The Great Peacemaker (Dekanawida, Heavenly Messenger) and Hiawatha founded the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, known to the French as the "Iroquois" and to the English as the "Six Nations". The Great Peacemaker established a council of clan chiefs in which power is shared between the sexes and most decisions are made by consensus. The oral laws became the constitution of the Haudenosaunee.
The Hiawatha Belt records when the original 5 nations (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk) buried their weapons of war to live in peace. In the center are the Onondaga where the Peacemaker planted the Tree of Peace. The Tuscarora later joined the Confederacy, making it 6 nations.
The Hiawatha Belt was returned to the Haudenosaunee in the 1980's from the SUNY-Albany museum of anthropology. Since then, it has come to represent the flag of the Haudenosaunee which is prominently displayed in Haudenosaunee territory. It is also the flag of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team which competes internationally.
In The Gift of Sports: Indigenous Ceremonial Dimensions of the Games We Love, Philip Arnold says.
"Of the 565 Native American entities recognized by the U.S. Federal Government today, only three are still governed by their ancient ceremonial systems. All three are Haudenosaunee, and one of these is the Onondaga Nation. Onondaga territory still operates by the ancient Longhouse system of government. Other Native American nations are governed by elected governments and controlled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) -- a branch of the United Stated Federal Government."