Iroquois of Canada
By Sean Ekelund, SS9
- lived in what is now New York State
- Southern Quebec and Ontario
- See map
- ate corn, squash, beans and pumpkins
- hunted, fished, gathered wildberries
- preserved food for winter: smoked dried meat and fish
- stored foods in an underground pit
- had a council of 50 Chiefs which was headed by one Chief
- when the top Chief died the highest woman in the clan would choose the next chief
- decisions made by consensus or total agreement
- if a consensus wasn't possible then the chief was free to make the decision
- traded with other native groups and Europeans (beaver pelts)
- received items they didn't have enough of (guns)
- clay pipes were a very important trade item with other native groups
- everything around them has a spirit
- these spirits controlled the weather, crops and animals
- a powerful creator named the Great Spirit
- that this spirit has an evil twin brother that causes mischief and suffering
- medicine and religion were closely tied together
- all 6 Nations held a Feast of the Dead to send their relatives to the other world
1. Harvest Festival
2. Green Corn Festival: held every year at the end of August, beginning of corn harvest, lasted several days
3. Midwinter Festival - lasted for 6 days, thanks to the Great Spirit, cleaned out their Longhouses, talked about their dreams, visited others and stirred the ashes (Renewal)
4. Maple Festival, Planting Ceremony and Strawberry Festival were other celebrations
1. The Longhouse was the center of the Iroquois life
2. They are long, narrow with an arched roof
3. Low porches at both ends of the log house
4. Several families lived in each one
5. The frame had poles set lengthwise joined together
6. Large shingles made of elm bark layered over the whole house
Central Question: How did they use their environment?
1. Environment and climate was humid with heavy forestation.
2. Their relationship with the environment blended in with their lifestyle.
3. The trees they used were lightweight birch, balsam fir and white cedar which allowed them to travel with their wigwams and canoes. These trees were easy to build with and travel with.
4. The animals (deer, beaver, bear, elk) provided clothing (leggings, shirts, moccasins), tools (gardening tools, needles, fishing hooks) and weapons (arrows, bows).
5. Nearby waterways helped their agriculture's use of fertile soil to grown squash, beans, corn (the Three Sisters) and encouraged fishing, travelling and trading.
6. Their culture was on that stayed permanently in one area sharing their hunting grounds with the other 5 Nations/Tribes. They also contributed to shaping our present day Self-Defense.
7. Overall, they used all of their environment for food, clothing and dwellings.
Nomadic - people who move from place to place in search of food or fresh grazing land
Venison - deer meat
Matrilineal - family line is traced through the mother
Sinew - tough fiber joins muscle to bone
Online: - Canadahistoryproject.ca (Iroquois)
- everyculture.com/North America/Iroquois-Economy.html
Books: Iroquois, by Michelle Lomberg, Weigl Educational Publishers, 2008