- Category: Jacob's Blog
- Published on Sunday, 29 January 2012 13:30
- Hits: 877
The Iroquois, also known as the "People of the Longhouse," are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America. “Native Americans.” The original Iroquois came from 5 different Native America nations (or “tribes”) that came together by the 16th century or earlier, in an association known today as the Iroquois League, or the "League of Peace and Power". The original Iroquois League was also known as the Five Nations. When Europeans first arrived in North America, the Iroquois were based in what is now the northeastern United States, upstate New York west of the Hudson River and through the Finger Lakes region. Today, the Iroquois live primarily in New York, Quebec, and Ontario.
We know about the Iroquois because Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and particularly Ben Franklin were careful students of the Iroquois League. On July 4, 1744 Ben Franklin (38 Years Old) attended a meeting of the Iroquois Nations at which one of the tribal elders suggested to Franklin and the other colonists that they should separate from King George's England and form their own independent nation in the model of the Iroquois.
At the time of the American Revolution, the Iroquois League was the oldest and most enduring representative democracy in the known world, and kept its population relatively stable. But how? The answer: Women.
When Americans and Canadians began to study Iroquois customs in the 18th and 19th centuries, they learned that the people had a matrilineal (mat-troll-lin-e-al) system: In the Iroquois community, women were the keepers of culture. They were responsible for defining the political, social, spiritual and economic norms of the tribe. Only the women could make the final votes on the most important issues and The Iroquois required all decision be based on their impact on the seventh generation. Iroquois descent was traced through the mother rather than through the father. While Iroquois (chiefs-leaders) were men, women nominated them for their leadership positions and made sure they fulfilled their responsibilities. The chief of a clan could be removed at any time by a council of the women elders of that clan. The chief's sister was responsible for nominating his successor. Women held property, dwellings, horses, and farmed land, and a woman's property before marriage stayed in her possession without being mixed with that of her husband. In other words, women had real power in the Iroquois nations.
Iroquois women had great influence in their communities. While Iroquois society was not 100% completely female dominated, Iroquois women enjoyed social equality and respect that was not shared by colonial women.
In our world that more or less is exactly, culturally, opposite of the status quo (though it's beginning to change now over the last 100 years....both culture and religion are giving more power to women...but not fast enough.)
We must stop looking at the short term profits and consider the future of our nation and our world very seriously. It’s not the right thing to do, it’s the essential thing to do. We must work towards a world of equality and equity for women and all.
Think about some of the world’s religion’s for example that preach the ideas of anti-women: women are responsible for the fall of man, women should be the property of men, women should keep silent in church… NO.
In 1751, a few years after attending that Iroquois meeting, Ben Franklin wrote a letter to his friend James Parker that read, “It would be a very strange thing, if these nations of ignorant savages were capable of forming a scheme for such a union, and be able to execute it in such a manner that it has subsisted ages, and appears indissoluble; and yet a union like that should be impracticable for ten or a dozen English colonies…”