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Native American Political Systems
and the Evolution of Democracy:

An Annotated Bibliography

Bruce E. Johansen
Professor of Communication and
Native American Studies
University of Nebraska at Omaha


Books, Scholarly, and Specialty Journals

(*) __________. "Iroquois Confederacy Formed Basis for U.S. Constitution." Indian Life Magazine 17:1 (March/April, 1996), p. 9.

(*) __________. "The Iroquois Confederacy." Peace Research Review 14:1 (January, 1996), pp. 100-104.

Birchfield, Dan and Mark Sachner, eds. The Encyclopedia of American Indians. New York: Marshall Cavendish, in press.

(*) Bordewich, Fergus M. Killing the White Man's Indian: Reinventing Native Americans at the End of the Twentieth Century. New York: Doubleday, 1996.

(*) Bork, Robert H. Slouching Toward Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline. San Francisco: ReganBooks/HarperCollins, 1996. (*) Churchill, Ward. From A Native Son. Boston: South End Press, 1996. (*) Fedr, Don. "Victim Nation Meets Public Ed." Boston Herald, October 14, 1996, p. 25.

(*) Francis, Lee. Native Time: A Historical Time Line of Native America. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996.

(*) Grinde, Donald A., Jr. and Bruce E. Johansen. "Sauce for the Goose: demand and definitions for 'Proof' Regarding the Iroquois and Democracy." William & Mary Q. Third Ser. LIII, No. 3(Summer, 1996), pp. 621-636.

(*) Jennings, Francis. Benjamin Franklin: Politician. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996. (*) Iverson, Peter. [Review of Hauptman, Tribes and Tribulations] Ethnohistory 43:4(Fall, 1996), pp. 729-731. Johansen, Bruce E. and Donald A. Grinde, Jr. The Encyclopedia of Native American Biography. New York: Henry Holt, in press, proj. late 1996.

Johansen, Bruce E., Donald A. Grinde, Jr., and Barbara Mann. Debating Democracy: The Iroquois Legacy of Freedom. Santa Fe: N.M.: Clear Light Publishers, 1996.

(*) Johansen, Bruce E. "Debating the Origins of Democracy: Overview of an Annotated Bibliography." American Indian Culture & Research Journal, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Summer, 1996), pp. 155-172.

(*) Johansen, Bruce E. The Encyclopedia of Native American Legal Tradition. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, proj. 1998.

(*) Johansen, Bruce E.: Native American Political Systems and the Evolution of Democracy: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996.

(*) La Vere, David. [Review: The Native Americans, 1994] Journal of American History 83:3(December, 1996), pp. 1113-1114. (*) Levy, Philip A. "Exemplars of Taking Liberties: The Iroquois Influence Thesis and the Problem of Evidence." William & Mary Q., Third Ser., LIII, No. 3(Summer, 1996), pp. 588-604.

(*) Manus, Peter M. "The Owl, the Indian, the Feminist, and the Brother: Environmentalism Encounters the Social Justice Movements." Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review 23 (Winter, 1996), p. 249.

(*) Markoff, John. Waves of Democracy: Social Movements and Political Change. Thousand Oaks, Ca.: Pine Forge Press, 1996. (*) Mihesuah, Devon A. American Indians: Stereotypes and Realities. Atlanta, Georgia: Clarity Publishers, 1996. (*) Newhouse, David R. and Ian D. Chapman. "Organizational Transformation: A Case Study of Two Aboriginal Organizations." Human Relations 49:7(July, 1996), p. 995.

(*) Nies, Judith. Native American History. New York: Ballentine, 1996. (*) Norgren, Jill. The Cherokee Cases: The Confrontation of Law and Politics. New York: Macgrwa-Hill, 1996.

(*) Parillo, Vincent N. Diversity in America. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Pine Forge Press, 1996.

(*) Payne, Samuel B., Jr. "The Iroquois League, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution." William & Mary Q., Third Ser., LIII, No. 3(Summer, 1996), pp. 606-621.

(*) Pratt, Scott L. "The Influence of the Iroquois on Early American Philosophy." Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 32:2(Spring, 1996), pp. 275-314.

(*) Stubben, Jerry. [Review of Hauptman, Tribes and Tribulations (1995)]. American Indian Culture and Research Journal 20:1(1996), pp. 253-256.

(*) Thompson, William N. Native American Issues: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO/Contemporary World Issues Series, 1996. (*) Wagner, Sally Roesch. The Untold Story of the Iroquois Influence on Early Feminists: Essays by Sally Roesch Wagner. Aberdeen, S.D.: Sky Carrier Press, 1996.

(*) Zimmerman, Native North America: Living Wisdom. Boston: Little-Brown, 1996.

Newspaper and Magazine Articles

(*) _________. "Book Notes." Omaha World-Herald (Entertainment), September 8, 1996.

(*) __________. "Considering Indigenous Equity." Links: Women's Studies Program. [University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign] February, 1996, p. 11. (*) __________. "Family: Entertaining Options...Children's Books." Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 14, 1996, p. 3-E.

(*) __________. "Leon Shenandoah." The Glasgow [Scotland] Herald, July 24, 1996, p. 16.

(*) _________. "Test Your Knowledge of Women's Accomplishments in History." Idaho Falls Post-Register, March 13, 1996, p. B-3.

(*) __________. "What's On-line." Houston Chronicle (Business Section), December 29, 1996, p. 6. (*) Ackerman, Todd. "Radio Host Recuperates After Being Hit By Driver." Houston Chronicle, March 9, 1996, p. A-29.

(*) Atkinson, Nancy. "Our Debt to Native Americans." [Letter to the Editor] Minneapolis Star-Tribune, April 13, 1996, p. 22-A.

(*) Carpenter, Paul. "The Directive Avoids Focus on Ourselves." Allentown [Pennsylvania] Morning Call, September 29, 1996, p. B-2.

(*) Erdrich, Louise. "Read Their Lips! Three Novel Ideas for a Clinton Speech." Washington Post [Outlook], June 23, 1996, p. C-1.

(*) Henry, Elisabeth. "This Holiday in Native American Terms." Tannersville [New York] Mountain Eagle, November 27, 1996, n.p. (*) Hoshikawa, Jun. "Native Nations." International GEO 3:9 [In Japanese] September, 1996, p. 66-69.

(*) Jacobs, Alex. "Tribes Victims Again." Indian Time 14:1 (January 12, 1996, p. 6.

(*) Johansen, Bruce E. "A Political Correctness Horror Story," Nuestro Mundo (Omaha), March, 1996, p. 2.

(*) Johansen. "More on Iroquois Law and American History," Nuestro Mundo (Omaha), April, 1996, p. 2.

(*) Pelphrey, Jonathan. "Johansen's Expertise, Book Spark Interest, Debate." University of Nebraska at Omaha Gateway, August 30, 1996, pp. 1, 2.

(*) Phillips, Steve. "'Multicultural' Must Include Whites." San Francisco Examiner, May 20, 1996, p. A-19.

(*) Ryan, Grace. "The Voice of Indigenous Women: Today and Yesterday." HONOR Digest [Milwaukee, Wisc.] January/February, 1996, p. 5. (*) [Sloan-Spice, Shannon.] "Wouldn't it be Nice if..." HONOR Digest, March/April, 1996, p. 10.

(*) Strait, Douglas E. "Iroquois League Served as Basis for Constitution." Columbus [Ohio] Dispatch, March 26, 1996, p. 6-A.

(*) Thomas, Jane Resh. "Children's Books: Kids Can Avoid a Sketchy Sense of the Past...Native American Encyclopedia Makes History Vivid." Minneapolis Star-Tribune, February 11, 1996, p. 15-F.

(*) Washburn, Wilcomb E. "Clear-eyed View of Indian Life." Washington Times, February 18, 1996, p. B-7.

(*) Worthington, Bob. "Questions About Local Water Supply." [Letter to the editor] Tampa Tribune, October 12, 1996, p. 17.

Other items

  1. Copy of curriculum, K-6, Rochester, New York Public Schools. The curriculum lists goals for its "Iroquois Heritage Studies Program." One of these is: "It reinforces the influence that the Iroquois Confederacy had on the Constitution." A contact name and phone number is supplied. Sent by Sally Roesch Wagner; received March 2, 1996.

  2. Indications that the New York State Education Department Curriculum guide Haudenosaunee: Past, Present, Future may be revived is contained in correspondence from John Kahiohes Fadden, received April 4, 1996, in files. Fadden obtained a copy of the guide as edited by SED's George Gregory, and set it side by side with the last draft compiled by a team of Iroquois writers. He lists omissions in the "new," version, downsized from 610 to 235 pages by Gregory. Among the textual casualties were several pages on which Iroquois influence on United States political institutions was discussed. This package of correspondence also contains suggestions that Iroquois traditionalists are planning to raise the money necessary to publish their original version of the guide independently of the state educational bureaucracy.

  3. Book catalogue, "Native American Books, Book Publishing Company [Summertown, TN], Spring/Summer, 1996." Description of Akwesasne Notes, Basic Call to Consciousness says of the Iroquois: "This is a people that perfected participatory democracy hundreds of years before the American Revolution. From their social and political institutions has come inspiration for some of the most vital institutions and political philosophies of the modern world. Some of the principles from their 'Great Law of Peace' are embodied in the United States Constitution."

  4. By 1996, the Library of Congress cataloguing system included the heading: "United States -- Civilization -- [American] Indian Influences."

  5. The Six Nations Iroquois Museum, Onchiota, New York, describes the Iroquois system of government and ways in which it shaped United States institutions in the text accompanying a painting created by John Kahionhes Fadden, June, 1996. Text is in files.

  6. Letter from Sarah Pletts Dance Theatre, Aspen, Colorado, June 14, 1996: "We...invite you to join us in the fourth annual gathering of Native Americans, Government, and Community leaders at Council Circle....On Thursday, July 4, Native representatives and others will participate in the Independence Day festivities. This event is held on July 4th every year to recognize the joint efforts of the country's forefounders with Native Americans in forming the American democracy." The letter is signed by Pletts and John Bennett, mayor of Aspen.

  7. Advertisement, Greenwood Press, in American Political Science Review, June, 1996, for Native American Political Systems and the Evolution of Democracy: an Annotated Bibliography. "Prepared by a major participant in the debate, this is the first bibliography on the controversial issue of the Native American influence on American democracy."

  8. World Wide Website:, in a detailed discussion of wampum's indigenous roots and adaptions by English and Dutch colonists in the New World, observes that while Native Americans did not use wampum as money, it was adopted early as legal tender in most or all of the European colonies in North America. Wampum, which was used in ceremonies and as part of diplomatic protocol by many native people (particularly the Iroquois) was adopted because of a scarcity of European legal tender in America; in 1679, guests in New Amsterdam hotels paid their bills in wampum. Part of this piece observes that "The rules of the Iroquois Confederacy were admired by Benjamin Franklin and others and...many of its provisions were used as a basis for the Constitution of the United States of America." Electronic text supplied by John Kahionhes Fadden, received July 22, 1996.

  9. World Wide Website, The Cleveland Freenet, aa300, Cybercasting Services Division, National Public Telecomputing Network, supplied by John Kahionhes Fadden, received August 2, 1996. Gerald Murphy wrote a 10,000-word piece on the "Iroquois Constitution," noting that he "found sufficient data and evidence to convince me that the Iroquois most certainly did have a considerable influence on the drafting of our own Constitution." Murphy's search was begun by a reference to the idea in Charles Mee's The Genius of the People [1987].

  10. Prepared testimony, Henry Cagey, Chairman, the Lummi Indian Nation, before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, September 24, 1996. Cagey builds an historical case for the constitutional roots of Indian treaties, reminding legislators along the way that House and Senate resolutions passed in the late 1980s "proclaimed the intent 'to acknowledge the contribution of the Iroquois Confederacy of nations to the development of the United States Constitution, and to reaffirm the continuing government-to-government relationship between the Indian tribe and the United States established in the Constitution.'"

  11. (*) Proclamation, State of New York, signed by Gov. George E. Pataki, Sept. 12, 1996. The proclamation observes that "Native Americans are the original inhabitants of the lands that now constitute New York State. New Yorkers are the beneficiaries of the rich cultural heritage of the Iroquian and Algonquian peoples who continue to live in this great state." The statement notes Native American contributions to settlers' foods and forms of shelter, as well as governmental institutions: "The early settlers dealt with Indian nations on a government-to-government basis. The Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee) developed principles of freedom of speech and separation of powers in government, which principles form the foundation of our government today." The proclamation sets aside the fourth Saturday of September as "Native American Day" in New York State. A copy of the proclamation was received from John Kahionhes Fadden via Irving Powless, Tadadaho (Speaker) of the Iroquois Grand Council, January 30, 1997.

  12. (*) Letter from Richard P. Mills, New York Education Commissioner, to Irving Powless, Tadadaho (Speaker) of the Iroquois Grand Council at Onondaga, New York, returning rights to the curriculum guide Haudenosaunee: Past, Present, Future to the Grand Council from the State of New York. Mills observes that while he appreciates the philosophical differences between the Haudenosaunee authors of the guide and the "scholars" (e.g., "Trolls") who reviewed it, compromise was not possible. Mills also writes that the New York State Education Department does not have funds to print it.

  13. (*) Internet postings: The "Anthro-L Archives," a discussion group mainly for academic anthropologists, contains several discussions of the "influence" issue with headings such as "The Iroquois and the Constitution" and "The Iroquois and Radical Feminists." Commentary ranges widely, and includes support from Prof. Joseph O'Neal, University of Colorado at Denver, and skepticism by Thomas W. Kavanagh, Curator of Collections at the William Hammond Mathers Museum, citing several works by Grinde, Johansen, and Wagner. See, for example,

  14. (*) Forgotten Founders was used as a required textbook in Political Science 317-517, "American Indian Government and Politics," at the University of South Dakota, Professors David L. Aronson and Leonard Brughier.

  15. (*) Forgotten Founders was used as a required textbook in Political Science 317-517, "American Indian Government and Politics," at the University of South Dakota, Professors David L. Aronson and Leonard Brughier.

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