius Caesar. I don’t remember Pericles.

    As for Native Americans, Thanksgiving and General Custer’s Last Stand.

    I found your information to be very enlightening.

    I learned a little about Te French and Indian War in Pamela Clare’s book Surrender.

  5. Thanks for a very enlightening post! The yearning to be free didn’t start in 1776 and I believe it to be written in the hearts of all men and women by God who is the author of free will and liberty.

  6. Hello, my friend!
    Seems like it’s been forever since we talked–RL has a way of getting in the way sometimes, doesn’t it? As always, your post is wonderful today, Kay. I love history. Unfortunately, anymore it gets very short shrift in schools–my kids had a little less than a page in their books devoted to the Viet Nam War, and about 3 pages (including pictures) about WWII. I don’t think they knew about Pericles until college.

    Living in Oklahoma, emphasis was put more strongly on the tribes we are more familiar with here in the southwest–Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole, Creek and Chickasaw–the Five Civilized Tribes– and the Apache and Comanche, too, as well as others. So I don’t know much about the Iroquois, but there seems to be so much about their society that is intriguing and different.

    It is just amazing at how these very different men thought so much in the same pattern. Thanks so much for your very insightful post–just wonderful as always!

    Hugs,
    Cheryl

  7. Hi Robyn!

    I didn’t learn any of this either, which is sometimes why I post again and again about a subject that I think it important. What I like most is the wish that these two men made — that all men would live free and in peace on this, Turtle Island (North America). 🙂

  8. Hi Tabitha!

    What I find interesting is that Pericles isn’t taught any more — and almost no Greek history — unless it’s that of Sparta, which was a war community. And yet our Founding Fathers were schooled in almost nothing BUT the Age of Pericles and his ideas on Republics and freedom. Interesting to me that it just isn’t taught anymore.

    Do you suppose there’s a reason for it? 🙂

  9. Hi Laurie G.!

    That’s what I love most about writing historical romance — not only do I learn but here and there — just a little bit, one can throw in some history that may have been forgotten. 🙂

  10. The only thing I can remember from school is that Greece was the cradle of democracy so possibly they touched on it but apparently it hasn’t been taught enough. I love your analogy. I also think it’s a shame that we haven’t learned more about all the Indian tribes. I think they were a lot wiser than the Puritans. Some friends were having a discussion about fireworks and the 4th of July when someone brought up the fact that it is really the opposite of a celebration for the People who lived in this country first. So I guess it’s a matter of always looking at both sides.

  11. Oh Lyn, I so agree with you. Our rights stem not from ourselves but from the Creator. We hear nowadays — “give up for rights for a little more protection.” Thing is the only one who can take your rights away is the Creator. They stem from Him, and no agency less than God can take them away.

    They are a part of who we are and cannot be separated from us. Our Founding Fathers understood that. There haven’t been many Republics in history. I’m glad to have lived in one. 🙂

  12. Good morning Cheryl!

    Thanks for coming to P & P blog — I know it isn’t always easy cause we get so busy with writing and our lives.

    Yes, I’m concerned that these histories aren’t taught anymore, and only a page of the Viet Nam war — where so many of our men perished.

    In my mind that’s unconscionable — same with WWII. I wonder why, truth to tell.

    Only by studying history complete — no propaganda — but real history and studying it by what cause produced what effect, can we learn from history. It used to be taught that way 200 years ago.

    Sometimes I wonder about our modern culture and if it really is better…

  13. Hi Catslady!

    Goodness, I hadn’t thought of it in that light — about the celebration being the opposite for the American Indian.

    Now truth to tell, is was a corporation that ousted the Indians from their land — a corporation — interestingly we seem to still be having the same trouble with corporations today.

    In my mind it’s another instance of not teaching real history. They say that history is written by the victors and that is somewhat true. One has to really search to get the real truth.

    And for man, unless he learns real history, he’s going to keep going around in circles, making the same mistakes as in all the ages past.

    Hopefully, we writers can add a little real history so that when the irons of tyranny come upon us, we’re a little wiser. 🙂

  14. Hey Kay, another beautiful, informative blog. I have a tremendous admiration for the Iroquois and their confederation, and its influence upon our own country. It’s still a bit galling however to know that women were not really a part of the equation for our Founding fathers. but at least they laid some good foundation based on those who had gone before.

    Thanks for the Pericles info today!

  15. This is some great info Karen! I can’t say I was taught any of this in school, but I have also been out of school for many years and I could have forgot but I don’t think so. We didn’t study these things in school.

  16. I never learned any of this in school either. In fact there was a story in the paper this morning about the Iroquois lacross team needing U.S. passports. I didn’t know who they were talking about.

  17. Hi Tanya!

    You’re right. However, in defense of our Founding Fathers, the jobs of women at that time were not considered degraded or not worthy of note. A woman’s job was often placed above that of the male because she controlled the future generation and at that time she controlled all education. We look back on it with our own morales of today and forget that the Founding Fathers came from a background of defending the female against the fights of propaganda and politics.

    Never did they consider her their inferior — except of course that small percentage of the population considered everyone but themselves beneath them.

    For our Founding Fathers, they were protecting the female of the species in their own minds — which was as a male viewpoint, their job.

    Still I do like the idea of the Iroqouis which put the elder women of the tribe as the final say on everything — note it was the elder women — who were considered the most wise people of the tribe. 🙂

    Just another viewpoint.

  18. Hi Quilt Lady!

    Thanks so much for your thoughts and consideration. I know I was never taught any of this — but at least on my own, I’ve become more educated. 🙂

  19. Hi Judy An!

    Really? They needed US passports? Interesting tha we as a people have become so unaware of our own deep roots, which are grounded not only in the Republics of Greece and Rome, but in the Republic of the Iroquois (they didn’t call it that – they called it a confederation — but in its operation, it was a Republic which differs from a Democracy in that a Republic is based on the Rule of Law, whereas a Democracy is defined as something based on majority rule — which could be likened to a lynch mob — that’s majority rule).

    It’s all so interesting to me. Our Founding Father despised a Democracy calling in Rule by Mob — they set into place in this country not a Democracy but a Republic, which would operate by Rule of Law — not Rule by Mob.

    Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams all talked very vehemately against a Democracy. Interesting to me is how many people have forgotten our true heritage. The majority aren’t supposed to tell the minority what to do. It’s supposed to be a Republic, which is based on Rule of Law.

    Therefore, even the poorest amongst the land still have access to law and protection to own what he owns, even against the mob.

    It’s all interesting.

  20. I did not learn of the Native American Confederacy until I started attending classes with a Sped student about 10 years ago. Not sure if my mind is more open to learning now or if no one ever mentioned it when I was in school. I found it very interesting. Along this sme vein…history text books are huge! There is so much more history to be covered since I graduated 50 years ago. This is a fact the history teacher points out periodicaly when he says, “Lets ask Mrs. Lorenz. She lived through this time period.” Ouch, nice job telling me that I am old, but it is fun being able to send them to their elders to ask about what they remember.

  21. Hi Kay, this is so fascinating. I love your post. And, you are so right, it is certainly something we didn’t learn about in school. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my most memorable trips was to Oneida, New York, and the Haudenosaunee Nation. As always, a fantastic post! Hugs, Phyliss

  22. Hi Kay,
    You always have such informative blogs. If they taught any of this in school I must have been asleep.

    With his influence, too bad Pericles didn’t say all people should have a voice in their government. Women might have gotten the vote sooner.

  23. This is so interesting Karen. I just feel like we’re so uneducated.
    Read a Louis L’Amour books sometime and note his references to Plato and Socrates. All of that is lost in modern education.

    The iroquois are fascinating. I’ll keep reading about them as long as you’re willing to keep writing about them.

    What I can’t figure out is why hasn’t the world figured out how to live peacefully?
    Why are there still murderous tyrants?
    How much of our tax money shores up evil in the form of misdirected foreign aid?
    When will we figure out a way to live without war?
    I just don’t understand the world one bit.

  24. I dunno, Kay. Margaret Fuller was considered just a shade above insane when she declared that women werre equal to men…and so many women were denied entry into the medical/dental professions just because they were female…no property ownership upon marriage or voting rights. Maybe I wouldn’t have minded at the time, but I mind now LOL. I will say the Transcendentalists and the Abolitionists almost always were for equal treatment of women and often the Native Americans as well.

    Forgot this before: Oh, Adam. Sigh.

  25. Hi Connie!

    Your post made me smile. Ask Ms. Connie, she lived through that time period. I feel like that, too. 🙂

    Interestingly, I found history boring in school, but reading it on my own — trying to figure out what causes caused what effect — I get fascinated. 🙂

    It comes alive so to speak.

  26. Hi Phyliss!

    I love that part of the counry, too. So beautiful — and I’ve been to Oneida, also. At the time I was writing about the Iroquois and so I found it utterly fascinating. 🙂

    Phyliss, I don’t know if I said thank you for your card that you sent when my mother in law died. That was so thoughtful of you. Thank you.

  27. Hi Margaret! You said it. He wasn’t all that successful with his own country. What he did do is set the stage for all that was to come later. 🙂

  28. Oh, Mary, I’m so with you on this. It seems to me that about 2% of the population lives off the 98% of the population and so has to “enslave” them in order to live — or so it seems to them.

    Wars for property or oil or gold or drugs — with propaganda that says it’s really for something else — meanwhile boys and girls and women and men die — good people — and for what cause?

    Democracy crammed down one’s throat isn’t freedom — it’s tyranny. Free choice, freedom to decide for oneself, an environment in which to live and grow and think — these are freedoms.

    The Iroquois had a ceremony to do away with grief for all those people connected to the one who died (including the one who died) — it was in their minds that without a “reason” for war — there would be no war. And that did work to a certain extent — until the French and English came with their own wars which then involved the Iroquois.

    Sometimes I wish the ruling class would fight their own wars of aggression for wealth and profit (the rulling class always profits from war) — and just leave the rest of us alone. Like that would ever happen.

    But I’m with you. I wish I understood these things better.

  29. Hi Tanya!

    Good point. But who considered her insane? The “media” of the times? Few men really thought these things.

    Inn my research as I go back in history I learn that most men sought to protect the woman from the insults and injuries and insanity of politics and international affairs. Most men valued the opinions and advice of their women and considered them equal.

    I think sometimes history is clouded by an “elitist” view of history as given by the popular media of the time, which didn’t alway reflect what people really thought.

    For instance — the ned Health Care bill contains “Death counselling” for people over 68. In ages to come people might think that Americans thought nothing of their elders and so had to “force” them to think about dying “for the good of all, of course.”

    But nothing could be further from the truth for almost all Americans I know. Most people love their elders and learn from them and care for them. But those people don’t write the newspapers of the day — and usually only those things considered not “normal” get in the paper.

    Not to say there weren’t such men. But I do think it’s exaggerated. most men sought to shelter their women and protect them from the “realities” of the world.

    If it were truly an equal jthing — thinking one was better than another, I’d be right with you, but I don’t think this was really the way it was at the time. Again, maybe in some groups and societies. Just my take on it. 🙂

  30. Yes I heard of Pericles in school, but was and am much more familiar with the Iroquois Confederacy. I grew up in the New York Adirondacks which is within the Confederacy, Mohawk territory. Of course we heard of Hiawatha, but I had not heard of Peacemaker. We did, however, learn about the Confederacy and the principles it outlined and professed.

    The import of this “government” and its influence upon Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers is little known. The U.S. Constitution was greatly influenced by the Confederacy’s Great Laws of Peace.. Portland State University has a Graduate program which compares the two. This site – http://www.iroquoisdemocracy.pdx.edu/ has the course outline and a copy of the Great Laws. Some really interesting information here.

    The native population attempted to deal with the Europeans in an honorable manner, abiding by their Great Laws and human decency. Unfortunately, the white settlers did not reciprocate. Yes, we would not be the great country we are which stretches from coast to coast, if treaties had not been broken and native peoples were not forced off their lands. But how much greater a country would we be if we had worked with these native people and followed their principles to create a nation of true equality and opportunity?

  31. This is all new information for me, very interesting too. I really can’t remember reading very much about Indian history in school, most of what I’ve learned has been since I started working on our family genealogy on my fathers side, they are Cherokee.

  32. As always, a fascinating post, Karen.

    We weren’t taught Greek history, and sadly, not very much Native American history either. I’ve always been fascinated by the Native culture and have learned a lot more as an adult with an interest in the subject.

    No need to enter me in the contest as I’ve been lucky enough to win a book from you in the past. 🙂

  33. I wasn’t able to make it here until this late, but I enjoyed the blog message a great deal. No, I did not study the subjects in school, but I intend to leave your blog on my computer and read what you wrote several times. My best girlfriend all the way through school from elementary until finishing high school was a Greek girl and I had several other Greek friends in school. The nation has an interesting history, as do the Indians.

  34. Patricia, what a wonderful post. I don’t think I could have said it better, except to point out that it wasn’t the settlers who pushed the Iroquois off their land — it was a corporation — I forget the name of it right now and I’m in Florida and all my books are back home in So. CA — it was a corporation that committed the fraud. Unfortunately, the Indians weren’t backed up by our struggling (and quite new) government at the time. They had their hands full with Britain and treaties and that sort of thing.

    But just for the record — it wasn’t the average person who pushed them off the land — it was a corporation who had ties into the politics of the times, I believe. I’ll have to go and look it up.

    For my own part, possession is 99% of the law. I don’t think they should have ever moved, but should have brought their case up before the new government and refused to move. But of course, that’s looking backward from a vantage point of 200 plus years. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts.

  35. Hi Karen!

    Great Post and thanks for letting me know about the contest — that helps me out as my memory is often not good about this kind of thing. 🙂

    Great to see you!

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