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Transcript of The Iroquois
The Onondaga Nation
The Onondaga Nation own 7,300 acres of land located about five miles south of Syracuse.
1475 members are "enrolled" and registered on the reservation.
There are 14 chiefs, selected by clan mothers, in the tribal government. There is also one head chief.
The Grand Council meets on the reservation. The council is a traditional meeting of all of the nations of the Confederacy.
The 630 members collectively own "Turning Stone Casino" from which they bring in huge profits each year.
The Oneida Nation
The Seneca Nation
The Senecas once owned half of New York and now hold title to 52,100 acres divided into three reservations: the Allegany, the Cattaraugus and Oil Springs Reservation.
The Seneca Nation is the only tribe to own a U.S. city -- Salamanca. It's built on land leased from the Allegany Indian reservation.
There are 5,400 members in the Allegany River Valley Reservation.
The Tuscarora Nation
The Tuscarora Indians were the last to be added to the Iroquois Confederacy. They were added in the early 1700s. In the early part of the 18th Century, they had about six towns and 1,200 warriors.
Their towns are located in Niagara County, north of Buffalo.
There are now approximately 1,000 members spread across these six small towns.
The Mohawk Tribe
The Mohawk Nation owns 14,640 acres of land on the U.S.-Canadian border along the St. Lawrence River.
Spanning two countries and with three tribal governments of their own, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe is one of the most complex Native American tribes in the Northeast.
There is one council on the Canadian side of the reservation, one on the American and a Tribal Council which oversees all activities.
There are approximately 8,000 members living on the reservation.
Many Mohawk work as structural steelworkers and in other construction related jobs. They have worked on projects such as the Empire State building and the Twin Towers.
The Cayuga Nation
The Cayugas do not have a reservation or land base. Most of the nation's members live on or near the Seneca Nation reservation.
The tribal enrollment for the Cayuga Nation is very small -- about 1,000.
The Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy
New York City
The Iroquois Confederacy
Although the Iroquois creation story is a myth, it was created on the basis that there were different tribes which were constantly at war with one another, which is historically accurate.
In 1142, five different Indian tribes, the Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, and the Senecas put aside their differences and came together to form the Iroquois Confederacy.
Together they became known as the Haudensaunee people, or the "people of the longhouse."
Each tribe still held on to it's personal identity but connected its self to the others by a very strong alliance.
The Hiawatha Belt
The Hiawatha belt was a wampum belt with 38 rows of beads, constructed to represent the union of the five indian nations. Each of the five symbols represents one of the nations. The symbols on the belt are organized as the tribes were organized geographically. The Iroquois spoke of the geography of the confederacy as if it were a long house: on either end are the west and east doors, at the center there's a fire. "The two lines extending from each side of the squares of the belt, from the Mohawk and Seneca Nations represents a path of peace that other Nations are welcome to travel, to take shelter beneath the Great Tree of Peace, and join the Iroquois Confederacy."
Known to other indians as the Onondowahgah, this tribe was the keeper of the western door of the confederacy due to it's location at the west most end of the confederacy.
This was the largest of the tribes in the confederacy at the time that is was created.
The Iroquois Creation story
The Mohawk Nation
When the Europeans first came across the Iroquois, they found a complex society, albeit one they did not understand. This lack of understanding was further amplified by European's earlier contact with tribes that were enemies of the Iroquois.
The Europeans found that the Iroquois planted their crops in the Three Sisters method utilized by many other tribes. Planting corn, beans and squash together in a way that benefits each plant.
For travel and fishing the Iroquois used dugout canoes, made by a method in which large tree is hollowed with the used of fire and stones used to scrape away the burnt wood.
The Mohawk people were the keepers of the eastern door. They were known ammong other natives as the Kanien Kehake which translates to "people of flint"
The largest cocentration of Mohawk people lived in what is now considered Mohawk Valley NY.
The Mohawk tribe was known to other indians as the Kanien Kehake and in the Iroquois confederacy the Mohawks were known as the keepers of the eastern door.
The Mohawk people were known among other indians as the Kanien Kehake. In the Iroquois Confederacy the Mohawk people were known as the keepers of the eastern door because they were located furthest to the east of all of the five tribes.
The Iroquois clothing generally consisted a patch "to cover the privates," as well a cloak and stockings and shoes of deerskin in colder weather. Also using paint to decorate their bodies and wearing wampum which served as their currency and that of many other tribes.
The Onondaga Nation
Altogether, there were over 50,000 Iroquois in the United States in 1990.
Most of the Iroquois, except for the Oneida of Wisconsin and the Seneca-Cayuga of Oklahoma, are in New York
Some 17,000 Mohawk and over 11,000 Oneida live in the United States, in addition to around 10,000 people of Seneca or mixed Seneca-Cayuga heritage.
Large numbers of Iroquois in the United States live in urban areas rather than on reservations.
This means that the population count of the reservations do not accurately reflect the overall populations of the nations.
The Iroquois and Six Nations Reserve Today
The Onondaga tribe was located in a central location in the Iroquois Confederacy. It was the capitol and the place of the Grand Council of the Chiefs. It is for this reason that the Onondaga people were called the keepers of the central fire. They were also known among other indians as the people of the hills.
The Iroquois dwelt in Longhouses; large structures built with a framework of saplings and sided with tree bark. Many families lived in each longhouse which belonged to a matriarch, the husband moving into the longhouse of his wife's mother at marriage.
The role of women in Iroquois society was huge, and seen as very strange to the Europeans who encountered it. The society was matrilineal and "women owned all household goods except the men's clothes, weapons, and hunting implements," (Major Cultural Borrowings). Women were also able to elect and impeach sachem, and approve wars.
The five Iroquois nations, characterizing themselves as “the people of the Longhouse,” were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. After the Tuscarora joined in 1722, the confederacy became known to the English as the Six Nations and was recognized as such at Albany, New York (1722).
The Cayuga Nation
The Cayuga people were known as the people of the great swamp. The tribe was most concentrated on the northern shores of what is today Cayuga lake in the Finger Lakes of New York
The Oneida Nation
The Oneida people, also known as the people of the upright stone or the people of the standing stone, lived primarily around what is now Oneida Lake.
War among the Iroquois was usually and act of retaliation for the death of a tribe member. "The Iroquois, specifically, based their warfare on social continuity and spiritual growth. Death in Iroquois society is a direct correlation to the level of tribal spirituality and strength," (Campbell). The warriors would capture members of the killer's tribe to be tortured, keeping the tribe spiritually strong.
A health clinic there includes facilities for laboratory testing, pediatrics, gynecology, obstetrics, and general medical care. There also is a dental clinic.
There is school for students in kindergarten through eighth-grade. Most high-school-age students attend public high schools in non-Native American communities.
The Oneida Nation owns only 32 acres of land. Their small plot of land is located south of the city of Oneida in Madison County, NY
In their "about us" section of their website they refer to themselves as the " Oneida
There are three additional settlements of Seneca Indians in the United States and Canada.
(People of the Longhouse)
"We give thanks to the earth, our mother, who
supports our feet.
We give thanks to the flowing rivers that
pass by on the earth.
We give thanks to the plants, our medicines.
We give thanks to the animals, and to the
birds whose voices lift our minds.
We give thanks to the stars that light our
Our thoughts are carried upward.
With our words and in our minds we give
thanks for the world that is always living."
"You cannot follow me, only your thoughts. When the smoke from your fire rises, then you will speak your words."
The Iroquois played the game of Lacrosse as a way to "settle disputes and give thanks to the Creator," (Sports and Games).
"Now something bright will appear, it will be a helper. It will be called the sun"
Among the first European settlers to encounter the Iroquois was Jacques Cartier around 1534
Saint Jean de Brébeuf
He had been commissioned by king Francis I of France to explore North America and to attempt to find gold, spices and the route to Asia
Saint Isaac Jogues
Instead he found the Iroquois tribes near modern day Montreal and Quebec
They first welcomed the French warmly, but as per usual, Cartier managed to provoke the ire of the Iroquois.
The expedition captured a few Iroquois as prisoner and fled to France
Samuel de Champlain
In 1609 de Champlain led a second French expedition to what they called "New France"; modern day northeastern New England
They encountered the Iroquois
and (as per usual) managed to irk the Iroquois. The French were allies with the Huron indians, enemies of the Iroquois
They fought a large battle at the site of Lake Champlain.
According to Champlain, the Iroquois had not yet encountered firearms, as he writes, "The Iroquois were much astonished that two men should have been killed so quickly, although they were provided with shields ... which were proof against their arrows."
Champlain killed three Iroquois "chiefs" with these shots, frightening the Iroquois and ending the battle, the lake was named in his honor.
These encounters have been a factor in the enmity between the French and Iroquois...
Brébeuf and Jogues were two of the group of eight french Jesuit missionaries captured, tortured and killed by the Mohawks around 1650
This mutual hatred erupted in the French and Iroquois wars from 1642 to 1698, also called the Beaver Wars, as they were caused partly by the scarcity of beaver which was caused by the French and their firearms.
This scarcity led the Iroquois to expand into Huron territory, much to the dismay of the Huron. Soon the French became involved, and the fighting escalated.
Eventually the French and the Iroquois negotiated a peace deal in 1698