The Iroquois Confederacy Crisis

BarMUN is only a few days away, and the excitement is driving us crazy! In order to prepare for all the excitement, we have organized yet another BarMUN Crisis Simulation to get a taste of before BarMUN begins this Thursday! This will be the second of our three-part Crisis Simulation Series. So join us, Wednesday, September 29th, at 7.30PM, in room CAS 222 to part-take in the Iroquois Confederacy Crisis!

The Iroquois, also known as The People of the Longhouse have a complex and venerable past, woven together from convergent pieces of each individual tribe’s history. Now seamlessly merged, the collective narrative of the Iroquois Confederacy is a beautiful amalgamation of distinct stories. The Iroquois League was founded on an innovative philosophy, known as Great Law of Peace. The Law reasoned that the collective force of multiple allied indigenous nations would be more powerful than any individual tribe alone in defending or attacking a foe. Two men, Deganawida the Peacemaker and Hiawatha, established the Great Law of Peace in response to growing internal tensions between the five major tribes in the region. The men formulated a strategy to pressure the Seneca, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga and Mohawk tribes to accept the Great Law of Peace and relinquish their individual sovereignties. The force that evolved from this monumental alliance was known as the League of Five Nations. The Five Nations designed and adopted the first efficient collaborative economic, political and social system of the region. The backbone of the League was an unwritten treaty that each individual tribe relied on the other four for survival. Although not signed into official law, this agreement was the basis for the Confederacy’s existence and the central assurance of its survival.

The Iroquois grew quickly, invading neighboring tribes and absorbing their land for hunting and raw resources. They spread out along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, in a huge migration out west. This expansion put the League in direct contact with the many surrounding tribes that had never before known of their neighbor’s existence. Nor, as they consequently found out, had they known of the Iroquois’ might. Almost every foe that threatened the Five Nations, or any neighbor that got in their way, quickly learned that this was not a force you wanted to meet on the battlefield. The Iroquois Confederacy’s reputation as a brutal and powerful coalition spread as swiftly as their swords upon an enemy back.

Most notable of these disputes occurred at the beginning of the 17th century, when the League engaged in the Beaver Wars with the French. Supported by their Dutch and English trading partners, the Iroquois wanted to expand their empire and monopolize the fur trade. The notorious fur trade between the Iroquois and their European allies was a central part of the League’s flourishing economy, and the Five Nations knew they had to protect their monopoly on the trade to survive. The French allied with, financially supported and armed the tribes of the Great Lakes Region to help defeat the Iroquois. The Confederacy however, proved too powerful for the distant government of Paris to really wage War on, and the Five Nations brutally defeated the Great Lakes tribes.

The Iroquois continued to expand and conquer new territories throughout the course of the 17th century. The Confederacy was the dominant power of the entire North American continent and saw no rival of equal measure for decades to come. As the turn of the century approached, the Iroquois saw themselves a monolith of incomparable size and strength.

The year is now 1694, what does the future hold?

“While we are deep with concerns about the possible writing of a comprehensive constitution for all our people, we must also deal with issues from beyond the borders of our lands. There are two neighboring tribes who have allied themselves with our enemies the French. They could be dangerous in many fashions, and we need to develop a solution to this pressing issue.”

“The first of these two neighboring tribes is that of the Huron, otherwise known as the Wyandot. They have been allying themselves with the French, and they could pose a pressing issue to our nation. We have battled with them in the past, including the year 1650, where we thoroughly crushed their opposition. While they are not the biggest threat at this juncture, we could do well by reaching out to them and possibly attempting to turn them to the cause of our great Confederacy and our esteemed British allies”

“The second major threat in the form of another Indian tribe is that of the Algonquian. They have been rising in strength, and their pro-French leanings are, to be quite honest, unacceptable. As a great confederacy, we must deal with this tribe in a timely and expedient fashion before their power becomes too great.”

“There are two ways that these two tribes can be approached. The first is to take an approach of military might. By showing the Huron and Algonquian the advanced war skills of our confederacy, we can expand our power in the region. If at all possible, annexing the fellow Indian nations could be a possible path. It would allow us to expand our borders, and to provide more land and resources for our Confederacy.”

“The second possible way that we could approach this issue is to extend the hand of diplomacy instead. Turning the opposing tribes to our side, or even against the French, would be beneficial to our cause. Above all, in our current war with the French, we must not fail. Failure is unacceptable.”

“It is with this note that I leave you fellow people of the Longhouse. Unite, and then advance the cause of our people and our Confederacy with the greatest will the river has ever washed up on the shores of our great nation.”

WORKS CITED

Encyclopedia of the Haudenosaunee, pg 135. Greenwood Publishing Group. 2000.
<http://books.google.com/books?id=zibNDBchPkMC&lpg=PP1&dq=encyclopedia+haudenosaunee&pg=PA135&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false>
<http://www.carnegiemnh.org/exhibitions/north-south-east-west/iroquois/confederacy.html>

For the complete BarMUN III Iroquois Confederacy Background Guide, click here.

Announcements

BeanMUN 2011 Secretary-General applications are due Wednesday, September 29th at 7pm. Click here to fill one out.

BarMUN is merely days away, and it’s still not too late to get involved! Apply to join the excitement here. BarMUN takes place from Thursday, September 30th to Sunday, October 3rd.

– The BosMUN Army is already gearing up! Apply to join the staff here.

– The International Relations Review is still accepting submissions. To submit an entry or inquire about joining the team, email irr@buiaa.org.

CMUNNY Training session times and locations are below. All sessions are mandatory for members of the CMUNNY Travel Team. If you cannot attend any of the training sessions for whatever reason, email travel@buiaa.org, and we will figure something else out. We also encourage all other members to attend if you are new to Model UN and/or are interested in applying to be on the travel team for another conference.

Training Session 3: September 29th, 8:30- 9:15 pm CAS 222,
Training Session 4: October 6th, 8:30- 9:30 pm CAS 222.