Iroquois Courtney Pilkington, Liz Chittim, Becca Warner and Michael Boughner
Society – Roles of Women The Iroquois Women in a family did all of the household functions, all preparation and preserving of food, made clothing for family and took care of the children. Unlike the colonies which soon came, these women participated in ceremonies which men usually only did. These include gambling, belonging to their medicine societies, and political ceremonies. Women also did tasks such as collect firewood, planted and tended to the crops. These women were the keepers of the culture. For example, a family’s lineage was from a matrilineal descent. The clan is passed to a family from the mother’s family clan. They later advised men about realistic ways to deal with Europeans on their land.
Society – Roles of Men The Iroquois Men were traditionally responsible for hunting, making tools and pipes, and various other tasks. They cleared the land by stripping bark off the trees, then burning the brush and dead timber. Once married, the man moved in with the woman. The Iroquois are very well known for social equality between the sexes. Only men could move onto become a chief.
Culture - Language There are many different elements in culture such as the language the people speak, the art they create, the beliefs, and the festivals they participate in. The Iroquois is a native culture which has many different languages. Since they come from five different tribes they have five languages; Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, and Mohawk. Each language also has different dialects, for example the language Mohawk has Akwesasne and Kahnawake as a two of their dialects.
Culture - Art The Iroquois culture has many different styles of art that they do. They do basket making, beadwork, corn husk work, paintings, pottery, sculpting and woodwork. Their art workmanship is an intimate understanding and respect for the natural gifts the world has given them.
Culture – False faces The art was not just for show, yet they used a lot of their art for ceremonies. For example for the ceremony for the false face societies masks were made of maple, white pine, basswood and poplar. At first the faces were carved into living trees then cut free and painted and decorated. The masks represented the spits who revealed themselves to the mask maker in prayer.
Culture - Beliefs The Iroquois have many beliefs they believe in the Great Spirit who they believe is responsible for the creation of human, plants and animals. There are many beliefs that there are supernatural powers and are closely connected to animals and nature. He also indirectly guides the lives of ordinary people. yet Although these people can only can talk to him through the burning of tobacco which would send him their prayers. They believe that dreams are important signs from the supernatural life and are an expression of the soul. They pay a lot of attention to figure out the meaning of dreams.
Culture - Festivals There are may festivals to celebrate events which are significant to both spiritual and physical life of the tribes. Some of the sacred ceremonies include feather dances, drum dances, the rite of personal chant, the bowl game, and Sun ceremonies. The most important ceremony is the harvest festival which is geared to the seasons. Another important event is the Midwinter festival which is celebration of dream renewal and dream interpretation. It begins around New Years or when the Pleiades are directly overheard at dusk and lasts for six days. There are many festivals held through out the year celebrating the good spirts for health, clothes, food and happiness.
Technology - Tools The men would make all the tools. Many of the tools that they made where from the material of stone, bone, and antler. They made spears for fishing and stone adzes for wood working also made flint knives and wooden hoes.
Technology - Weapons Also they had their own weapons for fighting and hunting. For hunting they made snare traps to capture bears and deer by bending over small trees. Used bow and arrows, lances, war clubs, knives and tomahawks for fighting. The most popular item that we see is the arrow head which was made of bone, flint and metal.
Technology - Transportation The Iroquois did not have much diversity in the modes of transportation that they used. During the winter months they would travel by dog sled or snow shoe Warmer months they would travel by foot and canoe
Politics - Chief A Chief was elected by the tribe’s council to lead and represent them. There were two councils that they represent: the males and the mothers of the nation. To be elected he must have a 75% consensus from both councils. Iroquois leaders were seen to be servants of the people, to gain their loyalty and respect. They were expected to give away presents from any treaty deal or prizes from war. The Chief was often the poorest person of the tribe. The Iroquois were well known to be great public speakers and very polite while others are speaking.
Politics – The Influence of Women The mothers had the power to veto anything they felt was not in the best interest of the community and could demote the chief if he did not meet their demands. Each council could hold separate meetings, although the mothers could attend a male council meeting if desired to present their views. Women usually took initiative when suggesting legislation. They also sent men as a runner to carry a message. Above everyone else, the elders (mothers or males) had the most power, authority and decision-making. The rest of the tribe always very well respects them.
Politics – The Great Peace The Great Peace is the League of Haudenosaunee (“the People of the Longhouse”) or the Iroquois League. 50 chiefs represent the five Iroquois nations. Each nation was not equally represented but each had one vote. Like decisions for each nation and tribe, all decisions of the league must be unanimous. They deal with only external issues, while internal issues were dealt by the individual nations.
Warfare - Reasons With many reasons for war, the cause of conflict can not be boiled down into one specific incident, but rather war can be described as progressive; not instantaneous. With the introduction of maize agriculture in the 14 century and the subsequent population surge that followed, villages had become larger and warfare was on the rise among native groups; including other Iroquoian bands. Eventually; with considerable effort, the Iroquois tribes came together, ended their fighting, and were able to form a league. The formation of this league brought the Iroquois an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity. However, the Iroquois only required to maintain peace with each other, and the individual members of the league were free to pursue their own interests. The main reasons that the Iroquois engaged in warfare with other native groups was largely over land disputes, beliefs, and economic trading.
Warfare- Methods The Iroquois tribe used a plethora of tatics and weapons while engaged in acts of warfare with other native groups. For the most part. the weapons and tatics used were dependant upon the situation as well as the skills of the warriors. The most commonly used weapons were: the tomahawk, bow and arrow, lances, knives, and war clubs. The Tomahawk - The most prominent traditional native weapon. The tomahawk is an axe - like piece of equipment that is constructed of wood and stone. They were often used by being hurled from a distance either on foot, or on horseback. The Lance - The lance was popular amongst Iroquois hunters. The lance provided the fighters with substaintalleverage and protection in order to knock enemies from their horses. The lances were often decorated with feathers and scalps to create an intimidating appearance.
Geography - Location The original homeland of the Iroquois was in upstate New York between Adirondack Mountains and Niagara Falls. They had migrated through and gained control of most of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Today they live primarily in the United States and Canada. On the banks of the St. Lawrence river, just north of the present-day city of Brockville, Ontario, the Roebuck site of the St. Lawrence Iroquois is a sandy mound that rises about five metres on its south side and less steeply on the other sides. It covers about eight hectares. The site is protected by a black alder swamp on three sides, but it opens to dry, level land on the west. The long oval-shaped sand hill was once crowded with fourty longhouses ranging from twenty metres to forty-two metreslong. With a population estimated at two thousand, the Roebuck of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians probably displayed a vitality it has not shown since.
Geography - Climate Iroquois, IL climate is warm during summer when temperatures tend to be in the 70's and very cold during winter when temperatures tend to be in the 20's. The warmest month of the year is July with an average maximum temperature of 85.10 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is January with an average minimum temperature of 14.20 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature variations between night and day tend to be moderate during summer with a difference that can reach 23 degrees Fahrenheit, and fairly limited during winter with an average difference of 17 degrees Fahrenheit. The annual average precipitation at Iroquois is 37.48 Inches. Rainfall in is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month of the year is June with an average rainfall of 4.51 Inches.
Economics – Commercial Activities Were horticultural economists ( economy was primarily dependant upon agriculture ) Practiced slash and burn method of harvesting crops Three main “ sister crops” were composed of corn, beans, and squash Most important crop was corn for various ceremonies Women were designated to plant as well as tend to the crops before harvest Traded goods with other native tribes and other bands
Economics – Division Of Labour Division of labour based upon the sex of the individual Men were responsible for : hunting, fishing, constructing, warfare, and trade Women were responsible for : gathering food, farming, producing clothing, and raising children