1142 AD. From Violence to Nonviolence, From War to Peace (local & also world)
Before the U.S. Constitution there was The Constitution of the Great Law of Peace: "We, the people, to form a union, to establish Peace, equity and order..." This earliest, longest-lived, democracy made an impact and influence on our Founding Fathers, and to the eventual development of the Articles of Confederation and our U.S. Constitution.
In 1142 AD, six allied indigenous nations on this continent had formed the Iroquois Confederacy (or Haudenosunee), now known as the Iroquois League.
The Iroquois Confederacy — recognized as a Sovereign Nation which existed before Columbus — was established before European contact, complete with a constitution, the "Great Law of Peace," circa August 31, 1142. The impetus for its creation was the need to end squabbling among themselves and establish unity. Discussions and debates continue until there is nothing left to be said, except the obvious truth (or compromise). Meetings end at darkness and resume the next day (avoiding temper flareups). Once they ceased most infighting, the different nations rapidly became one of the strongest forces in 17th century northeastern North America.
Implicit in its written statements involve:
Decisions are made on the local level
Separation of powers, checks and balances, ratification, public opinion
Equalities of all peoples.
Women hold power to veto treaties or to declare war. Treaties are binding only if ratified by 75% of male voters and by two-thirds of "the mothers."
(Obviously much was also omitted/disregarded by Founding Fathers of the U.S. Constitution!)
October 5, 1988: The 100th U.S. Congress presented H.Con.Res.331 in the Senate, "To acknowledge the contribution of the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations to the development of the United States Constitution."
Iroquois and the Founding Fathers
Constitution of the Iroquois Nations
In 1899-1934 Donaldina Cameron, a Scottish American, stayed in San Francisco's Chinatown and fought the slavery of Chinese girls and women trapped in the mire of forced prostitution and indentured servitude. In the past, Miss Cameron became a leader and abolitionist who was defiant in rescuing and harboring girls from brothels or from ships, often bringing exploiters to be arrested.
Today, Cameron House, bearing her name, and under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church, still thrives as an active social & community services operative, supporting the needs of Chinese immigrant families. My parents were grateful for their youth leadership programs.
I was a "Cameron House kid." In 1965 at the age of 23, I found myself 2200 miles south from Chinatown to Hattiesburg, MS, as a Freedom Fighter in the Civil Rights Movement. I too, became an outside agitator choosing to stay in the fight for justice wherever that takes me.
Sources: Siler, Julia Flynn; The White Devil's Daughters, A.Knopf, NY, 2019.
Copyright © Marion Kwan
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