Iroquois Constitution

Greg Finnegan (finnegan@HUSC.HARVARD.EDU)
Wed, 7 Feb 1996 13:06:55 -0500

This is a *minor* aside to the tangle of interesting (usually) threads
ensnaring the Iroquois & ANTHRO-L: the Cleveland Freenet (grassroots
net'ing) has a folder of benchmark patriotic documents, including an
alleged copy of the written text of the Iroquois Constitution. I've pasted
below a paragraph from the explanatory document that accompanies the
"constitution," as well as the internet address for both. Web browsers
should accept the address as given; NETSCAPE does. The scholarly origins,
as cited below, are decidedly from an early and more romantic period in
Euro-American views of Native American societies & cultures. I have NOT
pursued the history/historiography of this document, nor, for that matter,
have I verified the accuracy of the modern re-keying of the text. The tone
of the modern explantory document is decidedly reverential and does NOT
appear to be well grounded in anthropological or Native American studies
scholarship. I'm posting this for whatever value ANTHRO-L readers may
decide it has.

Greg Finnegan (full sign. block at end.)

extract from explanatory document:

There are several other documents now available in various
places which refer to the original founding of the Iroquois,
and they seem to substantiate this document as probably
truthful and accurate. This version was prepared by Arthur
C. Parker, Archeologist of the State Museum in New York in
1915, and published by the University of the State of New York
as Bulletin 184 on April 1, 1916. It is entitled: The
Constitution of the Five Nations - or - The Iroquois Book of
the Great Law. In it, you will find close parallels to our
Executive, Legislative and Judiciary branches of government
as originally described in our U. S. Constitution.


Gregory A. Finnegan, PhD
Associate Librarian for Public Services
and Head of Reference
Tozzer Library
Harvard University
21 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge MA 02138-2089
617-495-2253 fax 617-496-2741

"For whatever is truly wondrous and fearful in man, never yet was put into
words or books." MOBY-DICK, chapter 110.