Messages 2008

The Iroquois Confederacy.

September 1st, 2008

Santa Cruz, California

Received by FAB


I am here, Benjamin Franklin.

Yes, some of us founding fathers were aware of the Iroquois Confederacy. We saw that there existed a living example of the sort of cooperative government we yearned for, a living proof that the ideals of the Enlightenment could be played out in our part of the world.


The history of the Iroquois Confederacy goes back to its formation by the Peacemaker in the 12th or 15th centuries, bringing together five distinct nations in the southern Great Lakes area into “The Great League of Peace”. Each nation within the Iroquoian family had a distinct language, territory and function in the League. Iroquois influence extended into Canada, westward along the Great Lakes and down both sides of the Allegheny mountains into Virginia and Kentucky and into the Ohio Valley. In Mohawk, the official language of the full Council, the overall name was Rotinonsionni or Hotinonsionni; the Seneca referred to them as Goano’ganoch’sa’jeh’seroni or Ganonsyoni; and in Tuscarora, they are known as Akunęhsyę̀ni (Rudes, B., Tuscarora English Dictionary, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999) or the “Six Nations,” (the Five Nations and Five Nations of the Iroquois before 1722). The League is governed by a Grand Council, an assembly of fifty chiefs or sachems, each representing one of the clans of one of the nations. The original Iroquois League (as the French knew them) or Five Nations (as the British knew them), occupied large areas of present-day New York State up to the St. Lawrence River, west of the Hudson River, and south into northwestern Pennsylvania. The League was composed of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca nations. In 1722 the Tuscarora tribe joined the League, having migrated from the Carolinas after being displaced by Anglo-European settlement. Also an Iroquoian-speaking people, the Tuscarora were accepted into what became the Six Nations. (Source: Wikipedia)