article covers League and Dekanawida

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article covers League and Dekanawida - TALES... Of the' TRIBES By Editiia L. Watson...
TALES... Of the' TRIBES By Editiia L. Watson The Iroquois The first successful League of Na tlons was that of the Iroquois, also known as the Five N a t io u s. These tribes, the Seneca, Mohawk, Cayuga, Oneida and Onondaga, Onondaga, were united in a confederation by the efforts of Dekunawida and Hiawatha, those brilliant statesmen of the aborigines, about the year 1570. (One hundred hundred and fifty-two years later, the Tuscarora were admitted admitted to the league, which was known from then on as the Six Nations). All the Iroquois tribes were much alike In their customs. Kinship was traced exclusively through the female hbrod, and the women controlled many of the political and legal situations. The lodges and their furnishings were t he property of the women, and so were the children. All lands, including including the burial grounds, also were theirs. Since women were the owners owners of so much of the tribal property. It followed that the councils, even that of the league itself, while composed of men, really only represented the women and their rights. The penalty for killing a woman was twice that for killing a man. Women possessed the right to forbid their sons to go on the warpath; they kept close watch on the affairs of their tribe, and guarded the treasury, with a voice in the disposal of its contents. contents. The feminists of today may point with pride to this great confederation confederation as tiie protype of their desired civilization. In each tribe certain classes of persons persons held the position of chiefs, and tiiere were three grades of these, whose functions were defined by the tribal laws. The confederation was an enlargement of tlie tribal government, government, which created new rights and duties, yet adhered closely to the precedent precedent set by the separate tribes. The sensible laws and principles of the constitution of this confederation were due, in a large measure, to De- kanawida, a Huron, who appears to have been a man far in advance of his time. Hiawatha, a Mohawk, was the one who undertook the enormous labor of putting Dekanawida’s principles principles Into practice. The story of these two men almost passes belief, because of the time in which they lived, the obstacles they were compelled compelled to surmount and the brilliance of their final anchievement for the Iroquois confederation will stand forever forever as a wonderful example of aboriginal aboriginal government. When the Europeans first heard of the league it was already a powerful one, and as soon as contact with the whites enabled them to obtain firearms, firearms, the Five Nations began to conquer conquer their neighbors on all sides and to extend their territory. They were successful In this expansion until blocked by the Cherokee on the south, and the Chippewa (who were also expanding) expanding) on the west. In fact, the Chippewa finally forced them to withdraw from part of the country they had conquered, the peninsula between between Lake Erie and Lake Huron. The Canadian Indians to their north were resisting their advance also, and when Champlain joined them and held the leagued tribes back, he created in the battled Iroquois most hitter enemies enemies of the French. From this time on the French had cause to know the strength and the venom of these Indians, Indians, who. as they had become allied with the English, had powerful backing. backing. The French, realizing not only that these were dangerous enemies but also that they would be friends worth having, having, tried every means in their power to change their attitude. The missionaries missionaries were charged to befriend these Indians and to try to alter their enmity, enmity, and were successful in some individual cases. A good many from the Mohawk and Onondaga and a few from the other tribes, withdrew from their people and formed settlements of their own on the St. Lawrence river. river. These people, known as the Catholic Catholic Iroquois, were friendly to the French, and took part with them against their former tribesmen. The league tried, time after time, to win them back, but finally gave them up as traitors who would not reform. When the American Revolution began began it was decided among the Iroquois Iroquois to let each tribe make its own choice of action. The league had always always been friendly with the English, so that they all, with two exceptions, joined their friends in the struggle. The Oneida (the most cruel and least tractable of the Iroquois tribes) and part of the Tuscarora remained neutral. neutral. After the war those of the league who had been allied with the English were settled on a reservation in Ontario. Ontario. Those in the United States, except except the Oneida, were given reservations reservations in New York, while the Oneida went to Green Bay, Wis., near which place they settled. (©. 1931. Western Newspaper Union.)

Clipped from Shiner Gazette02 Jul 1931, ThuPage 7

Shiner Gazette (Shiner, Texas)02 Jul 1931, ThuPage 7
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  • article covers League and Dekanawida

    smkolins – 24 Oct 2014

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