History for the Rest of Us

Nanfan Treaty

Nanfan Treaty

Jul 13, 2013

The Nanfan Treaty or The Deed from the Five Nations to the King, of their Beaver Hunting Ground, was an agreement reached in Albany, New York on July 19, 1701, between John Nanfan and representatives of the Iroquois Confederacy. Nanfan was acting on behalf of the The Crown as colonial governor of New York. The Five Nations, which would subsequently became the ‘Six Nations’, granted the English crown title to land that the Five Nations had claimed as a hunting ground by right of conquest during the later Beaver Wars of the 17th century. The land extended from the present-day Midwestern United States into southern Ontario. The treaty was not recognized by the French, since the majority of the Beaver Hunting Grounds were also claimed by New France or its Algonquian Indian allies. Consequently, the English did not attempt, during this time period, to settle the region. The treaty was amended September 14, 1726 to reserve a 60 mile wide strip of land adjoining Lakes Erie and Ontario for occupation and use by the ‘Six Nations’. This permission was granted by the King of Great Britain, who was the landowner based on the 1701 agreement. The Nanfan Treaty: A “Deed from the Five Nations to the King, of their Beaver Hunting Ground,” made at Albany, New York, July 19, 1701. This, which is somewhat peculiar, is as follows: To all Christian & Indian people in this parte of the world and in Europe over the great salt waters, to whom the presents shall come—Wee the Sachims Chief men, Captns and representatives of the Five nations or Cantons of Indians called the Maquase Oneydes Onnandages and Sinnekes living in the Government of New York in America, to the north west of Albany on this side the Lake Cadarachqui sendeth greeting—Bee it known unto you that our ancestors to our certain knowledge have had, time out of mind a fierce and bloody warr with seaven nations of Indians called the Aragaritkas whose Chief cômand was called successively Chohahise—The land is scituate lyeing and being northwest and by west from Albany beginning on the south west side of Cadarachqui lake and includes all that waste Tract of...

Constitution of the Iroquois Nations

Constitution of the Iroquois Nations

Dec 19, 2012

The Gayanashagowa, the Great Binding Law, or Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois Six Nations is an oral constitution which created the Iroquois Confederacy. It was developed by The Great Peacemaker, a Huron man, and his spokesman Hiawatha. Constitution of the Iroquois Nations: THE GREAT BINDING LAW, GAYANASHAGOWA 1. I am Dekanawidah and with the Five Nations’ Confederate Lords I plant the Tree of Great Peace. I plant it in your territory, Adodarhoh, and the Onondaga Nation, in the territory of you who are Firekeepers. I name the tree the Tree of the Great Long Leaves. Under the shade of this Tree of the Great Peace we spread the soft white feathery down of the globe thistle as seats for you, Adodarhoh, and your cousin Lords. We place you upon those seats, spread soft with the feathery down of the globe thistle, there beneath the shade of the spreading branches of the Tree of Peace. There shall you sit and watch the Council Fire of the Confederacy of the Five Nations, and all the affairs of the Five Nations shall be transacted at this place before you, Adodarhoh, and your cousin Lords, by the Confederate Lords of the Five Nations. 2. Roots have spread out from the Tree of the Great Peace, one to the north, one to the east, one to the south and one to the west. The name of these roots is The Great White Roots and their nature is Peace and Strength. If any man or any nation outside the Five Nations shall obey the laws of the Great Peace and make known their disposition to the Lords of the Confederacy, they may trace the Roots to the Tree and if their minds are clean and they are obedient and promise to obey the wishes of the Confederate Council, they shall be welcomed to take shelter beneath the Tree of the Long Leaves. We place at the top of the Tree of the Long Leaves an Eagle who is able to see afar. If he sees in the distance any evil approaching or any danger threatening he will at once warn the people of the Confederacy. 3. To you...