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Thank you Oneida for America

As we study and learn from US History, the contribution of native americans is often omitted. It is my purpose to make known Native American contribution to both the constitution, and nation we call the United States of America.

Under ‘The Great Law of Peace’, those that come in peace, are to be received in peace. This is the constitution of the Iroquois confederacy, and one of the founding documents of the US Constitution.

The five Iroquois nations, characterizing themselves as “the people of the longhouse,” were the MohawkOneida, OnondagaCayuga, and Seneca. After the Tuscarora joined in 1722, the confederacy became known to the English as the Six Nations and was recognized as such at Albany, New York (1722) [1]

During the harsh winter of 1777, as George Washington fought the British, the balance of power rested upon which side might recruit the various strong Indian tribes currently governing the land.

“When Washington’s troops were starving at Valley Forge, the general appealed in vain for supplies to feed his men. Local farmers and merchants refused to give him credit, nor would they accept continental dollars devalued by inflation. In the freezing cold and delirious from hunger, Washington’s men spotted a band of Indians advancing from the north and prepared for battle. At the last moment, the soldiers realized that the Indians were not carrying guns, but rather baskets of corn and other food. The Oneida Indians saved the lives of Washington’s men at Valley Forge. The soldiers reportedly were so ravenously hungry that they had to be held back from eating uncooked dried corn which would have bloated their belly’s. To honor the elder Indian woman who stayed and cooked for the general’s troops, Martha Washington gave her a shawl, which is still in the possession of the Oneida nation.” [2]


Gregory Schaaf, Wampum Belts and Peace Trees: George Morgan, Native Americans, and Revolutionary Diplomacy (Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum Publishing, 1990), 1