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DavidV

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Among Native American peoples of the United States and Canada, several native nations continue to maintain the institution of hereditary chiefs. The question posed here is whether they can indeed be classified as representing indigenous royalty and nobility. I would argue that they do.

The Natchez Nation in Oklahoma, is one such example, and asserts that its system of government (cofidied in a constitution), has been continuously maintained for the entire existence of its people.
Sujit

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I wold too.
Peter

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Reply with quote  #3 
Can't they just be chiefs and honoured for that, as opposed to being fitted into our own framework of hereditary titles?
Ethiomonarchist

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I have to agree with Peter.  Chiefs, and other traditional leaders (hereditary or not) around the world are increasingly being identified as "royal" and I have a problem with that because the societies in which they live do not necissarily support class, political and economic structures that would support this.  To me, a society should have at least developed feudal structures (both social and economic) to be a Kingdom or Principality, and have vassal tributary states to be an Empire.  If the society is non/pre-feudal, then I would consider it a chieftancy.

An example would be the ethnic Oromo people of Ethiopia.  The Oromo people migrated into Ethiopia from the south in large numbers beginning in the 1600's sweeping in to occupy large areas of the greatly weakened empire in the aftermath of the Christian / Muslim wars of Ahmed Ibn al Ghazi (Gragn).  Although many retained their original animist beliefs, inspite of their initial hostility to the Christian empire and it's moslem vassal states and neighbors, the majority of Oromos adopted either Orthodox Christianity or Islam and mutual assimilation of customs and manners incresed with time.  Protestant missionary activity in Wollega also made great inroads in spreading that faith among the Oromo, particularly in Wollega.

Most Oromos were pastoralists, their economies based almost entirely on raising cattle, and their social structures were egalitarian with a rotating system of collective leadership with chiefs carrying divided responsibilites known as the Aba Dula (military leader) and Aba Gada (justice or civil leader).  In several cases, the holders of these positions were hereditary chiefs, but the societies remained largely egalitarian and collectivist.  However, in certain areas of Ethiopia, the Oromo transitioned from a pastoralist economy to an agricultural one, most notably in the Gibe River basin and in areas such as Jimma.  With agricultural economy came a more stratified social class structure and the old position of Aba Dula transitioned into more formal monarchial positions.  The Kingdoms of Leqa Leqempt and Leqa Qallam in the Gibe area of Wollega and the Sultanate of Jimma are the leading examples of real hereditary monarchies.  Oromo chieftancies and monarchies all had various levels of tributary relations to the Ethiopian Empire.  In northern and central Ethiopia, the Oromo leaders of Wollo and Shewa assimilated and intermarried with the native nobility and became firmly established in the aristocracy of the Empire.  The Yejju Oromos of Wollo even provided a dynasty of regents (something like the Japanese Showguns) for much of the "Zemene Mesafint" era (Age of the Princes) when the Imperial throne was reduced to a largely symbolic figurehead role and only relinquished this upon the usurpation of Tewodros II and the restoration of the power of the Emperor.   Indeed the later Ethiopian monarchs and their consorts all had as much Oromo blood in their veins as any other ethnic blood.  So in some cases the Oromo had developed monarchial and aristocratic institutions, while in others they had chieftaincies that existed in much more egalitarian societies.  This I think illustrates why I don't believe all chiefs are kings or nobles.

In the Americas, while the Incas and the Aztecs certainly qualify as full fledged monarchies and empires, I wouldn't classify the chieftancies of North America as such.


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KYMonarchist

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Ethio, please go read 1491 by Charles C. Mann, and then come back to tell us of how you discovered that the 100 million pre-Columbian Indians did indeed have many civilizations, all across the New World, from the Andes to the Amazon, and from the Dawnland to Mesoamerica.

I say they often are royalty and nobility, certainly so if they're hereditary, and the society is either full of pastoral nomads or practices agriculture. We must remember to look beyond the mere name 'chief' at how the society's leadership is structured, as historically many civilizations falsely described rival societies as tribes with chiefs when those societies had states, like the Romans with the Celts and Germans, for example.
Peter

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Reply with quote  #6 
Ethiomonarchist did say 'the chieftancies of North America'. The present-day US and Canada were indeed occupied by tribal societies with chieftains. The other places you are talking about did have more structured societies, apart from South America east of the Andes, but they are not what is being discussed. And in that discussion no one is looking down on the position of chiefs. My argument, supported by Ethiomonarchist, is that it is more respectful of their position to regard them as what they are, tribal chiefs, as opposed to making them into some sort of faux nobility or royalty. What and where is the Dawnland, may I ask?
KYMonarchist

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Reply with quote  #7 
Ah, but Peter, they have indeed discovered the civilization existed in the Amazon, and did not Gaspar de Orellana confirm this hundreds of years ago. 

And the sachems of North America were running agricultural states with settled people and polities, should they not then be considered royalty and nobility? Is not Powhatan the equal of King James? Were there not 100 million Amerindians here when Columbus sailed? To find the answer, read 1491, it shall open your eyes as it did mine.

The Dawnland was the native name for what is now eastern Massachusetts, btw.
royalcello

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Reply with quote  #8 
KYM you were just allowed back and you're already being patronizing?  To Ethiomonarchist and Peter?  Stop it please.
jovan66102

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYMonarchist
 Is not Powhatan the equal of King James?


B*llshit! The chief of, maybe, a few thousand Natives vs. the King of two (for the time) populous countries about to begin a journey to the largest Empire in human history? No contest!

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'Monarchy can easily be ‘debunked;' but watch the faces, mark the accents of the debunkers. These are the men whose tap-root in Eden has been cut: whom no rumour of the polyphony, the dance, can reach - men to whom pebbles laid in a row are more beautiful than an arch. Yet even if they desire equality, they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.' C.S. Lewis God save Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, etc.! Vive le Très haut, très puissant et très excellent Prince, Louis XX, Par la grâce de Dieu, Roi de France et de Navarre, Roi Très-chrétien!
Peter

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Reply with quote  #10 
It's OK, well I didn't mind what KYM said anyway. I don't know about any Amazonian civilisation, but records and known lineages from it surely did not survive to the present day. Nor did they from the settled societies of what is now the United States, all destroyed by the ravages of disease introduced from Europe almost before white men began to explore the interior. The question of how to regard their rulers is therefore moot. Straightforward tribal chiefs are the lineages we have, and I regard and respect the heirs of those lineages as straightforward tribal chiefs.

Without being disrespectful of Powhatan, he was the leader of a few thousand tribesmen, controlling an area of a few hundred square miles. Apparently his antecedents included earlier chieftains, but we don't know who or how. King James was the ruler of three kingdoms, containing millions of people and comprising over 120,000 square miles, and vastly culturally and technologically advanced compared with the natives of what would be Virginia. Each kingdom was hundreds of years old, and he traced his lineage back to the first ruler of each. So while having proper regard for Powhatan's position and capacities I wouldn't regard him as King James's equal, no.

PS I wasn't intentionally echoing Jovan, we cross-posted. I definitely count three kingdoms, though. I guess Jovan is counting England and Scotland as one kingdom of Great Britain, and indeed the King did use that titulary, but it had no legal force. The great failure of his English reign was his complete inability to obtain the cooperation of Parliament, in that as in almost all other regards, so legally he was king of England, Scotland and Ireland plus nominally France.
jovan66102

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter
 King James was the ruler of three kingdoms,,,,


Sorry! I forgot Ireland.

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'Monarchy can easily be ‘debunked;' but watch the faces, mark the accents of the debunkers. These are the men whose tap-root in Eden has been cut: whom no rumour of the polyphony, the dance, can reach - men to whom pebbles laid in a row are more beautiful than an arch. Yet even if they desire equality, they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.' C.S. Lewis God save Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, etc.! Vive le Très haut, très puissant et très excellent Prince, Louis XX, Par la grâce de Dieu, Roi de France et de Navarre, Roi Très-chrétien!
Peter

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Reply with quote  #12 
OK, my PS wasn't the answer then! No problem.
Windemere

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Reply with quote  #13 
In KYM's earlier post, 'Powhatan' is referred to as a 'sachem', which connotes his position as an important chief, and is probably a better way of referring to him than attempting to relate his position to royalty or nobility. The Algonkian Indians did have a somewhat hereditary aspect to their chieftainships, though merit and ability was more important than heredity. (Massasoit of the Wampanoags, the chief encountered by the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1620, was succeeded by his sons). These Indians also recognised female sachems.

Powhatan's actual name was Wahunsunacock, and 'Powhatan' was the name of the tribal confederacy which he founded. The early English colonists  in Virginia referred to the head chief as 'Chief Powhatan', which was how the tribal name was transferred to its chief.  In the Algonkian language , the title was 'mamanatowick', connoting a paramount chief. 'Weroance' connoted a subordinate chief.The name of the territory over which Wahunsunacock ruled was known as 'Tsenacommacah'.

Powhatan (Wahunsunacock) cooperated with the English settlers, but he was also suspicious of them. He'd united several smaller tribes into a confederacy shortly before the colonists' arrival. Powhatan was succeeded by his younger brother (or half-brother), Opechancanough (circa 1554-1646) who led an unsuccessful war against the expanding English settlements. Opechancanough lived to a great age, and the Powhatan confederacy came apart after his death, dividing into the small component tribes from which it was originally formed. One of these smaller tribes, the Pamunkey, was headed by his nephew, a chief called Nectowance (1600-1649). Nectowance was succeeded as chief of the Pamunkey by Totopotomoi (1625-1656), a grandson of Wahunsunacock's sister. Totopotomoi was killed in a battle with a rival tribe, and was succeeded by his wife, Cockacoeske (circa 1640-1686). After this, the Pamunkey succession becomes unclear. Cockacoeske was evidently succeeded by a niece, known as Betty. Betty either changed her name to Queen 'Ann' when she succeeded to the chieftainship, or perhaps she was succeeded by a different individual named Ann.

The early English colonists did use the words 'chief' and 'king' interchangeably in referring to Indian leaders, both in official documents/treaties, and in common usage. 'King' connoted a high  sachem or chief, who exercised  some degree of authority over several lesser chiefs. It's doubtful, though, that the colonists considered them equals of the British king. An element of some early treaties were that the Indian chief pledged submission to the British king, and became his subjects, though this may not have been fully explained to, or understood by, the Indian leaders who signed the treaties.

Wahunsunacock actually became an ancestor of some of the early colonial families of Virginia, who became the 'Tidewater gentry". Here's one lineage:

Wahunsunacock, chief of the Powhatans, father of:
Pocahontas (1595-1617), mother of:
Thomas Rolfe (b. 1615), father of:
Jane Rolfe (d.1676) mother of:
Col. John Bolling (1676-1729) father of:
Jane Bolling (d. circa 1766/1767) mother of:
Mary Randolph (1727-1781) mother of:
Anne Cary (d. 1789) mother of:
Gov. Thomas Randolph (1768-1828) of Virginia, who married Martha Jefferson, daughter of President Thomas Jefferson.






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