Jikonsaseh (birth/death dates unknown)

“Mother of Nations,” Cofounder of the Iroquois Confederacy

We can’t think of a more fitting (or cooler) title for Jikonsaseh than “Mother of Nations,” since she basically created the mold for women’s equality. Working closely with Hiawatha and another man called the Great Peacekeeper, she not only helped unify the fractured tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy, but she and her partners established the rights and responsibilities of male and female leadership roles. While there are gender-distinct roles of leadership divided between women and men, women have equal responsibility in Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) society. The Seneca Tribe’s matrilineal social order helped inspire the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments, a document that was written centuries later and would eventually lead to women’s right to vote. This timeless culture is preserved and celebrated at the Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor, New York.

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