Iroquois
Overview
 
The Iroquois also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 of North America. After the Iroquoian-speaking peoples of present-day central and upstate New York coalesced as distinct tribes, by the 16th century or earlier, they came together in an association known today as the Iroquois League, or the "League of Peace and Power". The original Iroquois League was often known as the Five Nations, as it was composed of the Mohawk
Mohawk nation
Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint...

, Oneida
Oneida tribe
The Oneida are a Native American/First Nations people and are one of the five founding nations of the Iroquois Confederacy in the area of upstate New York...

, Onondaga
Onondaga (tribe)
The Onondaga are one of the original five constituent nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Their traditional homeland is in and around Onondaga County, New York...

, Cayuga
Cayuga nation
The Cayuga people was one of the five original constituents of the Haudenosaunee , a confederacy of American Indians in New York. The Cayuga homeland lay in the Finger Lakes region along Cayuga Lake, between their league neighbors, the Onondaga to the east and the Seneca to the west...

 and Seneca nation
Seneca nation
The Seneca are a group of indigenous people native to North America. They were the nation located farthest to the west within the Six Nations or Iroquois League in New York before the American Revolution. While exact population figures are unknown, approximately 15,000 to 25,000 Seneca live in...

s.
Encyclopedia
The Iroquois also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 of North America. After the Iroquoian-speaking peoples of present-day central and upstate New York coalesced as distinct tribes, by the 16th century or earlier, they came together in an association known today as the Iroquois League, or the "League of Peace and Power". The original Iroquois League was often known as the Five Nations, as it was composed of the Mohawk
Mohawk nation
Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint...

, Oneida
Oneida tribe
The Oneida are a Native American/First Nations people and are one of the five founding nations of the Iroquois Confederacy in the area of upstate New York...

, Onondaga
Onondaga (tribe)
The Onondaga are one of the original five constituent nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Their traditional homeland is in and around Onondaga County, New York...

, Cayuga
Cayuga nation
The Cayuga people was one of the five original constituents of the Haudenosaunee , a confederacy of American Indians in New York. The Cayuga homeland lay in the Finger Lakes region along Cayuga Lake, between their league neighbors, the Onondaga to the east and the Seneca to the west...

 and Seneca nation
Seneca nation
The Seneca are a group of indigenous people native to North America. They were the nation located farthest to the west within the Six Nations or Iroquois League in New York before the American Revolution. While exact population figures are unknown, approximately 15,000 to 25,000 Seneca live in...

s. After the Tuscarora
Tuscarora (tribe)
The Tuscarora are a Native American people of the Iroquoian-language family, with members in New York, Canada, and North Carolina...

 nation joined the League in 1722, the Iroquois became known as the Six Nations. The League is embodied in the Grand Council, an assembly of fifty hereditary sachem
Sachem
A sachem[p] or sagamore is a paramount chief among the Algonquians or other northeast American tribes. The two words are anglicizations of cognate terms from different Eastern Algonquian languages...

s. Other Iroquian peoples lived along the St. Lawrence River, around the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 and in the American Southeast, but they were not part of the Haudenosaunee and often competed and warred with these tribes.

When Europeans first arrived in North America, the Haudenosaunee were based in what is now the northeastern United States
Northeastern United States
The Northeastern United States is a region of the United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.-Composition:The region comprises nine states: the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Mid-Atlantic states of New...

, primarily in what is referred to today as upstate New York
Upstate New York
Upstate New York is the region of the U.S. state of New York that is located north of the core of the New York metropolitan area.-Definition:There is no clear or official boundary between Upstate New York and Downstate New York...

 west of the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

 and through the Finger Lakes
Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes are a pattern of lakes in the west-central section of Upstate New York in the United States. They are a popular tourist destination. The lakes are long and thin , each oriented roughly on a north-south axis. The two longest, Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake, are among the deepest in...

 region. Today, the Iroquois live primarily in New York, Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, and Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

.

The Iroquois League has also been known as the Iroquois Confederacy. Some modern scholars distinguish between the League and the Confederacy. According to this interpretation, the Iroquois League refers to the ceremonial and cultural institution embodied in the Grand Council, while the Iroquois Confederacy was the decentralized political and diplomatic entity that emerged in response to European colonization. The League still exists. The Confederacy dissolved after the defeat of the British and allied Iroquois nations in the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

.

Name

The Iroquois call themselves the "Haudenosaunee", which means "People of the Longhouse," or more accurately, "They Are Building a Long House." According to their tradition, The Great Peacemaker
The Great Peacemaker
The Great Peacemaker, sometimes referred to as Deganawida or Dekanawida was, along with Hiawatha, by tradition the founder of the Haudenosaunee, commonly called the Iroquois Confederacy, a political and cultural union of several Native American tribes residing...

 introduced the name at the time of the formation of the League. It implies that the nations of the League should live together as families in the same longhouse. Symbolically, the Mohawk were the guardians of the eastern door, as they were located in the east closest to the Hudson, and the Seneca were the guardians of the western door of the "tribal longhouse", the territory they controlled in New York. The Onondaga, whose homeland was in the center of Haudenosaunee territory, were keepers of the League's (both literal and figurative) central flame.
The French colonists called the Haudenosaunee by the name of Iroquois. The name had various possible origins, both learned by the French from tribes that were enemies of the Haudenosaunee:
  • French transliteration of irinakhoiw, a Huron (Wyandot) name for the Haudenosaunee. As the Hurons were traditional enemies, they used a derogatory term, meaning "black snakes" or "real adder
    Adder
    Adder may refer to:Snakes:* Any of several groups of venomous snakes of the Viperidae family including Vipera berus, the common European adder, found in Europe and northern Asia...

    s". The Haudenosaunee and Huron were traditional enemies, as the Huron were allied with the French and tried to protect their access to fur traders.
  • French linguists, such as Henriette Walter, and anthropologists, such as Dean Snow, support the following explanation. Prior to French colonization, Basque
    Basque people
    The Basques as an ethnic group, primarily inhabit an area traditionally known as the Basque Country , a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.The Basques are known in the...

     fishermen traded with the Algonquins, who were enemies of the Haudenosaunee. The above scholars think "Iroquois" was derived from a Basque
    Basque language
    Basque is the ancestral language of the Basque people, who inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. It is spoken by 25.7% of Basques in all territories...

     expression, hilokoa, meaning the "killer people". Because there is no "L" sound in the Algonquian languages
    Algonquian languages
    The Algonquian languages also Algonkian) are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is a...

     of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence
    Gulf of Saint Lawrence
    The Gulf of Saint Lawrence , the world's largest estuary, is the outlet of North America's Great Lakes via the Saint Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean...

     region, the Algonquian tribes used the name Hirokoa for the Haudenosaunee. They applied this to the pidgin
    Pidgin
    A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common. It is most commonly employed in situations such as trade, or where both groups speak languages different from the language of the...

     language which they used with the Basque. The French transliterated the word according to their own phonetic rules and arrived at "Iroquois".

Formation of the League

Members of the League speak Iroquoian languages that are distinctly different from those of other Iroquoian speakers. This suggests that while the different Iroquoian tribes had a common historical and cultural origin, they diverged as peoples over a sufficiently long time that their languages (and cultures) became different, and they distinguished themselves as different peoples. Archaeological evidence shows that Iroquois ancestors lived in the Finger Lakes region from at least 1000.
After becoming united in the League, the Iroquois invaded the Ohio River Valley in present-day Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 to seek additional hunting grounds. According to one pre-contact theory, it was the Haudenosaunee who, by about 1200, had pushed tribes of the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

 valley, such as the Quapaw
Quapaw
The Quapaw people are a tribe of Native Americans who historically resided on the west side of the Mississippi River in what is now the state of Arkansas.They are federally recognized as the Quapaw Tribe of Indians.-Government:...

 (Akansea) and Ofo (Mosopelea
Mosopelea
The Mosopelea, or Ofo, were a Native American tribe who historically inhabited the upper Ohio River. In reaction to Iroquois invasions, they moved south to the lower Mississippi River, finally settling in Louisiana and assimilating with the Siouan-speaking Biloxi and the Tunica people...

) out of the region in a migration west of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

. But, Robert La Salle listed the Mosopelea among the Ohio Valley peoples defeated by the Iroquois in the early 1670s, during the later Beaver Wars
Beaver Wars
The Beaver Wars, also sometimes called the Iroquois Wars or the French and Iroquois Wars, commonly refers to a series of conflicts fought in the mid-17th century in eastern North America...

. By 1673, the Siouan-speaking groups had settled in the Midwest, establishing what became known as their historical territories. Just as the Siouan peoples were displaced by the Iroquois, they displaced less powerful tribes whom they encountered, such as the Osage
Osage Nation
The Osage Nation is a Native American Siouan-language tribe in the United States that originated in the Ohio River valley in present-day Kentucky. After years of war with invading Iroquois, the Osage migrated west of the Mississippi River to their historic lands in present-day Arkansas, Missouri,...

, who moved further west.

The Iroquois League was established prior to major European contact. Most archaeologists and anthropologists
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 believe that the League was formed sometime between about 1450 and 1600. A few claims have been made for an earlier date; one recent study has argued that the League was formed shortly after a solar eclipse
Solar eclipse
As seen from the Earth, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun as viewed from a location on Earth. This can happen only during a new moon, when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth. At least...

 on August 31, 1142, in that year that seemed to fit one oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

. Anthropologist Dean Snow argues that the archaeological evidence does not support a date earlier than 1450, and that recent claims for a much earlier date "may be for contemporary political purposes".

According to tradition, the League was formed through the efforts of two men, Deganawida
The Great Peacemaker
The Great Peacemaker, sometimes referred to as Deganawida or Dekanawida was, along with Hiawatha, by tradition the founder of the Haudenosaunee, commonly called the Iroquois Confederacy, a political and cultural union of several Native American tribes residing...

, sometimes known as the Great Peacemaker, and Hiawatha
Hiawatha
Hiawatha was a legendary Native American leader and founder of the Iroquois confederacy...

. They brought a message, known as the Great Law of Peace
Great Law of Peace
Gayanashagowa or the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois Six Nations is the oral constitution whereby the Iroquois Confederacy was bound together. The law was written on wampum belts, conceived by Deganwidah, known as The Great Peacemaker, and his spokesman Hiawatha...

, to the squabbling Iroquoian nations. The nations who joined the League were the Seneca
Seneca nation
The Seneca are a group of indigenous people native to North America. They were the nation located farthest to the west within the Six Nations or Iroquois League in New York before the American Revolution. While exact population figures are unknown, approximately 15,000 to 25,000 Seneca live in...

, Onondaga
Onondaga (tribe)
The Onondaga are one of the original five constituent nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Their traditional homeland is in and around Onondaga County, New York...

, Oneida
Oneida tribe
The Oneida are a Native American/First Nations people and are one of the five founding nations of the Iroquois Confederacy in the area of upstate New York...

, Cayuga
Cayuga nation
The Cayuga people was one of the five original constituents of the Haudenosaunee , a confederacy of American Indians in New York. The Cayuga homeland lay in the Finger Lakes region along Cayuga Lake, between their league neighbors, the Onondaga to the east and the Seneca to the west...

 and Mohawk
Mohawk nation
Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint...

. Once they ceased most of their infighting, the Iroquois rapidly became one of the strongest forces in 17th- and 18th-century northeastern North America.

According to legend, an evil Onondaga chieftain named Tadodaho
Tadodaho
Tadodaho was a Native American and chief of the Onondaga nation. Tadodaho later came to refer to the most influential Native American chief in New York State; this reference has been used for centuries.-Legend of Tadodaho:...

 was the last to be converted to the ways of peace by The Great Peacemaker and Hiawatha. He became the spiritual leader of the Haudenosaunee. This is said to have occurred at Onondaga Lake
Onondaga Lake
Onondaga Lake is a lake in Central New York located northwest of Syracuse, New York. The southeastern end of the lake and the southwestern shore abut industrial areas and expressways; the northeastern shore and northwestern end border a series of parks and museums. Although it is near the Finger...

 near Syracuse, New York
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse is a city in and the county seat of Onondaga County, New York, United States, the largest U.S. city with the name "Syracuse", and the fifth most populous city in the state. At the 2010 census, the city population was 145,170, and its metropolitan area had a population of 742,603...

. The title Tadodaho
Tadodaho
Tadodaho was a Native American and chief of the Onondaga nation. Tadodaho later came to refer to the most influential Native American chief in New York State; this reference has been used for centuries.-Legend of Tadodaho:...

 is still used for the league's spiritual leader, the fiftieth chief, who sits with the Onondaga in council. He is the only one of the fifty to have been chosen by the entire Haudenosaunee people. The current Tadodaho is Sid Hill of the Onondaga Nation.

Expansion

In Reflections in Bullough's Pond
Reflections in Bullough's Pond
Reflections in Bullough's Pond: Economy and Ecosystem in New England is a book by Diana Muir. The Providence Journal called Bullough’s Pond "a masterpiece," and Publishers Weekly called it "lyrical"...

, historian Diana Muir
Diana Muir
Diana Muir, also known as Diana Muir Appelbaum, is a Newton, Massachusetts writer and historian. Muir is best known for her 2000 book, Reflections in Bullough's Pond, a history of the impact of human activity on the New England ecosystem....

 argues that the pre-contact Iroquois were an imperialist, expansionist culture whose use of the corn/beans/squash agricultural complex
Three Sisters (agriculture)
The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops of various Native American groups in North America: squash, maize, and climbing beans ....

 enabled them to support a large population that made war against Algonquian peoples
Algonquian peoples
The Algonquian are one of the most populous and widespread North American native language groups, with tribes originally numbering in the hundreds. Today hundreds of thousands of individuals identify with various Algonquian peoples...

. Muir uses archaeological data to argue that the Iroquois expansion onto Algonquian lands was checked by the Algonquian adoption of agriculture. This enabled them to support their own populations large enough to include sufficient warriors to defend against the threat of Iroquois conquest.

The Iroquois may be the Kwedech described in the oral legends of the Mi'kmaq nation of Eastern Canada. These legends relate that the Mi'kmaq in the late pre-contact period had gradually driven their enemies – the Kwedech – westward across New Brunswick
New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

, and finally out of the Lower St. Lawrence River region. The Mi'kmaq named the last-conquered land "Gespedeg" or "lost land," leading to the French word Gaspé. The "Kwedech" are generally considered to have been Iroquois, specifically the Mohawk
Mohawk nation
Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint...

; their expulsion from Gaspé by the Mi'kmaq has been estimated as occurring ca. 1535-1600.

Around 1535, Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier was a French explorer of Breton origin who claimed what is now Canada for France. He was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after the Iroquois names for the two big...

 reported Iroquoian-speaking groups on the Gaspé peninsula and along the St. Lawrence River. Archeologists and anthropologists have defined St. Lawrence Iroquoians
St. Lawrence Iroquoians
The St. Lawrence Iroquoians were a prehistoric First Nations/Native American indigenous people who lived from the 14th century until about 1580 CE along the shores of the St. Lawrence River in present-day Quebec and Ontario, Canada, and New York State, United States. They spoke Laurentian...

 as a distinct and separate group, living in the villages of Hochelaga and others nearby (near present-day Montreal), which had been visited by Cartier. By 1608, when Samuel de Champlain
Samuel de Champlain
Samuel de Champlain , "The Father of New France", was a French navigator, cartographer, draughtsman, soldier, explorer, geographer, ethnologist, diplomat, and chronicler. He founded New France and Quebec City on July 3, 1608....

 visited the area, that part of the St. Lawrence River valley had no settlements, but was controlled by the Mohawk as a hunting ground. On the Gaspé peninsula, he encountered Algonquian-speaking groups. The precise identity of any of these groups continues to be debated.

The Iroquois became well-known in the south by this time. After the first English settlement in Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 14, 1607 , it was the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke...

 (1607), numerous 17th-century accounts describe a powerful people known to the Powhatan Confederacy as the Massawomeck, and to the French as the Antouhonoron. They were said to come from the north, beyond the Susquehannock
Susquehannock
The Susquehannock people were Iroquoian-speaking Native Americans who lived in areas adjacent to the Susquehanna River and its tributaries from the southern part of what is now New York, through Pennsylvania, to the mouth of the Susquehanna in Maryland at the north end of the Chesapeake Bay...

 territory. Historians have often identified the Massawomeck / Antouhonoron as the Iroquois proper. Other Iroquoian candidates include the Erie
Erie
Erie is a city in Pennsylvania, United States.Erie may also refer to:*Erie , a tribe of Native Americans-Places:*Lake Erie, one of the five Great Lakes of North America*Erie Canal, a canal running from the Hudson River to Lake Erie...

, who were destroyed by the Iroquois in 1654 over competition for the fur trade. Over the years 1670-1710, the Five Nations achieved political dominance of most of Virginia west of the fall line
Fall line
A fall line is a geomorphologic unconformity between an upland region of relatively hard crystalline basement rock and a coastal plain of softer sedimentary rock. A fall line is typically prominent when crossed by a river, for there will often be rapids or waterfalls...

 (extending to the Ohio River valley in present-day West Virginia). They reserved it as a hunting ground and continued to claim it until 1722, when they began selling land in the area to their British allies.

Beaver Wars

Beginning in 1609, the League engaged in the Beaver Wars
Beaver Wars
The Beaver Wars, also sometimes called the Iroquois Wars or the French and Iroquois Wars, commonly refers to a series of conflicts fought in the mid-17th century in eastern North America...

 with the French and their Iroquoian-speaking Huron allies. They also put great pressure on the Algonquian peoples
Algonquian peoples
The Algonquian are one of the most populous and widespread North American native language groups, with tribes originally numbering in the hundreds. Today hundreds of thousands of individuals identify with various Algonquian peoples...

 of the Atlantic coast
Atlantic Coast
The Atlantic Coast is any coast fronting the Atlantic Ocean. The term differentiates the coasts of countries or continents with coastlines on more than one body of water, such as North America, South America, Africa and Europe.-See also:*Indian Ocean...

 and the boreal Canadian Shield
Canadian Shield
The Canadian Shield, also called the Laurentian Plateau, or Bouclier Canadien , is a vast geological shield covered by a thin layer of soil that forms the nucleus of the North American or Laurentia craton. It is an area mostly composed of igneous rock which relates to its long volcanic history...

 region, and not infrequently fought the English colonies as well. During the 17th century, they were said to have exterminated the Neutral Nation
Neutral Nation
The Neutrals, also known as the Attawandaron, were an Iroquoian nation of North American native people who lived near the shores of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.-Territory:...

. and Erie Tribe to the west. The wars were a way to control the lucrative fur trade
Fur trade
The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of world market for in the early modern period furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued...

, although additional reasons are often given for these wars.

In 1628, the Mohawk defeated the Mahican
Mahican
The Mahican are an Eastern Algonquian Native American tribe, originally settling in the Hudson River Valley . After 1680, many moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. During the early 1820s and 1830s, most of the Mahican descendants migrated westward to northeastern Wisconsin...

 to gain a monopoly in the fur trade with the Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 at Fort Orange
Fort Orange
Fort Orange was the first permanent Dutch settlement in New Netherland and was on the site of the present-day city of Albany, New York. It was a replacement for Fort Nassau, which had been built on nearby Castle Island in the Hudson River, and which served as a trading post until 1617 or 1618,...

, New Netherland
New Netherland
New Netherland, or Nieuw-Nederland in Dutch, was the 17th-century colonial province of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands on the East Coast of North America. The claimed territories were the lands from the Delmarva Peninsula to extreme southwestern Cape Cod...

. The Mohawk would not allow Canadian Indians to trade with the Dutch. In 1645, a tentative peace was forged between the Iroquois and the Hurons, Algonquins and French. In 1646, Jesuit missionaries at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons
Sainte-Marie among the Hurons
Sainte-Marie among the Hurons was a French Jesuit settlement in Wendake, the land of the Wendat, near modern Midland, Ontario, from 1639 to 1649. It was the first European settlement in what is now the province of Ontario. Eight missionaries from Sainte-Marie were martyred, and were canonized by...

 went as envoys to the Mohawk lands to protect the fragile peace of the time. Mohawk attitudes toward the peace soured while the Jesuits' were traveling and the party was attacked by Mohawk warriors en route. The missionaries were taken to the village of Ossernenon (Auriesville, N.Y.), where the moderate Turtle and Wolf clans recommended setting the priests free. Angered, members of the Bear clan killed Jean de Lalande
Jean de Lalande
Saint Jean de Lalande was a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and one of the eight North American Martyrs....

 and Isaac Jogues
Isaac Jogues
Isaac Jogues was a Jesuit priest, missionary, and martyr who traveled and worked among the native populations in North America. He gave the original European name to Lake George, calling it Lac du Saint Sacrement, Lake of the Blessed Sacrament. In 1646, Jogues was martyred by the Mohawks near ...

 on October 18, 1646. The Catholic Church has commemorated the two French priests as among the eight North American Martyrs. In 1649 during the Beaver Wars
Beaver Wars
The Beaver Wars, also sometimes called the Iroquois Wars or the French and Iroquois Wars, commonly refers to a series of conflicts fought in the mid-17th century in eastern North America...

, the Iroquois used recently purchased Dutch guns to attack the Hurons. From 1651 to 1652, the Iroquois attacked the Susquehannocks, without sustained success.

In the early 17th century, the Iroquois were at the height of their power, with a population of about 12,000 people.
In 1654, they invited the French to establish a trading and missionary settlement at Onondaga (in present-day New York state). The following year, the Mohawk attacked and expelled the French from the trading post, possibly because of the sudden death of 500 Indians from an epidemic of smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

, a European infectious disease
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

 to which they had no immunity.

From 1658 to 1663, the Iroquois were at war with the Susquehannock and their Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

 and Province of Maryland
Province of Maryland
The Province of Maryland was an English and later British colony in North America that existed from 1632 until 1776, when it joined the other twelve of the Thirteen Colonies in rebellion against Great Britain and became the U.S...

 allies. In 1663, a large Iroquois invasion force was defeated at the Susquehannock main fort. In 1663, the Iroquois were at war with the Sokoki tribe of the upper Connecticut River
Connecticut River
The Connecticut River is the largest and longest river in New England, and also an American Heritage River. It flows roughly south, starting from the Fourth Connecticut Lake in New Hampshire. After flowing through the remaining Connecticut Lakes and Lake Francis, it defines the border between the...

. Smallpox struck again; and through the effects of disease, famine and war, the Iroquois were threatened by extermination. In 1664, an Oneida party struck at allies of the Susquehannock on Chesapeake Bay.

In 1665, three of the Five Nations made peace with the French. The following year, the Canadian Governor sent the Carignan regiment under Marquis de Tracy to confront the Mohawk and the Oneida. The Mohawk avoided battle, but the French burned their villages and crops.
In 1667, the remaining two Iroquois Nations signed a peace treaty with the French and agreed to allow their missionaries to visit their villages. This treaty lasted for 17 years.

Around 1670, the Iroquois drove the Siouan Mannahoac tribe out of the northern Virginia Piedmont region. They began to claim ownership of the territory by right of conquest. In 1672, the Iroquois were defeated by a war party of Susquehannock. The Iroquois appealed to the French for support and asked Governor Frontenac to assist them against the Susquehannock because
"it would be a shame for him to allow his children to be crushed, as they saw themselves to be... they not having the means of going to attack their fort, which was very strong, nor even of defending themselves if the others came to attack them in their villages."
Some old histories state that the Iroquois defeated the Susquehannock during this time period. As no record of a defeat has been found, historians have concluded that no defeat occurred. In 1677, the Iroquois adopted the majority of the Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannock into their nation.

By 1677, the Iroquois formed an alliance with the English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 through an agreement known as the Covenant Chain
Covenant Chain
The Covenant Chain was a series of alliances and treaties involving the Iroquois Confederacy , the British colonies of North America, and a number of other Indian tribes...

. Together, they battled to a standstill the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, who were allied with the Huron. These Iroquoian people had been a traditional and historic foe of the Confederacy. The Iroquois colonized the northern shore of Lake Ontario and sent raiding parties westward all the way to Illinois Country
Illinois Country
The Illinois Country , also known as Upper Louisiana, was a region in what is now the Midwestern United States that was explored and settled by the French during the 17th and 18th centuries. The terms referred to the entire Upper Mississippi River watershed, though settlement was concentrated in...

. The tribes of Illinois were eventually defeated, not by the Iroquois, but rather by the Potawatomis. In 1684, the Iroquois invaded Virginia and Illinois territory again, and unsuccessfully attacked French outposts in the latter. Later that year, the Virginia Colony agreed at Albany to recognize the Iroquois' right to use the North-South path running east of the Blue Ridge
Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range. This province consists of northern and southern physiographic regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, starting at its southern-most...

 (later the Old Carolina Road), provided they did not intrude on the English settlements east of the fall line
Fall line
A fall line is a geomorphologic unconformity between an upland region of relatively hard crystalline basement rock and a coastal plain of softer sedimentary rock. A fall line is typically prominent when crossed by a river, for there will often be rapids or waterfalls...

.

In 1679, the Susquehannock, with Iroquois help, attacked Maryland's Piscataway
Piscataway Indian Nation
The Piscataway Indian Nation and Tayac Territory is an unrecognized Native American tribe in Maryland that is related to the historic Piscataway tribe. At the time of European encounter, the Piscataway was one of the most populous and powerful Native polities of the Chesapeake Bay region, with a...

 and Mattawoman
Mattawoman
The Mattawoman were a group of Native Americans living along the Western Shore of Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay at the time of English colonization. They lived along Mattawomen Creek in present-day Charles County, Maryland. They were also recorded in the early 17th century by explorer John...

 allies. Peace was not reached until 1685.

With support from the French, the Algonquian
Algonquian languages
The Algonquian languages also Algonkian) are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is a...

 nations drove the Iroquois out of the territories north of Lake Erie and west of present-day Cleveland, regions which they had conquered during the Beaver Wars.

In 1687, Jacques-René de Brisay de Denonville, Marquis de Denonville
Jacques-René de Brisay de Denonville, Marquis de Denonville
Jacques-Rene de Brisay de Denonville, Marquis de Denonville was Governor General of New France from 1685 to 1689 and was a key figure in the Beaver Wars....

, Governor of New France
Governor of New France
The Governor of New France was the viceroy of the King of France in North America. A French noble, he was appointed to govern the colonies of New France, which included Canada, Acadia and Louisiana. The residence of the Governor was at the Château St-Louis in the capital of Quebec City...

 from 1685 to 1689, set out for Fort Frontenac
Fort Frontenac
Fort Frontenac was a French trading post and military fort built in 1673 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. It was positioned at the mouth of the Cataraqui River where the St. Lawrence River leaves Lake Ontario , in a location traditionally known as Cataraqui...

 with a well-organized force. There they met with the 50 hereditary sachem
Sachem
A sachem[p] or sagamore is a paramount chief among the Algonquians or other northeast American tribes. The two words are anglicizations of cognate terms from different Eastern Algonquian languages...

s of the Iroquois Confederation from the Onondaga
Onondaga (tribe)
The Onondaga are one of the original five constituent nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Their traditional homeland is in and around Onondaga County, New York...

 council fire, who came under a flag of truce. Denonville recaptured the fort for New France
New France
New France was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Spain and Great Britain in 1763...

 and seized, chained, and shipped the 50 Iroquois chiefs to Marseilles, France, to be used as galley slaves. He ravaged the land of the Seneca. The destruction of the Seneca land infuriated the Iroquois Confederacy.
On August 4, 1689, they retaliated by burning to the ground Lachine
Lachine, Quebec
Lachine was a city on the Island of Montreal in southwestern Quebec, Canada. It is now a borough within the city of Montreal.-History:...

, a small town adjacent to Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

. Fifteen hundred Iroquois warriors had been harassing Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 defenses for many months prior to that. They finally exhausted and defeated Denonville and his forces. His tenure was followed by the return of Frontenac, who succeeded Denonville as Governor for the next nine years (1689–1698). Frontenac had been arranging a new plan of attack to lessen the effects of the Iroquois in North America. Realizing the danger of holding the sachems, he located the 13 surviving leaders and returned with them to New France that October 1698.

During King William's War
King William's War
The first of the French and Indian Wars, King William's War was the name used in the English colonies in America to refer to the North American theater of the Nine Years' War...

 (North American part of the War of the Grand Alliance
War of the Grand Alliance
The Nine Years' War – often called the War of the Grand Alliance, the War of the Palatine Succession, or the War of the League of Augsburg – was a major war of the late 17th century fought between King Louis XIV of France, and a European-wide coalition, the Grand Alliance, led by the Anglo-Dutch...

), the Iroquois were allied with the English. In July 1701, they concluded the "Nanfan Treaty
Nanfan Treaty
Deed from the Five Nations to the King, of their Beaver Hunting Ground, more commonly known as the Nanfan Treaty, was an agreement made between the representatives of the Iroquois Confederacy with John Nanfan, the acting colonial governor of New York, on behalf of the The Crown...

", deeding the English a large tract north of the Ohio River. The Iroquois claimed to have conquered this territory 80 years earlier. France did not recognize the validity of the treaty, as it had the strongest presence of colonists within the area in question. Meanwhile, the Iroquois were negotiating peace with the French; together they signed the Great Peace of Montreal
Great Peace of Montreal
The Great Peace of Montreal was a peace treaty between New France and 40 First Nations of North America. It was signed on August 4, 1701, by Louis-Hector de Callière, governor of New France, and 1300 representatives of 40 aboriginal nations of the North East of North America...

 that same year.

French and Indian Wars

After the 1701 peace treaty with the French, the Iroquois remained mostly neutral even though during Queen Anne's War
Queen Anne's War
Queen Anne's War , as the North American theater of the War of the Spanish Succession was known in the British colonies, was the second in a series of French and Indian Wars fought between France and England, later Great Britain, in North America for control of the continent. The War of the...

 (North American part of the War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

) they were involved in some planned attacks against the French. Peter Schuyler, mayor of Albany, arranged for three Mohawk chiefs and a Mahican chief (the Four Mohawk Kings
Four Mohawk Kings
The Four Mohawk Kings or Four Kings of the New World were three Mohawk chiefs of the Iroquois Confederacy and a Mahican of the Algonquian peoples...

) to travel to London in 1710 to meet with Queen Anne
Anne of Great Britain
Anne ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Act of Union, two of her realms, England and Scotland, were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.Anne's Catholic father, James II and VII, was deposed during the...

 in an effort to seal an alliance with the British. Queen Anne was so impressed by her visitors that she commissioned their portraits by court painter John Verelst
John Verelst
John Verelst , was a Dutch painter, working in England, in the time of Queen Anne's War. To seal a treaty with the British, four Iroquois delegates visited London. Queen Anne was so impressed by these tall muscular foreign visitors that she had Verelst paint oilcolor of them in 1710...

. The portraits are believed to be some of the earliest surviving oil portraits of Aboriginal peoples taken from life.

In the first quarter of the 18th century, the Iroquoian-speaking Tuscarora fled north from the pressure of British colonization
British colonization of the Americas
British colonization of the Americas began in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia and reached its peak when colonies had been established throughout the Americas...

 of North Carolina and intertribal warfare. They petitioned to become the sixth nation of the Confederacy. This was a non-voting position but placed them under the protection of the Haudenosaunee.

In 1721 and 1722, Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood
Alexander Spotswood
Alexander Spotswood was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army and a noted Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. He is noted in Virginia and American history for a number of his projects as Governor, including his exploring beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains, his establishing what was perhaps the first...

 of Virginia concluded a new Treaty at Albany with the Iroquois, renewing the Covenant Chain and agreeing to recognize the Blue Ridge as the demarcation between Virginia Colony and the Iroquois. But, as European settlers began to move beyond the Blue Ridge and into the Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley
The Shenandoah Valley is both a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians , to the north by the Potomac River...

 in the 1730s, the Iroquois objected. Virginia officials told them that the demarcation was to prevent the Iroquois from trespassing east of the Blue Ridge, but it did not prevent English from expanding west of them. The Iroquois were on the verge of going to war with the Virginia Colony, when in 1743, Governor Gooch paid them the sum of 100 pounds sterling for any settled land in the Valley that was claimed by the Iroquois. The following year at the Treaty of Lancaster
Treaty of Lancaster
The Treaty of Lancaster was a treaty concluded between the Six Nations and the colonies of Virginia and Maryland. Deliberations began at Lancaster, Pennsylvania on June 28, and ended on July 4, 1744....

, the Iroquois sold Virginia all their remaining claims on the Shenandoah Valley for 200 pounds in gold.

During the French and Indian War
French and Indian War
The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

 (North American part of the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

), the Iroquois sided with the British against the French and their Algonquian allies, both traditional enemies of the Iroquois. The Iroquois hoped that aiding the British would also bring favors after the war. Few Iroquois warriors joined the campaign. In the Battle of Lake George
Battle of Lake George
The Battle of Lake George was fought on 8 September 1755, in the north of the Province of New York. The battle was part of a campaign by the British to expel the French from North America in the French and Indian War....

, a group of Catholic Mohawk (from Kahnawake) and French ambushed a Mohawk-led British column.

After the war, to protect their alliance, the British government issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763
Royal Proclamation of 1763
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued October 7, 1763, by King George III following Great Britain's acquisition of French territory in North America after the end of the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War...

, forbidding white settlements beyond the Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

. Colonists largely ignored the order and the British had insufficient soldiers to enforce it. The Iroquois agreed to adjust the line again at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix
Treaty of Fort Stanwix
The Treaty of Fort Stanwix was an important treaty between North American Indians and the British Empire. It was signed in 1768 at Fort Stanwix, located in present-day Rome, New York...

 (1768), whereby they sold the British Crown all their remaining claim to the lands between the Ohio and Tennessee rivers.

American Revolution

During the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, the Iroquois first tried to stay neutral. Pressed to join one side or the other, many Tuscarora and the Oneida sided with the colonists, while the Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga and Cayuga remained loyal to Great Britain, with whom they had stronger relationships. It was the first political split among the Six Nations. Joseph Louis Cook
Joseph Louis Cook
Joseph Louis Cook or Akiatonharónkwen was an Iroquois leader and American soldier. Born to a black father and an Abenaki mother in what is now Quebec, he was adopted as a Mohawk. He became an influential leader in the Iroquois Confederacy and distinguished himself during the French and Indian War...

 offered his services to the United States and received a Congressional commission as a Lieutenant Colonel- the highest rank held by any Native American during the war.

The Mohawk war chief Joseph Brant
Joseph Brant
Thayendanegea or Joseph Brant was a Mohawk military and political leader, based in present-day New York, who was closely associated with Great Britain during and after the American Revolution. He was perhaps the most well-known American Indian of his generation...

, other war chiefs, and British allies conducted numerous operations against frontier settlements in the Mohawk Valley, destroying many villages and crops. The Continentals retaliated and in 1779, George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 ordered the Sullivan Campaign, led by Col. Daniel Brodhead
Daniel Brodhead
Daniel Brodhead may refer to:* Daniel Brodhead III, judge, first European to settle Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania* Daniel Brodhead IV, American military and political leader...

 and General John Sullivan
John Sullivan
John Sullivan was the third son of Irish immigrants, a United States general in the Revolutionary War, a delegate in the Continental Congress and a United States federal judge....

, against the Iroquois nations to "not merely overrun, but destroy," the British-Indian alliance. They burned many Iroquois villages and stores throughout western New York; refugees moved north to Canada. By the end of the war, few houses and barns in the valley had survived the warfare.

Post-war

After the war, the ancient central fireplace of the League was reestablished at Buffalo Creek
Buffalo River (New York)
The Buffalo River is a river that empties into the eastern end of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes, by the City of Buffalo in the United States of America. This stream is called the Buffalo River only in the vicinity of the city and is known as Buffalo Creek as it flows through other parts of...

. Captain Joseph Brant and a group of Iroquois left New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 to settle in Quebec (present-day Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

). As a reward for their loyalty to the British Crown, they were given a large land grant
Haldimand Proclamation
The Haldimand Proclamation was a decree that granted land to the Iroquois who had served on the British side during the American Revolution. The decree was issued by the Governor of the Province of Quebec, Frederick Haldimand, on October 25, 1784....

 on the Grand River
Grand River (Ontario)
The Grand River is a large river in southwestern Ontario, Canada. From its source, it flows south through Grand Valley, Fergus, Elora, Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, Paris, Brantford, Caledonia, and Cayuga before emptying into the north shore of Lake Erie south of Dunnville at Port Maitland...

. Brant's crossing of the river gave the original name to the area: Brant's ford. By 1847, European settlers began to settle nearby and named the village Brantford
Brantford, Ontario
Brantford is a city located on the Grand River in Southern Ontario, Canada. While geographically surrounded by the County of Brant, the city is politically independent...

. The original Mohawk settlement was on the south edge of the present-day city at a location still favorable for launching and landing canoes. In the 1830s many of the Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca, Cayuga and Tuscarora relocated into the Indian Territory, the Province of Upper Canada
Upper Canada
The Province of Upper Canada was a political division in British Canada established in 1791 by the British Empire to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees from the United States of America after the American Revolution...

 and Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

.

Melting pot

The Iroquois are a melting pot. League traditions allowed for the dead to be symbolically replaced through captives taken in the "Mourning War." Raids were conducted to take vengeance on enemies and to seize captives to replace lost compatriots. This tradition was common to native people of the northeast and was quite different from European settlers' notions of combat. The captives were generally adopted by families of the tribes to replace members who had died.

The Iroquois worked to incorporate conquered peoples and assimilate them as Iroquois, thus naturalizing them as full citizens of the tribe. Cadwallader Colden
Cadwallader Colden
Cadwallader Colden was a physician, farmer, surveyor, botanist, and a lieutenant governor for the Province of New York.-Biography:...

 wrote,
"It has been a constant maxim with the Five Nations, to save children and young men of the people they conquer, to adopt them into their own Nation, and to educate them as their own children, without distinction; These young people soon forget their own country and nation and by this policy the Five Nations make up the losses which their nation suffers by the people they lose in war." By 1668, two-thirds of the Oneida village were assimilated Algonquians and Hurons. At Onondaga there were Native Americans of seven different nations and among the Seneca eleven. They also adopted European captives, as did the Catholic Mohawk in settlements outside Montreal.

Food

The Iroquois were a mix of farmers, fishers, gatherers and hunters, though their main diet came from farming. The main crops they farmed were corn, beans and squash, which were called the three sisters
Three Sisters (agriculture)
The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops of various Native American groups in North America: squash, maize, and climbing beans ....

 and were considered special gifts from the Creator. These crops are grown strategically. The cornstalks grow, the bean plants climb the stalks, and the squash grow beneath, inhibiting weeds and keeping the soil moist under the shade of their broad leaves. In this combination, the soil remained fertile for several decades. The food was stored during the winter, and it lasted for two to three years. When the soil eventually lost its fertility, the Iroquois migrated.

Gathering was the job of the women and children. Wild roots, greens, berries and nuts were gathered in the summer. During spring, maple syrup
Maple syrup
Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, although it can also be made from other maple species such as the bigleaf maple. In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter; the starch is then...

 was tapped from the trees, and herbs were gathered for medicine.

The Iroquois hunted mostly deer but also other game such as wild turkey and migratory birds. Muskrat and beaver were hunted during the winter. Fishing was also a significant source of food because the Iroquois were located near a large river (St. Lawerence River). They fished salmon, trout, bass, perch and whitefish. In the spring the Iroquois netted, and in the winter fishing holes were made in the ice.

Women in society

When Americans and Canadians of European descent began to study Iroquois customs in the 18th and 19th centuries, they learned that the people had a matrilineal system: women held property and hereditary leadership passed through their lines. They held dwellings, horses and farmed land, and a woman's property before marriage stayed in her possession without being mixed with that of her husband. They had separate roles but real power in the nations. The work of a woman's hands was hers to do with as she saw fit. At marriage, a young couple lived in the longhouse of the wife's family. A woman choosing to divorce a shiftless or otherwise unsatisfactory husband was able to ask him to leave the dwelling and take his possessions with him. The children of the marriage belonged to their mother's clan
Clan
A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

 and gained their social status through hers. Her brothers were important teachers and mentors to the children, especially introducing boys to men's roles and societies. The clans were matrilineal, that is, clan ties were traced through the mother's line. If a couple separated, the woman kept the children. The chief of a clan could be removed at any time by a council of the women elders of that clan. The chief's sister was responsible for nominating his successor.

Spiritual beliefs

The Iroquois believe that the spirits change the seasons. Key festival
Festival
A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival....

s coincided with the major events of the agricultural calendar
Calendar
A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial, or administrative purposes. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months, and years. The name given to each day is known as a date. Periods in a calendar are usually, though not...

, including a harvest festival of thanksgiving
Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the same day as Columbus Day in the...

. The Great Peacemaker
The Great Peacemaker
The Great Peacemaker, sometimes referred to as Deganawida or Dekanawida was, along with Hiawatha, by tradition the founder of the Haudenosaunee, commonly called the Iroquois Confederacy, a political and cultural union of several Native American tribes residing...

 (Deganawida) was their prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

. After the arrival of the Europeans, many Iroquois became Christians
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, among them Kateri Tekakwitha
Kateri Tekakwitha
Kateri Tekakwitha or Catherine Tekakwitha was a Mohawk-Algonquian woman from New York and an early convert to Catholicism, who has been beatified in the Roman Catholic Church.-Her life:...

, a young woman of Mohawk-Algonkin parents. Traditional religion was revived to some extent in the second half of the 18th century by the teachings of the Iroquois prophet Handsome Lake
Handsome Lake
Handsome Lake was a Seneca religious leader of the Iroquois people. He was also half-brother to Cornplanter....

.

Nations

The first five nations listed below formed the original Five Nations (listed from west to east); the Tuscarora became the sixth nation in 1720.
English name Iroquoian Meaning 17th/18th century location
Seneca  Onondowahgah "People of the Great Hill" Seneca Lake and Genesee River
Genesee River
The Genesee River is a North American river flowing northward through the Twin Tiers of Pennsylvania and New York. The river provided the original power for the Rochester area's 19th century mills and still provides hydroelectric power for downtown Rochester....

Cayuga  Guyohkohnyoh "People of the Great Swamp" Cayuga Lake
Cayuga Lake
Cayuga Lake   is the longest of central New York's glacial Finger Lakes, and is the second largest in surface area and second largest in volume. It is just under 40 miles long. Its average width is 1.7 miles , and it is at its widest point near Aurora...

Onondaga
Onondaga (tribe)
The Onondaga are one of the original five constituent nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Their traditional homeland is in and around Onondaga County, New York...

 
Onöñda'gega "People of the Hills" Onondaga Lake
Onondaga Lake
Onondaga Lake is a lake in Central New York located northwest of Syracuse, New York. The southeastern end of the lake and the southwestern shore abut industrial areas and expressways; the northeastern shore and northwestern end border a series of parks and museums. Although it is near the Finger...

Oneida
Oneida tribe
The Oneida are a Native American/First Nations people and are one of the five founding nations of the Iroquois Confederacy in the area of upstate New York...

 
Onayotekaono "People of Standing Stone" Oneida Lake
Oneida Lake
Oneida Lake is the largest lake entirely within New York State . The lake is located northeast of Syracuse and near the Great Lakes. It serves as one of the links in the Erie Canal. It empties into the Oneida River which flows into the Oswego River which in turn flows into Lake Ontario...

Mohawk
Mohawk nation
Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint...

 
Kanien'kehá:ka "People of the Great Flint" Mohawk River
Mohawk River
The Mohawk River is a river in the U.S. state of New York. It is the largest tributary of the Hudson River. The Mohawk flows into the Hudson in the Capital District, a few miles north of the city of Albany. The river is named for the Mohawk Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy...

Tuscarora
Tuscarora (tribe)
The Tuscarora are a Native American people of the Iroquoian-language family, with members in New York, Canada, and North Carolina...

1
Ska-Ruh-Reh "Hemp Gatherers" From North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

²




Clans

Within each of the six nations, people are divided into a number of matrilineal clan
Clan
A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

s. The number of clans varies by nation, currently from three to eight, with a total of nine different clan names.

Current clans
Seneca Cayuga Onondaga Tuscarora Oneida Mohawk
Wolf (Hoñnat‘haiioñ'n‘) Wolf Wolf Wolf (Θkwarì•nę) Wolf (Thayú:ni) Wolf (Okwáho)
Bear (Hodidjioiñi’'g’) Bear Bear Bear (Uhčíhręˀ) Bear (Ohkwá:li) Bear (Ohkwá:ri)
Turtle (Hadiniǎ‘'děñ‘) Turtle Turtle Turtle (Ráˀkwihs) Turtle (A'no:wál) Turtle (A'nó:wara)
Sandpiper (Hodi'ne`si'iu') Sandpiper Sandpiper Sandpiper (Tawístawis)
Deer (Hadinioñ'gwaiiu') Deer Deer
Beaver (Hodigěn’'gegā’) Beaver Beaver (Rakinęhá•ha•ˀ)
Heron Heron
Hawk Hawk
Eel Eel (Akunęhukwatíha•ˀ)

Population history


The total number of Iroquois today is difficult to establish. About 45,000 Iroquois lived in Canada in 1995. In the 2000 census, 80,822 people in the United States claimed Iroquois ethnicity, with 45,217 of them claiming only Iroquois background. Tribal registrations among the Six Nations in the United States in 1995 numbered about 30,000 in total.


Prominent individuals

  • Frederick Alexcee
    Frederick Alexcee
    Frederick Alexcee was a Tsimshian carver and painter from the community of Lax Kw'alaams , British Columbia, Canada....

    , artist (also of Tsimshian
    Tsimshian
    The Tsimshian are an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Tsimshian translates to Inside the Skeena River. Their communities are in British Columbia and Alaska, around Terrace and Prince Rupert and the southernmost corner of Alaska on Annette Island. There are approximately 10,000...

     ancestry)
  • Henry Armstrong
    Henry Armstrong
    Henry Jackson Jr. was a world boxing champion who fought under the name Henry Armstrong. He is universally regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time by many boxing critics and fellow professionals.Henry Jr...

    , boxer, #2 in Ring Magazine's list of the 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years
  • George Armstrong, hockey player, most successful captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs with five Stanley Cup victories.
  • Joseph Brant
    Joseph Brant
    Thayendanegea or Joseph Brant was a Mohawk military and political leader, based in present-day New York, who was closely associated with Great Britain during and after the American Revolution. He was perhaps the most well-known American Indian of his generation...

     or Thayendanegea, Mohawk
    Mohawk nation
    Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint...

     leader
  • Cornplanter
    Cornplanter
    Gaiänt'wakê was a Seneca war-chief. He was the son of a Seneca mother, Aliquipiso, and a Dutch father, Johannes Abeel. He also carried the name John Abeel after his fur trader father...

     or Kaintwakon, Seneca chief
  • Deganawida
    The Great Peacemaker
    The Great Peacemaker, sometimes referred to as Deganawida or Dekanawida was, along with Hiawatha, by tradition the founder of the Haudenosaunee, commonly called the Iroquois Confederacy, a political and cultural union of several Native American tribes residing...

     or The Great Peacemaker, the traditional founder along with Hiawatha
    Hiawatha
    Hiawatha was a legendary Native American leader and founder of the Iroquois confederacy...

     of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy
  • Graham Greene
    Graham Greene (actor)
    Graham Greene is a Canadian actor who has worked on stage, and in film and TV productions in Canada, England and the United States.-Early life:...

    , Canadian Oneida and award-winning actor
  • Handsome Lake
    Handsome Lake
    Handsome Lake was a Seneca religious leader of the Iroquois people. He was also half-brother to Cornplanter....

     (Ganioda'yo), Seneca religious leader
  • Ki Longfellow
    Ki Longfellow
    Ki Longfellow is an American novelist, playwright, theatrical producer, theater director and entrepreneur. In Britain, as the widow of Vivian Stanshall, she is well known as the guardian of his artistic heritage, but elsewhere she is best known for her own work, especially the novel The Secret...

    , novelist
  • Oren Lyons
    Oren Lyons
    Oren R. Lyons, Jr. is a Native American Faithkeeper of the turtle clan of the Onondaga and Seneca Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Once a college lacrosse player, Lyons is now a recognized advocate of indigenous rights....

    , Onondaga, a traditional Faithkeeper of the Turtle clan
  • Ely S. Parker
    Ely S. Parker
    Ely Samuel Parker , was a Seneca attorney, engineer, and tribal diplomat. He was commissioned a lieutenant colonel during the American Civil War, when he served as adjutant to General Ulysses S. Grant. He wrote the final draft of the Confederate surrender terms at Appomattox...

    , Seneca, Union Army
    Union Army
    The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

     officer during American Civil War
    American Civil War
    The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

    ; appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs during Ulysses S. Grant's
    Ulysses S. Grant
    Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

     first term as President.
  • Red Jacket
    Red Jacket
    Red Jacket was a Native American Seneca orator and chief of the Wolf clan...

    , Seneca orator and chief of the Wolf clan
  • Robbie Robertson
    Robbie Robertson
    Robbie Robertson, OC; is a Canadian singer-songwriter, and guitarist. He is best known for his membership as the guitarist and primary songwriter within The Band. He was ranked 59th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time...

    , Mohawk, songwriter, guitarist and singer who was part of The Band
    The Band
    The Band was an acclaimed and influential roots rock group. The original group consisted of Rick Danko , Garth Hudson , Richard Manuel , and Robbie Robertson , and Levon Helm...

    .
  • Joanne Shenandoah
    Joanne Shenandoah
    Joanne Shenandoah is an Iroquois singer, composer and acoustic guitarist. She is a member of the Wolf Clan of the Oneida Nation, of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. Her music is a combination of traditional songs and melodies with a blend of traditional and contemporary...

    , Oneida singer, songwriter, actress and educator
  • Jay Silverheels
    Jay Silverheels
    Jay Silverheels was a Canadian Mohawk First Nations actor. He was well known for his role as Tonto, the faithful American Indian companion of the Lone Ranger in a long-running American television series. -Early life:...

    , actor, of Canadian Mohawk origin, famously portrayed Tonto
    Tonto
    Tonto may mean:* Tonto, a band of Apache native Americans.* Tonto, the fictional sidekick to the Lone Ranger.* "Tonto", a song by the American math rock band Battles, from their album Mirrored.** "Tonto+", the EP centered around said song....

     the companion to The Lone Ranger
    The Lone Ranger
    The Lone Ranger is a fictional masked Texas Ranger who, with his Native American companion Tonto, fights injustice in the American Old West. The character has become an enduring icon of American culture....

  • Kateri Tekakwitha
    Kateri Tekakwitha
    Kateri Tekakwitha or Catherine Tekakwitha was a Mohawk-Algonquian woman from New York and an early convert to Catholicism, who has been beatified in the Roman Catholic Church.-Her life:...

    , Mohawk and Algonquin, first Catholic
    Catholic
    The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

     Native American saint, patron of ecology
  • Canassatego, Tadadaho of the Iroquois Confederacy

Government

The Grand Council of the Iroquois League is an assembly of 50 Hoyenah (chief
Tribal chief
A tribal chief is the leader of a tribal society or chiefdom. Tribal societies with social stratification under a single leader emerged in the Neolithic period out of earlier tribal structures with little stratification, and they remained prevalent throughout the Iron Age.In the case of ...

s) or Sachem
Sachem
A sachem[p] or sagamore is a paramount chief among the Algonquians or other northeast American tribes. The two words are anglicizations of cognate terms from different Eastern Algonquian languages...

s, a number that has never changed. Today, the seats on the Council are distributed among the Six Nations as follows:
  • 14 Onondaga
  • 10 Cayuga9 Oneida9 Mohawk8 Seneca0 Tuscarora


When anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan studied the Grand Council in the 19th century, he interpreted it as a central government
Central government
A central government also known as a national government, union government and in federal states, the federal government, is the government at the level of the nation-state. The structure of central governments varies from institution to institution...

. This interpretation became influential, but some scholars have since argued that while the Grand Council served an important ceremonial role, it was not a government in the sense that Morgan thought. According to this view, Iroquois political and diplomatic decisions are made on the local level, and are based on assessments of community consensus. A central government that develops policy and implements it for the people at large is not the Iroquois model of government.

Unanimity in public acts was essential to the Council. In 1855, Minnie Myrtle observed that no Iroquois treaty was binding unless it was ratified by 75% of the male voters and 75% of the mothers of the nation. In revising Council laws and customs, a consent of two-thirds of the mothers was required.

The women held real power, particularly the power to veto treaties or declarations of war. The members of the Grand Council of Sachems were chosen by the mothers of each clan. If any leader failed to comply with the wishes of the women of his tribe and the Great Law of Peace, the mother of his clan could demote him, a process called "knocking off the horns
Firing
Dismissal is the termination of employment by an employer against the will of the employee. Though such a decision can be made by an employer for a variety of reasons, ranging from an economic downturn to performance-related problems on the part of the employee, being fired has a strong stigma in...

". The deer antlers, emblem of leadership, were removed from his headgear, thus returning him to private life.

Councils of the mothers of each tribe were held separately from the men's councils. The women used men as runners to send word of their decisions to concerned parties, or a woman could appear at the men's council as an orator, presenting the view of the women. Women often took the initiative in suggesting legislation.

Influence on the United States

Historians in the 20th century have suggested the Iroquois system of government influenced the development of the Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among the 13 founding states that legally established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states and served as its first constitution...

 or United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

. Consensus has not been reached on how influential the Iroquois model was to the development of the United States' documents. The influence thesis has been discussed by historians such as Donald Grinde and Bruce Johansen. In 1988, the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 passed a resolution to recognize the influence of the Iroquois League upon the Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 and Bill of Rights
United States Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and...

.

Scholars, such as Jack N. Rakove
Jack N. Rakove
Jack Norman Rakove is an American historian, author, professor at Stanford University, and Pulitzer Prize winner.-Biography:...

 and Elizabeth Tooker, challenge the thesis. Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

 historian Rakove writes, "The voluminous records we have for the constitutional debates of the late 1780s contain no significant references to the Iroquois" and notes that there are ample European precedents to the democratic institutions of the United States. Historian Francis Jennings
Francis Jennings
Francis Jennings was an American historian, best known for his works on the colonial history of the United States.Jennings taught at Cedar Crest College....

 noted that supporters of the thesis frequently cite the following statement by Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

: "It would be a very strange thing, if six Nations of ignorant savages should be capable of forming a Scheme for such a Union … and yet that a like union should be impracticable for ten or a Dozen English Colonies," but he disagrees that it establishes influence. Rather, he thinks Franklin was promoting union against the "ignorant savages" and called the idea "absurd". The anthropologist Dean Snow stated that though Franklin's Albany Plan
Albany Plan
The Albany Plan of Union was proposed by Benjamin Franklin at the Albany Congress in 1754 in Albany, New York. It was an early attempt at forming a union of the colonies "under one government as far as might be necessary for defense and other general important purposes" during the French and...

 may have drawn some inspiration from the Iroquois League, there is little evidence that either the Plan or the Constitution drew substantially from this source. He argues that "...such claims muddle and denigrate the subtle and remarkable features of Iroquois government. The two forms of government are distinctive and individually remarkable in conception."

Tooker, a Temple University
Temple University
Temple University is a comprehensive public research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Originally founded in 1884 by Dr. Russell Conwell, Temple University is among the nation's largest providers of professional education and prepares the largest body of professional...

 professor of anthropology and an authority on the culture and history of the Northern Iroquois, believes the "influence" thesis is myth rather than fact. He does not think that the Iroquois League was a democratic culture; such a conclusion is not supported within historical literature. The relationship between the Iroquois League and the Constitution is based on a portion of a letter written by Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

 and a speech by the Iroquois chief Canasatego
Canasatego
Canasatego was a leader of the Onondaga nation who became a prominent diplomat and spokesman of the Iroquois Confederacy in the 1740s. He was involved in several controversial land sales to British American officials...

 in 1744. Tooker concluded that the documents cited indicate that some groups of Iroquois and white settlers realized the advantages of a confederation, but he thinks there is little evidence to support the idea that 18th century colonists were knowledgeable regarding the Iroquois system of governance. Historic evidence suggests that chiefs of different tribes were permitted representation in the Iroquois League council, and the leadership positions were hereditary. The council did not practice representative government and had no elections. Deceased chiefs’' successors were selected by the most senior woman within the hereditary lineage in consultation with other women in the clan. Decision making occurred through lengthy discussion and decisions were unanimous, with topics discussed being introduced by a single tribe.

Tooker concludes, "...there is virtually no evidence that the framers borrowed from the Iroquois." He thinks the myth resulted from exaggerations and misunderstandings of a claim made by the Iroquois linguist and ethnographer J.N.B. Hewitt
John Napoleon Brinton Hewitt
John Napoleon Brinton Hewitt was a linguist and ethnographer who specialized in Iroquoian and other Native American languages....

 after his death in 1937.

International

The Iroquois government has issued passports since 1923, when Haudenosaunee authorities issued a passport to Cayuga statesman Deskaheh (Levi General) to travel to the League of Nations headquarters.

More recently, passports have been issued since 1997. Before 2001 these were accepted by various nations for international travel, but with increased security concerns across the world since the 9/11 and other terrorist attacks, this is no longer the case.
The Iroquois Nationals
Iroquois Nationals
The Iroquois Nationals are the national lacrosse team of the Six Nations of the Iroquois League that competes in international competition. The team was admitted to the International Lacrosse Federation in 1990 and is the only Native American/First Nations team sanctioned to compete in any sport...

 lacrosse team was allowed by the U.S. to travel on their own passports to an international lacrosse tournament in England after the personal intervention of Secretary of State
Secretary of State
Secretary of State or State Secretary is a commonly used title for a senior or mid-level post in governments around the world. The role varies between countries, and in some cases there are multiple Secretaries of State in the Government....

 Hillary Clinton on July 14, 2010, after previously being refused. But, the British government
Government of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Government is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Government is led by the Prime Minister, who selects all the remaining Ministers...

 refused to recognize the Iroquois passports and denied the team members entry into the United Kingdom.

The Onondaga Nation
Onondaga (tribe)
The Onondaga are one of the original five constituent nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Their traditional homeland is in and around Onondaga County, New York...

 spent $1.5 million on a subsequent upgrade to passports designed to meet 21st century international security requirements.

Modern communities

  • Canada
    • Kahnawake
      Kahnawake 14, Quebec
      The Kahnawake Mohawk Territory is a reserve of the traditionally Iroquoian-speaking Mohawk nation on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, across from Montreal. Recorded by French Canadians in 1719 as a Jesuit mission, it has also been known as Seigneury Sault du St...

       Mohawk in Quebec
    • Kanesatake
      Kanesatake, Quebec
      Kanehsatake is a Mohawk settlement on the shore of the Lake of Two Mountains at the Ottawa River in southwestern Quebec, Canada, near Montreal. The Doncaster 17 Indian Reserve also belongs to the Mohawk of Kanesatake. The population of the community is 1700.The community was formally founded...

       Mohawk in Quebec
    • Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne in Ontario
    • Thames Oneida
      Oneida Nation of the Thames
      The Oneida Nation of the Thames is an Onyota'a:ka First Nation located in southwestern Ontario on what is commonly referred to as the "Oneida Settlement", located about a 30-minute drive from London, Ontario, Canada...

       in Ontario
    • Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario
    • Tyendinaga Mohawk
      Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ontario
      Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory is an 73 km² Mohawk First Nations reserve on the Bay of Quinte in southeastern Ontario, Canada, east of Belleville and immediately to the west of Deseronto...

       in Ontario
    • Wahta Mohawk
      Wahta Mohawk Territory, Ontario
      Wahta Mohawk Territory is a Mohawk First Nation reserve in the District Municipality of Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. It is bounded on the west by Highway 400, a major north-south artery in the province...

       in Ontario

  • United States
    • Cayuga Nation
      Cayuga nation
      The Cayuga people was one of the five original constituents of the Haudenosaunee , a confederacy of American Indians in New York. The Cayuga homeland lay in the Finger Lakes region along Cayuga Lake, between their league neighbors, the Onondaga to the east and the Seneca to the west...

       in New York
    • Ganienkeh
      Ganienkeh
      Ganienkeh, which translates from Mohawk into Land of the Flint, is a Mohawk community located on about near Altona, New York in the far northeast corner of Upper New York State. It is a rare case of an indigenous people reclaiming land from the United States.-History:In May 1974 Traditionalist...

       Mohawk — not federally recognized
    • Kanatsiohareke
      Kanatsiohareke
      Kanatsiohareke is a small Mohawk/Kanienkahaka community on the north bank of the Mohawk River, west of Fonda, New York. Located at the ancient homeland of the Kanienkehaka , it was re-established in September 1993 under the leadership of Thomas Porter, traditional Mohawk/Bear Clan and spiritual...

       Mohawk
    • Onondaga Nation in New York
    • Oneida Indian Nation
      Oneida Indian Nation
      The Oneida Indian Nation is the Oneida tribe that resides in New York and currently owns a number of businesses and tribal land in Verona, NY, Oneida, NY, and Canastota, NY.- Businesses :...

       in New York
    • Oneida Tribe
      Oneida tribe
      The Oneida are a Native American/First Nations people and are one of the five founding nations of the Iroquois Confederacy in the area of upstate New York...

       of Indians in Wisconsin
    • St. Regis Band
      St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, New York
      St. Regis Mohawk Reservation is a Mohawk Indian reservation in Franklin County, New York, United States. It is also known by its Mohawk name, Akwesasne. The population was 2,699 at the 2000 census. The reservation is adjacent to the Akwesasne reserve in Ontario and Quebec. The Mohawk consider the...

       of Mohawk Indians in New York
    • Seneca Nation
      Seneca nation
      The Seneca are a group of indigenous people native to North America. They were the nation located farthest to the west within the Six Nations or Iroquois League in New York before the American Revolution. While exact population figures are unknown, approximately 15,000 to 25,000 Seneca live in...

       of New York
    • Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma
      Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma
      The Seneca–Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma is a federally recognized tribe of Seneca and Cayuga people, based in Oklahoma, United States. They have a tribal jurisdictional area in the northeast corner of Oklahoma are headquartered in Grove, Oklahoma.- History :...

    • Tuscarora Nation
      Tuscarora Reservation, New York
      The Tuscarora Reservation is an Indian reservation in Niagara County, New York. The population was 1,152 at the 2010 census...

       of New York

See also

  • Covenant Chain
    Covenant Chain
    The Covenant Chain was a series of alliances and treaties involving the Iroquois Confederacy , the British colonies of North America, and a number of other Indian tribes...

  • David Cusick
    David Cusick
    David Cusick was Tuscarora artist and the author of David Cusick’s Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations . This is an early account of Native American history and myth, written and published in English by an Indian.-Biography:David Cusick was born around 1780, probably on the Oneida...

  • Delaware
    Delaware
    Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

    /Lenni-Lenape
  • Economy of the Iroquois
    Economy of the Iroquois
    The economy of the Iroquois originally focused on communal production and combined elements of both horticulture and hunter-gatherer systems. The tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy and other Northern Iroquoian-speaking peoples, including the Huron, lived in the region including what is now New...

  • Ely S. Parker
    Ely S. Parker
    Ely Samuel Parker , was a Seneca attorney, engineer, and tribal diplomat. He was commissioned a lieutenant colonel during the American Civil War, when he served as adjutant to General Ulysses S. Grant. He wrote the final draft of the Confederate surrender terms at Appomattox...

  • False Face Society
    False Face Society
    The False Face Society is probably the best known of the medicinal societies among the Iroquois, especially for its dramatic wooden masks. The masks are used in healing rituals which invoke the spirit of an old hunch-backed man. Those cured by the society become members...

  • Ganondagan State Historic Site
    Ganondagan State Historic Site
    Ganondagan State Historic Site also known as Boughton Hill is a New York State Native American historic site in Ontario County, New York in the USA. The historic site is in the Town of Victor, southwest of the Village of Victor...

  • Great Law of Peace
    Great Law of Peace
    Gayanashagowa or the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois Six Nations is the oral constitution whereby the Iroquois Confederacy was bound together. The law was written on wampum belts, conceived by Deganwidah, known as The Great Peacemaker, and his spokesman Hiawatha...

  • Gideon Hawley
    Gideon Hawley
    Gideon Hawley was a missionary to the Iroquois Indians in Massachusetts and on the Susquehanna River in New York.-Biography:He was born in the Stratfield section of Stratford, now Bridgeport, Connecticut, in New England on November 5, 1727. The son of Gideon Hawley and Hannah Bennett who was the...

  • Handsome Lake
    Handsome Lake
    Handsome Lake was a Seneca religious leader of the Iroquois people. He was also half-brother to Cornplanter....

  • Hiawatha
    Hiawatha
    Hiawatha was a legendary Native American leader and founder of the Iroquois confederacy...

  • History of New York
    History of New York
    The history of New York begins around 10,000 BCE, when the first Native Americans arrived. By 1100 CE, New York's main tribes, the Iroquoian and Algonquian cultures, had developed. New York was discovered by the French in 1524 and first claimed in 1609 by the Dutch...

     USA
  • History of Ontario
    History of Ontario
    The history of Ontario covers the period from the arrival of Paleo-Indians thousands of years ago to the present day. The lands that make up present-day Ontario, currently the most populous province of Canada, have been inhabited for millennia by distinctive groups of Aboriginal peoples, with...

     Canada

  • Iroquoian languages
    Iroquoian languages
    The Iroquoian languages are a First Nation and Native American language family.-Family division:*Ruttenber, Edward Manning. 1992 [1872]. History of the Indian tribes of Hudson's River. Hope Farm Press....

  • Iroquois mythology
    Iroquois mythology
    Much of the mythology of the Iroquois has been lost. Some of their religious stories have been preserved, including creation stories and some folktales....

  • Iroquois Nationals
    Iroquois Nationals
    The Iroquois Nationals are the national lacrosse team of the Six Nations of the Iroquois League that competes in international competition. The team was admitted to the International Lacrosse Federation in 1990 and is the only Native American/First Nations team sanctioned to compete in any sport...

  • Mohawk Chapel
    Mohawk Chapel
    Her Majesty's Royal Chapel of the Mohawks, the oldest building in Ontario, is one of six Chapels Royal outside of the United Kingdom, and one of two in Canada, the other being Christ Church Royal Chapel near Deseronto, Ontario. It was elevated to a Chapel Royal by Edward VII in 1904...

  • Red Jacket
    Red Jacket
    Red Jacket was a Native American Seneca orator and chief of the Wolf clan...

  • Sir William Johnson
  • Six Nations of the Grand River
  • Smoke Johnson
  • Sullivan Expedition
    Sullivan Expedition
    The Sullivan Expedition, also known as the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition, was an American campaign led by Major General John Sullivan and Brigadier General James Clinton against Loyalists and the four nations of the Iroquois who had sided with the British in the American Revolutionary War.The...

  • Town Destroyer
    Town Destroyer
    Town Destroyer, also translated as Town Taker, Burner of Towns, or Devourer of Villages, was a nickname given to George Washington by Iroquois Indians...

  • The Kahnawake Iroquois and the Rebellions of 1837-38
  • The Flying Head
    The Flying Head
    The Flying Head, or Ko nea rau neh neh, is a spiritual being within the traditional belief systems of the Iroquois people."The Great God hath sent us signs in the sky we have heard uncommon noise in the heavens and have seen HEADS fall down upon the earth" Speech of Tahayadoris a Mohawk sachem at...

  • Urban Indian
    Urban Indian
    Urban Indians are Native Americans in the United States who live in urban areas. Urban Indians represent a growing proportion of the Native population in the United States...



Further reading



External links



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