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Iroquois League

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Daniela Gracia

on 2 October 2015

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Transcript of Iroquois League

Iroquois League
By: Ana Pau Diaz, Daniela Gracia, Diana Garcia, Jorge Villarrreal, and Raul Araujo
Confederation of five (later six) Indian tribes across upper New York state that during the 17th and 18th centuries played a strategic role in the struggle between the French and British for mastery of North America.
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).
Political Situation
Tradition credits the formation of the confederacy, between 1570 and 1600, to Dekanawidah, born a Huron, who is said to have persuaded Hiawatha, an Onondaga living among Mohawks, to abandon cannibalism and advance "peace, civil authority, righteousness, and the great law" as sanctions for confederation. Cemented mainly by their desire to stand together agaisnt invasion, the tribes united in a common council composed of clan and village chiefs; each tribe had one vote, and unanimity was required for decisions. The joint jurisdiction of 50 peace chiefs, known as sachems, embraced all civil affairs at the inter tribal level.
The Iroquois did not have a main chief. They were guided by 50 peace chiefs known as Sachems. That was their type of government.
The economy of the Iroquois originally focused on communal production and combines elements of both horticulture and hunter-gatherer systems.
For many years, the Iroquois tribes fought with each other and their neighbors, the Algonkins. In the beginning, they fought over land for hunting.
The system that was characterized by such components as communal land ownership, division of labor by gender, and trade mostly based on gift economics.
The Iroquois traded descent matrilineally, and their communal living arrangements expressed in matrilocal residence. Each extended longhouse family had at its core a group of women with men moving into homes of their wives upon marriage.
Social Situation
The Iroquois Indians were among the most numerous and powerful Native Americans.
They spoke the language “Iroquoian”
This language spread over the Northeast
The term Iroquois is generally used to refer to the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy of central New York, including the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk.
They lived in what is now New York State and Canada.
The various tribes formed the Confederacy sometime before the Europeans arrived.
The women had a lot of responsibility in this tribe. The women chose the chiefs.
Their unity made them the strongest and most influential people in eastern North America for two centuries after the arrival of the English & French.
Social Situation (Cont.)
In 1768 the British negotiated the treaty of Fort Stanwix with the Iroquois, agreed to cede parts of Pennsylvania and all of Kentucky for a small fortune in trade goods.
During the Revolutionary War divided the Iroquois, most of them sided with the British.
The Oneida, fought for the United States
The Revolutionary War was a Civil War for the Iroquois
In 1799 General John Sullivan led a large army though Iroquois country, burning villages and crops.
In 1738, The Treaty of Paris was signed by the Iroquois & United States.
Britain offered the iroquois land in Canada as their new home and some moved there under the leadership of Mohawk Joseph Brant.
They developed a religion that combined Native American &European elements.
In the War of 1812 they found themselves divided once more.
Great Spirit
Most Important
Created humans, plants and animals
Forces of good in nature
Other important gods: Thunderer and Three Sisters
Evil Spirit and other lesser spirits
Disease and misfortune
Communication with gods
Not directly
Burned tobacco
Important supernatural signs
Expressed desire of the soul
The Iroquois people have inhabited the areas of Ontario and upstate New York for well over 4,000 years. Until the 1500s, the five tribes of the Iroquois devoted much energy toward fighting and killing each other. According to oral tradition, it was about this time that they came to their sense and united into a powerful confederation.
During the summer of 1609, Samuel de Champlain attempted to form better relations with the local native tribes. He made alliances with the Wendat (Huron) and with the Algonquin, the Montagnais, and the Etchemin, who lived in the are of the St. La
On July 29, somewhere in the area near Ticonderoga and Criwn Point, New York Champlain and his party encountered a group of Iroquois. A battle began the next day. Two hundred Iroquis advanced on Champlain's position, and one of his guides pointed out the 3 Iroquois chiefs. Champlain fired his harquebus, killing two of them with a single shot, and one of his men killed the third. The Iroquois turned and fled. This action set the tone for the Iroquois relations for rest of the century.
"Iroquois Confederacy | American Indian Confederation." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
William N. Fenton, The Great Law and the Longhouse: A Political History of the Iroquois Confederacy (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998).
Daniel K. Richter, The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992);
Religious Practitioners
No full-time specialists
Part-time specialists
Male and female
Known as Keepers of the faith
Arranged and conducted main religious ceremony
Farming, caring, illness, and thanksgiving
Major Six: Maple, Planting, Strawberry, Green Maze, Harvest, and Mid-Winter or New Year's

Illness and disease were attributed to supernatural causes.
Condolence Ceremony.
Dead were buried in sitting position facing east.
Captured bird-carried away spirit of deceased.
Soul embarked on a journey to the sky world
Mourning lasts for a year.
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