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The Iroquois Confederacy:

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1 The Iroquois Confederacy:
"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children." Ancient Native American Proverb

2 Who Were the Iroquois? Native Americans from the Eastern Woodlands cultural region 5 separate tribes combined to make up the Iroquois Nation: Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga and Cayuga Tribes. They were known as The Five Nations. Later, a sixth tribe, the Tuscarora Tribe, joined the nation. In 1570, the different tribes joined into an alliance as a way to end warfare and fighting that had existed between them for years. They established common rules and a governing system to keep them united.

3 Where Did the Iroquois Live?
Mainly in New York State, also in parts of Canada Each tribe settled around one of the Finger Lakes in the upstate New York region

4 How Did They Become United?
Iroquois legend says that in the late 1300s a woman had a dream that her daughter would soon have a baby, who she would name Dekanahwida, and that he would grow up to bring peace to the warring lands. Soon her dream came true and Dekanahwida was born. When he was grown, he left home in a white stone canoe to spread his message of peace to the warring tribes. Dekanahwida the Peacemaker

5 Peace Brings Unity Dekanahwida traveled eastward and spread a message of peace, claiming the task was given to him by the Great Spirit of the Sky. Along the way he met a Mohawk named Hiawatha. Hiawatha used his great skills as a speaker and warrior to persuade chiefs from the other nations to adopt Dekanahwida’s peaceful philosophy and to unite under this new idea. Hiawatha of the Mohawk Tribe

6 How Was the League Structured?
A council of 50 sachems (tribal leaders) was chosen to make decisions for the League Women chose the sachems Sachems held council meetings once a year and voted on solutions and actions to solve problems The league brought an end to warfare by uniting the tribes The council could only take action if all the nations agreed

7 The First Real Democracy?
Democracy: literally means “rule by the people”- comes from the Greek demos (people) kratos (rule). A form of government where the people make decisions, whether it be by voting directly or electing representatives to vote on their behalf. It has been said that the Iroquois Confederacy is the First Real Democracy, and was influential to the creation of our infant nation What do you think?

8 How did the Iroquois live?
They lived in structures called long houses made out of wood- a long house was about 150 feet long and was mostly a large hallway that connected two rooms at either end. Each room was home to a family, and the adjoining families shared a common fireplace in their hallway. Generally long houses were shared by related families. Two or more related families were called a clan. Iroquois people called themselves House Builders (many other tribes during this time were still living in tepees or other less permanent structures).


10 Iroquois Ways of Life: Roles of Tribesman
Men spent most of their time hunting, trading and fighting Female children helped their mothers with crops and household chores Male children learned warrior and hunter skills from their fathers and uncles through competitive games like Bagattaway (lacrosse) Women own the long house and its properties They also ran the planting and harvesting to sustain the villages Iroquois men moved in with the woman’s family upon marriage Women chose the clan leaders and could remove leaders from power

11 Iroquois Ways of Life: Survival
Iroquois hunted mostly deer and bison to survive Developed better and faster ways to plant and irrigate; their main crops were beans, squash and corn (“The Three Sisters”) Men made canoes, long houses and tools (knives, bows and arrows). In the winter they made snow shoes to make winter hunting easier Large festivals were held to honor spirits and pray for good crops- Iroquois deeply respected nature Used wampum (a white shell bead) to trade and also to make story belts

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