Iroquois League

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Contextual Citation

"The communal economic life of the five nations played an important role in their ability to live in peace; a metaphor often used for the federation was bringing everyone to live together in the same longhouse and eat from the same bowl."

— Peter Gelderloos [1]


Mirko Rastic:

"In the mid-12th century, a handful of indigenous nations in the American northwest entered into a confederation that has since become known as the Iroquois League. The Haudenosaunee society was characterized by a federative structure, with councils being the key decision-making organ at the longhouse, village, national and league levels.

In the 17th century Francois le Mercier, a French Jesuit, described how deputies from each nation would hold a general assembly every year “to make their complaints and receive the necessary satisfaction in mutual gifts.”

Men and women were considered equal, and there was a clear division of labor based on gender that allowed for a fluctuating balance of power depending on the issue at hand. Each level of society would have both women’s and men’s councils, and even though men would make the decisions at the “national level” regarding issues of war and peace, the women still held a veto power. The confederacy preserved the peace between the different Native American nations for many centuries." (