To follow up a recent HARDCORPS member column at Raisethehammer.org, I thought I’d post one of my favourite papers about Six Nations.

This paper, Where Licence Reigns with all Impunity, is an anarchist look at the traditional functioning of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations)) Confederacy, and what kind of rules, rights and governance structures prevailed. And while you might expect something like this from an anarcho-primitivist publication like Fifth Estate or Green Anarchy, this comes from Stephen Arthur of NEFAC (the North-Eastrn Federation of Anarcho-Communists) – a very “red” Anarchist group that isn’t usually into this kind of thing.

Not surprisingly to anyone who’s studied the Haudenosaunee, Arthur finds many amazing examples of women’s rights, peacemaking and direct democracy – a far cry from the “savage barbarian” stereotypes of life before Europeans got here. Clearly, freedom, fairness and peace are not new ideas, and certainly weren’t invented by a bunch of old white guys in the 1800s.

Most of Canada, and the better part of the United States were governed by similar conferderacies – the Huron (Wendat), or the Ojibwe (Anishnabe) for intance. Though virtually every scrap of the map was claimed by one or more of of these groups, almost none of them were governed by any kind of centralized authority. The one exception, of course, would be the coast of British Columbia where wealthy chiefs ruled many communities around them.

This wasn’t about a “lack of advancement”, either. Many of the Plains Indians were settled agricultural societies until the horse and gun allowed them to turn to nomadic hunting bison as a much more productive means of living and eating. Many consider them to have been the world’s wealthiest hunter-gatherers at the time. Canada was governed, like much of the rest of the world at the time, by federated autonomous communities because it works.

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