MNN: Feb. 17, 2013. The following informative well-done article was posted by The Cohoes Falls and the Iroquois facebook page,

“According to Haudenosaunee stories, a male child was born whose destiny was to address the condition of continuous warfare. The story of this man, who would come to be called the Peacemaker, gave form and substance to a kind of revolution in thinking. peacemaking

In that time, people fought wars with clubs, traps, and bows and arrows. These were not what we today call weapons of mass destruction, but a solid club wielded by a skilled warrior was a terrifying weapon.

Any effort to seek peace had to be practical. In the days prior to the invention of states–just like in this current so-called age of terrorism–no one had the power to assure that everyone would stop the violence. There was an attention to practice, to how to make promises to one another that would be kept.

Under the Peacemaker’s guidance, the Haudenosaunee people developed a protocol to be followed when enemies first come together under a temporary truce. The protocol begins with a “condolence,” a short ceremony in which the two parties acknowledge each other’s humanity and the losses and sacrifices that each had suffered. The two parties would meet in the middle of the forest, and one side would say to the other something like this:

“We’ve been engaged in combat, and you’ve come out of the forest, and you’re covered in the bracken of the forest; we see that on your clothing.”

“So the first thing we do is we brush your clothing off, and clean off all the stuff that shows that you’ve been in a war.”

The next thing they do is they brush off the bench that the man is going to sit on, and make it clean and ready.

One side passes strings of wampum to the other, each string carrying a pre-set message. Your enemy then acknowledges these messages by repeating them back to you. They say things like this:

“With this wampum, I release the pressure in your chest. You’re feeling tight in your body from the struggle, so I release you from that,”

“With this one, I remove the tears from your eyes that you’ve been crying because of the people you lost in war.”

“And with this one, I release your vocal cords. I release your voice so you can speak strongly.”

They are addressing the conditions that can extend the truce. The first goal is to stop the fighting; a truce is not peace, but it is a small step in that direction.

The peacemaking process begins with some principles, one of which is symbolized by images of people casting weapons beneath a tree and burying them. This is, of course, entirely symbolic, just like modern disarmament is entirely symbolic, since you can always go out and buy more weapons. Likewise, the Indians could always go home and whittle more weapons, and in any case, they couldn’t give up weapons entirely because they depended on them for hunting and food gathering. So when they say they are putting the weapons of war under the tree, this is symbolic language meaning that they are not going to use them on each other anymore.

The second principle can be summarized in this statement: We are now going to put our minds together to create peace. The focus is on a desirable outcome that benefits everyone. One of the most famous quotations from Indians is from Sitting Bull: “Now let us put our minds together to see what kind of world we can leave for our children.” And another is out of the Haudenosaunee tradition now known as The Great Law of Peace: “Now we put our minds together to see what kind of world we can create for the seventh generation yet unborn.” Both of these are pragmatic constructions; both are about envisioning a desirable outcome and then negotiating the steps to go from here to the outcome that you want.”

MNN Mohawk Nation News  For more news, books, workshops, to donate and sign up for MNN newsletters, go to  More stories at MNN Archives.  Address:  Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L 1B0




MNN. Feb. 24, 2011. If the Arab Indigenous nations can bring down the dictators, can they unite? Indigenous are united by blood to our families, clans, communities, nations and tribes. Our natural affiliation can’t be erased. Colonial relationships are artificial, changeable and will die out.

Are there similarities between us and the Arabs? Bankers crave the resources of the Indigenous people worldwide. They fear we may once again govern ourselves.

In Libya Gaddafi and his small tribe became the super band/tribal councils governing everything. The oil resource is the legacy of all the people. He placed his family in all the important positions. He was careful not to use excessive force against his people. His private paramilitary forces include foreign mercenaries to control and kill for him.

These traditional tribal affiliations could decide the outcome of current protests. Gadaffi’s crackdown prompted many to unite. Who, if anyone, those protesters are answering to is unknown. Indigenous people answer to themselves as the power is in the people. Divide and rule of Indigenous tribes is governed by outside power and money.

This strategy is familiar. When the French and English washed up on our shores, they immediately tried to figure out and take over our power structure. It was based on friendship and alliances between hundreds of Indigenous nations. We agreed to live peacefully. If one member deviated from the great peace, sanctions followed. There were no leaders, just the people.

The French approached the Algonquin and Huron. The English approached the Iroquois. Attempts to start fights between us failed. The holocaust followed.

As in the Middle East, imaginary borders were created to divide us. Some of our nations ended up in many colonial jurisdictions.

Our natural affiliations never disappeared. We all had the principles of peace and equality in common. We are the inherent caretakers of the land, above, on and below the earth. The size of the nation does not matter. Each has equal rights. Decision are made through consensus and the best interests of all.

Outsiders turned out to be dangerous. Colonists set up band and tribal council puppets. They gave them power, money and protection. The rest of the people were kept poor, hungry and angry. Today across Great Turtle Island colonial mini dictatorships try to run our communities.

When we protested an incursion onto our land in 1990 foreign troops were brought in to attack us. We remembered that our people cannot defect from who we are. They came from everywhere to defend us.

Indigenous ties are misunderstood. Colonists create structures and conflicts to divide us.

The Arab tribes have their own traditions in common that unite them.

We have the tree of the great peace that was planted so that its roots went in all directions. Anyone wanting peace can trace the roots to the tree and take shelter.

Two messengers, Dekanawida and Ayonwatha, went to all the Rotinshonni:onwe [Iroquois] nations to stop their conflicts and form a confederacy based on peace and friendship.

The Mohawks joined first. The Oneida, Seneca and Cayuga then joined. Later the Tuscarora joined. The Onondaga were under the control of the feared brutal Atothardo, who terrorized and killed his own people. He was depicted as having snakes coming out his head and with a crooked body.

Atotharho was eventually subdued. The snakes were combed out of his hair, songs were sung to him and the great peace was explained. Finally he agreed to join the confederacy and was appointed its chairman. He had been convinced there was a better way to work with the people. Rather than using fear, terror or obedience to control them, he mediated peace and was given respect.

The principles of the great peace are based on the natural world known by Indigenous people worldwide.

What would happen if natural Arab Indigenous affiliations formed the basis of a confederacy throughout the Middle East? The artificial borders created by outsiders would be erased. The Arab people may become united and more powerful in order to stop resource rape and murder. All of humanity would benefit.