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Home > Children's Books > A Peacemaker for Warring Nations: The Founding of the Iroquois League

cover of The Green Musician

Available now

at your local bookseller or your favorite online book retailer.

A Peacemaker for Warring
Nations: The Founding of the Iroquois League
by: Joseph Bruchac
illustrated by: David Kanietakeron Fadden
Subject(s): Age(s) / Grade level

Young Adult Nonfiction / Native American

10–14 / 4–9

Format: Size / page count:


8" × 10" / 56 pages

ISBN: Date available:


April 2021




The League of the Iroquois was a true representational democracy—so much so that the United States Constitution is said to have been modeled on some of its tenets.

But how, perhaps a thousand years before the time of Columbus, did the Five Iroquois Nations (the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca) come to end the bitter eye-for-eye warfare among them? What brought them together in an alliance based on the Great Law of Peace? And how was it that a system of Clan Mothers was instituted in which women are seen as the center of the nation and still today choose the 50 royaners, or peace chiefs, who speak for their respective communities in meetings of the League?

In A Peacemaker for Warring Nations, renowned Native author Joseph Bruchac draws from the teachings of both contemporary and past Iroquois tradition bearers in telling the inspiring story of how “the Peacemaker,” a divine messenger sent by the Creator, helped to bring reconciliation to warring nations.

The book is beautifully and accurately illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden, a respected Mohawk artist whose work honors his deep indigenous roots.

Awards & Honors
  • Distinguished Favorite in the “Children’s Education” category of the 2022 NYC Big Book Awards
  • Gold Medal in the “Non-Fiction Biography” category of the 2022 Midwest Book Awards
  • Silver Medal in the “Non-Fiction History/Regional” category of the 2022 Midwest Book Awards
  • Silver Medal in the “Interior Design” category of the 2022 Midwest Book Awards
  • Winner in the “Multicultural & International Books” category of the 2021 Skipping Stones Honor Awards


“An account of the origins of American democracy via the Haudenosaunee League, also known as the Iroquois Confederacy.

“This inspiring picture book for upper-elementary–age kids recounts the founding of the Haudenosaunee League, centuries before the United States became a nation, by a man known as the Peacemaker. In a time of violence and war, a child is conceived without a father and born to a single mother. His grandmother is baffled until one night a stranger appears by her bed to explain that the child has been sent as a prophet to heal nations. On one level, Bruchac’s (Nulhegan Abenaki) tale is a great introduction to archetypes, as the legendary Peacemaker is identifiable in many ways. He is challenged by nonbelievers and tested by feats of faith, and his followers must sacrifice to step onto the righteous path. Returning from death, he achieves what no man has done before, convincing the Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Oneida people to set their weapons down and work together. On another level, it fills a gap in U.S.–history education, revealing how Benjamin Franklin was inspired by the Haudenosaunee League’s representative form of government. With a group of headwomen as advisers and a long house to represent the peoples’ dependence on one another, the League’s council fire burns bright as a symbol of democratic unity. Fadden (Akwesasne Mohawk) contributes dramatic paintings that bring to life this moment in pre-colonial history. With a useful bibliography, as well as a preface and auth or’s note that speak to the contemporary inspiration for the book, this story should be on all shelves.

“A timely, must-read tale about overcoming divisions as a nation. (Picture book. 8-12)

Kirkus Reviews (This book has been given a “Kirkus Star,” one of the most coveted designations in the book industry. The Kirkus Star marks “books of exceptional merit.”)
A Peacemaker for Warring Nations: The Founding of the Iroquois League uses the teachings of modern and traditional Iroquois stories to tell the story of how ‘the Peacemaker,’ a divine entity, helped bring peace to the Iroquois Nations. The arrival of peace to these five warring Iroquois entities led to the formation of a League that later served to influence the U.S. Constitution. David Kanietakeron Fadden, a Mohawk artist, provides beautiful illustrations that bring to life a detailed fable and series of insights into Native tribal encounters, perspectives, and struggles over war and peace. More so than most books on the topic, A Peacemaker for Warring Nations provides an in-depth history for young readers ages 4-9 that reads with the high drama of fiction, but incorporates many facts suitable for classroom discussion and elementary-level Native American studies.”

— from a review in Children's Bookwatch, The Native American Shelf, an online publication
“This new children's book, A Peacemaker for Warring Nations: The Founding of the Iroquois League, is based upon traditional legends about how five warring tribes were able to come together long ago to form the stable, peaceful Iroquois League centering in what became upstate New York … Joseph Bruchac, a native author and storyteller wrote the text and David Kanietaker Fadden a native artist prepared the beautiful illustrations.…

“Both children and adults will be inspired by this book. It is intended for children old enough to read for themselves. Some of the events and concepts in this book will be difficult for children and for older readers as well to follow. There is much material for discussion in a family or classroom setting.

“This book is published by Wisdom Tales, which specializes in books for children with spiritual and religious themes from around the world. I have learned a great deal from reading and reviewing Wisdom Tales titles the past several years. Readers of all ages will learn from this story of the Iroquois League.”

— from a review by Robin Friedman in Reviewer's Bookwatch, an online publication
“Joseph Bruchac, an enrolled member of the Nulhegan Abenaki Nation, is a world-renowned author of more than 170 books.…We are grateful that he writes for young people as well as adults. For this book, intended for 10 - 14 year olds, he worked together with illustrator David Kanietakeron Fadden, an Akwesasne Mohawk artist.… The entire book carries such a strong sense of the Creator's message of peace that we frequently felt like we were reading Gospels from another culture.… Bruchac explains that despite three centuries of turmoil, the Great League [i.e. the Iroquois Confederacy] still keeps their system of governance and their longhouse in Onondaga. [Storytellers of the Confederacy tribes] still tell the Peacemaker's story all around the world, ‘in the hopes that the message of the Peacemaker may still be heard, bring hope, and one sunny day be followed not just by their nations but by all humankind.’ May it be so.”

— from a review by Patricia Campbell Carlson in Spirituality & Practice, “a website of resources for spiritual journeys”
sample page spread from the book “A Peacemaker for Warring Nations”, written by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden

A sample of David Kanietakeron Fadden’s illustrations from the book
A Peacemaker for Warring Nations, written by Josesph Bruchac

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