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The Tuscarora

The union created a powerful alliance of related Iroquoian tribes and peoples. The Tuscarora tribe joined the Confederacy in , as non-voting members of the league, and the collective tribes became known as the Six Nations.

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The powerful, and brutal, Iroquois coalition grew quickly by invading neighboring tribes and absorbing their land into Iroquois territory. The Iroquois Confederacy aimed to create an empire by incorporating subservient, conquered peoples.

Iroquois Confederacy Map - Territory of each of the Tribes The Iroquoian Confederacy initially consisted of five tribes who were in close proximity of the Iroquois territory. The Iroquois Confederacy map shows the locations and territory of the tribes in the league, before the Europeans arrived. Map of Iroquois territory and the location of each of the tribes. The neighboring tribes were conquered by the Iroquoian Confederacy and their lands absorbed into their territory. History of the Iroquois The Iroquois nation were a war-like people and there was continuous inter tribal warfare and conflicts with the tribes of the Powhatan Confederacy.

The young warriors were trained to become immune to pain and they had little respect for any signs of weakness. Honor was acquired by bravery and aggression in warfare. The Iroquoian tribes were merciless in their treatment of their enemies and captives who were tortured and sometimes roasted alive - their remains were consumed in cannibalistic feasts.

Their incessant warfare was weakening the Iroquois tribes which became a major concern of two men. The prophet Deganawida who was a spiritual leader and his disciple Hiawatha who was a wise man, chief of the Onondaga tribe who acted as the spokesman for Deganawida. Founding of the Iroquois Confederacy or League Deganawida and Hiawatha travelled across Iroquois territory talking about their ideas and eventually took their message of peace to a council meeting of the five nations, or tribes.

They brought a message, known as the Great Law of Peace, to the warring Iroquoian nations. Dekanawida was given the title of 'Great Peacemaker'. Reasons for Founding of the Iroquois Confederacy Deganawida and Hiawatha had several major objectives in their quest to bring about an alliance of the Iroquois tribes and initiate the Iroquoian Confederacy:. The Constitution of the Confederacy covered subjects including:.

There are Articles in the Iroquois Confederacy constitution - read the Articles to gain a great insight into their Constitution and the Confederacy. Wampum are the traditional, sacred shell beads of the Iroquoian tribes which were used for recording special events. Picture of the Hiawatha Wampum Belt of the Iroquois Confederacy The Iroquois Confederacy Wampum belt contains symbols for each of the original five tribes in their geographic order.

Each of the symbols is linked by a line running between them which symbolised peace in the Confederacy.


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The branches of the Tree of Peace represented protection. A far seeing eagle sat upon the top of the tree to symbolize a warning system if the tribes were in danger. Beneath the roots of the Tree of Peace a weapon was buried which symbolized that there would be no fighting between the Iroquois tribes. Tree of Peace History of the Iroquois Confederacy Constitution - Significance of the Longhouse The Longhouse was used by Deganawida and Hiawatha as a symbol to represent the union, the culture and the traditions of the Iroquois Confederation and how their territory should be shared.

The three largest tribes held important positions within the confederation which relate to the structure of the longhouse. The Confederacy was guided by some basic principles.

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The need for justice and balancing of rights and obligations. The need for peace among individuals and between groups. The need for authority and power. Deciding upon individual matters of Law and order remained the internal concern of each tribe, but the Confederacy legally prohibited cannibalism.

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The Great Law of Peace is divided into articles. Adherence to the constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy is embodied in the Grand Council, an assembly of fifty hereditary sachems. Each nation had several male leaders, or Sachems, called Hoyaneh. Operating in the same fashion as the Mohawk Nation Council, decision making amongst the Council of the Chiefs is conducted according to clan protocols and is consensus based.

Hundreds of years ago, when longhouses were still employed as living quarters for the Iroquois, there was at least one lodge in the village that was used as their Council House; where political and social gatherings took place. Today, political gatherings and councils take place at the village Longhouse. Some Iroquois communities actually have more than one Longhouse today.

It must be noted that each community may have a slight variation in its organization. For example, it is quite common for different communities or Longhouses to have a different seating pattern for their councils.

The Mohawk National Council is composed of nine chieftainship titles, representing nine extended clan families from across Mohawk Nation Territory. A Clanmother also has the authority to remove her Chief from office. The jurisdiction of the Mohawk National Council is limited within its territory and must adhere to the resolutions passed by the Haudenosaunee Grand Council of Chiefs. However, these nine chiefs have permanent seats on the Haudenosaunee Grand Council of Chiefs. The Chiefs of the Turtle Clan are responsible for hearing the matters of the people.

If an issue is of particular importance to the people, the Chiefs of the Turtle Clan shall then draw the issue from the Well and introduce it to the Council. They shall then pass the issue to their brother Chiefs of the Wolf Clan. The Chiefs of the Wolf Clan shall then discuss the standing issue.

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After deliberating upon the standing issue, the Chiefs of the Wolf Clan will then either support the resolution or ask their brother Chiefs of the Turtle Clan to reconsider their position with the recommendations of the Wolf Clan in mind. If both the Chiefs of the Turtle Clan and Wolf Clan become of one mind, the Chiefs of the Turtle Clan shall then pass the standing issue to their cousin Chiefs of the Bear Clan to further discuss the matter.

After deliberating upon the standing issue, the Chiefs of the Bear Clan will then either confirm the resolution or ask their cousin Chiefs of the Turtle Clan and Wolf Clan to reconsider their position with the recommendations of the Bear Clan in mind. The Council shall continue to deliberate in this fashion until they come to one mind through consensus building.

Debates before the Grand Council Fire of the Haudenosaunee are conducted in the following manner. The Firekeepers shall then offer propose an issue for discussion. Each issue must be unanimously agreed upon by the Grand Council before it is drawn from the Well.