SENECA SURRENDER, A Story of Passion, and Free Give-Away

images15Long ago (the Iroquois place the date at 1140AD), before the white man ever stepped foot on the North American continent (at least as we know of it today), 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, the Peacemaker and Hiawatha (the real Hiawatha, not the Hiawatha of Longfellow’s poem).  The Peacemaker does have a name in the history of this legend, but his name is generally not spoken, thus my reference to him as the Peacemaker.  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 independence 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 prevalent 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 to 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 chattel; the right to have an individual thought was almost nonexistent.  Instead the “Divine 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 American 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 Gen Bailey 3 WebSENECA 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 Iroquois Confederacy and their own idea of how the world should be free.

So the question that I’m posing for you 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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26 thoughts on “SENECA SURRENDER, A Story of Passion, and Free Give-Away”

  1. I know we are pretty darn free these days. but I think it’s situations that we often feel trapped in and don’t know how to get out of them. Congratulations on your upcoming book

    • Hi Janine!

      Not so sure I agree with you on how free we are nowadays — not when one reads the ideas of freedom as written by Thomas Jefferson, John Madison, etc. — but am so glad that you are telling me your thoughts. And thanks for your so dear congratulations! : )

  2. Interesting thought… freedom… we have the ability to go anywhere, do so much, but thinking on the freeness they had long ago… nature and its glory, wide open spaces, less people and buildings to deal with. I guess it depends…

    • Well, they also had some economic freedom — my brother-in-law once told me that the games that children play (hide-and-go-seek, tag, etc) used to be played by adults. But that after the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and income tax, which followed shortly after that, no one had the time any longer to play those games. One’s intent was work and work and work — because with income tax came a reduction in pay as a final result. When one reads of those times, one can get a sense of just how valuable and how free a person can be. Anyway, I find it all very interesting.

  3. I think they past had more freedom per say in nature we don’t have that luxury today. Though we can travel faster but faster isn’t always better.

    • Yes, I agree, I don’t think faster is necessarily better — especially if that “faster” takes away the income and ability to work at a particular job or trade. Not so sure that the Industrial Revolution was good for mankind. Good for corporations perhaps — but not sure it was good overall for humanity.

  4. Some more history I wasn’t aware of. Thanks for an enlightening post. I know that we are lucky compared to many other countries to have as much freedom as we do, but more and more it seems there is some politician or group that knows better than we do what is good for us.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. Yes, I think I would agree with you. I think we have more freedoms in this country — still — than other countries. But I think sometimes that this is “whistling past the graveyard.” I do see this. Since fluoride was put in the drinking water in most towns across the USA, there hasn’t really been a serious push back at tyrannical measures which have been instituted — and put in place not necessarily for the public good. It is fairly well known that Hitler put fluoride in the drinking water of the prisoners in prison camps during WWII — in doing so he was able to post only 1 guard per yard as opposed to the previous 4 guards that were needed. To this day some farmers will put fluoride in the drinking water of bulls — because it makes them easier to manage — in order for the farmer to avoid getting hurt. And that was real mineral fluoride, not the toxic waste called “fluoride” from aluminum manufacture. This is an example of a “freedom” I think we’ve lost. The availability of clean water, as well as the availability of clean food. My 2 cents.

  6. I think in many ways we appear to have more freedom today, but in reality we are more dependent on others. Most people no longer know how to grow their own food, or preserve it. They are dependent on the internet for information rather than doing their own research and formulating opinions. Many do not exert their right to free speech in fear of offending someone else or being labelled different or difficult, or being ridiculed. And yet, we still are free to speak our minds, to worship where and how we want, to defend ourselves, to form our own opinions, to vote for “our” candidate – even if by write-in ballot. I’m not advocating turning off all our devices and returning to a self sufficient, live off the land existence. Life is filled with compromise, but we need to make conscious choices as to how much we are willing to allow government and society to whittle off our freedoms.

    • Hi Karen!

      I think you said this really well, and I do agree with you. I think today that we are not as well informed of our country’s roots, as we used to be in the past. And I think that these freedoms are whittled away slowly — I guess cause no one really wants to rock the boat. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand, I think, and most of us don’t have the time to do for ourselves as one might, due to pressures at work and at home, etc. Even research into these things takes precious time. Anyway, well said, Karen, and thank you.

  7. I hear freedom thrown around a lot and think it’s something to aim for. Consideration of others helps keep the freedom going. Most people are passionate about their rights and insist that the respect is key in communicating that belief.

  8. I love this blog!! I copied it and saved it, because it is so well stated! I’d like to share it with my club. Would that be okay?
    Wow. I know the story of Hiawatha, which is one of my favorites, as it inspires me. It shows that one person can make a difference. Can you let me know the name of the Peacemaker? Or point me to his legends?
    So–the trick is How do we get our government back on track?
    We still have the apparency of freedom, but we have let some Presidencial Directives, recently and in the past few decades, as well as the Patriot Act, be established without complaint. These set us up for No Freedom should the government decide to use them. Detention of anyone without cause with no recourse. That is not freedom. The FDA has been given the ability to make rules that act as laws, without having been passed as law. The FDA was given the mandate to “prevent” food problems, without having to wait to see if there actually is one. Shades of The Minority Report (story and movie). Now, our personal freedom, that of our bodies, is about to be lost if we do not fight the CDC’s new plan, which they so kindly have given us until October 10 to comment on, where they will be able to detain anyone they think MAY have been contaminated, from one person to an entire city or more, AND they have it set up to be able to detain a person if they will not consent to treatment or vaccination, indefinitely. Please see for the specifics hidden in the very reasonable, very long official update proposed by CDC (can see that on their website:

    • Oh, my gosh, Marilyn, I had no idea that the CDC has such a plan in place. And you’re right — this has gone into place without any law being passed — and by unelected officials. I am stunned. Absolutely stunned. I will go and look this up. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  9. In addition to seeing Adam Beach (hubba hubba) I always love your posts on the Iroquois. I didn’t even know of their influence upon our own constitution until I taught American Lit! At least my students got to learn something critical I was never taught in schools. Sheesh. Great post xoxo

    • That’s great, Tanya. You’re right — at least you got to teach them something that not everybody learns. Their great Republic (which lasted over 500 years) — is not something that is taught in schools. I wonder why. Hmmm……

  10. Good explanation of the Iroquois Confederacy. It needs to repeated and passed along so people understand that the native americans the settlers found when they arrived were no ignorant, wild savages. I have read the first book and have this one. I just need to reread book one and then this one. Congratulations on your association with Prairie Rose Publishing. I am sure Cheryl and company will be great to work with.

  11. Hi Patricia!

    Thanks so much for your comment. Like you, I believe that we would all be a little better and a happier if things were more commonly known. This new e-book coming out, SENECA SURRENDER, is fairly substantially revised — just so you know. : ) And thanks for your well wishes. I’m so happy to be with Prairie Rose. : )

  12. Thank you for another interesting blog and another chance to win an e-book. I enjoyed the pictures too!!!!

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