New York

Humans have inhabited what is now New York for twelve thousand years. Much of the give and take of tribal power has been lost to time. But New York came to be dominated by two tribal confederacies – the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) to the north and west and the Algonquians in the south. Both had complex governmental systems designed to tie disparate peoples together under a single system with representative and democratic elements that influenced colonial governments as well as the United States. For instance, the nations within the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (which means People of the Long House) had independent councils who could be removed from office by those who appointed them. However, “foreign policy” decisions such as declaring war or signing peace treaties had to be discussed by a council of all nations. The Haudenosaunee Confederacy persists to this day, with an elective system established in 1924, making it not only one of the first but one of the oldest continuous participatory democracies in history.
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