Council of Mothers

Tea Partiers and right wing conservatives have been proclaiming themselves as advocates of the US Constitution and want to go back to the original interpretation established by the framers. Their near hysterical and distorted manner of embracing the Constitution seems to have missed an important element, the heart and soul of the document itself.

When the founding fathers of the United States looked for examples of effective government and human liberty upon which to model the Constitution, it was with the hope that it would serve to unite the thirteen colonies. They didn’t find the model in Europe as many believe, but rather they found it in the New World Society, Iroquois Nation.

The central idea underlying the Iroquois philosophy is that peace and love is the will of the Creator and the ultimate spiritual goal. It is, in fact, the natural order among humans. Their Great Law of Peace demonstrated a profound understanding of the principles of peace and human freedom that laid the foundation for the Iroquois government. Because of this foundation the Iroquois distinguished themselves in fostering genuine, effective statesmanship. And it was this fundamental principle of peace and freedom that the US Constitution actively emulated. So when I hear right wingers proclaim authority about the Constitution, I wonder if we are talking about the same document.

There’s a story about the Great Law of Peace that completely captured my imagination, the legend of the Peacemaker. According to the legend of the Peacemaker, the first person to accept and embrace the word of the Great Law of Peace was a woman by the name Jikonsaseh. When the Peacemaker came to her and spoke his words, she broke down in tears for she had never heard anything so beautiful. She promised to follow the Peacemaker for the rest of her days. Because she was the first person to accept the Peacemaker’s message of peace, the Peacemaker named her the Mother of Nations and incorporated her role as part of the Great Law of Peace. As Clan Mother, she would be the symbol of the leadership of women who would have an important role in peacemaking. Clan mothers would lead the family clans and would have the responsibility of raising the chiefs who would come from a matrilineal descent. Women were given the right of holding the chief’s titles and the power to remove dissident chiefs.

Because of women’s connection to the earth as givers of live, they would hold the responsibility of deciding the future of the nation. When men would want to fight, women were believed to make the best decisions because they would know the true price of war. Because life is born from a woman’s body, nurtured at her breast, protected under her wing, so that life can flourish, women would discourage fighting and encourage the chiefs to seek a peaceful resolution. The Counsel of Clan Mothers would decide when and if the Iroquois went to war.

Establishing a Council of Clan Mothers was part of the Iroquois Constitution the framers did not adopt. Imagine if we had. Imagine if we would.


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17 Responses to “Council of Mothers”

  1. Donna Denio says:

    This is a powerful idea!

    Imagine wars that are thoughtful instead of reactive and my sense is that a Council of Clan Mothers would assure talking first as the preferable course. Men have a preference for action. Women have a preference for talking. Sometimes you need to act and many times talking and listening can save the day.

    Yesterday, on one of my favorite TV shows, Sunday Morning, there was a segment about John Lennon’s two wives and two sons coming together as a single family. The mothers and their sons decided to give peace a chance.

    Talking before acting and forgiveness are almost always possibilities.

  2. Judy Schultz says:

    I would also like to know; why is is that when i see these Fox tea b.. party people on TV I have not seen a single one dressed as a Native American like a true revolutionary?

  3. shg says:

    Awesome. That’s so weird that I found this. During my own “dark night of the soul” journey, I frequently found myself walking alone at night, singing, “fire and water,” not knowing why, but trusting the rightness of my inner voice. Fire is the male essence; water is female. They are yang and yin, sun and moon, perfect polarities, as necessary to one another as all complementary pairings are to balance, healing, wholeness, sustainability.

    One useful ritual is to start noticing where you are imbalanced, and to spend time nurturing the flip side of the equation. This is holding the “both/and,” which is about integration rather than separation. Our computers are binary. Humans are far more complex operating systems!

  4. Leroy Donovan says:

    The tea-party crowd will always fail to see that the analogy actually makes them British.

  5. Erin Finch says:

    I haven’t seen a more precise and decisive deflating of the “tea party’s” collective absurdity. Fabulous.

  6. Jan Brown says:

    Perhaps if our Founding Fathers had included Founding Mothers in the new nation’s governing body, we’d consider ritual-based decision making, that honors both masculine and feminine voices, the natural course for balance and well being. Just imagine what our culture—and the environment—might look like, if the White House consulted a group of wise women prior to implementing any major policy change.

  7. Lawrence Miles says:

    You’re right Birute, our Founding Fathers understood the necessity of government, and of paying for it…the sticking point was not having representation in the process of making the decisions.

    It seems to me that the new rallying cry (if only they respected the English language well enough to express their thoughts properly) is: only WE get representation, and we don’t want to pay no stinking taxes.

  8. Gail Whitehead says:

    Inspiring. Sit in a stream and sing. Be willing to follow your inner guidance, even if you look like a fool. When you can descend to the depths of your being and release what no longer serves, beginning anew in defenselessness and trust, you’re on your way to becoming a vessel of wisdom for the tribe.

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