America HOME of the Brave

When they say “Red Blooded American” and “Home of the Brave” could this be what they mean?

And The Bill of Rights

In the 18th Century, The Haudenosaunee or League of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy was the oldest, most highly evolved participatory democracy on Earth.

The League has sometimes been called the ‘Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth’. In a 1751 letter written by Benjamin Franklin to James Parker, the former had this to say about the Iroquois League, 

“It would be a strange thing if Six Nations of ignorant savages should be capable of forming a scheme for such a union, and be able to execute it in such a manner as that it has subsisted ages and appears indissoluble; and yet that a like union should be impracticable for ten or a dozen English colonies, to whom it is more necessary and must be more advantageous, and who cannot be supposed to want an equal understanding of their interests.”    

Most Americans are unaware of how much influence the indigenous American Indian system of self-government based the Iroquois’s Great Law of Peace, had in the forging of a new nation, based on self-governance and freedom. When our founding fathers were inspired to create the American Constitution, they found the framework within the Iroquois’s Great Law of Peace.

The Haudenosaunee are oldest living participatory democracy on earth. Their government is truly based on the consent of the governed and contains a great deal of life-promoting intelligence. The Iroquois constitution is known as the Great Law of Peace.


Before the ideas of inalienable rights, liberty, and democracy were strung together in words, they were strung together in beads made of shells, in this Iroquois Confederacy Wampum Belt.
It represents 1,000 years of democratic principles that we Indians shared with our newer brothers and sisters (including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin who openly acknowledged that our contribution formed the basis of The Constitution.)
Even “We The People” began as an ancient Indian phrase.

The Great Law of Peace was used as the basis for international law also

source: American Indian Institute and US Congressional Record

Concepts of freedom contained in The Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy’s “Great Law of Peace” 

 freedom of speech,

 freedom of religion,

 the right of women to participate in government,

separation of powers,

checks and balances within government.

a government “of the people, by the people and for the people,”

 three branches of government: two houses and a grand counsel,

a Women’s Council, which is the Iroquois equivalent of our Supreme Court –settling disputes and judging legal violations.

The American Indians peaceful influence and contribution has long been ignored, but is undeniable, in fact. The truth is American Indians had lived under their own freedom based self-representative government that ruled for a 1000 years. This information was shared with the colonists, like Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin was the official “printer” for the Iroquois Nation and their council proceeding.

The U.S. Constitution is modeled in both principle and form on the Great Law of Peace of the Native American nation known as the Iroquois Confederation.

constitution, 4th of july, july 4th

In 1987, the United States Senate acknowledged that the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois Nations served as a model for the Constitution of the United States.  (U.S. S. Con. Res. 76, 2 Dec. 1987).

“We the People” was an ancient native American Indian phrase .

The central idea underlying Iroquois political philosophy is that peace is the will of the Creator, and the ultimate spiritual goal and natural order among humans.

sky, clouds, clouds form

The Founding Fathers’ Consultation with the Iroquois

For decades, the Iroquois had urged the English colonists to unite together as one independent and free people. 

The vision for the new United States of America was fashioned by men like Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. They drew much inspiration from this confederacy of nations.

George Washington, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson met frequently with the Iroquois and made themselves very familiar with the Great Law of Peace. Washington expressed “great excitement” over the two houses and Grand Counsel. Several delegates from the Iroquois Confederacy attended the Continental Congress in 1776 as it wrote the Declaration of Independence and drafted the Constitution of the United States, modeling it on the Iroquois Constitution. Three weeks later, the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the United States of America was born.

On June 11, 1776 as American independence was being debated, the Continental Congress formally invited visiting Iroquois chiefs into the meeting hall. 

There a speech was delivered. American delegates delivered a speech and addressed the chiefs as “Brothers.” They expressed the wish that the “friendship” between them would “continue as long as the sun shall shine” and the “waters run.”

The Continental Congress also expressed hopes that their new country and the Iroquois would act “as one people, and have but one heart.”

With Iroquois chiefs inside the halls of Congress on the eve of American Independence, the impact of Iroquois ideas on America’s founders is unmistakable.

John Adams in his Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of the “precise” separation of powers that were present in American Indian nations. He advocated “a more accurate investigation of the form of governments” of the Indians while creating a new constitution.

What got left out of the U.S. Constitution

In fact, just about the only parts of the Great Law of Peace that our founding fathers didn’t incorporate were these:

The Seventh Generation principle:  The Constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy states that chiefs consider the impact of their decisions on the seventh generation to come.

The role of women: Clan mothers choose candidates [who are male] as sachems [political leaders].  The women maintain ownership of land and homes, and exercise veto power over any council action that may result in war.  The women can also impeach and expel any leader who conducts himself improperly or loses the confidence of the electorate; then the women choose a new leader.

The American iconic symbols

The Peacemaker designated The Tree of Peace as a symbol of the Great Law of Peace — a great white pine tree whose branches spread out to shelter all nations who commit themselves to Peace.

Beneath the tree the Five Nations buried their weapons of war.

Atop the tree is the Eagle-that-sees-far.

There is a bundle of five arrows tied together to represent strength of five tribes bound together in peace.

Four long roots stretch out in the four sacred directions—the “white roots of peace.”

Thomas Jefferson adopted the symbols of the Peacemaker legend.

The Tree of Peace became the Liberty Tree displayed on colonial flags.

Eagle-that-sees-far became the American Eagle, still a symbol of American government.

On the U.S. Great Seal, the American Eagle clutches a bundle of thirteen arrows, representing the original colonies.

Our eagle also holds an olive branch symbolizing that the United States of America has “a strong desire for peace, but will always be ready for war.”

The three principles of the Great Law of Peace

Righteousness, meaning people must treat each other fairly. “Each individual must have a strong sense of justice, must treat people as equals and must enjoy equal protection under the Great Law.”

Health:  “Health means that the soundness of mind, body and spirit will create a strong individual. Health is also the peacefulness that results when a strong mind uses its rational power to promote well-being between peoples, between nations.”

Power:  “The laws of the Great Law provide authority, tradition and stability if properly respected in thought and action. Power comes from the united actions of the people operating under one law, with one mind, one heart, and one body. Such power can assure that justice and healthfulness continue. People and nations need to exercise just enough power to maintain the peace and well-being of the members of the Confederacy.”

The Preamble to the Constitution for the united States for America

“We the People of the united States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the united States of America.”

source: American Indian Institute

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