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by Jud Hartmann
 
 
Garakontie bronze by Jud Hartmann
 
 

"Garakontie" by Jud Hartmann

For a quarter century, Garakontie was "first among equals" of the "50 Confederate Lords" who ruled over the league of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), presiding over the Grand Council of the most powerful and enduring Indian confederacy ever created in North America. His conversion to Catholicism and his fluency in French enhanced Garakontie's ability to successfully negotiate with both the French governor of Canada and the English Governor-General of New York, the two most powerful Europeans of the time in North America. Through these means Garakontie secured for the Iroquois the military technology and foreign aid which ensured their victory over all their Amerindian enemies. His influence was such that all European powers who wished to deal with the Five Nations adopted the Iroquois diplomatic protocol rather than imposing their own as they did elsewhere in the world. Garakontie's greatest diplomatic achievement was the establishment in July, 1677 of the "Covenant Chain" (a chain of silver, which will not break or rust), between the Five Nations, the Governor-General of New York, the New England and Chesapeake colonies and numerous dependent Indian nations.

Ultimately, the Covenant Chain secured the victory of the English language, customs, religion and economic system over all of England's rivals. However, it first served the interests of the Iroquois by placing them in such a commanding position within Aboriginal America that they remain to this day the most influential Native Americans east of the Great Plains. After concluding the Covenant Chain negotiations, Garakontie returned to his home in Onondaga. That fall, the old man gave his "farewell feast", at the end of which he announced his own death. He then did collapse and die, leaving a legacy as possibly the greatest American diplomat of the 17th century.


Edition size 20. Hot cast bronze.
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