- Slides: 13
What are the advantages and disadvantages Of consensus as a decision-making model for government
Consensus as a Decision- Making Model for Government CONSENSUS – decisions are not made unless everyone agrees. Issues are debated and discussed until everyone agrees on a course of action. Consensus decision-making is relatively rare for government. In most democracies, decisions are made according to a majority vote. Because the representatives belong to different political parties, regions, and so forth, consensus in a democracy is difficult to achieve.
Consensus works well for decisions made in small groups. It requires the participants to be open-minded and to consider the view of the minority. Everyone’s opinion matters, not just the majority view. Consensus also encourages members to put the interests of the group ahead of their own interest. This means that individuals must be willing to compromise and change their views to be more in line with the group. A good consensus meets everyone’s needs, and everyone has a say in the decisions-making process…
…on the other hand, if a person cannot or will not compromise, consensus becomes impossible. It can be difficult, even when people are open-minded, to find a solution that is acceptable to everyone. The more people who are involved, the less likely consensus becomes. This means that a government has to find a balance. Too few people and the consensus will not represent everyone. Too many people and consensus becomes difficult, if not impossible. Consensus requires a lot of time and discussion to achieve.
How did the Six Nations use the consensus-building process THE SIX NATIONS AND THE CONSENSUS – BUILDING PROCESS
Local Issues The Grand Council was not the sole decision-making body of the Six Nation. Most of the time, issues were discussed and resolved locally. In these discussion, people tried to reach a consensus, often with the advice of the clan mothers and the faithkeepers. The faithkeepers had an important ceremonial role among the Iroquois – they lead the Iroquois rituals for such events as weddings, funerals, and religious celebration. Once the people had reached a consensus, the clan mother would inform the clan’s chief of the decision.
Serious matters For serious matters, especially those that affected the whole Confederacy, the people would turn to the Grand Council. First, someone would inform the Onondaga chiefs of the issue or proposal. This would often be a clan mother. The Onondaga were the firekeepers: it was their responsibility to host the council meetings. They invited the rest of the chiefs to the Council. Once the chiefs were present, the Onondaga welcomed them to the Council and thanked them for attending. Continue next slide…
The council would then elect a spokesman for the day. This spokesman would be a chief from the Onondaga, Mohawk, or Seneca nations. He was responsible for making sure that the Council meeting went according to the rules of the Great Law. There was a specific process to follow. Once the spokesman announced the issue, the chiefs of the Mohawk and Seneca would quietly discuss it among themselves. These two nations were called the Elder Brother since they were the first two nations to join the Confederacy. They would discuss the issue until they reached a consensus. They would tell the chiefs of the Oneida and Cayuga, the Younger Brothers, of their decision. The younger Brothers would hold their own discussion, and again, they worked to reach a consensus.
If the Younger Brothers agreed with the Elder Brothers… If the Oneida and Cayuga agreed with the Mohawk and Seneca, they would ask the Onondaga to confirm the decision. The Mohawk would announce it to the Council. This was done, in part, to ensure that the decision was the one they had agreed on. Having agreed, the chiefs and clan mothers would act on the decision. The only exception was for declaration of war or treaties – if enough clan mothers objected to the decision, it was overruled.
If the Younger Brothers did not agree with the Elder Brothers… If the Oneida and Cayuga could not agree with the Mohawk and Seneca, they would inform the Onondaga. The Onondaga would ask the Elder Brothers to re-examine the issue. The Elder Brothers could choose to do so, thus starting the process again, or decide to set the issue aside until they could get advice and information from their people.
At the Council, each chief was advised by a clan mother and a pair of faithkeepers. They would make sure that the chief was acting according to the Great Law of Peace and the needs of his people. If there was a major threat to the Confederacy, each clan would hold a meeting. Everyone – men, women, and children – was allowed to speak at these meeting. Once they had reached a consensus, the clan mother would tell the chief. The chief would then inform the other chiefs of his nation, and the chiefs together would tell the Grand Council.
QUESTIONS � Which of the following statements regarding consensus decision-making is false ? � It puts the interest of the group first � It can require a lot of time and discussion � It works best with smaller groups of people � It is a common practice in most modern democracies The number of chiefs for each nation was determined by � The total population of the nation � The number of clans within the nation � The pre-Confederation number of chiefs � The number of villages within the nation Which nation hosted the Grand Council of the Iroquois? � The Seneca � The Oneida � The Mohawk � The Onondaga
Sequence of Events at Grand Council Meetings I. The Tuscarora, as Firekeepers, opened the meeting. II. The Mohawk and Onondaga were the first to discuss the matter under consideration. III. The Oneida and Cayuga were the next to discuss the matter under consideration. IV. The council chiefs voted on the matter that had been discussed. Question: Which of the given events from the Grand Council meetings is True?