Art by Z Akhmetova (tumblr)
The Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy united the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca nations. The exact date on which the Haudenosaunee was founded is unknown, but is believed to be somewhere between 1100 and 1600. The sixth and final nation of the Haudenosaunee, the Tuscarora, joined in 1722.
The Haudenosaunee was the brainchild of two men, Dekanawida (The Great Peacemaker) and Hiawatha, who brought the Great Law of Peace to the squabbling Iroquoian nations. They were joined by Jigonhsasee, a woman known for her ability to use hospitality to settle disputes between tribes. Dekanawida persuaded her to support the idea of a confederacy of nations and gave her the responsibility of selecting men to sit on the peace council. Dekanawida called Jigonhsasee “Mother of Nations.” Throughout the history of the Haudenosaunee women have retained the right to elect and recall men to the council, as well as the right to veto a declaration of war.