OUR ORIGIN STORY. WHERE DID WE COME FROM?
Many of the ideals and governance structures touted by the “Founding Founders and Mothers” as uniquely American were actually ideas, laws, and values from an alliance of multiple Indigenous nations called the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, meaning "People of the longhouse." This group was also called the Iroquois Confederacy by the French, and the League of Five Nations by the English. The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is often described as the oldest participatory democracy on Earth, and its constitution is believed to be the model on which the American Constitution is based. Ironically, while the ideas, laws and values of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy were integral in the writing of the Constitution, Native Americans' cultural and religious traditions and practices were outlawed until 1978, with the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. How people gather, express their cultural identities, and practice community continues to be an issue of contention in modern America. Most recently, the restrictions placed on building mosques in certain neighborhoods, the uncovering of women’s hijabs for government issued IDs, or the Muslim travel ban are examples of how this is still playing out. How are these issues manifested at the many levels of government and how can we approach these issues of religious and cultural freedoms with an equity lens?
Experts: Prairie Rose Seminole, Policy Analyst; Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner, Executive Director for the Matilda Joslyn Gage Center for Social Justice Dialogue; Sabina Mohyuddin, Executive Director for the American Muslim Advisory Council in Nashville, TN
Resources List [download]
Prairie Rose Seminole's Powerpoint [download]
Sabina Mohyuddin's Powerpoint [download]
Case Study on why building Mosques is so controversial [download]