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The Native People of Canada
The Iroquois of the Eastern Woodlands
Home
The Inuits
The Iroquois
The Plains
The Plateau
The Northwest Coast

     The fertile land around the Great Lakes is where the Iroquois and groups reside. Mohawk, Erie, Huron, and St.Lawerence are only a few of the other groups around.

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The Eastern Woodland area - shows the Iroquois, Mohawk, Erie, and other groups

     The Iroquois were democratic because they had two leaders from each clan (extended family), whom were voted by the elderly women of each clan. The "civil chief" organized the normal activities of their clan, while the "military chief" would negotiate an agreement between two disputing people. Rows of longhouses would fill the palisade guarded town, one for each extended family. The nucleaur families (consisting of a dad,a mom, and their children), lived in one of the many compartments within.
     There were three levels to the Iroquoian government, just like ours today. Instead of municipical, provincial, and federal, the Iroquios government consisted of town, tribal and confederacy. At all levels, everyone attempted to cooperate with one another in order for things to move smoothly, which is why in all decisions, the majority ruled.
    Women had many priorities and more importance in the Iroquoian civilization. For instance, the women are in charge of all the fields and the crops, making sure everything runs efficiently and the crops were well grown. The Iroquion people were matrilocal and matrilineal as well.That means that when a husband and wife wed, they lived with the women's family in their longhouse. All children raised would then also live in the women's family's longhouse. The ancestors and family line descend from female to female, hence matrilineal.

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The longhouses in which the Iroquois lived in

     In the early 500's, the agriculture of the Iroquois grew when they learned how to grow corn. This led to two increases - the size of the village, and the number of people in the village. This is because once agricultural discoveries were made; the iroquois learned that they could then stay in one spot and not be forced to travel around the region looking for food. Again in the 1300's to 1400's, agricultural discoveries were made resulting in the village becoming much larger than they already were. Now, with the new discoveries of beans, sunflowers, and squash, the villages grew four main crops. In the early 1400's to 1600's, the large fields started to flourish with tabacco as well, as it turned out to be a worthy trade item for food unrelated to agriculture.

     A unique characteristic to the Iroquios people is a dance. This dance is supposed to help the sick get better as shown below in a painting. You can find the sick person near the back being carried by many men who are dancing around him.

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The ill person is circled to make it easier for one to spot him

copyright 2004 Jessica Kalynn