Iroquois Indians

Their history of the Iroquois goes back for over 4000 years and the name ‘Iroquois’ really refers to a language rather than an individual tribe .

Their name is of French origin . they like most other native people of Turtle Island had an oral tradition which was passed down from generation to generation .

They were part of the great Iroquois federation also known as the League  of Five nations including.

The Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca tribes .

This confederation was not unlike the United Nations and it worked very well and still is in existence today. Surprisingly, women played a very large part in its affairs and decision making .

In everyday life the roles of women and men played an important of the structure of the tribe .

Men would be responsible for hunting game ,such as rabbit ,deer, turkey , bear and beaver as well as fishing along the rivers and teaching young boys how to hunt ,the art of war .

Men’s hair was often shaved leaving a strip down the middle  which was common amongst all the woodland tribes including the Mohawks . “ this hair style became popular in the late 20th century with young teenagers who were known as Punks “

Women were responsible for the cultivating crops such as corn, beans, and squash .

These were known as the Three sisters because they grew them to gether .They would also make clothing for the people and children .

Their homes were constructed from Elm bark where possible sheets of bark would be used .

Poles of wood would be driven into the ground and bent over forming to form an arch then the sheets of bark would be sewn or attached to the outer frame .

The long house would be between 60 and 80feet long and 18 feet wide at each end with a door for access plus a hole in the roof to allow smoke to escape .Each house could accommodate around 20people .

Several long houses would make up a village and a palisade would then be constructed around the village  for protection . and beyond the village were the fields that were cultivated for food .

The Iroquois were also known for a game called Lacrosse which was invented by them .

This game was very popular and could last all day with hundreds of individuals taking part .

The ground or field could be over a mile long and it was not uncommon for serious injuries to occur .

However, it was a good way to toughen up young warriors when disputes arose with other tribes  .

To day many of the Iroquois live in urban areas although some still live on tribal lands were Casinos

Have been built brining in a huge amount of revenue giving them financial clout .

Many people in the tribe to day travel across the U.S and Canada to attend Pow Wows and other ceremonies with other tribes in celebration of their shared cultural traditions . So today there are around 80,000 Iroquois living in Canada and 45,000 living in the U.S.A  .