By the time Europeans made contact with the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois, their Confederacy was long established, sophisticated political and social system that united the territories of six nations in a symbolic longhouse that stretched across what is now the state of New York.
From its inception, political activity within the Confederacy reflected a true democracy of multiple local councils with assigned representatives to the Confederacy's council.
Proceedings and policies at which the Confederacy arrived at recording were untraditional in Western ways. Unlike Western political documents, Haudenosaunee/Iroquois political narratives are rich with folktales, origin stories, legends, and rituals. Foundational narratives were recorded in wampum and conveyed orally from person to person as a way to encourage camaraderie, teach morals, impart wisdom and respect, and promote proper societal behaviors.
"The exact date of the joining of the nations is unknown and said to be time immemoriall making it one of the first and longest-lasting participatory democracies in the world."
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