Forming a “More Perfect Union” Through Indigenous Values
By Sandy Bigtree and Philip P. Arnold
September 17, 2020
How might we unlock hope in an expansive spirit of democracy for present and future generations in this time of upheaval? This new conversation series on “The State of American Democracy” invites us to explore this question with some of our most creative thinkers and public intellectuals. The first episode on September 17, 2020, focuses on the moral foundations of democracy we can draw for guidance. The article below on the Haudenosaunee Confederacy highlights the early roots of democracy in the United States. – Mary Evelyn Tucker
MANY THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO, the Peacemaker arrived at Onondaga Lake to deliver instructions that would unify five warring nations together under the Great Law of Peace, thus establishing the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. At this time the Hiawatha Wampum Belt was woven to reflect this union, with the central tree to represent the Onondaga Nation. This peace endured for thousands of years, and the image of this belt is used today in the Haudenosaunee flag. The Founding Fathers of the United States took inspiration in this history and created a new form of democracy—one rooted under the Haudenosaunee’s Great Tree of Peace.