human nature

i have been reading a bit about the early history of new york state- as i am a native upstate new yorker. i always preface with 'upstate' because folks who aren't from here often tend to think that manhattan is all there is to new york state. on the contrary, upstate has just as rich a history as downstate- and indeed, the mighty iroquois nation encompassed just about all of new york state and surrounding territories down into tennessee and the carolinas. i wanted to know a bit more of what my ancestors were about- my father's family is seneca. i discovered many things- ironic and interesting- the iroquois did not care for the french and yet, the name iroquois is the french term for the 6 nations; and seneca is derived from the dutch term sinnikar which actually came from the algonquin term osinika. neat stuff.

the more relevant facts i am finding out- human nature brought the 6 nations down from being one of the mightiest foes of the europeans- to being relegated to 3 small reservations in all of the state they used to own. empire building never ends well. any of the ancient civilizations could tell us that. the seneca nation was the mightiest and strongest out of the 6 nations in the iroquois league and their zeal for battle and honor helped bring the league down. they would replace their ranks with captives who swore fealty and loyalty to the league. that never works. and so it didn't when the league turned towards defending themselves against the americans before and after the revolution.

i hear the sabre rattling again with iran and other nations around the world. the united states of america was modeled somewhat after the league of 6 nations- and the irony is we always thought we had a democratic republic. turns out we had an oligarchy from the start. we would do well to learn from the iroquois because constant warfare and arrogance brought them to their knees. they were united under the guise of stability and peace- but subjugated under that banner and forced loyalty where there was none.

reading that history and more modern history- and looking back to ancient greece and rome- well, doesn't appear that human nature changes all that much. only our technology.


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