Iroquoian

by Emma Gartly

Location

The Iroquoian people lived in the area of the border of the US and Canada (from New York, Quebec, Ontario, Oklahoma to North Carolina) they also lived around the Great Lakes. The seasons were extreme, winters brought blizzards and storms. The weather made hunting and gathering very difficult. Summers were extremely hot. The sun was so hot it dried out crops and vaporized water sources. The Great Lakes helped with water sources. The land had very rich fertile soil.

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Food

Their diet manly consisted of corn, beans and squash, which were known as the 3 sisters. Venison was one of the main meats they ate. They grew all of their food. They hunted bear, beaver, and moose. They also caught fish. Little boys hunted rabbit and birds. In summer women would store fresh fruit in underground pits. The cold temperature kept food from rotting.
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Social Structure

The villages were organized under a clan system. The villages had a minimum of 3 clans which were named after animals. Each village had a turtle, wolf and bear clan. Each clan had its own longhouse. Clan members worked together and shared resources. They had a council of 50 chiefs or sachems, headed by a chief of the tribe. When the chief died the highest women in that clan would choose the next chief.
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Economy

The Iroquoian were more of an independent economy. They were very agricultural. They didn't do very much trading at all. They didn't trade for food because they grew their own. They grew all their own food and made all of their clothes. They traded a little bit with the Europeans but only for weaponry.
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Religion

They believed everything around them had a spirit. The spirits controlled the weather, crops and animals. most believed in a powerful creator named the Great Spirit. They believed it had an evil twin brother that made suffering and mischief. They often performed ceremonies to give thanks to the Great Spirit.
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Festivals

One of the many celebrations is the green corn festival. This festival was celebrated every year at the beginning of the corn harvest in August. It lasted several days. There were speeches of thanks and offerings of tobacco to the Great spirit. There were also dances, feasts and games. They celebrated the end with a harvest festival. The midwinter festival was the longest and the largest festival, it lasted 6 days. It was celebrated to give thanks at the beginning of the new year, to the Great Spirit. They cleaned out their longhouse, people visited each other to stir the fire ashes. Stirring the ashes was symbolic of renewal. They scattered the fire ashes of the old year before the new year. There was also feasts, dances and games. They played games like bowl game, snow snake, stickball and lacrosse. Other festivals were the maple festival, planting and thunder ceremony and the strawberry festival.
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Dwellings

The Iroquoian lived in villages of longhouse. Each longhouse contained several families, 20 families live in one longhouse. Men built longhouses out of stone, bones and wood. Longhouses could be from anywhere between 18 to 122 meters long. The ceilings were about 61 meters high. Longhouses had doors on each side. The villages were protected by defendable barricades. They also built schools, stores and banks.
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Iroquoians relationship with the environment they lived in

The Iroquoian were a very agriculture economy. They were very independent. They relied on their environment for their food. The Iroquoian grew everything. They also hunted all of the meat they ate. They made clothes out of the skins of the animals they hunted. They used everything from the animals. They used the bones to make tools. They respected their environment. They were very religious. They believed everything had a spirit. They believed there were spirits that controlled the weather, crops and animals. When they had good growing seasons they would give thanks to the spirits be having festivals and celebrations. The Iroquoian relied greatly on their environment for their everyday needs.

Vocab Words

haudenosaunee ~ people who live in the extended longhouse


horticulture ~ the branch of agriculture that deals with art, science, technology and business of plant cultivation. includes the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, sprouts, mushrooms, algae, flowers, seaweeds, and non food crops such as grass and ornamental trees and plants.


matrilineal ~ inheriting or determining descent through the female line


nomadic ~means anything that involves moving around a lot. nomadic hunter gatherers follow the animals they hunt, carrying tents with them.