The Iroquois


          The Iroquois people were known as “Hodenosaunee” which in Huron means “People Of Longhouse”. Why were the Iroquois called this?


The Iroquois people lived in the territory that is now known as Northern New York. The places that they inhabited were surrounding Lake Ontario. The area that they lived in was surrounded by lots of lakes and rivers. There were also thick woods. The land was fertile enough to farm.          The summers were long and dry with warm weather. There were many different trees. There were birch, hemlock, pine, maple, elm, ash and beech. There were no mountains only small hills.


          The Iroquois Indians lived in two different types of shelters. The first is the wigwam. They were made by bending young trees to form the round shape of the house. Pieces of bark were placed on top to protect it from the weather. They then placed grass on top. They left a small hole on the roof for the smoke from the fires.       The second were the longhouses. The longhouses were long rectangular houses. They made them by sewing pieces of bark together and used this “bark blanket” to cover a frame of young trees. Inside there was a long hallway with rooms on both sides. In these rooms there was a sleeping platform. Above the sleeping platform there was a large shelf for storage.


          There were several tribes within the Iroquois. There was the Mohawk, the Onondaga, the Cayuga, the Seneca, and the Oneida. In 1570 the five tribes formed The League Of The Five Nations.


          The Iroquois made stone net sinkers so the nets would sink to catch fish. They used bone harpoons to spear the animals that they caught. The Iroquois used clay pots to cook in and for storage. They also made burden carriers so they could carry things on their backs. The Iroquois made a variation of this so the women could carry babies. They men smoked tobacco in clay pottery pipes.


          The Iroquois ate many farmed and wild foods. They ate grapes, cherries, wild plums, berries, sweet crab apples, chestnuts, black walnuts, hickory nuts maple sap, corn, pumpkin, melon, and squash.

They also hunted the forest animals. They hunted black bears, elk, deer, rabbits, and wolves.

They fished, too. The Iroquois caught trout, sturgeon, and white fish.

          To grow the crops they planted the seeds from last year. They grew sunflowers so they could eat the seeds. The women also grew pumpkins, melons, and squash. The only thing that the men grew was tobacco in small gardens.     The women gathered wild plums, grapes, cherries, and crab apples.         The men caught the fish and they hunted for the meat. They caught the fish using nets and they shot the animals with bows and arrows.


          The Iroquois was a strong tribe. They were enemies with the Huron. The Iroquois were so strong that they killed almost of the Hurons in the area where they lived. The rest of the Hurons fled to Ohio.


          The Iroquois carried cargoes of corn, beans and animal skins in canoes made of bark.

To get around the Iroquois mostly walked on foot carrying what they needed in burden carriers.


They all spoke the Iroquoian language but there were many different variations of it like Nottoway, Huron, Cherokee and Mohawk.


          The women wore deerskin skirts, vests and moccasins. The men wore deerskin breechcloths and leather leggings and tunics. Both genders wore fur capes for when the weather dropped and became cold.

Their clothes were decorated with porcupine quills and shell beads. Some of the Iroquois dyed their hair for decoration. The moccasins, or shoes that they wore were made of leather or cornhusks.


In conclusion, the Iroquois or “Hodenosaunee” were called The People Of The Longhouse because the houses they lived in were long rectangular houses.



The Bibliography



Ridington, Robin and Jillian. People of The Longhouse, How The Iroquoian Tribes Lived. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre Ltd.


McCall, Barbara. The Iroquois. Vero Beach FL: Rourke Publications, INC.