Rick Hill, chairman of the Oneida Tribe and our October cover subject, shares a bit of Oneida history in a video interview on our website (http://tinyurl.com/34t5fxh).
As we approach the November mid-term elections, it might be appropriate to point out that our American approach to government borrows key elements from the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy. (The Oneidas are among the original five tribes of the Iroquois.) Similarities between the Great Law and the U.S. Constitution include:
* Provision for a federal government, with internal sovereignty retained by the member nations or states;
* The concept that the office is more important than the person who holds the office;
* The ideal of servitude, rather than lordship, of the officeholders;
* Representation and open debate;
* Checks and balances to prevent too much power from being vested in one person or one branch of government; and
* Government through persuasion rather than coercion.
The Founding Fathers adopted the symbols of the American bald eagle and of several arrows together in creating the seal of the United States. The eagle – perhaps inspired by the eagle that keeps vigil atop the Tree of Peace – carries 13 arrows in one talon, denoting the unity of the several states, and an olive branch, denoting respect for peace, in the other.
– Margaret LeBrun, Co-Publisher/Executive Editor