The Iroquois Indians, known as “The League of Peace and Power” were an extraordinarily well-organized federation of Indian states which was located in New York, Pennsylvania, Ontario and Quebec.
The Iroquois were not a single tribe, but were comprised of the five nations: Oneida, Onodaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Mohawk. Iroquois Indians were known for their prowess in battle and their constitution, which was recorded on their wampum beads. These five nations dwelled close together and formed political ties will allies. Iroquois Indians were also astute at languages, and were able to communicate and negotiate with the white man.
In 1677, the Iroquois Indians made an alliance with the British in what would be a long-standing alliance which would prove valuable in the Britain’s rivalry with the French. The Iroquois Indians fought against the French bitterly, and many historians wonder why the Iroquois had such animosity against them. According to one theory, the French explorer Champlain brought guns against the Iroquois Indians, and they never forgot or forgave the French for that confrontation. Whatever the reason for the animosity, the Iroquois Indians also fought against the Algonquin, who were allied with the French.
Among the Iroquois Indians, there was a strong division of labor between men and women, although they based their ancestry on matrilineal descent and women were involved in political meetings. Women mainly tended to the home and grew crops such as corn, squash, beans and pumpkins and men went hunting. Like many Indians, Iroquois Indians lived in longhouses which sheltered many families. In longhouses, they shared resources, fire and other commodities. The Iroquois Indians were astute at adopting other tribes into their fold, and this policy enabled them to steadily grow in numbers and in political power.
Joseph Paige © 2006