Friday, April 15, 2016

Native American Biography: Iroquois Confederacy

Deganawida, Huron, is credited with being the founder of the Iroquois Confederacy, but would not have been successful without the help of Hiawatha.  The third participant is Atotarho who represented the Onondaga.  When the Confederacy was formed it was during a period of great violence.  There was much warring between tribes, and some tribes practiced cannibalism and/or human sacrifice.  It is said Deganawida was sent by the Creator to bring the message of peace.  He was a prophet.  Hiawatha, a Mohawk, had been part of the violence, likely practicing cannibalism.  However after a dream he began searching.  He traveled to Deganawida who had started preaching peace.  Hiawatha became a prophet in his own right, but also the spokesperson for the pair.  The espoused the ideals of  “peace, civil authority, righteousness, and the great law." The confederation would not have happened if they could not bring the  Onondaga on board, and their leader Atotarho was hesitant.  To the Onandago was give the prime position of central fire-keepers, a position they still hold.  The Iroquois initially included five tribes, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayoga and Seneca; and eventually six when joined by the Tuscarora.

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