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Table of Contents
The Iroquois are a group of people speaking the Iroquoian family language comprising of North American Indian tribes: The Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. They occupied a large territory in New York state (U.S.), Pennsylvania (U.S.), Quebec (Canada), Southern Ontario (Canada), and areas around Lakes Erie, Huron, and Ontario.
The Iroquois were known to the French colonizers as “Iroquois Confederacy” or the “Five Nations” and “Six Nations” for the English. However, the Iroquois refer to themselves as Haudenosaunee.
Below are some interesting facts around the history of the Iroquois Tribe or alternatively you can download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
- The Iroquois Confederacy started when the Peacemaker brought together five distinct nations in the Southern Great Lakes known as the Great League of Peace.
- According to local history, the confederacy started through Dekanawida, known as the Great Peacemaker, Hiawatha, and Jigonsaseh, known as the Mother of Nations. They propagated the message known as the Great Law of Peace to the early tribes occupying the territory who often had disputes over trading.
- Dekanawidah was Huron who persuaded Hiawatha, an Onondaga who was living among the Mohawks, to abandon cannibalism and promote “peace, civil authority, righteousness, and the great law”. Between 1570 to 1600, the tribes attended a confederation comprising of village chiefs and clans.
- The Confederacy originally started as Five Nations comprising of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca. By the 17th century, Tuscarora joined the league.
- The Iroquois also absorbed other peoples into the league by adopting captives from wars and displaced people.
- During the 17th century, the Iroquois was involved in a series of wars against the French and other neighboring Indian tribes known as the Beaver Wars. They fought for the monopoly or total control of the fur trade in northeastern America. The war was one of the bloodiest in the region, with the Iroquois emerging as a strong league and notorious.
- The Iroquois was one of the military threats faced by the European settlers. Some of their territories were ceded but their legacy remains.
- The confederacy ended during the American Revolution when a split developed among the Iroquois. The Tuscarora and Oneida advocated the American cause while the rest fought for the British out of Niagara, which destroyed several American settlements.
- By 1779, U.S. Major General John Sullivan led an expedition of 4,000 Americans against the Iroquois and defeated them. The Iroquois and the government of the United States pledged not to disrupt the other in terms of reserved lands.
Culture and Tradition
- The Iroquois were semi-sedentary people. Each Iroquoian village comprised of several hundreds of people who dwelt in large longhouses. A longhouse was made of saplings and sheathed with barks of elm.
- A longhouse housed many families. It was the basic unit of an Iroquoian society. Each household saw divisions of clans following a matrilineal kinship system. A clan mother was highly respected by the community.
- The Iroquoians followed traditional gender roles in which men usually built houses, hunted, fished, and engaged in military activities. Women produced maize, squash, beans, gathered wild foods, and were in charge of household chores.
- The Iroquoians practiced deer-hunting parties after the autumn harvest and return to their villages during the midwinter.
- Decision-making processes considered kinship and locality. The Iroquoians were fond of council meetings and attendance was determined by locality, sex, age, and the specific issue being settled. They believed in gaining consensus.
- The religion of the Iroquoians was based on religious cosmology. They also believe in supernatural hostility, star myths, torture, cannibalism, sorcery, and journeys to the afterlife or other worlds.
- The Iroquoians had formal ceremonies consisting of six agricultural festivals. Each event featured prayers and thanksgiving. Political activities also involved rites such as for treaty-making.
- In 1988, the United States Congress passed a resolution to recognize the Iroquois League upon the Constitution and Bill of Rights. By 2010, there were more than 80,000 Iroquois living in the United States and more than 45,000 in Canada.
Iroquois Tribe Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Iroquois Tribe Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about the Iroquois who are a group of people speaking the Iroquoian family language comprising of North American Indian tribes: The Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Iroquois Facts
- Land of the Iroquois
- Six Nations
- Iroquois Culture
- Iroquois Clan Symbols
- Beaver Wars
- The Legend of Hiawatha
- Iroquois Longhouse
- Iroquois in Popular Culture
- Iroquois Today
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Link will appear as Iroquois Tribe Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 26, 2017
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