A Conversation for The Constitution of the United States of America
Mudhooks: ,,, busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest... Started conversation Aug 1, 2003
You appear to have omitted the influence of the Iroquois Confederacy upon the Constitution of the United States.... I think it would be remiss not to include what was an important contribution to the making of the United States.
I would like to add a few points...
"On June 11, 1776 while the question of independence was being debated, the visiting Iroquois chiefs were formally invited into the meeting hall of the Continental Congress. There a speech was delivered, in which they were addressed as "Brothers" and told of the delegates' wish that the "friendship" between them would "continue as long as the sun shall shine" and the "waters run." The speech also expressed the hope that the new Americans and the Iroquois act "as one people, and have but one heart." After this speech, an Onondaga chief requested permission to give Hancock an Indian name. The Congress graciously consented, and so the president was renamed "Karanduawn, or the Great Tree." With the Iroquois chiefs inside the halls of Congress on the eve of American Independence, the impact of Iroquois ideas on the founders is unmistakable. History is indebted to Charles Thomson, an adopted Delaware, whose knowledge of and respect for American Indians is reflected in the attention that he gave to this ceremony in the records of the Continental Congress."
1 There is a legend that accompanies the 13 arrows. On July 4th, 1744, the great Iroquois chief Gunasedago met with colonists in what is now Lancaster, Pennsylvania. There, he represented the interests of his people in the Six Nation Confederacy and their desire to live in harmony with the colonists. Minutes were taken from this meeting to Philadelphia to be printed. The owner of the printshop was Benjamin Franklin. While setting the type he was greatly impressed by the reported wisdom of the Native Americans and their system of self-government. He chose to meet with them directly.
Regarding the bundle of 13 arrows on the Great Seal of the United States and on the American dollar bill...
"Upon arriving, Franklin was presented with a gift by the chief. It was a single arrow. While Franklin pondered its meaning and significance, the chief snatched it back, cracked it over his knee, and handed the broken arrow back to his startled guest. Suddenly, the chief knocked it from Franklin's hand, reached behind himself, and presented 13 arrows. Again, while Franklin pondered the meaning and significance of this gift, the chief snatched them back and cracked them over his knee. This time the arrows remained unbroken. The chief presented Franklin with these 13 unbroken arrows (seen in the left talon of the eagle) indicating that if the 13 colonies were united, they would be less likely to be broken by the British. Gunasedago had reinacted the same symbolic gesture that Deganawidah and Hiawatha used to establish the Iroquois Confederacy some time before the coming of Columbus to the New World."
The Constitution of the Five Nations, or The Great Law: http://www.constitution.org/cons/iroquois.htm
The Founding Documents (of the American Constitution): http://www.constitution.org/cs_found.htm
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