Home Region:  East Coast (North America)

Haudenosaunee Confederacy - Late

EQ 2020  us_haudenosaunee_2 / UsIroqL

The Finger Lakes region of the modern-day state of New York was once part of Iroquois territory. On the eve of European contact, this territory stretched from Lake Champlain and Lake George west to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario and from the St. Lawrence River south to the Susquehanna River. Originally, the League of the Iroquois was a confederacy of five Native American tribes (the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca), joined by a sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, in 1722, following its northward migration from the Roanoke River. This confederacy was created between 1400 and 1600 CE. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the confederacy was overall able to exploit the establishment of the European fur trade to its advantage, playing French and English interests off against one another, and gaining a major role in economic and political affairs. As a result of this, the Iroquois - particularly the Seneca - also frequently clashed with other Native tribes, such as the Huron, Petun, Neutral and Susquehannock. Eventually, the Iroquois also came into conflict with the Europeans, first with the French, then with the American revolutionaries. Starting in the 19th century, the Iroquois tribes settled on reservations in western New York state, southern Quebec and southern Ontario. [1]
Population and political organization
The central Iroquois League Council dealt with common affairs, while tribal chiefs and councils (as well as the female elders of their respective lineages and more recently created non-hereditary positions) occupied an intermediary position. The council included 50 men and women representing the five original tribes and had legislative, executive and judiciary powers, but it only deliberated on matters relating to foreign affairs (for example, peace and war) as well as matters of common interest to all five tribes. [1]
According to Gerald Reid, there were around 5,500 Iroquois at the beginning of the 17th century. [1]

[1]: (Reid 1996) Reid, Gerald. 1996. “Culture Summary: Iroquois.” eHRAF World Cultures. http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu/document?id=nm09-000. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/ZHZI7ZTE.

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
18 T  
Original Name:
Haudenosaunee Confederacy  
Capital:
Onondaga  
Alternative Name:
Five Nations  
Six Nations  
League of the Iroquois  
Iroquois Confederacy  
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
[1,714 CE ➜ 1,765 CE]  
Duration:
[1,714 CE ➜ 1,848 CE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
nominal allegiance to [---]  
Supracultural Entity:
Eastern Woodlands  
Succeeding Entity:
United States of America  
Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity  
Preceding Entity:
Iroquois Confederacy  
Degree of Centralization:
loose  
Language
Linguistic Family:
Iroquois  
Language:
Cayuga  
Mohawk  
Oneida  
Onondaga  
Seneca  
Tuscarora  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
600 people  
3,000 people  
Polity Territory:
100,000 km2 1714 CE 1800 CE
Polity Population:
12,000 people  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
3  
Religious Level:
2  
Military Level:
3  
Administrative Level:
3  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
absent  
Professional Priesthood:
absent  
Professional Military Officer:
absent  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
absent  
Merit Promotion:
absent  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
absent  
Examination System:
absent  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent  
Judge:
absent  
Formal Legal Code:
absent  
present  
Court:
absent  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
absent  
Irrigation System:
absent  
Food Storage Site:
absent  
Drinking Water Supply System:
absent  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
absent  
Port:
absent  
Canal:
absent  
Bridge:
absent  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
absent  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
absent 1714 CE 1831 CE
present 1832 CE 1848 CE
Script:
absent 1714 CE 1831 CE
present 1832 CE 1848 CE
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent 1714 CE 1831 CE
present 1832 CE 1848 CE
Nonwritten Record:
present  
Mnemonic Device:
present  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
absent  
Sacred Text:
absent 1714 CE 1831 CE
present 1832 CE 1848 CE
Religious Literature:
absent 1714 CE 1831 CE
present 1832 CE 1848 CE
Practical Literature:
absent  
Philosophy:
absent  
Lists Tables and Classification:
absent  
History:
absent  
Fiction:
absent  
Calendar:
absent  
Information / Money
Token:
present  
Precious Metal:
absent  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent  
Foreign Coin:
absent 1714 CE 1790 CE
present 1791 CE 1844 CE
Article:
present  
Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
absent  
General Postal Service:
absent  
Courier:
present  
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
inferred absent  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
absent  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
absent  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
inferred absent  
  Fortified Camp:
absent  
  Earth Rampart:
inferred absent  
  Ditch:
inferred absent  
  Complex Fortification:
absent  
  Long Wall:
absent  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
present  
  Iron:
present  
  Copper:
inferred present  
  Bronze:
present  
Projectiles
  Tension Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling:
absent  
  Self Bow:
present  
  Javelin:
inferred present  
  Handheld Firearm:
present  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
inferred present  
  Crossbow:
absent  
  Composite Bow:
absent  
  Atlatl:
absent  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
present  
  Sword:
absent  
  Spear:
present  
  Polearm:
absent  
  Dagger:
present  
  Battle Axe:
present  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
absent 1714 CE 1750 CE
inferred present 1751 CE 1848 CE
  Elephant:
absent  
  Donkey:
absent  
  Dog:
absent  
  Camel:
absent  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
absent  
  Shield:
absent  
  Scaled Armor:
absent  
  Plate Armor:
absent  
  Limb Protection:
absent  
  Leather Cloth:
present  
  Laminar Armor:
absent  
  Helmet:
present  
  Chainmail:
absent  
  Breastplate:
absent  
Naval technology
  Specialized Military Vessel:
absent  
  Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
inferred absent  
  Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
absent  
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Haudenosaunee Confederacy - Late (us_haudenosaunee_2) was in:
 (1714 CE 1848 CE)   Finger Lakes
Home NGA: Finger Lakes

General Variables
Identity and Location

Original Name:
Haudenosaunee Confederacy

’The League of the Iroquois was originally a confederacy of 5 North American Indian tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the League in 1722 after migrating north from the region of the Roanoke River in response to hostilities with White colonists. [...] On the eve of European contact the Iroquois territory extended from Lake Champlain and Lake George west to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario and from the St. Lawrence River south to the Susquehanna River. Within these boundaries each of the original 5 tribes occupied an north-south oblong strip of territory; from east to west, they were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The region was primarily lake and hill country dissected by numerous rivers. Deciduous forests of birch, beech, maple and elm dominated the region, giving way to fir and spruce forests in the north and in the higher elevations of the Adirondack Mountains. In aboriginal times fish and animal species were diverse and abundant.’ [1] The Iroquois Confederacy’s original name was Haudenosaunee Confederacy: ’Iroquois, any member of the North American Indian tribes speaking a language of the Iroquoian family-notably the Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The peoples who spoke Iroquoian languages occupied a continuous territory around Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie, in present-day New York state and Pennsylvania (U.S.) and southern Ontario and Quebec (Canada). That larger group should be differentiated from the Five Nations (later Six Nations) better known as the Iroquois Confederacy (self name Haudenosaunee Confederacy).’ [2]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-people


Capital:
Onondaga

The League Council met at Onondaga: ’The term “longhouse” was at one time symbolically applied to the League, and its members spoke of themselves as the “Hodinonhsióni ónon,” “the people of the longhouse.” The symbolic longhouse was represented as extending from the Hudson River to Lake Erie. It sheltered within its walls the five tribes who kept the five fires of the longhouse. At the ends of the house stood the doorkeepers, the Mohawk at the east and the Seneca at the west. In between these were the Oneida who kept the second fire and the Cayuga who kept the fourth fire. They were regarded as the younger brothers whose duty it was to care for the captives. In the center were the Onondaga who kept the ever-burning central fire and presided over the council of the league, and whose principal village (Onondaga, later Onondaga Castle) was the capital of the confederacy. At one time Onondaga was one of the most important and widely known towns in North America north of Mexico.’ [1] Because of the migrations and military conflicts of the colonial period, the council fire was intermittently extinguished, then moved to other locations: ’After the Revolution, about 225 Onondagas chose tofollow Joseph Brant, the Mohawk chief, to Canada andto settle on the Six Nations Reserve (Johnston 1964:52).Approximately the same number of Onondagas werereported living on the Six Nations Reserve in 1810-1811(Johnston 1964:281), suggesting that all those Onondagaswho moved to Canada did so as a group in 1784. There,they and those belonging to the other Iroquois tribes whohad also settled on the Six Nations Reserve rekindled thecouncil fire of the Confederacy (see “Six Nations of theGrand River, Ontario,” this vol.). Another council fire ofthe Confederacy was rekindled at Buffalo Creek where anumber of Senecas and some Cayugas and Onondagaswere then living. Thus, after the Revolution, two separate League councils were established, one in the UnitedStates and the other in Canada, each with its owncomplement of hereditary chieftainships. Each also had its own wampum for the wampum of the League held bythe Onondagas had been divided, half being given to theOnondagas at the Six Nations Reserve and half remainingin New York State (see “The League of the Iroquois:Its History, Politics, and Ritual,” this vol.).’ [2] ’When the council fire of the Confederacy was rekindledat Buffalo Creek, more Onondagas as well as other Iroquois were living there than at any other location. The Onondaga village at Buffalo Creek, which in 1791 was said to consist of 28 good houses (Proctor 1864-1865,2:307), was located near the ford on Cazenovia Creek (near the present junction of Potter Road and SenecaStreet, a mile west of Ebenezer). The Onondaga councilhouse stood on the east bank of the creek near the ford and the cemetery on a terrace on the opposite side (Houghton 1920:11, 115-116).’ [3] The fire was later rekindled at Onondaga proper: ’Despite the efforts of the Onondagas to have them returned to Onondaga, the council fire of the Confederacy and its wampum records remained at Buffalo Creek until after that reservation had been sold and Captain Cold (“The League of the Iroquois: Its History,Politics, and Ritual,” fig. 11, this vol.), keeper of thecouncil fire and the wampum, had died. In 1847 bothwere moved back to Onondaga (Clark 1849, 1:109, 124). However, a number of Onondagas (approximately 150)continued to live on the Seneca and Tuscarora Reservationsin western New York State, the largest number onthe Allegany Reservation (New York (State) Secretary ofState 1857:507; Fletcher 1888:551; New York (State)Legislature. Assembly 1889:59; U.S. Census Office. 11thCensus 1892:6).’ [3]

[1]: Lyford, Carrie A. 1945. “Iroquois Crafts”, 10a

[2]: Blau, Harold, Jack Campisi, and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Onondaga”, 495

[3]: Blau, Harold, Jack Campisi, and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Onondaga”, 496


Alternative Name:
Five Nations

’The League of the Iroquois was originally a confederacy of 5 North American Indian tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the League in 1722 after migrating north from the region of the Roanoke River in response to hostilities with White colonists. [...] On the eve of European contact the Iroquois territory extended from Lake Champlain and Lake George west to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario and from the St. Lawrence River south to the Susquehanna River. Within these boundaries each of the original 5 tribes occupied an north-south oblong strip of territory; from east to west, they were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The region was primarily lake and hill country dissected by numerous rivers. Deciduous forests of birch, beech, maple and elm dominated the region, giving way to fir and spruce forests in the north and in the higher elevations of the Adirondack Mountains. In aboriginal times fish and animal species were diverse and abundant.’ [1] The Iroquois Confederacy was also known as the Five Nations, and, after the inclusion of the Tuscaroras, as the Six Nations: ’Iroquois, any member of the North American Indian tribes speaking a language of the Iroquoian family-notably the Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The peoples who spoke Iroquoian languages occupied a continuous territory around Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie, in present-day New York state and Pennsylvania (U.S.) and southern Ontario and Quebec (Canada). That larger group should be differentiated from the Five Nations (later Six Nations) better known as the Iroquois Confederacy (self name Haudenosaunee Confederacy).’ [2] ’In 1715, the Tuscaroras, having been expelled from North Carolina, turned to the north, and sought a home among the Iroquois, on the ground of a common origin. That they were originally descended from the same stock is sufficiently evinced by their language. They were admitted into the League as a constituent member, and a portion of the Oneida territory assigned to them as their future home. After this event, the Iroquois, who had before been styled by the English the “Five Nations,” were known by them under the name of the “Six Nations.”’ [3]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-people

[3]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 23

Alternative Name:
Six Nations

’The League of the Iroquois was originally a confederacy of 5 North American Indian tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the League in 1722 after migrating north from the region of the Roanoke River in response to hostilities with White colonists. [...] On the eve of European contact the Iroquois territory extended from Lake Champlain and Lake George west to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario and from the St. Lawrence River south to the Susquehanna River. Within these boundaries each of the original 5 tribes occupied an north-south oblong strip of territory; from east to west, they were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The region was primarily lake and hill country dissected by numerous rivers. Deciduous forests of birch, beech, maple and elm dominated the region, giving way to fir and spruce forests in the north and in the higher elevations of the Adirondack Mountains. In aboriginal times fish and animal species were diverse and abundant.’ [1] The Iroquois Confederacy was also known as the Five Nations, and, after the inclusion of the Tuscaroras, as the Six Nations: ’Iroquois, any member of the North American Indian tribes speaking a language of the Iroquoian family-notably the Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The peoples who spoke Iroquoian languages occupied a continuous territory around Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie, in present-day New York state and Pennsylvania (U.S.) and southern Ontario and Quebec (Canada). That larger group should be differentiated from the Five Nations (later Six Nations) better known as the Iroquois Confederacy (self name Haudenosaunee Confederacy).’ [2] ’In 1715, the Tuscaroras, having been expelled from North Carolina, turned to the north, and sought a home among the Iroquois, on the ground of a common origin. That they were originally descended from the same stock is sufficiently evinced by their language. They were admitted into the League as a constituent member, and a portion of the Oneida territory assigned to them as their future home. After this event, the Iroquois, who had before been styled by the English the “Five Nations,” were known by them under the name of the “Six Nations.”’ [3]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-people

[3]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 23

Alternative Name:
League of the Iroquois

’The League of the Iroquois was originally a confederacy of 5 North American Indian tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the League in 1722 after migrating north from the region of the Roanoke River in response to hostilities with White colonists. [...] On the eve of European contact the Iroquois territory extended from Lake Champlain and Lake George west to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario and from the St. Lawrence River south to the Susquehanna River. Within these boundaries each of the original 5 tribes occupied an north-south oblong strip of territory; from east to west, they were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The region was primarily lake and hill country dissected by numerous rivers. Deciduous forests of birch, beech, maple and elm dominated the region, giving way to fir and spruce forests in the north and in the higher elevations of the Adirondack Mountains. In aboriginal times fish and animal species were diverse and abundant.’ [1] The Iroquois Confederacy was also known as the Five Nations, and, after the inclusion of the Tuscaroras, as the Six Nations: ’Iroquois, any member of the North American Indian tribes speaking a language of the Iroquoian family-notably the Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The peoples who spoke Iroquoian languages occupied a continuous territory around Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie, in present-day New York state and Pennsylvania (U.S.) and southern Ontario and Quebec (Canada). That larger group should be differentiated from the Five Nations (later Six Nations) better known as the Iroquois Confederacy (self name Haudenosaunee Confederacy).’ [2] ’In 1715, the Tuscaroras, having been expelled from North Carolina, turned to the north, and sought a home among the Iroquois, on the ground of a common origin. That they were originally descended from the same stock is sufficiently evinced by their language. They were admitted into the League as a constituent member, and a portion of the Oneida territory assigned to them as their future home. After this event, the Iroquois, who had before been styled by the English the “Five Nations,” were known by them under the name of the “Six Nations.”’ [3]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-people

[3]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 23

Alternative Name:
Iroquois Confederacy

’The League of the Iroquois was originally a confederacy of 5 North American Indian tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the League in 1722 after migrating north from the region of the Roanoke River in response to hostilities with White colonists. [...] On the eve of European contact the Iroquois territory extended from Lake Champlain and Lake George west to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario and from the St. Lawrence River south to the Susquehanna River. Within these boundaries each of the original 5 tribes occupied an north-south oblong strip of territory; from east to west, they were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The region was primarily lake and hill country dissected by numerous rivers. Deciduous forests of birch, beech, maple and elm dominated the region, giving way to fir and spruce forests in the north and in the higher elevations of the Adirondack Mountains. In aboriginal times fish and animal species were diverse and abundant.’ [1] The Iroquois Confederacy was also known as the Five Nations, and, after the inclusion of the Tuscaroras, as the Six Nations: ’Iroquois, any member of the North American Indian tribes speaking a language of the Iroquoian family-notably the Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The peoples who spoke Iroquoian languages occupied a continuous territory around Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie, in present-day New York state and Pennsylvania (U.S.) and southern Ontario and Quebec (Canada). That larger group should be differentiated from the Five Nations (later Six Nations) better known as the Iroquois Confederacy (self name Haudenosaunee Confederacy).’ [2] ’In 1715, the Tuscaroras, having been expelled from North Carolina, turned to the north, and sought a home among the Iroquois, on the ground of a common origin. That they were originally descended from the same stock is sufficiently evinced by their language. They were admitted into the League as a constituent member, and a portion of the Oneida territory assigned to them as their future home. After this event, the Iroquois, who had before been styled by the English the “Five Nations,” were known by them under the name of the “Six Nations.”’ [3]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-people

[3]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 23


Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
[1,714 CE ➜ 1,765 CE]

Given the changing loyalties and various colonial incursions of the pre-independence period, a peak date is hard to identify, but the relative unity and military successes prior to the American Revolution indicate an early date: ’For a century and a quarter before the American Revolution, the Iroquois stood athwart the path from Albany to the Great Lakes, keeping the route from permanent settlement by the French and containing the Dutch and the English. In the 18th century the Six Nations remained consistent and bitter enemies of the French, who were allied with their traditional foes. The Iroquois became dependent on the British in Albany for European goods (which were cheaper there than in Montreal), and thus Albany was never attacked. The Iroquois’ success in maintaining their autonomy vis-à-vis both the French and English was a remarkable achievement for an aboriginal people that could field only 2,200 men from a total population of scarcely 12,000. During the American Revolution, a schism developed among the Iroquois. The Oneida and Tuscarora espoused the American cause, while the rest of the league, led by Chief Joseph Brant’s Mohawk loyalists, fought for the British out of Niagara, decimating several isolated American settlements. The fields, orchards, and granaries, as well as the morale of the Iroquois, were destroyed in 1779 when U.S. Major General John Sullivan led a retaliatory expedition of 4,000 Americans against them, defeating them near present-day Elmira, New York. Having acknowledged defeat in the Second Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1784), the Iroquois Confederacy effectively came to an end. In a treaty that was made at Canandaigua, New York, 10 years later, the Iroquois and the United States each pledged not to disturb the other in lands that had been relinquished or reserved. Of the Six Nations, the Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora remained in New York, eventually settling on reservations; the Mohawk and Cayuga withdrew to Canada; and, a generation later, a large group of the Oneida departed for Wisconsin.’ [1]

[1]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-Confederacy


Duration:
[1,714 CE ➜ 1,848 CE]

’During Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713) the Iroquois allied with the English and at the War’s end were acknowledged to be British subjects, though they continued to aggressively maintain and extend their middleman role between English traders at Fort Orange (Albany) and native groups farther west.’ [1] During the 18th century, the Iroquois struggled to maintain their autonomy vis-à-vis colonial incursions, until they were caught up in the American Revolution: ’For a century and a quarter before the American Revolution, the Iroquois stood athwart the path from Albany to the Great Lakes, keeping the route from permanent settlement by the French and containing the Dutch and the English. In the 18th century the Six Nations remained consistent and bitter enemies of the French, who were allied with their traditional foes. The Iroquois became dependent on the British in Albany for European goods (which were cheaper there than in Montreal), and thus Albany was never attacked. The Iroquois’ success in maintaining their autonomy vis-à-vis both the French and English was a remarkable achievement for an aboriginal people that could field only 2,200 men from a total population of scarcely 12,000. During the American Revolution, a schism developed among the Iroquois. The Oneida and Tuscarora espoused the American cause, while the rest of the league, led by Chief Joseph Brant’s Mohawk loyalists, fought for the British out of Niagara, decimating several isolated American settlements. The fields, orchards, and granaries, as well as the morale of the Iroquois, were destroyed in 1779 when U.S. Major General John Sullivan led a retaliatory expedition of 4,000 Americans against them, defeating them near present-day Elmira, New York. Having acknowledged defeat in the Second Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1784), the Iroquois Confederacy effectively came to an end. In a treaty that was made at Canandaigua, New York, 10 years later, the Iroquois and the United States each pledged not to disturb the other in lands that had been relinquished or reserved. Of the Six Nations, the Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora remained in New York, eventually settling on reservations; the Mohawk and Cayuga withdrew to Canada; and, a generation later, a large group of the Oneida departed for Wisconsin.’ [2] During the reservation period, the Iroquois were increasingly subject to paternalistic treatment by federal American authorities and experienced significant political transformations: ’In 1848 Senecas living on the Cattaraugus and Allegany reservations petitioned the federal government to change the method of distributing their annuities. In the pastthey had been distributed through the chiefs who took aportion for government purposes; by the new method they were to be distributed directly to heads of families.The chiefs opposed this move, and the dispute opened old wounds.’ [3] ’On December 4, 1848, a convention held on Cattaraugus abolished government by chiefs on Allegany and Cattaraugus. The convention adopted a written constitution that instituted an annually elected council of 18 members and an executive consisting of president, clerk,and treasurer. It retained the judicial offices of peacemakers, which had been established under the chief’s government(Society of Friends 1857).’ [3] ’The Tonawanda Senecas had refused to participate inthe Revolution of 1848 that changed the form of government on the Cattaraugus and Allegany reservations from governance by hereditary chiefs to an elected council as that would have weakened their argument that the 1842 compromise treaty was not binding on them becausetheir chiefs had not signed it. Thus they retained their council of hereditary chiefs. After their fight to retain their reservation had been won, they changed their formof governance to provide for the election of three peacemakers (from the chiefs), a clerk, a treasurer, and a marshall by the adult men at an annual election. But they retained the council of chiefs as their governing body.’ [4]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-Confederacy

[3]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 511

[4]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 512


Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
nominal allegiance to [---]

The Iroquois were initially allies of the British: ’During Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713) the Iroquois allied with the English and at the War’s end were acknowledged to be British subjects, though they continued to aggressively maintain and extend their middleman role between English traders at Fort Orange (Albany) and native groups farther west.’ [1] This nominal allegiance faltered during the American revolution: ’For a century and a quarter before the American Revolution, the Iroquois stood athwart the path from Albany to the Great Lakes, keeping the route from permanent settlement by the French and containing the Dutch and the English. In the 18th century the Six Nations remained consistent and bitter enemies of the French, who were allied with their traditional foes. The Iroquois became dependent on the British in Albany for European goods (which were cheaper there than in Montreal), and thus Albany was never attacked. The Iroquois’ success in maintaining their autonomy vis-à-vis both the French and English was a remarkable achievement for an aboriginal people that could field only 2,200 men from a total population of scarcely 12,000. During the American Revolution, a schism developed among the Iroquois. The Oneida and Tuscarora espoused the American cause, while the rest of the league, led by Chief Joseph Brant’s Mohawk loyalists, fought for the British out of Niagara, decimating several isolated American settlements. The fields, orchards, and granaries, as well as the morale of the Iroquois, were destroyed in 1779 when U.S. Major General John Sullivan led a retaliatory expedition of 4,000 Americans against them, defeating them near present-day Elmira, New York. Having acknowledged defeat in the Second Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1784), the Iroquois Confederacy effectively came to an end. In a treaty that was made at Canandaigua, New York, 10 years later, the Iroquois and the United States each pledged not to disturb the other in lands that had been relinquished or reserved. Of the Six Nations, the Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora remained in New York, eventually settling on reservations; the Mohawk and Cayuga withdrew to Canada; and, a generation later, a large group of the Oneida departed for Wisconsin.’ [2] Once settled on reservations, the Iroquois were increasingly subject to paternalistic legislation by federal American authorities and experienced significant political transformations: ’In 1848 Senecas living on the Cattaraugus and Allegany reservations petitioned the federal government to change the method of distributing their annuities. In the pastthey had been distributed through the chiefs who took aportion for government purposes; by the new method they were to be distributed directly to heads of families.The chiefs opposed this move, and the dispute opened old wounds.’ [3] ’On December 4, 1848, a convention held on Cattaraugus abolished government by chiefs on Allegany and Cattaraugus. The convention adopted a written constitution that instituted an annually elected council of 18 members and an executive consisting of president, clerk,and treasurer. It retained the judicial offices of peacemakers, which had been established under the chief’s government(Society of Friends 1857).’ [3] ’The Tonawanda Senecas had refused to participate inthe Revolution of 1848 that changed the form of government on the Cattaraugus and Allegany reservations from governance by hereditary chiefs to an elected council as that would have weakened their argument that the 1842 compromise treaty was not binding on them becausetheir chiefs had not signed it. Thus they retained their council of hereditary chiefs. After their fight to retain their reservation had been won, they changed their formof governance to provide for the election of three peacemakers (from the chiefs), a clerk, a treasurer, and a marshall by the adult men at an annual election. But they retained the council of chiefs as their governing body.’ [4]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-Confederacy

[3]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 511

[4]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 512


Supracultural Entity:
Eastern Woodlands

’The languages of the 6 tribes are classified in the Northern Iroquoian branch of the Iroquoian language family.’ [1] The Iroquois Peoples include the Iroquois Confederacy, but also other independent nations: ’Iroquois, any member of the North American Indian tribes speaking a language of the Iroquoian family-notably the Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The peoples who spoke Iroquoian languages occupied a continuous territory around Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie, in present-day New York state and Pennsylvania (U.S.) and southern Ontario and Quebec (Canada). That larger group should be differentiated from the Five Nations (later Six Nations) better known as the Iroquois Confederacy (self name Haudenosaunee Confederacy).’ [2] ’Between the Hudson and lake Erie, our broad territory was occupied by the Ho-de[unknown] -no-sau-nee, or Iroquois, scattered far and wide, in small encampments, or in disconnected villages. Their council-fires, emblematical of civil jurisdiction, burned continuously from the Hudson to Niagara. At the era of Dutch discovery (1609), they had pushed their permanent possession as far west as the Genesee; and shortly after, about 1650, they extended it to the Niagara. They then occupied the entire territory of our State west of the Hudson, with the exception of certain tracts upon that river below the junction of the Mohawk, in the possession of the River Indians, and the country of the Delawares, upon the Delaware river. But both these had been subdued by the conquering Iroquois, and had become tributary nations.’ [3] Iroquois expansionism enabled cross-cultural exchange with defeated enemies: ’The Iroquois were not nomadic hunters like many of their neighbors to the north and west. Instead they settled in more or less permanent villages and depended mainly upon their crops of corn, beans and squash for food. The settled life gave them greater political and social unity and this fact was largely responsible for their success as conquerors and governors. Their conquests brought them in contact with many tribes with cultures varying in greater and lesser degrees from their own and from each they absorbed elements that modified or enhanced it.’ [4] The wider sphere of cultural interaction also includes the colonial powers: ’Thus the League of the Iroquois was an alliance conceived among aboriginal nations which, though culturally related and speaking languages fundamentally similar but differing in vocabulary and idiom, had recurrently been in conflict. The league brought them out of conflict into peace. Then came the French, the Dutch, and the English, and the doom of the league was sealed, its desired results nullified. Here was an alliance binding together five distinct nations, based upon an orally transmitted constitution. It had no inscribed statutes, no taxes or levies, no gendarmerie, no hireling politicians. We hear, however, of tribute exacted of subjugated tribes. Tribute, as the Iroquois took it, consisted of stipulated sums of wampum demanded of the Algonkian tribes on the Atlantic Coast who produced it; and wampum was not an item of money, cash, or currency in native economy before the coming of Europeans to the Hudson Valley. Its function was that of a symbol, valuable in a spiritual sense and capable of serving the purposes of mnemonic record making. Thus the wampum tribute we read so much about would seem to be a measure pressed upon subjugated smaller tribes in the shell-bearing coastal regions, requiring them to furnish the wampum the Iroquois needed in the score of ceremonial uses they had developed for it.’ [5] eHRAF groups the Iroquois with other indigenous communities of the ’Eastern Woodlands’ [6] .

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-people

[3]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 36

[4]: Lismer, Marjorie 1941. “Seneca Splint Basketry”, 8

[5]: Speck, Frank Gouldsmith 1945. “Iroquois: A Study In Cultural Evolution”, 36p

[6]: http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu/ehrafe/regionsCultures.do#region=5


Succeeding Entity:
United States of America

Once settled on reservations, the Iroquois became increasingly dependent on federal American authorities and legislation: ’In 1848 Senecas living on the Cattaraugus and Allegany reservations petitioned the federal government to change the method of distributing their annuities. In the past they had been distributed through the chiefs who took aportion for government purposes; by the new method they were to be distributed directly to heads of families.The chiefs opposed this move, and the dispute opened old wounds.’ [1] ’On December 4, 1848, a convention held on Cattaraugus abolished government by chiefs on Allegany and Cattaraugus. The convention adopted a written constitution that instituted an annually elected council of 18 members and an executive consisting of president, clerk,and treasurer. It retained the judicial offices of peacemakers, which had been established under the chief’s government(Society of Friends 1857).’ [1] ’The Tonawanda Senecas had refused to participate in the Revolution of 1848 that changed the form of government on the Cattaraugus and Allegany reservations from governance by hereditary chiefs to an elected council as that would have weakened their argument that the 1842 compromise treaty was not binding on them becausetheir chiefs had not signed it. Thus they retained their council of hereditary chiefs. After their fight to retain their reservation had been won, they changed their formof governance to provide for the election of three peacemakers (from the chiefs), a clerk, a treasurer, and a marshall by the adult men at an annual election. But they retained the council of chiefs as their governing body.’ [2] Resettlement was associated with dramatic economic and agricultural transformations: ’The coup de grace, that established the basis for agrarian society in the rural period came when the Iroquois were resettled on originally 20,000 acres of land in Tuscarora township. But the Hereditary Councils insisted on larger acreage consisting of 42,000 acres in Tuscarora and and 8,345 3/4 acres in Oneida townships and 1,537?? acres near the Onondaga village (Canada, 1897). This land made up the Six Nations reserve proper. The Six Nations Hereditary Council officially surrendered the remaining Grand River tract lands on January 18,1841, but the actual settlement of the reserve did not begin until after 1846. In 1845, the gazetteer William Smith noted “but (they) are at present about to retrieve altogether to the south side”. (1846:69)’ [3]

[1]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 511

[2]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 512

[3]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 152


Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity

The League Council stayed in place after Queen Anne’s War, although colonial incursions were felt more strongly: ’The Iroquoian confederacy was organized sometime between 1400 and A.D. 1600 for the purpose of maintaining peaceful relations between the 5 constituent tribes. Subsequent to European contact relations within the confederacy were sometimes strained as each of the 5 tribes sought to expand and maintain its own interests in the developing fur trade. For the most part, however, the fur trade served to strengthen the confederacy because tribal interests often complemented one another and all gained from acting in concert. The League was skillful at playing French and English interests off against one another to its advantage and thereby was able to play a major role in the economic and political events of northeastern North America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Iroquois aggressively maintained and expanded their role in the fur trade and as a result periodically found themselves at war with their neighbors, such as the Huron, Petun, and the Neutral to the West and the Susquehannock to the south. Much of the fighting was done by the Seneca, the most powerful of the Iroquoian tribes. From 1667 to the 1680s the Iroquois maintained friendly relations with the French and during this time Jesuit missions were established among each of the 5 tribes. However, Iroquois aggression and expansion eventually brought them into conflict with the French and, at the same time, into closer alliance with the English. In 1687, 1693 and 1696 French military expeditions raided and burned Iroquois villages and fields. During Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713) the Iroquois allied with the English and at the War’s end were acknowledged to be British subjects, though they continued to aggressively maintain and extend their middleman role between English traders at Fort Orange (Albany) and native groups farther west.’ [1]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois


Preceding Entity:
Iroquois Confederacy

’The Iroquoian confederacy was organized sometime between 1400 and A.D. 1600 for the purpose of maintaining peaceful relations between the 5 constituent tribes. Subsequent to European contact relations within the confederacy were sometimes strained as each of the 5 tribes sought to expand and maintain its own interests in the developing fur trade. For the most part, however, the fur trade served to strengthen the confederacy because tribal interests often complemented one another and all gained from acting in concert. The League was skillful at playing French and English interests off against one another to its advantage and thereby was able to play a major role in the economic and political events of northeastern North America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Iroquois aggressively maintained and expanded their role in the fur trade and as a result periodically found themselves at war with their neighbors, such as the Huron, Petun, and the Neutral to the West and the Susquehannock to the south. Much of the fighting was done by the Seneca, the most powerful of the Iroquoian tribes. From 1667 to the 1680s the Iroquois maintained friendly relations with the French and during this time Jesuit missions were established among each of the 5 tribes. However, Iroquois aggression and expansion eventually brought them into conflict with the French and, at the same time, into closer alliance with the English. In 1687, 1693 and 1696 French military expeditions raided and burned Iroquois villages and fields. During Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713) the Iroquois allied with the English and at the War’s end were acknowledged to be British subjects, though they continued to aggressively maintain and extend their middleman role between English traders at Fort Orange (Albany) and native groups farther west.’ [1] ’Between the Hudson and lake Erie, our broad territory was occupied by the Ho-de[unknown] -no-sau-nee, or Iroquois, scattered far and wide, in small encampments, or in disconnected villages. Their council-fires, emblematical of civil jurisdiction, burned continuously from the Hudson to Niagara. At the era of Dutch discovery (1609), they had pushed their permanent possession as far west as the Genesee; and shortly after, about 1650, they extended it to the Niagara. They then occupied the entire territory of our State west of the Hudson, with the exception of certain tracts upon that river below the junction of the Mohawk, in the possession of the River Indians, and the country of the Delawares, upon the Delaware river. But both these had been subdued by the conquering Iroquois, and had become tributary nations.’ [2] In the first half of the 18th century, the Tuscaroras were admitted to the League: ’In 1715, the Tuscaroras, having been expelled from North Carolina, turned to the north, and sought a home among the Iroquois, on the ground of a common origin. That they were originally descended from the same stock is sufficiently evinced by their language. They were admitted into the League as a constituent member, and a portion of the Oneida territory assigned to them as their future home. After this event, the Iroquois, who had before been styled by the English the “Five Nations,” were known by them under the name of the “Six Nations.”’ [3]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 36

[3]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 23


Degree of Centralization:
loose

’The League of the Iroquois was originally a confederacy of 5 North American Indian tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the League in 1722 after migrating north from the region of the Roanoke River in response to hostilities with White colonists. [...] On the eve of European contact the Iroquois territory extended from Lake Champlain and Lake George west to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario and from the St. Lawrence River south to the Susquehanna River. Within these boundaries each of the original 5 tribes occupied an north-south oblong strip of territory; from east to west, they were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The region was primarily lake and hill country dissected by numerous rivers. Deciduous forests of birch, beech, maple and elm dominated the region, giving way to fir and spruce forests in the north and in the higher elevations of the Adirondack Mountains. In aboriginal times fish and animal species were diverse and abundant.’ [1] The individual member nations were represented in a common leage council: ’The Seneca ([unknown] sen[unknown] ku, locally also[unknown] sen[unknown] k[unknown] ), westernmost of the Iroquois tribes, were the largest in the Confederacy. Their numbers were often reported to be almost equal to or to exceed those of the other four Iroquois tribes combined (“The League of the Iroquois: Its History, Politics, and Ritual,” table 1, this vol.). Nevertheless, of all the Iroquois tribes they had the fewest number of chiefs on the League council; they held eight such chieftainships.’ [2] The Iroquois Confederacy was effective in dealing with external enemies until the American revolution, but individual nations also enjoyed considerable agency in handling their own affairs: ’The Iroquois Confederacy differed from other American Indian confederacies in the northeastern woodlands primarily in being better organized, more consciously defined, and more effective. The Iroquois used elaborately ritualized systems for choosing leaders and making important decisions. They persuaded colonial governments to use these rituals in their joint negotiations, and they fostered a tradition of political sagacity based on ceremonial sanction rather than on the occasional outstanding individual leader. Because the league lacked administrative control, the nations did not always act in unison; but spectacular successes in warfare compensated for this and were possible because of security at home.’ [3] The Confederacy was therefore an alliance of independent nations rather than a confederate state: ’Thus the League of the Iroquois was an alliance conceived among aboriginal nations which, though culturally related and speaking languages fundamentally similar but differing in vocabulary and idiom, had recurrently been in conflict. The league brought them out of conflict into peace. Then came the French, the Dutch, and the English, and the doom of the league was sealed, its desired results nullified. Here was an alliance binding together five distinct nations, based upon an orally transmitted constitution. It had no inscribed statutes, no taxes or levies, no gendarmerie, no hireling politicians. We hear, however, of tribute exacted of subjugated tribes. Tribute, as the Iroquois took it, consisted of stipulated sums of wampum demanded of the Algonkian tribes on the Atlantic Coast who produced it; and wampum was not an item of money, cash, or currency in native economy before the coming of Europeans to the Hudson Valley. Its function was that of a symbol, valuable in a spiritual sense and capable of serving the purposes of mnemonic record making. Thus the wampum tribute we read so much about would seem to be a measure pressed upon subjugated smaller tribes in the shell-bearing coastal regions, requiring them to furnish the wampum the Iroquois needed in the score of ceremonial uses they had developed for it.’ [4]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 505

[3]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-Confederacy

[4]: Speck, Frank Gouldsmith 1945. “Iroquois: A Study In Cultural Evolution”, 36p


Language

Language:
Cayuga

’The languages of the 6 tribes are classified in the Northern Iroquoian branch of the Iroquoian language family.’ [1] ’Iroquois, any member of the North American Indian tribes speaking a language of the Iroquoian family-notably the Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The peoples who spoke Iroquoian languages occupied a continuous territory around Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie, in present-day New York state and Pennsylvania (U.S.) and southern Ontario and Quebec (Canada). That larger group should be differentiated from the Five Nations (later Six Nations) better known as the Iroquois Confederacy (self name Haudenosaunee Confederacy).’ [2] ’The League of the Iroquois was originally a confederacy of 5 North American Indian tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the League in 1722 after migrating north from the region of the Roanoke River in response to hostilities with White colonists. [...] On the eve of European contact the Iroquois territory extended from Lake Champlain and Lake George west to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario and from the St. Lawrence River south to the Susquehanna River. Within these boundaries each of the original 5 tribes occupied an north-south oblong strip of territory; from east to west, they were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The region was primarily lake and hill country dissected by numerous rivers. Deciduous forests of birch, beech, maple and elm dominated the region, giving way to fir and spruce forests in the north and in the higher elevations of the Adirondack Mountains. In aboriginal times fish and animal species were diverse and abundant.’ [1]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-people

Language:
Mohawk

’The languages of the 6 tribes are classified in the Northern Iroquoian branch of the Iroquoian language family.’ [1] ’Iroquois, any member of the North American Indian tribes speaking a language of the Iroquoian family-notably the Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The peoples who spoke Iroquoian languages occupied a continuous territory around Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie, in present-day New York state and Pennsylvania (U.S.) and southern Ontario and Quebec (Canada). That larger group should be differentiated from the Five Nations (later Six Nations) better known as the Iroquois Confederacy (self name Haudenosaunee Confederacy).’ [2] ’The League of the Iroquois was originally a confederacy of 5 North American Indian tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the League in 1722 after migrating north from the region of the Roanoke River in response to hostilities with White colonists. [...] On the eve of European contact the Iroquois territory extended from Lake Champlain and Lake George west to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario and from the St. Lawrence River south to the Susquehanna River. Within these boundaries each of the original 5 tribes occupied an north-south oblong strip of territory; from east to west, they were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The region was primarily lake and hill country dissected by numerous rivers. Deciduous forests of birch, beech, maple and elm dominated the region, giving way to fir and spruce forests in the north and in the higher elevations of the Adirondack Mountains. In aboriginal times fish and animal species were diverse and abundant.’ [1]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-people

Language:
Oneida

’The languages of the 6 tribes are classified in the Northern Iroquoian branch of the Iroquoian language family.’ [1] ’Iroquois, any member of the North American Indian tribes speaking a language of the Iroquoian family-notably the Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The peoples who spoke Iroquoian languages occupied a continuous territory around Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie, in present-day New York state and Pennsylvania (U.S.) and southern Ontario and Quebec (Canada). That larger group should be differentiated from the Five Nations (later Six Nations) better known as the Iroquois Confederacy (self name Haudenosaunee Confederacy).’ [2] ’The League of the Iroquois was originally a confederacy of 5 North American Indian tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the League in 1722 after migrating north from the region of the Roanoke River in response to hostilities with White colonists. [...] On the eve of European contact the Iroquois territory extended from Lake Champlain and Lake George west to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario and from the St. Lawrence River south to the Susquehanna River. Within these boundaries each of the original 5 tribes occupied an north-south oblong strip of territory; from east to west, they were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The region was primarily lake and hill country dissected by numerous rivers. Deciduous forests of birch, beech, maple and elm dominated the region, giving way to fir and spruce forests in the north and in the higher elevations of the Adirondack Mountains. In aboriginal times fish and animal species were diverse and abundant.’ [1]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-people

Language:
Onondaga

’The languages of the 6 tribes are classified in the Northern Iroquoian branch of the Iroquoian language family.’ [1] ’Iroquois, any member of the North American Indian tribes speaking a language of the Iroquoian family-notably the Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The peoples who spoke Iroquoian languages occupied a continuous territory around Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie, in present-day New York state and Pennsylvania (U.S.) and southern Ontario and Quebec (Canada). That larger group should be differentiated from the Five Nations (later Six Nations) better known as the Iroquois Confederacy (self name Haudenosaunee Confederacy).’ [2] ’The League of the Iroquois was originally a confederacy of 5 North American Indian tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the League in 1722 after migrating north from the region of the Roanoke River in response to hostilities with White colonists. [...] On the eve of European contact the Iroquois territory extended from Lake Champlain and Lake George west to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario and from the St. Lawrence River south to the Susquehanna River. Within these boundaries each of the original 5 tribes occupied an north-south oblong strip of territory; from east to west, they were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The region was primarily lake and hill country dissected by numerous rivers. Deciduous forests of birch, beech, maple and elm dominated the region, giving way to fir and spruce forests in the north and in the higher elevations of the Adirondack Mountains. In aboriginal times fish and animal species were diverse and abundant.’ [1]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-people

Language:
Seneca

’The languages of the 6 tribes are classified in the Northern Iroquoian branch of the Iroquoian language family.’ [1] ’Iroquois, any member of the North American Indian tribes speaking a language of the Iroquoian family-notably the Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The peoples who spoke Iroquoian languages occupied a continuous territory around Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie, in present-day New York state and Pennsylvania (U.S.) and southern Ontario and Quebec (Canada). That larger group should be differentiated from the Five Nations (later Six Nations) better known as the Iroquois Confederacy (self name Haudenosaunee Confederacy).’ [2] ’The League of the Iroquois was originally a confederacy of 5 North American Indian tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the League in 1722 after migrating north from the region of the Roanoke River in response to hostilities with White colonists. [...] On the eve of European contact the Iroquois territory extended from Lake Champlain and Lake George west to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario and from the St. Lawrence River south to the Susquehanna River. Within these boundaries each of the original 5 tribes occupied an north-south oblong strip of territory; from east to west, they were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The region was primarily lake and hill country dissected by numerous rivers. Deciduous forests of birch, beech, maple and elm dominated the region, giving way to fir and spruce forests in the north and in the higher elevations of the Adirondack Mountains. In aboriginal times fish and animal species were diverse and abundant.’ [1]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-people

Language:
Tuscarora

’The languages of the 6 tribes are classified in the Northern Iroquoian branch of the Iroquoian language family.’ [1] ’Iroquois, any member of the North American Indian tribes speaking a language of the Iroquoian family-notably the Cayuga, Cherokee, Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The peoples who spoke Iroquoian languages occupied a continuous territory around Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Erie, in present-day New York state and Pennsylvania (U.S.) and southern Ontario and Quebec (Canada). That larger group should be differentiated from the Five Nations (later Six Nations) better known as the Iroquois Confederacy (self name Haudenosaunee Confederacy).’ [2] ’The League of the Iroquois was originally a confederacy of 5 North American Indian tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the League in 1722 after migrating north from the region of the Roanoke River in response to hostilities with White colonists. [...] On the eve of European contact the Iroquois territory extended from Lake Champlain and Lake George west to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario and from the St. Lawrence River south to the Susquehanna River. Within these boundaries each of the original 5 tribes occupied an north-south oblong strip of territory; from east to west, they were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The region was primarily lake and hill country dissected by numerous rivers. Deciduous forests of birch, beech, maple and elm dominated the region, giving way to fir and spruce forests in the north and in the higher elevations of the Adirondack Mountains. In aboriginal times fish and animal species were diverse and abundant.’ [1]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-people


Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
600 people

Inhabitants. The Iroquois initially resided in longhouse communities: ’Villages were built on elevated terraces in close proximity to streams or lakes and were secured by log palisades. Village populations ranged between 300 and 600 persons. Typically, an enclosed village included numerous longhouses and several acres of fields for growing crops; surrounding the village were several hundred more acres of fields for growing crops. Longhouses were constructed of log posts and poles and covered with a sheathing of elm bark; they averaged 25 feet in width and 80 feet in length, though some exceeded 200 feet in length. Villages were semi-permanent and in use year round. When soil fertility in the fields declined and firewood in the vicinity of the village became scarce the village was moved to a new site. This was a gradual process, with the new village being built as the old one was gradually abandoned. The settlements of the 5 tribes lay along an east-west axis were connected by a system of trails.’ [1] Morgan provides a wider range: ’The Iroquoians were gregarious, and apparently the size of their towns was limited only by the difficulty of raising corn and cutting firewood for a large population within a reasonable distance. Partly for protection and still more from their own fondness for society, nearly all were found in closely built villages varying in size from 300 to 3,000 inhabitants.’ [2] Iroquois settlements were initially heavily concentrated, but gave way to smaller and more dispersed patterns during the colonial period: ’Iroquois settlements were formerly much concentrated. Before 1687, the League Iroquois were 12 or 13 villages, ranging between 300 and 600 persons per town: Mohawk (3), Oneida (1), Onondaga (2), Cayuga (3), Seneca (4). Two Seneca towns comprised upward of 100 houses, of which a good proportion were extended bark houses sheltering composite families. During the next century settlements dispersed and were smaller, the bark house giving way to log houses of smaller dimensions. By 1800 the bark longhouse was a thing of the past. With it went old patterns of coresidence.’ [3] Onondaga doubled as the capital of the League, despite of intermittent relocations of the council fire, and was among the larger settlements in the area: ’The term “longhouse” was at one time symbolically applied to the League, and its members spoke of themselves as the “Hodinonhsióni ónon,” “the people of the longhouse.” The symbolic longhouse was represented as extending from the Hudson River to Lake Erie. It sheltered within its walls the five tribes who kept the five fires of the longhouse. At the ends of the house stood the doorkeepers, the Mohawk at the east and the Seneca at the west. In between these were the Oneida who kept the second fire and the Cayuga who kept the fourth fire. They were regarded as the younger brothers whose duty it was to care for the captives. In the center were the Onondaga who kept the ever-burning central fire and presided over the council of the league, and whose principal village (Onondaga, later Onondaga Castle) was the capital of the confederacy. At one time Onondaga was one of the most important and widely known towns in North America north of Mexico.’ [4] ’When the council fire of the Confederacy was rekindledat Buffalo Creek, more Onondagas as well as otherIroquois were living there than at any other location. TheOnondaga village at Buffalo Creek, which in 1791 wassaid to consist of 28 good houses (Proctor 1864-1865,2:307), was located near the ford on Cazenovia Creek(near the present junction of Potter Road and SenecaStreet, a mile west of Ebenezer). The Onondaga councilhouse stood on the east bank of the creek near the fordand the cemetery on a terrace on the opposite side(Houghton 1920:11, 115-116).’ [5] Given the dramatic differences between both estimates, we have decided to provide both. A judgment call is needed on this. Also, longhouses were abandoned as residential sites in favour of family homesteads, although longhouses retained a ceremonial function. The code accordingly may more accurately reflect the pre-reservation period rather than settlement on reservations.

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. Ii", 229

[3]: Fenton, William N. 1951. “Locality As A Basic Factor In The Development Of Iroquois Social Structure”, 41

[4]: Lyford, Carrie A. 1945. “Iroquois Crafts”, 10a

[5]: Blau, Harold, Jack Campisi, and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Onondaga”, 496

Population of the Largest Settlement:
3,000 people

Inhabitants. The Iroquois initially resided in longhouse communities: ’Villages were built on elevated terraces in close proximity to streams or lakes and were secured by log palisades. Village populations ranged between 300 and 600 persons. Typically, an enclosed village included numerous longhouses and several acres of fields for growing crops; surrounding the village were several hundred more acres of fields for growing crops. Longhouses were constructed of log posts and poles and covered with a sheathing of elm bark; they averaged 25 feet in width and 80 feet in length, though some exceeded 200 feet in length. Villages were semi-permanent and in use year round. When soil fertility in the fields declined and firewood in the vicinity of the village became scarce the village was moved to a new site. This was a gradual process, with the new village being built as the old one was gradually abandoned. The settlements of the 5 tribes lay along an east-west axis were connected by a system of trails.’ [1] Morgan provides a wider range: ’The Iroquoians were gregarious, and apparently the size of their towns was limited only by the difficulty of raising corn and cutting firewood for a large population within a reasonable distance. Partly for protection and still more from their own fondness for society, nearly all were found in closely built villages varying in size from 300 to 3,000 inhabitants.’ [2] Iroquois settlements were initially heavily concentrated, but gave way to smaller and more dispersed patterns during the colonial period: ’Iroquois settlements were formerly much concentrated. Before 1687, the League Iroquois were 12 or 13 villages, ranging between 300 and 600 persons per town: Mohawk (3), Oneida (1), Onondaga (2), Cayuga (3), Seneca (4). Two Seneca towns comprised upward of 100 houses, of which a good proportion were extended bark houses sheltering composite families. During the next century settlements dispersed and were smaller, the bark house giving way to log houses of smaller dimensions. By 1800 the bark longhouse was a thing of the past. With it went old patterns of coresidence.’ [3] Onondaga doubled as the capital of the League, despite of intermittent relocations of the council fire, and was among the larger settlements in the area: ’The term “longhouse” was at one time symbolically applied to the League, and its members spoke of themselves as the “Hodinonhsióni ónon,” “the people of the longhouse.” The symbolic longhouse was represented as extending from the Hudson River to Lake Erie. It sheltered within its walls the five tribes who kept the five fires of the longhouse. At the ends of the house stood the doorkeepers, the Mohawk at the east and the Seneca at the west. In between these were the Oneida who kept the second fire and the Cayuga who kept the fourth fire. They were regarded as the younger brothers whose duty it was to care for the captives. In the center were the Onondaga who kept the ever-burning central fire and presided over the council of the league, and whose principal village (Onondaga, later Onondaga Castle) was the capital of the confederacy. At one time Onondaga was one of the most important and widely known towns in North America north of Mexico.’ [4] ’When the council fire of the Confederacy was rekindledat Buffalo Creek, more Onondagas as well as otherIroquois were living there than at any other location. TheOnondaga village at Buffalo Creek, which in 1791 wassaid to consist of 28 good houses (Proctor 1864-1865,2:307), was located near the ford on Cazenovia Creek(near the present junction of Potter Road and SenecaStreet, a mile west of Ebenezer). The Onondaga councilhouse stood on the east bank of the creek near the fordand the cemetery on a terrace on the opposite side(Houghton 1920:11, 115-116).’ [5] Given the dramatic differences between both estimates, we have decided to provide both. A judgment call is needed on this. Also, longhouses were abandoned as residential sites in favour of family homesteads, although longhouses retained a ceremonial function. The code accordingly may more accurately reflect the pre-reservation period rather than settlement on reservations.

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. Ii", 229

[3]: Fenton, William N. 1951. “Locality As A Basic Factor In The Development Of Iroquois Social Structure”, 41

[4]: Lyford, Carrie A. 1945. “Iroquois Crafts”, 10a

[5]: Blau, Harold, Jack Campisi, and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Onondaga”, 496


Polity Territory:
100,000 km2
1714 CE 1800 CE

in squared kilometers The Iroquois at the time inhabited the Great Lakes Area: ’Between the Hudson and lake Erie, our broad territory was occupied by the Ho-de[unknown] -no-sau-nee, or Iroquois, scattered far and wide, in small encampments, or in disconnected villages. Their council-fires, emblematical of civil jurisdiction, burned continuously from the Hudson to Niagara. At the era of Dutch discovery (1609), they had pushed their permanent possession as far west as the Genesee; and shortly after, about 1650, they extended it to the Niagara. They then occupied the entire territory of our State west of the Hudson, with the exception of certain tracts upon that river below the junction of the Mohawk, in the possession of the River Indians, and the country of the Delawares, upon the Delaware river. But both these had been subdued by the conquering Iroquois, and had become tributary nations.’ [1] Some aspects of Iroquois social geography make the determination of boundary lines more easy: ’A boundary line would seem at first to be a difficult problem in Indian geography. But a peculiar custom of our predecessors has divested this subject of much of its embarrassment, and enabled us to ascertain with considerable certainty the territorial limits of the nations of the League. The Iroquois rejected all natural boundaries, and substituted longitudinal lines. This appears to have resulted from the custom of establishing themselves upon both banks of the streams upon which they resided. Having no knowledge of the use of wells, they were accustomed to fix their habitations upon the banks of creeks, and easily forded rivers, or in the vicinity of copious springs. Inland lakes were never divided by a boundary line; but the line itself was deflected, that the entire circuit of each lake might be possessed by a single nation. The natural limits which rivers and lakes might furnish having thus been disregarded, and straight lines substituted, the inquiry is freed from some of its difficulties, and greater certainty is given to their boundaries, when certain points upon them are decisively ascertained.’ [2] These comments seem to indicate an extensive territory of around 100,000 km squared. This was taken from an informal source [3] . The admission of the Tuscarora added additional people and territory to the League. So far, we have not found figures as to the precise size of the territory added through this process. We have provisionally chosen to hold the code constant (see pre-colonial Iroquois sheet), but this remains in need of confirmation. The subsequent disintegration of the Confederacy as a continuous territory and the fragmentation of the population into reservations also makes the identification of a reasonable code more difficult. The code may therefore more accurately reflect the pre-reservation period rather than the 19th century. We have therefore chosen to cap the code at 1800, although this is only a provisional way of dealing with this problem.

[1]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 36

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 38

[3]: http://www.ratical.org/many_worlds/6Nations/HowMuchLand.html


Polity Population:
12,000 people

People. The admission of the Tuscarora added additional people and territory to the League. The Britannica provides a number of around 12,000 for the 18th century: ’For a century and a quarter before the American Revolution, the Iroquois stood athwart the path from Albany to the Great Lakes, keeping the route from permanent settlement by the French and containing the Dutch and the English. In the 18th century the Six Nations remained consistent and bitter enemies of the French, who were allied with their traditional foes. The Iroquois became dependent on the British in Albany for European goods (which were cheaper there than in Montreal), and thus Albany was never attacked. The Iroquois’ success in maintaining their autonomy vis-à-vis both the French and English was a remarkable achievement for an aboriginal people that could field only 2,200 men from a total population of scarcely 12,000. During the American Revolution, a schism developed among the Iroquois. The Oneida and Tuscarora espoused the American cause, while the rest of the league, led by Chief Joseph Brant’s Mohawk loyalists, fought for the British out of Niagara, decimating several isolated American settlements. The fields, orchards, and granaries, as well as the morale of the Iroquois, were destroyed in 1779 when U.S. Major General John Sullivan led a retaliatory expedition of 4,000 Americans against them, defeating them near present-day Elmira, New York. Having acknowledged defeat in the Second Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1784), the Iroquois Confederacy effectively came to an end. In a treaty that was made at Canandaigua, New York, 10 years later, the Iroquois and the United States each pledged not to disturb the other in lands that had been relinquished or reserved. Of the Six Nations, the Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora remained in New York, eventually settling on reservations; the Mohawk and Cayuga withdrew to Canada; and, a generation later, a large group of the Oneida departed for Wisconsin.’ [1] Population growth may have occurred during the reservation period.

[1]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Iroquois-Confederacy


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
3

levels.
1. Capitals
2. Villages3. Individual homesteads.
"Villages were built on elevated terraces in close proximity to streams or lakes and were secured by log palisades. Village populations ranged between 300 and 600 persons. Typically, an enclosed village included numerous longhouses and several acres of fields for growing crops; surrounding the village were several hundred more acres of fields for growing crops. [...] Villages were semi-permanent and in use year round. When soil fertility in the fields declined and firewood in the vicinity of the village became scarce the village was moved to a new site. This was a gradual process, with the new village being built as the old one was gradually abandoned. The settlements of the 5 tribes lay along an east-west axis were connected by a system of trails.’ [1]
Some larger villages or towns doubled as capitals of the confederacy or individual nations: "In the center were the Onondaga who kept the ever-burning central fire and presided over the council of the league, and whose principal village (Onondaga, later Onondaga Castle) was the capital of the confederacy. At one time Onondaga was one of the most important and widely known towns in North America north of Mexico." [2]
Settlements became smaller and more dispersed during the colonial period, especially in the 19th century: "Iroquois settlements were formerly much concentrated. Before 1687, the League Iroquois were 12 or 13 villages, ranging between 300 and 600 persons per town: Mohawk (3), Oneida (1), Onondaga (2), Cayuga (3), Seneca (4). Two Seneca towns comprised upward of 100 houses, of which a good proportion were extended bark houses sheltering composite families. During the next century settlements dispersed and were smaller, the bark house giving way to log houses of smaller dimensions. By 1800 the bark longhouse was a thing of the past. With it went old patterns of coresidence." [3]
"Most of the Iroquois were no longer living in villages by 1840. Only two villages existed, the Mehawk and Tusearera. Formerly, the Cayuga and Onendaga had longhouses in which whole lineages lived and the matron redistributed the produce (Campbell, 1958.) In 1842, three-quarters of the population lived on small homestead farms and cultivated plots averaging 20 acres (Canada Province, 1847). Food was redistributed primarily among individual homesteads." [4] However, there were still capitals at Buffalo Creek and in the new Onondaga lands in Canada, and it seems reasonable to infer that some villages did exist, however much their number may have diminished.

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: Lyford, Carrie A. 1945. “Iroquois Crafts”, 10a

[3]: Fenton, William N. 1951. “Locality As A Basic Factor In The Development Of Iroquois Social Structure”, 41

[4]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 182


Religious Level:
2

levels.
(2) Prophets leading New Religious Movements; (1) Local ceremonial specialists (Keepers of the Faith) and shamans (False Face Societies)
Religious specialists were generally village-based: ’Full time religious specialists were absent, however, there were part-time male and female specialists known as Keepers of the Faith whose primary responsibilities were to arrange and conduct the main religious ceremonies. Keepers of the Faith were appointed by matrisib elders and were accorded considerable prestige.’ [1] ’Part time religious specialists known as Keepers of the Faith served in part to censure anti-social behavior. Unconfessed witches detected through council proceedings were punished with death, while those who confessed might be allowed to reform.’ [1] ’Illness and disease were attributed to supernatural causes. Curing ceremonies consisted of group shamanistic practices directed towards propitiating the responsible supernatural agents. One of the curing groups was the False Face Society. False Face Societies were found in each village and, except for a female Keeper of the False Faces who protected the ritual paraphernalia, consisted only of male members who had dreamed of participation in False Face ceremonies.’ [1] From 1800 onwards, new religious movements with a nativist orientation emerged under the trans-local leadership of prophets: ’Around 1800 a Seneca sachem named Handsome Lake received a series of visions which he believed showed the way for the Iroquois to regain their lost cultural integrity and promised supernatural aid to all those who followed him. The Handsome Lake religion emphasized many traditional elements of Iroquoian culture, but also incorporated Quaker beliefs and aspects of White culture.’ [1] ’About the time Christian missions were being established among the Senecas, there was developing among them what later came to be called the “new religion of Handsome Lake.” In June 1799 the Seneca chief known by the chiefly name of Handsome Lake, who had been born at Canawaugas on the Genesee River 64 years before but was then living at the settlement of his half brother, Cornplanter on the Allegheny River, had the first of a series of visions. In this and subsequent visions, the messengers from the Creator (there were four such messengers) appeared to Handsome Lake. They told him what the Creator wished the Iroquois to do, and these messages Handsome Lake duly communicated to his people.’ [2] ’Handsome Lake preached on Cornplanter’s Grant until a quarrel with his half-brother led him and his followers to move to Coldspring on the Allegany Reservation in 1803. A worsening political position at Coldspring induced Handsome Lake to move to Tonawanda where he continued to preach. He died in 1815 on a visit to Onondaga.’ [2] ’The Code of Handsome Lake, called káiwi[unknown] yo[unknown] h ‘thegood message’, touched on many aspects of life and included the admonitions that the Iroquois should not drink, that witchcraft should stop, that abortion and adultery should cease, that children and old people should be treated kindly and taken care of, and that the Four Sacred Rituals (the Four Sacred Ceremonies)--Feather Dance, Thanksgiving Dance, Personal Chant,and Bowl Game--should continue to be given (see also“Origins of the Longhouse Religion,” this vol.).’ [3] ’After his death, the various teachings of Handsome Lake were codified and the preaching of them became an annual event. The Tonawanda Seneca were designated as the “firekeepers” of the new religion, and each year the Tonawanda Longhouse still sends out invitations to the other Longhouses requesting them to come to Tonawanda to hear the Code of Handsome Lake preached there.It is subsequently preached in a biennial circuit that includes the Coldspring Longhouse on the Allegany Reservation one year and the Newtown Longhouse onthe Cattaraugus Reservation the other (see “IroquoisSince 1820,” this vol.).’ [3] Christian attempts at proselytization were initially largely unsuccessful: ’In the early decades of the nineteenth century, variousministers visited the Onondaga and other efforts weremade to convert them, with only limited success. In 1816Eleazar Williams, an adopted Mohawk catechist and layreader (see “Oneida,” this vol.), visited the Onondagas. Inthat and the following year, a few Onondagas were [Page 497] baptized by Episcopalian clergymen, and subsequentlysome attended the church at Onondaga Hill (Clark 1849,1:238-240). About the same time, a local Presbyterian minister also proselytized among the Onondagas, and in1821 there were said to be 34 who professed Christianityin the Presbyterian form of worship. In 1820 a schooltaught by a Stockbridge woman opened, but the teacherdied a few years later (J. Morse 1822:323-324, 394; Clark1849, 1:240-241). About 1828 a Quaker opened anindustrial school and stayed for six or seven years(Fletcher 1888:551). Nevertheless, there remained considerableopposition to Christian missionaries, and aftera Methodist church was established at Oneida in 1829, Indian exhorters rather than ministers were appointed tovisit Onondaga as the Onondagas remained hostile toChristianity (Clark 1849, 1:241).’ [4] The most dramatic phase of Christianization was the mid-century period: ’Most Iroqueis were non-Christian in 1820; however, by 1860 most had become Christian. The spread of Christianity was accsnpanied by a number of intorrolated eausal facters.’ [5] ’During the transformation peried from 1785-1850, when the Six Nations became an agrarian society, two criteria of economical prestige developed. First, missionaries extolled the rural homestead farmer as the ideal. However, the Protestant Ethic required a material accumulation not a redistribution of goods. Consequently, an agrarian lifestyle characterized by use of fashionable European attire and goods, settlement in grand houses, use of linens instead of mats, grain consumption and acceptance into white society, became the acquisitive ideal for the economic elite. However, many Iroquois considered white society to be superficial.’ [6] Both Christianity and the Handsome Lake religion relied on supra-local forms of organization, but until the early 19th century, village-based practices were probably predominant. Given the cultural significance of New Religious Movements in colonial settings, we have chosen to include them in the code.

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 510

[3]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 511

[4]: Blau, Harold, Jack Campisi, and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Onondaga”, 496

[5]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 182

[6]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 153


Military Level:
3

levels.
(3) the Warrior Council; (2) War-Leaders (non-hereditary); (1) Warrior Volunteers or Citizen-Soldiers;
The political organization distinguished between villages, tribes, and the common confederate level: ’THE POLITICAL ORGANIZATION of the Iroquois--the system by which decisions were made about problems affecting village, tribe, or confederacy --had three levels. The town or village itself decided local issues like the use of nearby hunting lands, the relocation of houses and cornfields, movement to another site, the acceptance or rejection of visitors, and the raising of war parties. There was a village chiefs’ council, numbering up to twenty men, formally organized with a chairman and one or more representatives for each clan. These chiefs were influential men and women, who might be League sachems, warcaptains, warriors, or simply old men who were looked up to and consulted. The council generally met in the presence of the warriors and the women, and rarely diverged in its decisions from the popular consensus, or at least the majority view. This council met in the village’s ceremonial longhouse, which usually was merely a large dwelling.’ [1] Distinguished war-leaders were eligible for non-hereditary chieftainships: ’The powers and duties of the sachems and chiefs were entirely of a civil character, and confined, by their organic laws, to the affairs of peace. No sachem could go out to war in his official capacity, as a civil ruler. If disposed to take the war-path, he laid aside his civil office, for the time being, and became a common warrior. It becomes an important inquiry, therefore, to ascertain in whom the military power, was vested. The Iroquois had no distinct class of war-chiefs, raised up and set apart to command in time of war; neither do the sachems or chiefs appear to have possessed the power of appointing such persons as they considered suitable to the post of command. All military operations were left entirely to private enterprise, and to the system of voluntary service, the sachems seeking rather to repress and restrain, than to encourage the martial ardor of the people. Their principal war-captains were to be found among he class called chiefs, many of whom were elected to this office in reward for their military achievements. The singular method of warfare among the Iroquois renders it extremely difficult to obtain a complete and satisfactory explanation of the manner in which their varlike operations were conducted. Their whole civil policy was averse to the concentration of power in the hands of any single individual, but inclined to the opposite principle of division among a number of equals; and this policy they carried into their military as well as through their civil organization. Small bands were, in the first instance, organized by individual leaders, each of which, if they were afterwards united upon the same enterprise, continued under its own captain, and the whole force, as well as the conduct of the expedition, was under their joint management. They appointed no one of their number to absolute command, but the general direction was left open to the strongest will, or the most persuasive voice.’ [2] ’When the power of the Ho-de[unknown] -no-sau-nee began to develop, under the new system of oligarchies within an oligarchy, there sprang up around the sachems a class of warriors, distinguished for enterprise upon the war-path, and eloquence in council, who demanded some participation in the administration of public affairs. The serious objections to the enlargement of the number of rulers, involving, as it did, changes in the framework of the government, for a long period enabled the sachems to resist the encroachment. In the progress of events, this class became too powerful to be withstood, and the sachems were compelled to raise them up in the subordinate station of chiefs. The title was purely elective, and the reward of merit. Unlike the sachemships, the name was not hereditary in the tribe or family of the individual, but terminated with the chief himself; unless subsequently bestowed by the tribe upon some other person, to preserve it as one of their illustrious names. These chiefs were originally invested with very limited powers, their principal office being that of advisers and counsellors of the sachems. Having thus obtained a foothold in the government, this class, to the number of which there was no limit, gradually enlarged their influence, and from generation to generation drew nearer to an equality with the sachems themselves. By this innovation the government was liberalized, to the sensible diminution of the power of the sachems, which, at the institution of the League, was extremely arbitrary.’ [3] Warriors were represented in their own councils: ’Closely allied with the Council of Elders was the women’s council who brought the matters up before the council. Lafitau maintained: Separate from both the women’s and elder’s councils was the warriors’ council which sought to influence authority decisions of the council of elders because they were the soldiers or ‘police’ of the village. Their internal affairs idsally were limited to military raids, games, and carrying out the military policy of the council of elders or League Council. In addition to the various councils, asseciations of men and women possibly existed for curing. Lafitau noted “I have been told that they have several sorts of private associations like fraternities” (Ibdd.:476). Fenton speculated that these associations were procursers of the “medicine societies” (Lafitau, 1724, 1:476). However, these associations seem to be the actual medicine societies and as such would have been village groups that criss-cross lineage, clan and moiety statuses.’ [4] The code may more accurately reflect the pre-reservation period.

[1]: Wallace, Anthony F. C., and Sheila K. Steen 1969. “Death And Rebirth Of The Seneca”, 39

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 67

[3]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 94

[4]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 24


Administrative Level:
3

levels. According to the Ethnographic Atlas’ variable 33 ’Jurisdictional Hierarchy Beyond Local Community’ was ‘3’ or ’Two levels (e.g., larger chiefdoms) (.2)’.
(3) the central League Council; (2) Tribal Chiefs (Sachems) and associated Tribal Councils; (1) Village Elders and Village Councils
’THE POLITICAL ORGANIZATION of the Iroquois--the system by which decisions were made about problems affecting village, tribe, or confederacy --had three levels. The town or village itself decided local issues like the use of nearby hunting lands, the relocation of houses and cornfields, movement to another site, the acceptance or rejection of visitors, and the raising of war parties. There was a village chiefs’ council, numbering up to twenty men, formally organized with a chairman and one or more representatives for each clan. These chiefs were influential men and women, who might be League sachems, warcaptains, warriors, or simply old men who were looked up to and consulted. The council generally met in the presence of the warriors and the women, and rarely diverged in its decisions from the popular consensus, or at least the majority view. This council met in the village’s ceremonial longhouse, which usually was merely a large dwelling.’ [1] Female lineage elders played an important role on the local level: ’The primary local groups of Iroquois society were the extended household and the village. Each extended family lived in a long bark structure, some of which were from fifty to one hundred and fifty feet in length by sixty in breadth, known as longhouses. Throughout its length was a central passageway in which were located hearths at intervals of ten to twelve feet with each hearth being used by two conjugal families. On both sides of this central passageway were apartments each occupied by a simple family. The composition of the group inhabiting the longhouse appears to have been controlled by the matriarch of a lineage. Influential matriarchs who held a chiefly title tended to group their female relatives around them in the same longhouse.’ [2] Various political levels were validated by wampum beads: ’The longhouse owns “wampums” which validate its position as a ritual center but which are rarely brought out. Wampum occasionally figures in the ritual, such as the string of wampum used in the rite of confession. But the significance of wampum generally is that because it is a valuable object, it is used to indicate the significance of the event, either by giving it as a commemoration of the event or as being shown in remembrance of the event. Wampum belts, for example, were given at treaties to indicate good faith in the making of the treaty, and might be brought out to remind others of the treaty. In and of itself, wampum is not sacred.’ [3] The central League Council dealt with commonn affairs, with tribal chiefs and councils (as well as the female elders of their respective lineages and more recently created non-hereditary positions) occupying an intermediary position: ’The Iroquois confederacy operated under a council of 50 sachems representing the five original tribes. When the Tuscarora joined the League in 1722, no new sachem positions were created for it. The council was a legislative, executive and judicial body that deliberated only on the external affairs of the confederacy, such as peace and war, and on matters common to the five constituent tribes. The council had no voice in the internal affairs of the separate tribes. Tribal representation on the council was unequally distributed among the 5 tribes although abuse of power was limited by the requirement of unanimity in all council decisions. Below the level of the League council were separate tribal councils concerned with the internal affairs of each tribe and each tribe’s relations with external groups. The tribal council was composed of the sachems who represented the tribe on the League council. Sachem positions were hereditary within each tribe and belonged to particular matrisibs. The women of the matrisib nominated each new sachem, who was always a male, and had the power to recall or "dehorn" a chief who failed to represent the interests of his people. Theoretically, each sachem was equal to the others in power, but in practice those with better oratorial skills wielded greater influence. After the confederacy had been functioning for a period of time a new, nonhereditary office of Pine Tree Chief was created to provide local leadership and to act as advisors to the council sachems, although later they actually sat on the League council and equaled the sachems in power. Pine Tree Chiefs held their position for life and were chosen by the women of a matrisib on the basis of skill in warfare. Iroquois involvement in the fur trade and war with the French increased the importance and solidarity of the League council and thereby strengthened the confederacy. The strength of the confederacy continued to grow until the time of the American Revolution when Iroquois interests divided between alliances to the British and the American colonists.’ [4] ’A Chief was appointed by the oldest woman of the maternal family in which the title descended. Her descendants and those who were related clanwise were his constituents. The matron and the chief tended to reside in the same settlement, for when the Chief removed, the clan had no one to regard with confidence unless he returned for village councils. If the matron removed, local succession was in jeopardy. The results of deliberations by the clan were taken from village councils to the council of the tribe. The ranking clan chiefs residing at a place were the cochiefs of that settlement. All eight of the Seneca chiefs are now concentrated at Tonawanda, but formerly the Seneca had at least four villages, and all the rest save the Oneida had each two or three principal towns with satellite settlements. The tribe thus spoke a common language, it comprised two or more settlements, it was governed by a common council of village chiefs who also represented constituent clans, and they governed a common territory adjacent to the towns. In time all clans were present in all villages, probably about in the same proportions as they are now. As any clan predominated in a settlement, members had to seek mates in the next village, or divide their own house in twain, thus distributing the clans again.’ [5] Tribes were composed of matrilineages: ’Matrilineages were organized into 15 matrisibs. Among the Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarora the matrisibs were further organized into moieties. Among the Mohawk and the Oneida no moiety division was recognized. Descent was matrilineal.’ [4] The League Council initially met at Onondaga, but the council fire was extinguished and rekindled in various places during the tribulations of the colonial period: ’The council continued to be composed of hereditary chiefs, who together with the “war chiefs” from 1812 andthe Pine Tree chiefs numbered over 50. The Crown madeno attempt to interfere with the appointment or dismissalof chiefs (Weaver 1975). The chiefs met in the Onondagacouncil house, a log structure near Middleport, two orthree times a year to deliberate in traditional fashionmatters of community interest (Weaver 1963-1974). The Onondagas, known collectively as the firekeepers, actedas mediators in the proceedings according to traditionalcustom. However, the tribal seating plan differed fromthe traditional one in that the Mohawks and Senecasoccupied the positions east of the council fire, while theOneidas and Cayugas sat on the west, together with thedependent nations: Tuscaroras, Nanticokes, Delawares,and Tutelos. Although the dependent nations were tospeak through “their voice,” the Cayugas, in fact theyoften directly addressed the assembly of chiefs, andoperated quite independently, though not equaling theoriginal five nations in power or status.’ [6] ’Despite the efforts of the Onondagas at Onondaga tohave them returned to Onondaga, the council fire of theConfederacy and its wampum records remained at BuffaloCreek until after that reservation had been sold andCaptain Cold (“The League of the Iroquois: Its History,Politics, and Ritual,” fig. 11, this vol.), keeper of thecouncil fire and the wampum, had died. In 1847 bothwere moved back to Onondaga (Clark 1849, 1:109, 124).However, a number of Onondagas (approximately 150)continued to live on the Seneca and Tuscarora Reservationsin western New York State, the largest number onthe Allegany Reservation (New York (State) Secretary ofState 1857:507; Fletcher 1888:551; New York (State)Legislature. Assembly 1889:59; U.S. Census Office. 11thCensus 1892:6).’ [7] The code may more accurately reflect the pre-reservation period.

[1]: Wallace, Anthony F. C., and Sheila K. Steen 1969. “Death And Rebirth Of The Seneca”, 39

[2]: Noon, John A. 1949. “Law And Government Of The Grand River Iroquois”, 29

[3]: Tooker, Elisabeth 1970. “Iroquois Ceremonial Of Midwinter”, 30

[4]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[5]: Fenton, William N. 1951. “Locality As A Basic Factor In The Development Of Iroquois Social Structure”, 50

[6]: Weaver, Sally M. 1978. “Six Nations Of The Grand River, Ontario”, 528

[7]: Blau, Harold, Jack Campisi, and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Onondaga”, 496


Professions
Professional Soldier:
absent

Full-time specialists The warriors were represented in their own council: ’Closely allied with the Council of Elders was the women’s council who brought the matters up before the council. Lafitau maintained: Separate from both the women’s and elder’s councils was the warriors’ council which sought to influence authority decisions of the council of elders because they were the soldiers or ‘police’ of the village. Their internal affairs idsally were limited to military raids, games, and carrying out the military policy of the council of elders or League Council. In addition to the various councils, asseciations of men and women possibly existed for curing. Lafitau noted “I have been told that they have several sorts of private associations like fraternities” (Ibdd.:476). Fenton speculated that these associations were procursers of the “medicine societies” (Lafitau, 1724, 1:476). However, these associations seem to be the actual medicine societies and as such would have been village groups that criss-cross lineage, clan and moiety statuses.’ [1] Distinguished war-leaders were eligible for non-hereditary chieftainships: ’The powers and duties of the sachems and chiefs were entirely of a civil character, and confined, by their organic laws, to the affairs of peace. No sachem could go out to war in his official capacity, as a civil ruler. If disposed to take the war-path, he laid aside his civil office, for the time being, and became a common warrior. It becomes an important inquiry, therefore, to ascertain in whom the military power, was vested. The Iroquois had no distinct class of war-chiefs, raised up and set apart to command in time of war; neither do the sachems or chiefs appear to have possessed the power of appointing such persons as they considered suitable to the post of command. All military operations were left entirely to private enterprise, and to the system of voluntary service, the sachems seeking rather to repress and restrain, than to encourage the martial ardor of the people. Their principal war-captains were to be found among he class called chiefs, many of whom were elected to this office in reward for their military achievements. The singular method of warfare among the Iroquois renders it extremely difficult to obtain a complete and satisfactory explanation of the manner in which their varlike operations were conducted. Their whole civil policy was averse to the concentration of power in the hands of any single individual, but inclined to the opposite principle of division among a number of equals; and this policy they carried into their military as well as through their civil organization. Small bands were, in the first instance, organized by individual leaders, each of which, if they were afterwards united upon the same enterprise, continued under its own captain, and the whole force, as well as the conduct of the expedition, was under their joint management. They appointed no one of their number to absolute command, but the general direction was left open to the strongest will, or the most persuasive voice.’ [2] ’When the power of the Ho-de[unknown] -no-sau-nee began to develop, under the new system of oligarchies within an oligarchy, there sprang up around the sachems a class of warriors, distinguished for enterprise upon the war-path, and eloquence in council, who demanded some participation in the administration of public affairs. The serious objections to the enlargement of the number of rulers, involving, as it did, changes in the framework of the government, for a long period enabled the sachems to resist the encroachment. In the progress of events, this class became too powerful to be withstood, and the sachems were compelled to raise them up in the subordinate station of chiefs. The title was purely elective, and the reward of merit. Unlike the sachemships, the name was not hereditary in the tribe or family of the individual, but terminated with the chief himself; unless subsequently bestowed by the tribe upon some other person, to preserve it as one of their illustrious names. These chiefs were originally invested with very limited powers, their principal office being that of advisers and counsellors of the sachems. Having thus obtained a foothold in the government, this class, to the number of which there was no limit, gradually enlarged their influence, and from generation to generation drew nearer to an equality with the sachems themselves. By this innovation the government was liberalized, to the sensible diminution of the power of the sachems, which, at the institution of the League, was extremely arbitrary.’ [3] Given Morgan’s remarks on personal enterprise as the source of military operations, the war-leaders should not be characterized as professional officers, and the warriors were likely citizen-soldiers rather than full-time specialists: ’Traditionally, men hunted and fished, built houses, cleared fields for planting, and were responsible for trade and warfare. In addition, men had the more visible roles in tribal and confederacy politics. Farming was the responsibility of women, whose work also included gathering wild foods, rearing children, preparing food, and making clothing and baskets and other utensils.’ [4]

[1]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 24

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 67

[3]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 94

[4]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois


Professional Priesthood:
absent

Full-time specialists Village-based specialists were not full-time professionals: ’Full time religious specialists were absent, however, there were part-time male and female specialists known as Keepers of the Faith whose primary responsibilities were to arrange and conduct the main religious ceremonies. Keepers of the Faith were appointed by matrisib elders and were accorded considerable prestige.’ [1] ’Part time religious specialists known as Keepers of the Faith served in part to censure anti-social behavior. Unconfessed witches detected through council proceedings were punished with death, while those who confessed might be allowed to reform.’ [1] ’Illness and disease were attributed to supernatural causes. Curing ceremonies consisted of group shamanistic practices directed towards propitiating the responsible supernatural agents. One of the curing groups was the False Face Society. False Face Societies were found in each village and, except for a female Keeper of the False Faces who protected the ritual paraphernalia, consisted only of male members who had dreamed of participation in False Face ceremonies.’ [1] During the early 19th century, new religious movements under supra-local leadership emerged: ’Around 1800 a Seneca sachem named Handsome Lake received a series of visions which he believed showed the way for the Iroquois to regain their lost cultural integrity and promised supernatural aid to all those who followed him. The Handsome Lake religion emphasized many traditional elements of Iroquoian culture, but also incorporated Quaker beliefs and aspects of White culture.’ [1] ’About the time Christian missions were being established among the Senecas, there was developing among them what later came to be called the “new religion of Handsome Lake.” In June 1799 the Seneca chief known by the chiefly name of Handsome Lake, who had been born at Canawaugas on the Genesee River 64 years before but was then living at the settlement of his half brother, Cornplanter on the Allegheny River, had the first of a series of visions. In this and subsequent visions, the messengers from the Creator (there were four such messengers) appeared to Handsome Lake. They told him what the Creator wished the Iroquois to do, and these messages Handsome Lake duly communicated to his people.’ [2] ’Handsome Lake preached on Cornplanter’s Grant until a quarrel with his half-brother led him and his followers to move to Coldspring on the Allegany Reservation in 1803. A worsening political position at Coldspring induced Handsome Lake to move to Tonawanda where he continued to preach. He died in 1815 on a visit to Onondaga.’ [2] ’The Code of Handsome Lake, called káiwi[unknown] yo[unknown] h ‘the good message’, touched on many aspects of life and included the admonitions that the Iroquois should not drink, that witchcraft should stop, that abortion and adultery should cease, that children and old people should be treated kindly and taken care of, and that the Four Sacred Rituals (the Four Sacred Ceremonies)--Feather Dance, Thanksgiving Dance, Personal Chant,and Bowl Game--should continue to be given (see also“Origins of the Longhouse Religion,” this vol.).’ [3] ’After his death, the various teachings of Handsome Lake were codified and the preaching of them became an annual event. The Tonawanda Seneca were designated as the “firekeepers” of the new religion, and each year the Tonawanda Longhouse still sends out invitations to the other Longhouses requesting them to come to Tonawanda to hear the Code of Handsome Lake preached there. It is subsequently preached in a biennial circuit that includes the Coldspring Longhouse on the Allegany Reservation one year and the Newtown Longhouse onthe Cattaraugus Reservation the other (see “IroquoisSince 1820,” this vol.).’ [3] It remains unclear whether the early movement provided for full-time preachers other than the prophet, although this does not seem likely. Christian attempts at proselytization were not successful until mid-century: ’In the early decades of the nineteenth century, variousministers visited the Onondaga and other efforts weremade to convert them, with only limited success. In 1816 Eleazar Williams, an adopted Mohawk catechist and layreader (see “Oneida,” this vol.), visited the Onondagas. Inthat and the following year, a few Onondagas were [Page 497] baptized by Episcopalian clergymen, and subsequentlysome attended the church at Onondaga Hill (Clark 1849,1:238-240). About the same time, a local Presbyterian minister also proselytized among the Onondagas, and in1821 there were said to be 34 who professed Christianityin the Presbyterian form of worship. In 1820 a schooltaught by a Stockbridge woman opened, but the teacherdied a few years later (J. Morse 1822:323-324, 394; Clark1849, 1:240-241). About 1828 a Quaker opened anindustrial school and stayed for six or seven years(Fletcher 1888:551). Nevertheless, there remained considerableopposition to Christian missionaries, and aftera Methodist church was established at Oneida in 1829, Indian exhorters rather than ministers were appointed tovisit Onondaga as the Onondagas remained hostile toChristianity (Clark 1849, 1:241).’ [4] ’Most Iroqueis were non-Christian in 1820; however, by 1860 most had become Christian. The spread of Christianity was accsnpanied by a number of intorrolated eausal facters.’ [5] ’During the transformation peried from 1785-1850, when the Six Nations became an agrarian society, two criteria of economical prestige developed. First, missionaries extolled the rural homestead farmer as the ideal. However, the Protestant Ethic required a material accumulation not a redistribution of goods.’ [6] While Christian communities certainly relied on preachers, no significant body of full-time specialists should be presumed for the early phase of Iroquois Christianity.

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 510

[3]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 511

[4]: Blau, Harold, Jack Campisi, and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Onondaga”, 496

[5]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 182

[6]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 153


Professional Military Officer:
absent

Full-time specialists The warriors were represented in their own council: ’Closely allied with the Council of Elders was the women’s council who brought the matters up before the council. Lafitau maintained: Separate from both the women’s and elder’s councils was the warriors’ council which sought to influence authority decisions of the council of elders because they were the soldiers or ‘police’ of the village. Their internal affairs idsally were limited to military raids, games, and carrying out the military policy of the council of elders or League Council. In addition to the various councils, asseciations of men and women possibly existed for curing. Lafitau noted “I have been told that they have several sorts of private associations like fraternities” (Ibdd.:476). Fenton speculated that these associations were procursers of the “medicine societies” (Lafitau, 1724, 1:476). However, these associations seem to be the actual medicine societies and as such would have been village groups that criss-cross lineage, clan and moiety statuses.’ [1] Distinguished war-leaders were eligible for non-hereditary chieftainships: ’The powers and duties of the sachems and chiefs were entirely of a civil character, and confined, by their organic laws, to the affairs of peace. No sachem could go out to war in his official capacity, as a civil ruler. If disposed to take the war-path, he laid aside his civil office, for the time being, and became a common warrior. It becomes an important inquiry, therefore, to ascertain in whom the military power, was vested. The Iroquois had no distinct class of war-chiefs, raised up and set apart to command in time of war; neither do the sachems or chiefs appear to have possessed the power of appointing such persons as they considered suitable to the post of command. All military operations were left entirely to private enterprise, and to the system of voluntary service, the sachems seeking rather to repress and restrain, than to encourage the martial ardor of the people. Their principal war-captains were to be found among he class called chiefs, many of whom were elected to this office in reward for their military achievements. The singular method of warfare among the Iroquois renders it extremely difficult to obtain a complete and satisfactory explanation of the manner in which their varlike operations were conducted. Their whole civil policy was averse to the concentration of power in the hands of any single individual, but inclined to the opposite principle of division among a number of equals; and this policy they carried into their military as well as through their civil organization. Small bands were, in the first instance, organized by individual leaders, each of which, if they were afterwards united upon the same enterprise, continued under its own captain, and the whole force, as well as the conduct of the expedition, was under their joint management. They appointed no one of their number to absolute command, but the general direction was left open to the strongest will, or the most persuasive voice.’ [2] ’When the power of the Ho-de[unknown] -no-sau-nee began to develop, under the new system of oligarchies within an oligarchy, there sprang up around the sachems a class of warriors, distinguished for enterprise upon the war-path, and eloquence in council, who demanded some participation in the administration of public affairs. The serious objections to the enlargement of the number of rulers, involving, as it did, changes in the framework of the government, for a long period enabled the sachems to resist the encroachment. In the progress of events, this class became too powerful to be withstood, and the sachems were compelled to raise them up in the subordinate station of chiefs. The title was purely elective, and the reward of merit. Unlike the sachemships, the name was not hereditary in the tribe or family of the individual, but terminated with the chief himself; unless subsequently bestowed by the tribe upon some other person, to preserve it as one of their illustrious names. These chiefs were originally invested with very limited powers, their principal office being that of advisers and counsellors of the sachems. Having thus obtained a foothold in the government, this class, to the number of which there was no limit, gradually enlarged their influence, and from generation to generation drew nearer to an equality with the sachems themselves. By this innovation the government was liberalized, to the sensible diminution of the power of the sachems, which, at the institution of the League, was extremely arbitrary.’ [3] Given Morgan’s remarks on personal enterprise as the source of military operations, the war-leaders should not be characterized as professional officers.

[1]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 24

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 67

[3]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 94


Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
absent

Council houses were residential buildings doubling as gathering and ceremonial places: ’In 1818, Timothy Alden (1827:54-55) described a similar council house at Tonawanda. It was fifty feet long and twenty wide. On each side of it, longitudinally is a platform, a little more than one foot high and four feet wide, covered with furs, which furnishes a convenient place for sitting, lounging, and sleeping. A rail across the centre separates the males from the females, who are constant attendants and listen, with silence, diligence, and interest, to whatever is delivered in council. Over the platform is a kind of galley, five or six feet from the floor, which is loaded with peltry, corn, implements of hunting, and a variety of other articles. At each end of the building is a door, and near each door, within, was the council fire. . . . Over each fire several large kettles of soup were hanging and boiling. The smoke was conveyed away through apertures in the roof and did not annoy. The chiefs and others, as many as could be accommodated, in their appropriate grotesque habiliments, were seated on the platform, smoking calumets, of various forms, sizes, and materials, several of which were tendered to me in token of friendship. Profound silence pervaded the crowded assembly.’ [1]

[1]: Tooker, Elisabeth 1970. “Iroquois Ceremonial Of Midwinter”, 19


Merit Promotion:
absent

Most communal matters were decided by village, tribal, and central councils, combining judicial, executive, and legislative functions. Leadership in ’civil’ affairs was largely hereditary and councils as well as lineage organization were not bureucratized in the early colonial period: ’Quite apart from this supervision by the women, however, the council suffered from another and more serious limitation. Its members obtained their position by birthright, not by military prowess or ability in other ways; and while they might declare peace or war in the name of the whole league, they could not control ambitious individuals who sought profit, revenge, or renown through sudden attacks on neighbouring peoples. Many of the so-called wars of the Iroquois seem to have been irresponsible affairs, organized and conducted without the consent and often without the knowledge of the council; for since the sachems were civil chieftains, not necessarily leaders in warfare or gifted with military talents, it was easy for a warrior who had gained a reputation for skill or valour to muster a band of hunters and start out on the warpath without notice. . . . There arose in consequence a group of warrior chiefs who attained considerable influence and sometimes rivalled the sachems themselves. It was the warrior chiefs, indeed, not the sachems, who won most fame and honour during the Revolutionary War.’ [1] The same is true for non-hereditary leadership in warfare, which was based on personal merit, but not subject to formal exmination or a standardized system of promotion: ’The powers and duties of the sachems and chiefs were entirely of a civil character, and confined, by their organic laws, to the affairs of peace. No sachem could go out to war in his official capacity, as a civil ruler. If disposed to take the war-path, he laid aside his civil office, for the time being, and became a common warrior. It becomes an important inquiry, therefore, to ascertain in whom the military power, was vested. The Iroquois had no distinct class of war-chiefs, raised up and set apart to command in time of war; neither do the sachems or chiefs appear to have possessed the power of appointing such persons as they considered suitable to the post of command. All military operations were left entirely to private enterprise, and to the system of voluntary service, the sachems seeking rather to repress and restrain, than to encourage the martial ardor of the people. Their principal war-captains were to be found among he class called chiefs, many of whom were elected to this office in reward for their military achievements. The singular method of warfare among the Iroquois renders it extremely difficult to obtain a complete and satisfactory explanation of the manner in which their varlike operations were conducted. Their whole civil policy was averse to the concentration of power in the hands of any single individual, but inclined to the opposite principle of division among a number of equals; and this policy they carried into their military as well as through their civil organization. Small bands were, in the first instance, organized by individual leaders, each of which, if they were afterwards united upon the same enterprise, continued under its own captain, and the whole force, as well as the conduct of the expedition, was under their joint management. They appointed no one of their number to absolute command, but the general direction was left open to the strongest will, or the most persuasive voice.’ [2]

[1]: Speck, Frank Gouldsmith 1945. “Iroquois: A Study In Cultural Evolution", 31

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 67


Full Time Bureaucrat:
absent

Full-time specialists Most communal matters were decided by village, tribal, and central councils, combining judicial, executive, and legislative functions. Leadership in ’civil’ affairs was largely hereditary and councils as well as lineage organization were not bureaucratized in the early colonial period: ’Quite apart from this supervision by the women, however, the council suffered from another and more serious limitation. Its members obtained their position by birthright, not by military prowess or ability in other ways; and while they might declare peace or war in the name of the whole league, they could not control ambitious individuals who sought profit, revenge, or renown through sudden attacks on neighbouring peoples. Many of the so-called wars of the Iroquois seem to have been irresponsible affairs, organized and conducted without the consent and often without the knowledge of the council; for since the sachems were civil chieftains, not necessarily leaders in warfare or gifted with military talents, it was easy for a warrior who had gained a reputation for skill or valour to muster a band of hunters and start out on the warpath without notice. . . . There arose in consequence a group of warrior chiefs who attained considerable influence and sometimes rivalled the sachems themselves. It was the warrior chiefs, indeed, not the sachems, who won most fame and honour during the Revolutionary War.’ [1] The same is true for non-hereditary leadership in warfare: ’The powers and duties of the sachems and chiefs were entirely of a civil character, and confined, by their organic laws, to the affairs of peace. No sachem could go out to war in his official capacity, as a civil ruler. If disposed to take the war-path, he laid aside his civil office, for the time being, and became a common warrior. It becomes an important inquiry, therefore, to ascertain in whom the military power, was vested. The Iroquois had no distinct class of war-chiefs, raised up and set apart to command in time of war; neither do the sachems or chiefs appear to have possessed the power of appointing such persons as they considered suitable to the post of command. All military operations were left entirely to private enterprise, and to the system of voluntary service, the sachems seeking rather to repress and restrain, than to encourage the martial ardor of the people. Their principal war-captains were to be found among he class called chiefs, many of whom were elected to this office in reward for their military achievements. The singular method of warfare among the Iroquois renders it extremely difficult to obtain a complete and satisfactory explanation of the manner in which their varlike operations were conducted. Their whole civil policy was averse to the concentration of power in the hands of any single individual, but inclined to the opposite principle of division among a number of equals; and this policy they carried into their military as well as through their civil organization. Small bands were, in the first instance, organized by individual leaders, each of which, if they were afterwards united upon the same enterprise, continued under its own captain, and the whole force, as well as the conduct of the expedition, was under their joint management. They appointed no one of their number to absolute command, but the general direction was left open to the strongest will, or the most persuasive voice.’ [2] But the increasing dependence of reservation communities on federal American and Canadian bureaucracy should not be neglected: ’Finally the case reached the United States Supreme Court, and the Court’s decison forced the United States Senate to resolve the matter. The result was a treaty signed in 1857 by which 7,549 acres of the Tonawanda Reservation were to be bought back with money that had been set aside for their removal to Kansas (fig. 1)(Kappler 1904-1941, 2:767-771).’ [3] ’The council of sachems exercised little power on thereservation, its primary function being to mediate disputes.Issues of general concern were handled in openmeetings at which all band members were eligible toparticipate. Issues were discussed until the band membersarrived at a general agreement or consensus. Failing this,the issue was simply set aside. After Canadian confederationin 1867 the Canadian Department of Indian Affairsexerted increased influence in the affairs of the Oneidas.When the general council of the Oneidas was unable to resolve an issue it was passed on by the agent, with hisdescription of the facts and sometimes a recommendation,to the department, which usually decided thequestion by applying the appropriate section of theIndian Act (A. Ricciardelli 1961:44-90).’ [4]

[1]: Speck, Frank Gouldsmith 1945. “Iroquois: A Study In Cultural Evolution", 31

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 67

[3]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 512

[4]: Campisi, Jack 1978. “Oneida”, 488


Examination System:
absent

Most communal matters were decided by village, tribal, and central councils, combining judicial, executive, and legislative functions. Leadership in ’civil’ affairs was largely hereditary and councils as well as lineage organization were not bureucratized in the early colonial period: ’Quite apart from this supervision by the women, however, the council suffered from another and more serious limitation. Its members obtained their position by birthright, not by military prowess or ability in other ways; and while they might declare peace or war in the name of the whole league, they could not control ambitious individuals who sought profit, revenge, or renown through sudden attacks on neighbouring peoples. Many of the so-called wars of the Iroquois seem to have been irresponsible affairs, organized and conducted without the consent and often without the knowledge of the council; for since the sachems were civil chieftains, not necessarily leaders in warfare or gifted with military talents, it was easy for a warrior who had gained a reputation for skill or valour to muster a band of hunters and start out on the warpath without notice. . . . There arose in consequence a group of warrior chiefs who attained considerable influence and sometimes rivalled the sachems themselves. It was the warrior chiefs, indeed, not the sachems, who won most fame and honour during the Revolutionary War.’ [1] The same is true for non-hereditary leadership in warfare, which was based on personal merit, but not subject to formal examination: ’The powers and duties of the sachems and chiefs were entirely of a civil character, and confined, by their organic laws, to the affairs of peace. No sachem could go out to war in his official capacity, as a civil ruler. If disposed to take the war-path, he laid aside his civil office, for the time being, and became a common warrior. It becomes an important inquiry, therefore, to ascertain in whom the military power, was vested. The Iroquois had no distinct class of war-chiefs, raised up and set apart to command in time of war; neither do the sachems or chiefs appear to have possessed the power of appointing such persons as they considered suitable to the post of command. All military operations were left entirely to private enterprise, and to the system of voluntary service, the sachems seeking rather to repress and restrain, than to encourage the martial ardor of the people. Their principal war-captains were to be found among he class called chiefs, many of whom were elected to this office in reward for their military achievements. The singular method of warfare among the Iroquois renders it extremely difficult to obtain a complete and satisfactory explanation of the manner in which their varlike operations were conducted. Their whole civil policy was averse to the concentration of power in the hands of any single individual, but inclined to the opposite principle of division among a number of equals; and this policy they carried into their military as well as through their civil organization. Small bands were, in the first instance, organized by individual leaders, each of which, if they were afterwards united upon the same enterprise, continued under its own captain, and the whole force, as well as the conduct of the expedition, was under their joint management. They appointed no one of their number to absolute command, but the general direction was left open to the strongest will, or the most persuasive voice.’ [2]

[1]: Speck, Frank Gouldsmith 1945. “Iroquois: A Study In Cultural Evolution", 31

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 67


Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent

No professional lawyers were present at council hearings: ’Crimes and offences were so unfrequent under their social system, that the Iroquois can scarcely be said to have had a criminal code. Yet there were certain misdemeanors which fell under the judicial cognizance of the sachems, and were punished by them in proportion to their magnitude. Witchcraft was punishable with death. Any person could take the life of a witch when discovered in the act. If this was not done, a council was called, and the witch arraigned before it, in the presence of the accuser. A full confession, with a promise of amendment, secured a discharge. But if the accusation was denied, witnesses were called and examined concerning the circumstances of the case; and if they established the charge to the satisfaction of the council, which they rarely failed to do, condemnation followed, with a sentence of death. The witch was then delivered over to such executioners as volunteered for the purpose, and by them was led away to punishment. After the decision of the council, the relatives of the witch gave him up to his doom without a murmur.’ [1] The sources have so far been silent on professional advocates on reservations: ’Iroquois legal procedure during the reservation period was marked by the absence of symbols. Wampum which had extensive symbolic connotations, both in religious and civil procedures, was used in legal convocations only to convene the judicial body. In the longhouse, wampum validated the confessions of religious performers, but in the trials conducted by the Confederate Council no use of wampum was made to validate the testimony given by litigants. One instance was cited of a trial for murder being conducted in the provincial courts at Brantford wherein the accused, a Six Nations Indian, refused to take an oath upon the Bible and requested that the Council wampum be brought to court for the purpose of validating his oath. It may be suggested that writing had produced new legal symbols such as wills and quit claim deeds. The succeeding chapters will develop in detail the coordination of reservation society by the government of the Confederacy.’ [2] ’The legislative enactments of the Council represent in content an adequate means of coordinating reservation society with particular stress on the regulation of economic activity. The formulation of laws does not of itself assure the coordination of societal activity. Ethical values, as a rule, are not at issue in regulatory legislation, and deprived of the weight of ethical sanction, their enforcement depends heavily upon compulsive mechanisms. The Council, by exercise of its appointive powers, had created an adequate personnel to enforce its legislation. If any weakness existed, it was the neglect to include in their legislation the penalties to be assessed against violators.’ [3]

[1]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 321

[2]: Noon, John A. 1949. “Law And Government Of The Grand River Iroquois”, 43

[3]: Noon, John A. 1949. “Law And Government Of The Grand River Iroquois”, 59


Chiefs and councils doubled as judicial authorities: ’Crimes and offences were so unfrequent under their social system, that the Iroquois can scarcely be said to have had a criminal code. Yet there were certain misdemeanors which fell under the judicial cognizance of the sachems, and were punished by them in proportion to their magnitude. Witchcraft was punishable with death. Any person could take the life of a witch when discovered in the act. If this was not done, a council was called, and the witch arraigned before it, in the presence of the accuser. A full confession, with a promise of amendment, secured a discharge. But if the accusation was denied, witnesses were called and examined concerning the circumstances of the case; and if they established the charge to the satisfaction of the council, which they rarely failed to do, condemnation followed, with a sentence of death. The witch was then delivered over to such executioners as volunteered for the purpose, and by them was led away to punishment. After the decision of the council, the relatives of the witch gave him up to his doom without a murmur.’ [1] The same seems to be true for the early reservation period: ’Iroquois legal procedure during the reservation period was marked by the absence of symbols. Wampum which had extensive symbolic connotations, both in religious and civil procedures, was used in legal convocations only to convene the judicial body. In the longhouse, wampum validated the confessions of religious performers, but in the trials conducted by the Confederate Council no use of wampum was made to validate the testimony given by litigants. One instance was cited of a trial for murder being conducted in the provincial courts at Brantford wherein the accused, a Six Nations Indian, refused to take an oath upon the Bible and requested that the Council wampum be brought to court for the purpose of validating his oath. It may be suggested that writing had produced new legal symbols such as wills and quit claim deeds. The succeeding chapters will develop in detail the coordination of reservation society by the government of the Confederacy.’ [2] ’The legislative enactments of the Council represent in content an adequate means of coordinating reservation society with particular stress on the regulation of economic activity. The formulation of laws does not of itself assure the coordination of societal activity. Ethical values, as a rule, are not at issue in regulatory legislation, and deprived of the weight of ethical sanction, their enforcement depends heavily upon compulsive mechanisms. The Council, by exercise of its appointive powers, had created an adequate personnel to enforce its legislation. If any weakness existed, it was the neglect to include in their legislation the penalties to be assessed against violators.’ [3] But decisions made by American and Canadian judicial authorities affected reservation communities: ’Finally the case reached the United States Supreme Court, and the Court’s decison forced the United States Senate to resolve the matter. The result was a treaty signed in 1857 by which 7,549 acres of the Tonawanda Reservation were to be bought back with money that had been set aside for their removal to Kansas (fig. 1)(Kappler 1904-1941, 2:767-771).’ [4]

[1]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 321

[2]: Noon, John A. 1949. “Law And Government Of The Grand River Iroquois”, 43

[3]: Noon, John A. 1949. “Law And Government Of The Grand River Iroquois”, 59

[4]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 512


Formal Legal Code:
absent

According to L.H. Morgan, there was no formal penal code: ’Crimes and offences were so unfrequent under their social system, that the Iroquois can scarcely be said to have had a criminal code. Yet there were certain misdemeanors which fell under the judicial cognizance of the sachems, and were punished by them in proportion to their magnitude. Witchcraft was punishable with death. Any person could take the life of a witch when discovered in the act. If this was not done, a council was called, and the witch arraigned before it, in the presence of the accuser. A full confession, with a promise of amendment, secured a discharge. But if the accusation was denied, witnesses were called and examined concerning the circumstances of the case; and if they established the charge to the satisfaction of the council, which they rarely failed to do, condemnation followed, with a sentence of death. The witch was then delivered over to such executioners as volunteered for the purpose, and by them was led away to punishment. After the decision of the council, the relatives of the witch gave him up to his doom without a murmur.’ [1] But according to Lyford, there was an orally transmitted constitution validated by wampum beads: ’The League of the Iroquois was governed by a carefully worked out constitution that was transmitted orally from one generation to another by certain leaders (lords or sachems) whose business it was to learn and to recite the laws and regulations. For many generations these laws and regulations were recorded in a collection of wampum belts and strings, twenty-five of which are preserved today in the New York State Museum, whose director has been proclaimed “the keeper of the wampums.”’ [2] During the reservation period, Iroquois law was subject to increasing formalization: ’Iroquois legal procedure during the reservation period was marked by the absence of symbols. Wampum which had extensive symbolic connotations, both in religious and civil procedures, was used in legal convocations only to convene the judicial body. In the longhouse, wampum validated the confessions of religious performers, but in the trials conducted by the Confederate Council no use of wampum was made to validate the testimony given by litigants. One instance was cited of a trial for murder being conducted in the provincial courts at Brantford wherein the accused, a Six Nations Indian, refused to take an oath upon the Bible and requested that the Council wampum be brought to court for the purpose of validating his oath. It may be suggested that writing had produced new legal symbols such as wills and quit claim deeds. The succeeding chapters will develop in detail the coordination of reservation society by the government of the Confederacy.’ [3] ’The legislative enactments of the Council represent in content an adequate means of coordinating reservation society with particular stress on the regulation of economic activity. The formulation of laws does not of itself assure the coordination of societal activity. Ethical values, as a rule, are not at issue in regulatory legislation, and deprived of the weight of ethical sanction, their enforcement depends heavily upon compulsive mechanisms. The Council, by exercise of its appointive powers, had created an adequate personnel to enforce its legislation. If any weakness existed, it was the neglect to include in their legislation the penalties to be assessed against violators.’ [4] But according to Campisi, local decision-making still heavily relied on communal deliberation rather than formal law, although the legal texts used by Canadian and American authorities became more and more relevant to reservation life: ’The council of sachems exercised little power on thereservation, its primary function being to mediate disputes.Issues of general concern were handled in openmeetings at which all band members were eligible toparticipate. Issues were discussed until the band membersarrived at a general agreement or consensus. Failing this,the issue was simply set aside. After Canadian confederationin 1867 the Canadian Department of Indian Affairsexerted increased influence in the affairs of the Oneidas.When the general council of the Oneidas was unable to resolve an issue it was passed on by the agent, with hisdescription of the facts and sometimes a recommendation,to the department, which usually decided thequestion by applying the appropriate section of theIndian Act (A. Ricciardelli 1961:44-90).’ [5]

[1]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 321

[2]: Lyford, Carrie A. 1945. “Iroquois Crafts”, 9b

[3]: Noon, John A. 1949. “Law And Government Of The Grand River Iroquois”, 43

[4]: Noon, John A. 1949. “Law And Government Of The Grand River Iroquois”, 59

[5]: Campisi, Jack 1978. “Oneida”, 488

Formal Legal Code:
present

According to L.H. Morgan, there was no formal penal code: ’Crimes and offences were so unfrequent under their social system, that the Iroquois can scarcely be said to have had a criminal code. Yet there were certain misdemeanors which fell under the judicial cognizance of the sachems, and were punished by them in proportion to their magnitude. Witchcraft was punishable with death. Any person could take the life of a witch when discovered in the act. If this was not done, a council was called, and the witch arraigned before it, in the presence of the accuser. A full confession, with a promise of amendment, secured a discharge. But if the accusation was denied, witnesses were called and examined concerning the circumstances of the case; and if they established the charge to the satisfaction of the council, which they rarely failed to do, condemnation followed, with a sentence of death. The witch was then delivered over to such executioners as volunteered for the purpose, and by them was led away to punishment. After the decision of the council, the relatives of the witch gave him up to his doom without a murmur.’ [1] But according to Lyford, there was an orally transmitted constitution validated by wampum beads: ’The League of the Iroquois was governed by a carefully worked out constitution that was transmitted orally from one generation to another by certain leaders (lords or sachems) whose business it was to learn and to recite the laws and regulations. For many generations these laws and regulations were recorded in a collection of wampum belts and strings, twenty-five of which are preserved today in the New York State Museum, whose director has been proclaimed “the keeper of the wampums.”’ [2] During the reservation period, Iroquois law was subject to increasing formalization: ’Iroquois legal procedure during the reservation period was marked by the absence of symbols. Wampum which had extensive symbolic connotations, both in religious and civil procedures, was used in legal convocations only to convene the judicial body. In the longhouse, wampum validated the confessions of religious performers, but in the trials conducted by the Confederate Council no use of wampum was made to validate the testimony given by litigants. One instance was cited of a trial for murder being conducted in the provincial courts at Brantford wherein the accused, a Six Nations Indian, refused to take an oath upon the Bible and requested that the Council wampum be brought to court for the purpose of validating his oath. It may be suggested that writing had produced new legal symbols such as wills and quit claim deeds. The succeeding chapters will develop in detail the coordination of reservation society by the government of the Confederacy.’ [3] ’The legislative enactments of the Council represent in content an adequate means of coordinating reservation society with particular stress on the regulation of economic activity. The formulation of laws does not of itself assure the coordination of societal activity. Ethical values, as a rule, are not at issue in regulatory legislation, and deprived of the weight of ethical sanction, their enforcement depends heavily upon compulsive mechanisms. The Council, by exercise of its appointive powers, had created an adequate personnel to enforce its legislation. If any weakness existed, it was the neglect to include in their legislation the penalties to be assessed against violators.’ [4] But according to Campisi, local decision-making still heavily relied on communal deliberation rather than formal law, although the legal texts used by Canadian and American authorities became more and more relevant to reservation life: ’The council of sachems exercised little power on thereservation, its primary function being to mediate disputes.Issues of general concern were handled in openmeetings at which all band members were eligible toparticipate. Issues were discussed until the band membersarrived at a general agreement or consensus. Failing this,the issue was simply set aside. After Canadian confederationin 1867 the Canadian Department of Indian Affairsexerted increased influence in the affairs of the Oneidas.When the general council of the Oneidas was unable to resolve an issue it was passed on by the agent, with hisdescription of the facts and sometimes a recommendation,to the department, which usually decided thequestion by applying the appropriate section of theIndian Act (A. Ricciardelli 1961:44-90).’ [5]

[1]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 321

[2]: Lyford, Carrie A. 1945. “Iroquois Crafts”, 9b

[3]: Noon, John A. 1949. “Law And Government Of The Grand River Iroquois”, 43

[4]: Noon, John A. 1949. “Law And Government Of The Grand River Iroquois”, 59

[5]: Campisi, Jack 1978. “Oneida”, 488


Council houses combined judicial, executive, and legislative with ceremonial functions, but were also residential: ’In 1818, Timothy Alden (1827:54-55) described a similar council house at Tonawanda. It was fifty feet long and twenty wide. On each side of it, longitudinally is a platform, a little more than one foot high and four feet wide, covered with furs, which furnishes a convenient place for sitting, lounging, and sleeping. A rail across the centre separates the males from the females, who are constant attendants and listen, with silence, diligence, and interest, to whatever is delivered in council. Over the platform is a kind of galley, five or six feet from the floor, which is loaded with peltry, corn, implements of hunting, and a variety of other articles. At each end of the building is a door, and near each door, within, was the council fire. . . . Over each fire several large kettles of soup were hanging and boiling. The smoke was conveyed away through apertures in the roof and did not annoy. The chiefs and others, as many as could be accommodated, in their appropriate grotesque habiliments, were seated on the platform, smoking calumets, of various forms, sizes, and materials, several of which were tendered to me in token of friendship. Profound silence pervaded the crowded assembly.’ [1] ’Crimes and offences were so unfrequent under their social system, that the Iroquois can scarcely be said to have had a criminal code. Yet there were certain misdemeanors which fell under the judicial cognizance of the sachems, and were punished by them in proportion to their magnitude. Witchcraft was punishable with death. Any person could take the life of a witch when discovered in the act. If this was not done, a council was called, and the witch arraigned before it, in the presence of the accuser. A full confession, with a promise of amendment, secured a discharge. But if the accusation was denied, witnesses were called and examined concerning the circumstances of the case; and if they established the charge to the satisfaction of the council, which they rarely failed to do, condemnation followed, with a sentence of death. The witch was then delivered over to such executioners as volunteered for the purpose, and by them was led away to punishment. After the decision of the council, the relatives of the witch gave him up to his doom without a murmur.’ [2] This seems to be true for the reservation period as well: ’Iroquois legal procedure during the reservation period was marked by the absence of symbols. Wampum which had extensive symbolic connotations, both in religious and civil procedures, was used in legal convocations only to convene the judicial body. In the longhouse, wampum validated the confessions of religious performers, but in the trials conducted by the Confederate Council no use of wampum was made to validate the testimony given by litigants. One instance was cited of a trial for murder being conducted in the provincial courts at Brantford wherein the accused, a Six Nations Indian, refused to take an oath upon the Bible and requested that the Council wampum be brought to court for the purpose of validating his oath. It may be suggested that writing had produced new legal symbols such as wills and quit claim deeds. The succeeding chapters will develop in detail the coordination of reservation society by the government of the Confederacy.’ [3] ’The legislative enactments of the Council represent in content an adequate means of coordinating reservation society with particular stress on the regulation of economic activity. The formulation of laws does not of itself assure the coordination of societal activity. Ethical values, as a rule, are not at issue in regulatory legislation, and deprived of the weight of ethical sanction, their enforcement depends heavily upon compulsive mechanisms. The Council, by exercise of its appointive powers, had created an adequate personnel to enforce its legislation. If any weakness existed, it was the neglect to include in their legislation the penalties to be assessed against violators.’ [4] Decisions taken at Canadian and American federal courts nevertheless affected Iroquois life, especially during the reservation period: ’Finally the case reached the United States Supreme Court, and the Court’s decison forced the United States Senate to resolve the matter. The result was a treaty signed in 1857 by which 7,549 acres of the Tonawanda Reservation were to be bought back with money that had been set aside for their removal to Kansas (fig. 1)(Kappler 1904-1941, 2:767-771).’ [5]

[1]: Tooker, Elisabeth 1970. “Iroquois Ceremonial Of Midwinter”, 19

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 321

[3]: Noon, John A. 1949. “Law And Government Of The Grand River Iroquois”, 43

[4]: Noon, John A. 1949. “Law And Government Of The Grand River Iroquois”, 59

[5]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 512


Specialized Buildings: polity owned

The Iroquois figured prominently in indigenous and colonial trade networks, and goods were exchanged at colonial forts and through intermediaries, [1] [2] but no permanent market places are reported for Iroquois settlements in the pre-reservation period. During the reservation period, access to markets in white settlements became important for the sale of cash crops, however. [2]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois

[2]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 64


Irrigation System:
absent

Iroquois communities relied on natural rivers and springs for their water supply: ’Water was naturally the most common beverage. The sites of villages everywhere are found to be in proximity to some sort of water supply. Sometimes this was in the form of springs, or spring creeks, rivers, or even pondholes or ditches, sources which are still more or less in favour in many localities.’ [1] ’A boundary line would seem at first to be a difficult problem in Indian geography. But a peculiar custom of our predecessors has divested this subject of much of its embarrassment, and enabled us to ascertain with considerable certainty the territorial limits of the nations of the League. The Iroquois rejected all natural boundaries, and substituted longitudinal lines. This appears to have resulted from the custom of establishing themselves upon both banks of the streams upon which they resided. Having no knowledge of the use of wells, they were accustomed to fix their habitations upon the banks of creeks, and easily forded rivers, or in the vicinity of copious springs. Inland lakes were never divided by a boundary line; but the line itself was deflected, that the entire circuit of each lake might be possessed by a single nation. The natural limits which rivers and lakes might furnish having thus been disregarded, and straight lines substituted, the inquiry is freed from some of its difficulties, and greater certainty is given to their boundaries, when certain points upon them are decisively ascertained.’ [2]

[1]: Waugh, Frederick W. 1916. “Iroquois Foods And Food Preparation”, 144

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 38


Food Storage Site:
absent

’When single, it was about twenty feet by fifteen upon the ground, and from fifteen to twenty feet high. The frame consisted of upright poles firmly set in the ground, usually five upon the sides, and four at the ends, including those at the corners. [...] In the centre of the roof was an opening for the smoke, the fire being upon the ground in the centre of the house, and the smoke ascending without the guidance of a chimney. At the two ends of the house were doors, either of bark hung upon hinges of wood, or of deer or bear skins suspended before the opening; and however long the house, or whatever the number of fires, these were the only entrances. Over one of these doors was cut the tribal device of the head of the family. Within, upon the two sides, were arranged wide seats, also of bark boards, about two feet from the ground, well supported underneath, and reaching the entire length of the house. Upon these they spread their mats of skins, and also their blankets, using them as seats by day and couches at night. Similar berths were constructed on each side, about five feet above these, and secured to the frame of the house, thus furnishing accommodations for the family. Upon cross-poles, near the roof, was hung, in bunches, braided together by the husks, their winter supply of corn. Charred and dried corn, and beans were generally stored in bark barrels, and laid away in corners. Their implements for the chase, domestic utensils, weapons, articles of apparel, and miscellaneous notions, were stowed away, and hung up, whenever an unoccupied place was discovered. A house of this description would accommodate a family of eight, with the limited wants of the Indian, and afford shelter for their necessary stores, making a not uncomfortable residence. After they had learned the use of the axe, they began to substitute houses of hewn logs, but they constructed them after the ancient model. Many of the houses of their modern villages in the valley of the Genesee were of this description.’ [1] ’At each end of the longhouse, storage booths and platforms were provided for the food that was to be kept in barrels and other large containers.’ [2] Corn cribs and root cellars are more likely candidates for communal food storage, but this is unclear from the sources: ’The Iroquois built shelters for their farm and garden equipment and well ventilated corn cribs of unpainted planks in which corn could be dried and kept, and they dug underground pits or caches (root cellars) for the storage of corn and other foods. The pit was dug in the dry season, and the bottom and sides lined with bark. A watertight bark roof was constructed over it, and the whole thing covered with earth.’ [3] We have assumed that the storage methods mentioned above served individual families rather than the whole community, but this remains in need of confirmation. We have also assumed that during the reservation period, foods and cash crops were stored at family homesteads rather than communal buildings, but this is equally open to re-evaluation.

[1]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 308

[2]: Lyford, Carrie A. 1945. “Iroquois Crafts”, 12c

[3]: Lyford, Carrie A. 1945. “Iroquois Crafts”, 19b


Drinking Water Supply System:
absent

Iroquois communities relied on natural rivers and springs for their water supply: ’Water was naturally the most common beverage. The sites of villages everywhere are found to be in proximity to some sort of water supply. Sometimes this was in the form of springs, or spring creeks, rivers, or even pondholes or ditches, sources which are still more or less in favour in many localities.’ [1] ’A boundary line would seem at first to be a difficult problem in Indian geography. But a peculiar custom of our predecessors has divested this subject of much of its embarrassment, and enabled us to ascertain with considerable certainty the territorial limits of the nations of the League. The Iroquois rejected all natural boundaries, and substituted longitudinal lines. This appears to have resulted from the custom of establishing themselves upon both banks of the streams upon which they resided. Having no knowledge of the use of wells, they were accustomed to fix their habitations upon the banks of creeks, and easily forded rivers, or in the vicinity of copious springs. Inland lakes were never divided by a boundary line; but the line itself was deflected, that the entire circuit of each lake might be possessed by a single nation. The natural limits which rivers and lakes might furnish having thus been disregarded, and straight lines substituted, the inquiry is freed from some of its difficulties, and greater certainty is given to their boundaries, when certain points upon them are decisively ascertained.’ [2]

[1]: Waugh, Frederick W. 1916. “Iroquois Foods And Food Preparation”, 144

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 38


Transport Infrastructure

Morgan describes the system of trails used by the Iroquois, but fails to mention roads and other more permanent structures: ’The principal villages of the Iroquois, in the days of aboriginal dominion, were connected by well-beaten trails. These villages were so situated that the central trail, which started from the Hudson at the site of Albany, passed through those of the Mohawks and Oneidas; and, crossing the Onondaga valley and the Cayuga country, a few miles north of the chief settlements of these nations, it passed through the most prominent villages of the Senecas, in its route to the valley of the Genesee. After crossing this celebrated valley, it proceeded westward to lake Erie, coming out upon it at the mouth of Buffalo creek, on the present site of Buffalo.’ [1] ’We have thus followed the great Indian trail, Wä-a-gwen[unknown] -ne-yu, through the State, from the Hudson to lake Erie; noticing, as far as ascertained, the principal stopping-places on the route. To convey an adequate impression of the forest scenery, which then overspread the land, is beyond the power of description. This trail was traced through the over-hanging forest for almost its entire length. In the trail itself, there was nothing particularly remarkable. It was usually from twelve to eighteen inches wide, and deeply worn in the ground; varying in this respect from three to six, and even twelve inches, depending upon the firmness of the soil. The large trees on each side were frequently marked with the hatchet. This well-beaten footpath, which no runner, nor band of warriors could mistake, had doubtless been trodden by successive generations from century to century. It had, without question, been handed down from race to race, as the natural line of travel, geographically considered, between the Hudson and lake Erie. While it is scarcely possible to ascertain a more direct route than the one pursued by this trail, the accuracy with which it was traced from point to point, to save distance, is extremely surprising. It proved, on the survey of the country, to have been so judiciously selected that the turnpike was laid out mainly on the line of this trail, from one extremity of the State to the other. In addition to this, all the larger cities and villages west of the Hudson, with one or two exceptions, have been located upon it. As an independent cause, this forest highway of the Iroquois doubtless determined the establishment of a number of settlements, which have since grown up into cities and villages.’ [2] We are unsure about the infrastructural changes brought about by white settlers in the area.

[1]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. Ii”, 80

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. Ii”, 94




Morgan describes the system of trails used by the Iroquois, but fails to mention bridges and other more permanent structures: ’The principal villages of the Iroquois, in the days of aboriginal dominion, were connected by well-beaten trails. These villages were so situated that the central trail, which started from the Hudson at the site of Albany, passed through those of the Mohawks and Oneidas; and, crossing the Onondaga valley and the Cayuga country, a few miles north of the chief settlements of these nations, it passed through the most prominent villages of the Senecas, in its route to the valley of the Genesee. After crossing this celebrated valley, it proceeded westward to lake Erie, coming out upon it at the mouth of Buffalo creek, on the present site of Buffalo.’ [1] ’We have thus followed the great Indian trail, Wä-a-gwen[unknown] -ne-yu, through the State, from the Hudson to lake Erie; noticing, as far as ascertained, the principal stopping-places on the route. To convey an adequate impression of the forest scenery, which then overspread the land, is beyond the power of description. This trail was traced through the over-hanging forest for almost its entire length. In the trail itself, there was nothing particularly remarkable. It was usually from twelve to eighteen inches wide, and deeply worn in the ground; varying in this respect from three to six, and even twelve inches, depending upon the firmness of the soil. The large trees on each side were frequently marked with the hatchet. This well-beaten footpath, which no runner, nor band of warriors could mistake, had doubtless been trodden by successive generations from century to century. It had, without question, been handed down from race to race, as the natural line of travel, geographically considered, between the Hudson and lake Erie. While it is scarcely possible to ascertain a more direct route than the one pursued by this trail, the accuracy with which it was traced from point to point, to save distance, is extremely surprising. It proved, on the survey of the country, to have been so judiciously selected that the turnpike was laid out mainly on the line of this trail, from one extremity of the State to the other. In addition to this, all the larger cities and villages west of the Hudson, with one or two exceptions, have been located upon it. As an independent cause, this forest highway of the Iroquois doubtless determined the establishment of a number of settlements, which have since grown up into cities and villages.’ [2] We are unsure about the infrastructural changes brought about by white settlers in the area.

[1]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. Ii”, 80

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. Ii”, 94


Special-purpose Sites

Information / Writing System
Written Record:
absent
1714 CE 1831 CE

The Iroquois initially relied on wampum records: ’The laws explained at different stages of the ceremonial, were repeated from strings of wampum, into which they “had been talked” at the time of their enactment. In the Indian method of expressing the idea, the string, or the belt can tell, by means of an interpreter, the exact law or transaction of which it was made, at the time, the sole evidence. It operates upon the principle of association, and thus seeks to give fidelity to the memory. These strings and belts were the only visible records of the Iroquois; and were of no use except by the aid of those special personages who could draw forth the secret records locked up in their remembrance.’ [1] The Handsome Lake Code was canonized in the 19th century, around two decades after the end date of our data sheet: ’The present form of the Gai[unknown] wiio` was determined by a council of its preachers some fifty years ago. They met at Cold Spring, the old home of Handsome Lake, and compared their versions. Several differences were found and each preacher thought his version the correct one. At length Chief John Jacket, a Cattaraugus Seneca, and a man well versed in the lore of his people, was chosen to settle forever the words and the form of the Gai[unknown] wiio`. This he did by writing it out in the Seneca language by the method taught by Rev. Asher Wright, the Presbyterian missionary. The preachers assembled again, this time, according to Cornplanter, at Cattaraugus where they memorized the parts in which they were faulty. The original text was written on letter paper and now is entirely destroyed. [Page 8] Chief Jacket gave it to Henry Stevens and Chief Stevens passed it on to Chief Cornplanter who after he had memorized the teachings became careless and lost the papers sheet by sheet. Fearing that the true form might become lost Chief Cornplanter in 1903 began to rewrite the Gai[unknown] wiio` in an old minute book of the Seneca Lacrosse Club. He had finished the historical introduction when the writer discovered what he had done. He was implored to finish it and give it to the State of New York for preservation. He was at first reluctant, fearing criticism, but after a council with the leading men he consented to do so. He became greatly interested in the progress of the translation and is eager for the time to arrive when all white men may have the privilege of reading the “wonderful message” of the great prophet.’ [2] Christian missionaries translated parts of the Bible into Iroquois languages and also published newspapers: ’At the time, those Whites having business with Indians needed interpreters, and the missionaries and teachers in the mission schools were no exception. Nevertheless, with the help of interpreters, a few of them did translate hymns and parts of the Bible into Seneca. This work of translation was greatly expanded by the most noted missionary to the Senecas, Asher Wright. His translations included those of the four Gospels into Seneca. He also established a press to publish materials such as a newspaper, The Mental Elevator, in both Seneca and English (Pilling1888:175-178). Wright went to the Buffalo Creek reservationas a missionary in 1831 and spent the next 15 years there. When this reservation was sold, he and his wife moved to Cattaraugus where Wright died.’ [3] We have assumed 1831 as a provisional date of transition. Expert feedback is needed on the spread of literacy among the Iroquois.

[1]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 114

[2]: Parker, Arthur C. 1913. “Code Of Handsome Lake, The Seneca Prophet”, 7

[3]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 510

Written Record:
present
1832 CE 1848 CE

The Iroquois initially relied on wampum records: ’The laws explained at different stages of the ceremonial, were repeated from strings of wampum, into which they “had been talked” at the time of their enactment. In the Indian method of expressing the idea, the string, or the belt can tell, by means of an interpreter, the exact law or transaction of which it was made, at the time, the sole evidence. It operates upon the principle of association, and thus seeks to give fidelity to the memory. These strings and belts were the only visible records of the Iroquois; and were of no use except by the aid of those special personages who could draw forth the secret records locked up in their remembrance.’ [1] The Handsome Lake Code was canonized in the 19th century, around two decades after the end date of our data sheet: ’The present form of the Gai[unknown] wiio` was determined by a council of its preachers some fifty years ago. They met at Cold Spring, the old home of Handsome Lake, and compared their versions. Several differences were found and each preacher thought his version the correct one. At length Chief John Jacket, a Cattaraugus Seneca, and a man well versed in the lore of his people, was chosen to settle forever the words and the form of the Gai[unknown] wiio`. This he did by writing it out in the Seneca language by the method taught by Rev. Asher Wright, the Presbyterian missionary. The preachers assembled again, this time, according to Cornplanter, at Cattaraugus where they memorized the parts in which they were faulty. The original text was written on letter paper and now is entirely destroyed. [Page 8] Chief Jacket gave it to Henry Stevens and Chief Stevens passed it on to Chief Cornplanter who after he had memorized the teachings became careless and lost the papers sheet by sheet. Fearing that the true form might become lost Chief Cornplanter in 1903 began to rewrite the Gai[unknown] wiio` in an old minute book of the Seneca Lacrosse Club. He had finished the historical introduction when the writer discovered what he had done. He was implored to finish it and give it to the State of New York for preservation. He was at first reluctant, fearing criticism, but after a council with the leading men he consented to do so. He became greatly interested in the progress of the translation and is eager for the time to arrive when all white men may have the privilege of reading the “wonderful message” of the great prophet.’ [2] Christian missionaries translated parts of the Bible into Iroquois languages and also published newspapers: ’At the time, those Whites having business with Indians needed interpreters, and the missionaries and teachers in the mission schools were no exception. Nevertheless, with the help of interpreters, a few of them did translate hymns and parts of the Bible into Seneca. This work of translation was greatly expanded by the most noted missionary to the Senecas, Asher Wright. His translations included those of the four Gospels into Seneca. He also established a press to publish materials such as a newspaper, The Mental Elevator, in both Seneca and English (Pilling1888:175-178). Wright went to the Buffalo Creek reservationas a missionary in 1831 and spent the next 15 years there. When this reservation was sold, he and his wife moved to Cattaraugus where Wright died.’ [3] We have assumed 1831 as a provisional date of transition. Expert feedback is needed on the spread of literacy among the Iroquois.

[1]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 114

[2]: Parker, Arthur C. 1913. “Code Of Handsome Lake, The Seneca Prophet”, 7

[3]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 510


Script:
absent
1714 CE 1831 CE

See above.

Script:
present
1832 CE 1848 CE

See above.


Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent
1714 CE 1831 CE

See above.

Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
present
1832 CE 1848 CE

See above.


Nonwritten Record:
present

Wampum beads served as mnemonic devices: ’Wampum. Of the beads that were manufactured and used by the Iroquois those known as “wampum” are by far the most significant. Though the term wampum has been used in some places to include both the discoidal and the cylindrical beads, the true wampum is an Indian-made shell bead, cylindical in form, averaging about one-quarter of an inch in length by an eighth of an inch in diameter, perfectly straight on the sides, with a hole running through it the long way. Some of the wampum beads prepared for commercial trade were as long as half an inch but none of the long beads has been found in the wampum belts. Wampum was made from the quahaug or hard shell clam (Venus Mercenaria) which provides both white and purple beads. The central axis (columellae) of the great conch shell (pyrula Carica), was used for white wampum.’ [1] ’The longhouse owns “wampums” which validate its position as a ritual center but which are rarely brought out. Wampum occasionally figures in the ritual, such as the string of wampum used in the rite of confession. But the significance of wampum generally is that because it is a valuable object, it is used to indicate the significance of the event, either by giving it as a commemoration of the event or as being shown in remembrance of the event. Wampum belts, for example, were given at treaties to indicate good faith in the making of the treaty, and might be brought out to remind others of the treaty. In and of itself, wampum is not sacred.’ [2] Wampum encoded regulations and agreements: ’The League of the Iroquois was governed by a carefully worked out constitution that was transmitted orally from one generation to another by certain leaders (lords or sachems) whose business it was to learn and to recite the laws and regulations. For many generations these laws and regulations were recorded in a collection of wampum belts and strings, twenty-five of which are preserved today in the New York State Museum, whose director has been proclaimed “the keeper of the wampums.”’ [3] ’Despite the efforts of the Onondagas at Onondaga tohave them returned to Onondaga, the council fire of theConfederacy and its wampum records remained at BuffaloCreek until after that reservation had been sold andCaptain Cold (“The League of the Iroquois: Its History,Politics, and Ritual,” fig. 11, this vol.), keeper of thecouncil fire and the wampum, had died. In 1847 bothwere moved back to Onondaga (Clark 1849, 1:109, 124).However, a number of Onondagas (approximately 150)continued to live on the Seneca and Tuscarora Reservationsin western New York State, the largest number onthe Allegany Reservation (New York (State) Secretary ofState 1857:507; Fletcher 1888:551; New York (State)Legislature. Assembly 1889:59; U.S. Census Office. 11thCensus 1892:6).’ [4] ’After the Revolution, about 225 Onondagas chose tofollow Joseph Brant, the Mohawk chief, to Canada andto settle on the Six Nations Reserve (Johnston 1964:52). [...] Thus, after the Revolution, two separate League councils were established, one in the UnitedStates and the other in Canada, each with its owncomplement of hereditary chieftainships. Each also had its own wampum for the wampum of the League held bythe Onondagas had been divided, half being given to theOnondagas at the Six Nations Reserve and half remainingin New York State (see “The League of the Iroquois:Its History, Politics, and Ritual,” this vol.).’ [5] Wampum functioned as a constitution of sorts: ’The League of the Iroquois was governed by a carefully worked out constitution that was transmitted orally from one generation to another by certain leaders (lords or sachems) whose business it was to learn and to recite the laws and regulations. For many generations these laws and regulations were recorded in a collection of wampum belts and strings, twenty-five of which are preserved today in the New York State Museum, whose director has been proclaimed “the keeper of the wampums.”’ [3]

[1]: Lyford, Carrie A. 1945. “Iroquois Crafts”, 45b

[2]: Tooker, Elisabeth 1970. “Iroquois Ceremonial Of Midwinter”, 30

[3]: Lyford, Carrie A. 1945. “Iroquois Crafts”, 9b

[4]: Blau, Harold, Jack Campisi, and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Onondaga”, 496

[5]: Blau, Harold, Jack Campisi, and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Onondaga”, 495


Mnemonic Device:
present

Wampum beads served as mnemonic devices: ’Wampum. Of the beads that were manufactured and used by the Iroquois those known as “wampum” are by far the most significant. Though the term wampum has been used in some places to include both the discoidal and the cylindrical beads, the true wampum is an Indian-made shell bead, cylindical in form, averaging about one-quarter of an inch in length by an eighth of an inch in diameter, perfectly straight on the sides, with a hole running through it the long way. Some of the wampum beads prepared for commercial trade were as long as half an inch but none of the long beads has been found in the wampum belts. Wampum was made from the quahaug or hard shell clam (Venus Mercenaria) which provides both white and purple beads. The central axis (columellae) of the great conch shell (pyrula Carica), was used for white wampum.’ [1] ’The longhouse owns “wampums” which validate its position as a ritual center but which are rarely brought out. Wampum occasionally figures in the ritual, such as the string of wampum used in the rite of confession. But the significance of wampum generally is that because it is a valuable object, it is used to indicate the significance of the event, either by giving it as a commemoration of the event or as being shown in remembrance of the event. Wampum belts, for example, were given at treaties to indicate good faith in the making of the treaty, and might be brought out to remind others of the treaty. In and of itself, wampum is not sacred.’ [2] Wampum encoded regulations and agreements: ’The League of the Iroquois was governed by a carefully worked out constitution that was transmitted orally from one generation to another by certain leaders (lords or sachems) whose business it was to learn and to recite the laws and regulations. For many generations these laws and regulations were recorded in a collection of wampum belts and strings, twenty-five of which are preserved today in the New York State Museum, whose director has been proclaimed “the keeper of the wampums.”’ [3] ’Despite the efforts of the Onondagas at Onondaga tohave them returned to Onondaga, the council fire of theConfederacy and its wampum records remained at BuffaloCreek until after that reservation had been sold andCaptain Cold (“The League of the Iroquois: Its History,Politics, and Ritual,” fig. 11, this vol.), keeper of thecouncil fire and the wampum, had died. In 1847 bothwere moved back to Onondaga (Clark 1849, 1:109, 124).However, a number of Onondagas (approximately 150)continued to live on the Seneca and Tuscarora Reservationsin western New York State, the largest number onthe Allegany Reservation (New York (State) Secretary ofState 1857:507; Fletcher 1888:551; New York (State)Legislature. Assembly 1889:59; U.S. Census Office. 11thCensus 1892:6).’ [4] ’After the Revolution, about 225 Onondagas chose tofollow Joseph Brant, the Mohawk chief, to Canada andto settle on the Six Nations Reserve (Johnston 1964:52). [...] Thus, after the Revolution, two separate League councils were established, one in the UnitedStates and the other in Canada, each with its owncomplement of hereditary chieftainships. Each also had its own wampum for the wampum of the League held bythe Onondagas had been divided, half being given to theOnondagas at the Six Nations Reserve and half remainingin New York State (see “The League of the Iroquois:Its History, Politics, and Ritual,” this vol.).’ [5]

[1]: Lyford, Carrie A. 1945. “Iroquois Crafts”, 45b

[2]: Tooker, Elisabeth 1970. “Iroquois Ceremonial Of Midwinter”, 30

[3]: Lyford, Carrie A. 1945. “Iroquois Crafts”, 9b

[4]: Blau, Harold, Jack Campisi, and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Onondaga”, 496

[5]: Blau, Harold, Jack Campisi, and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Onondaga”, 495


Information / Kinds of Written Documents

Sacred Text:
absent
1714 CE 1831 CE

The Handsome Lake Code was canonized in the 19th century, around two decades after the end date of this data sheet: ’The present form of the Gai[unknown] wiio` was determined by a council of its preachers some fifty years ago. They met at Cold Spring, the old home of Handsome Lake, and compared their versions. Several differences were found and each preacher thought his version the correct one. At length Chief John Jacket, a Cattaraugus Seneca, and a man well versed in the lore of his people, was chosen to settle forever the words and the form of the Gai[unknown] wiio`. This he did by writing it out in the Seneca language by the method taught by Rev. Asher Wright, the Presbyterian missionary. The preachers assembled again, this time, according to Cornplanter, at Cattaraugus where they memorized the parts in which they were faulty. The original text was written on letter paper and now is entirely destroyed. [Page 8] Chief Jacket gave it to Henry Stevens and Chief Stevens passed it on to Chief Cornplanter who after he had memorized the teachings became careless and lost the papers sheet by sheet. Fearing that the true form might become lost Chief Cornplanter in 1903 began to rewrite the Gai[unknown] wiio` in an old minute book of the Seneca Lacrosse Club. He had finished the historical introduction when the writer discovered what he had done. He was implored to finish it and give it to the State of New York for preservation. He was at first reluctant, fearing criticism, but after a council with the leading men he consented to do so. He became greatly interested in the progress of the translation and is eager for the time to arrive when all white men may have the privilege of reading the “wonderful message” of the great prophet.’ [1] Christian missionaries translated parts of the Bible into Iroquois languages and published religious newspapers: ’At the time, those Whites having business with Indians needed interpreters, and the missionaries and teachers in the mission schools were no exception. Nevertheless, with the help of interpreters, a few of them did translate hymns and parts of the Bible into Seneca. This work of translation was greatly expanded by the most noted missionary to the Senecas, Asher Wright. His translations included those of the four Gospels into Seneca. He also established a press to publish materials such as a newspaper, The Mental Elevator, in both Seneca and English (Pilling1888:175-178). Wright went to the Buffalo Creek reservationas a missionary in 1831 and spent the next 15 years there. When this reservation was sold, he and his wife moved to Cattaraugus where Wright died.’ [2] We have assumed 1831 as a provisional date of transition.

[1]: Parker, Arthur C. 1913. “Code Of Handsome Lake, The Seneca Prophet”, 7

[2]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 510

Sacred Text:
present
1832 CE 1848 CE

The Handsome Lake Code was canonized in the 19th century, around two decades after the end date of this data sheet: ’The present form of the Gai[unknown] wiio` was determined by a council of its preachers some fifty years ago. They met at Cold Spring, the old home of Handsome Lake, and compared their versions. Several differences were found and each preacher thought his version the correct one. At length Chief John Jacket, a Cattaraugus Seneca, and a man well versed in the lore of his people, was chosen to settle forever the words and the form of the Gai[unknown] wiio`. This he did by writing it out in the Seneca language by the method taught by Rev. Asher Wright, the Presbyterian missionary. The preachers assembled again, this time, according to Cornplanter, at Cattaraugus where they memorized the parts in which they were faulty. The original text was written on letter paper and now is entirely destroyed. [Page 8] Chief Jacket gave it to Henry Stevens and Chief Stevens passed it on to Chief Cornplanter who after he had memorized the teachings became careless and lost the papers sheet by sheet. Fearing that the true form might become lost Chief Cornplanter in 1903 began to rewrite the Gai[unknown] wiio` in an old minute book of the Seneca Lacrosse Club. He had finished the historical introduction when the writer discovered what he had done. He was implored to finish it and give it to the State of New York for preservation. He was at first reluctant, fearing criticism, but after a council with the leading men he consented to do so. He became greatly interested in the progress of the translation and is eager for the time to arrive when all white men may have the privilege of reading the “wonderful message” of the great prophet.’ [1] Christian missionaries translated parts of the Bible into Iroquois languages and published religious newspapers: ’At the time, those Whites having business with Indians needed interpreters, and the missionaries and teachers in the mission schools were no exception. Nevertheless, with the help of interpreters, a few of them did translate hymns and parts of the Bible into Seneca. This work of translation was greatly expanded by the most noted missionary to the Senecas, Asher Wright. His translations included those of the four Gospels into Seneca. He also established a press to publish materials such as a newspaper, The Mental Elevator, in both Seneca and English (Pilling1888:175-178). Wright went to the Buffalo Creek reservationas a missionary in 1831 and spent the next 15 years there. When this reservation was sold, he and his wife moved to Cattaraugus where Wright died.’ [2] We have assumed 1831 as a provisional date of transition.

[1]: Parker, Arthur C. 1913. “Code Of Handsome Lake, The Seneca Prophet”, 7

[2]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 510


Religious Literature:
absent
1714 CE 1831 CE

Christian missionaries translated parts of the Bible into Iroquois languages and published religious newspapers: ’At the time, those Whites having business with Indians needed interpreters, and the missionaries and teachers in the mission schools were no exception. Nevertheless, with the help of interpreters, a few of them did translate hymns and parts of the Bible into Seneca. This work of translation was greatly expanded by the most noted missionary to the Senecas, Asher Wright. His translations included those of the four Gospels into Seneca. He also established a press to publish materials such as a newspaper, The Mental Elevator, in both Seneca and English (Pilling1888:175-178). Wright went to the Buffalo Creek reservationas a missionary in 1831 and spent the next 15 years there. When this reservation was sold, he and his wife moved to Cattaraugus where Wright died.’ [1] We have assumed 1831 as a provisional date of transition.

[1]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 510

Religious Literature:
present
1832 CE 1848 CE

Christian missionaries translated parts of the Bible into Iroquois languages and published religious newspapers: ’At the time, those Whites having business with Indians needed interpreters, and the missionaries and teachers in the mission schools were no exception. Nevertheless, with the help of interpreters, a few of them did translate hymns and parts of the Bible into Seneca. This work of translation was greatly expanded by the most noted missionary to the Senecas, Asher Wright. His translations included those of the four Gospels into Seneca. He also established a press to publish materials such as a newspaper, The Mental Elevator, in both Seneca and English (Pilling1888:175-178). Wright went to the Buffalo Creek reservationas a missionary in 1831 and spent the next 15 years there. When this reservation was sold, he and his wife moved to Cattaraugus where Wright died.’ [1] We have assumed 1831 as a provisional date of transition.

[1]: Abler, Thomas S., and Elisabeth Tooker 1978. “Seneca”, 510




Lists Tables and Classification:
absent

We are unsure about the use of written lists on reservations.




Calendar:
absent

The Iroquois initially used a non-written lunar calendar: ’Finally, the moon provides a basis for “counting” time ( eyõhseHtá[unknown] tha:k ‘people will count’ [line 316 in Williams]), i.e., for dividing the year into months, a theme mentioned by all speakers except Cusick and Sky.’ [1] ’Among the Iroquois there seems to have been a general division of the year into periods corresponding more or less closely with our spring, summer, autumn, and winter, besides [Page 33] that into moons or months. Loskiel remarks of the Delawares and the Iroquois that they “divide the year into winter, spring, summer and autumn, and each quarter into months, but their calculations are very imperfect, nor can they agree when to begin the new year. Most of them begin with the spring, some with any other quarter, and many, who are acquainted with the Europeans, begin with our New Year’s day.” His interpretations of the names given to the months, however, differ from those which follow.’ [2] The lunar calendar determined the timing of festivals: ’Although there are six major festivals, a listing of the daily composition of the midwinterceremonies embraces all the external forms found in the subsequent celebrations.The two headmen of the longhouse watch the Pleiades throughout the fall and, when theyare near the zenith at dusk, call a meeting of the Faith-keepers to convene on the full moon,which is the first following the winter solstice. They meet at the longhouse in the morning(this occurred on December 31st, 1933), consult the people and set the date for the NewYear, which should be twenty days after this meeting, when the following new moon is five days old. Frequently they mistake the moon and advance or retard the date, which elicits remarks about hoeing corn in winter from their neighbors at Cattaraugus.’ [3] The written Christian calendar was later added to the Iroquois lunar system: ’The Christian Calendar had a yearly and a weekly cycle. The yearly cycle preserved two aboriginal patterns, that of community feasting at harvest and gathering at strawberry picking time. The aboriginal survivals were modified; Protestant religious services replaced the aboriginal ritual. In all other respects the yearly calondar resenblod that of any rural Ontarie community. The weekly calondar encouraged a strong work othic; one worked for six days and rested on the seventh.’ [4] For most of the time period in question, the agricultural calendar would have been orally transmitted and interpreted. We are unsure about the use of written calendars on reservations.

[1]: Foster, Michael K. 1974. “From The Earth To Beyond The Sky: An Ethnographic Approach To Four Longhouse Iroquois Speech Events”, 74

[2]: Waugh, Frederick W. 1916. “Iroquois Foods And Food Preparation”, 32

[3]: Fenton, William N. 1936. “Outline Of Seneca Ceremonies At Coldspring Longhouse”, 10

[4]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 117


Information / Money

Wampum were used as articles of exchange: ’Wampum. Of the beads that were manufactured and used by the Iroquois those known as “wampum” are by far the most significant. Though the term wampum has been used in some places to include both the discoidal and the cylindrical beads, the true wampum is an Indian-made shell bead, cylindical in form, averaging about one-quarter of an inch in length by an eighth of an inch in diameter, perfectly straight on the sides, with a hole running through it the long way. Some of the wampum beads prepared for commercial trade were as long as half an inch but none of the long beads has been found in the wampum belts. Wampum was made from the quahaug or hard shell clam (Venus Mercenaria) which provides both white and purple beads. The central axis (columellae) of the great conch shell (pyrula Carica), was used for white wampum.’ [1] ’The longhouse owns “wampums” which validate its position as a ritual center but which are rarely brought out. Wampum occasionally figures in the ritual, such as the string of wampum used in the rite of confession. But the significance of wampum generally is that because it is a valuable object, it is used to indicate the significance of the event, either by giving it as a commemoration of the event or as being shown in remembrance of the event. Wampum belts, for example, were given at treaties to indicate good faith in the making of the treaty, and might be brought out to remind others of the treaty. In and of itself, wampum is not sacred.’ [2]

[1]: Lyford, Carrie A. 1945. “Iroquois Crafts”, 45b

[2]: Tooker, Elisabeth 1970. “Iroquois Ceremonial Of Midwinter”, 30



Paper Currency:
absent

No indigeously produced paper money. During the reservation period, land and crops sales helped to generate monetary income: ’From 1790 until 1839, tribal and village government generally similar to that characteristic of the aboriginal era functioned. Local administration of justice and the allocation of lands among tribal members was in the hands of each of the tribal communities scattered along the banks of the Grand River. The Lower Cayuga had a treasury that dispensed with the proceeds of land sales. The Lower Mohawk too had a tribal fund which they jealously guarded (Canada, Six Nation Council Minutes, 1834-1839, P.A.C.R.G., 10). However, the Hereditary Council incroasingly assumed the autherity in what were previously tribal estates. In 1835 the council pressure from the Upper Mohawks led the Lower tribes to grant the Mohawks a share of the proceeds from the sale of Plaster beds.’ [1] The prior use of foreign currency in external trade cannot be ruled out.

[1]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 176



Foreign Coin:
absent
1714 CE 1790 CE

During the reservation period, land and crops sales helped to generate monetary income: ’From 1790 until 1839, tribal and village government generally similar to that characteristic of the aboriginal era functioned. Local administration of justice and the allocation of lands among tribal members was in the hands of each of the tribal communities scattered along the banks of the Grand River. The Lower Cayuga had a treasury that dispensed with the proceeds of land sales. The Lower Mohawk too had a tribal fund which they jealously guarded (Canada, Six Nation Council Minutes, 1834-1839, P.A.C.R.G., 10). However, the Hereditary Council incroasingly assumed the autherity in what were previously tribal estates. In 1835 the council pressure from the Upper Mohawks led the Lower tribes to grant the Mohawks a share of the proceeds from the sale of Plaster beds.’ [1] The prior use of foreign currency in external trade cannot be ruled out.

[1]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 176

Foreign Coin:
present
1791 CE 1844 CE

During the reservation period, land and crops sales helped to generate monetary income: ’From 1790 until 1839, tribal and village government generally similar to that characteristic of the aboriginal era functioned. Local administration of justice and the allocation of lands among tribal members was in the hands of each of the tribal communities scattered along the banks of the Grand River. The Lower Cayuga had a treasury that dispensed with the proceeds of land sales. The Lower Mohawk too had a tribal fund which they jealously guarded (Canada, Six Nation Council Minutes, 1834-1839, P.A.C.R.G., 10). However, the Hereditary Council incroasingly assumed the autherity in what were previously tribal estates. In 1835 the council pressure from the Upper Mohawks led the Lower tribes to grant the Mohawks a share of the proceeds from the sale of Plaster beds.’ [1] The prior use of foreign currency in external trade cannot be ruled out.

[1]: Foley, Denis 1994. “Ethnohistoric And Ethnographic Analysis Of The Iroquois From The Aboriginal Era To The Present Suburban Era”, 176


Article:
present

The fur trade was characterized by barter: ’Long before European contact the Iroquois were involved in an intricate trade network with other native groups (see cultural relations above). Clay pipes were an important trade item that reached other native groups all along the east coast of North America. The aggressive behavior the Iroquois exhibited towards their neighbors during the fur trade period has been interpreted by some as the result of their aim to protect and expand their middleman role. Others have suggested that the aggressive behavior of the Iroquois tribes was related to the scarcity of furs in their own territory and the resulting difficulty in obtaining European trade goods. According to this theory, the Iroquois warred primarily to obtain the trade goods of their neighbors in closer contact with Europeans. After the center of fur trading activities had moved farther west, the Iroquois continued to play an important role as voyageurs and trappers.’ [1]

[1]: Reid, Gerald: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iroquois


Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
absent

We have information on newspapers published by missionaries, but have found little about the colonial postal system.


General Postal Service:
absent

We have information on newspapers published by missionaries, but have found little about the colonial postal system.


Courier:
present

Messages were transmitted by ’runners’ or couriers: ’A brief reference to Indian runners will not be in appropriate in this connection. To convey intelligence from nation to nation, and to spread information throughout the Confederacy, as in summoning councils upon public exigencies, trained runners were employed. But three days were necessary, it is said, to convey intelligence from Buffalo to Albany. Swiftness of foot was an acquirement, among the Iroquois, which brought the individual into high repute. A trained runner would traverse a hundred miles per day. With relays, which were sometimes resorted to, the length of the day’s journey could be considerably increased. It is said that the runners of Montezuma conveyed intelligence to him of the movements of Cortes, at the rate of two hundred miles per day; but this must be regarded as extravagant. During the last war, a runner left Tonawanda at daylight in the summer season, for Avon, a distance of forty miles upon the trail. He delivered his message, and reached Tonawanda again about noon. In the night their runners were guided by the stars, from which they learned to keep their direction, and regain it, if perchance they lost their way. During the fall and winter, they determined their course by the Pleiades, or Seven Stars. This group in the neck of Taurus, they called Got-gwär[unknown] -där. In the spring and summer they ran by another group, which they named Gwe-o-gä[unknown] -ah, or the Loon, four stars at the angles of a rhombus. In preparing to carry messages they denuded themselves entirely, with the exception of the Gä-kä[unknown] -ah, or breech cloth, and a belt. They were usually sent out in pairs, and took their way through the forest, one behind the other, in perfect silence.’ [1] ’If the envoy of a foreign people desired to submit a proposition to the sachems of the League, and applied to the Senecas for that purpose, the sachems of that nation would first determine whether the question was of sufficient importance to authorize a council. If they arrived at an affirmative conclusion, they immediately sent out runners to the Cayugas, the nation nearest in position, with a belt of wampum. This belt announced that, on a certain day thereafter, at such a place, and for such and such purposes, mentioning them, a council of the League would assemble. The Cayugas then notified the Onondagas, they the Oneidas, and these the Mohawks. Each nation, within its own confines, spread the information far and wide; and thus, in a space of time astonishingly brief, intelligence of the council was heralded from one extremity of their country to the other. It produced a stir among the people in proportion to the magnitude and importance of the business to be transacted. If the subject was calculated to arouse a deep feeling of interest, one common impulse from the Hudson to the Niagara, and from the St. Lawrence to the Susquehanna, drew them towards the council-fire. Sachems, chiefs and warriors, women, and even children, deserted their hunting grounds and woodland seclusions, and taking the trail, literally flocked to the place of council. When the day arrived, a multitude had gathered together, from the most remote and toilsome distances, but yet animated by an unyielding spirit of hardihood and endurance.’ [2] ’Upon the death of a sachem the nation in which the loss had occurred had power to summon a council, and designate the day and place. If the Oneidas, for example, had lost a ruler, they sent out runners at the earliest convenient day, with “belts of invitation” to the sachems of the League, and to the people at large, to assemble around their national council-fire at Gä-no-a-lo[unknown] -häle. The invitation was circulated in the same manner, and with the same celerity as in convoking a civil council. These belts or the strings of wampum, sent out on such occasions, conveyed a laconic inessage: “the name” of the deceased “calls for a council.” It also announced the place and the time.’ [3] We are unsure as to whether and when the practice was discontinued during the reservation period.

[1]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd. 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. Ii”, 105

[2]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 104

[3]: Morgan, Lewis Henry, and Herbert M. Lloyd 1901. “League Of The Ho-De’-No-Sau-Nee Or Iroquois. Vol. I”, 110


Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
Wooden Palisade:
absent

Though the Iroquois were known for their impressive fortifications in the seventeenth century, no sources could be found describing Iroquois fortifications in the eighteenth century. This, combined with Lyford’s claim that the Iroquois had abandoned their traditional fortification methods by the end of the seventeenth century, suggests that most of our "fortification" variables cannot be confidently coded as "present". "The necessity of stockading the villages had almost ceased by the beginning of the seventeenth century, and by the close of the century the stockades were abandoned. Villages became less compact, but houses continued to be built near enough together to form a neighborhood." [1]

[1]: Lyford 1945, 11




Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present

"Village sites were usually located on high banks and were palisaded, indicating defensive priorities. Iroquois men frequently went on extensive hunting forays, leaving their women and children unprotected. This settlement pattern probably provided the best defensive protection under the circumstances." [1] "Villages were built on elevated terraces in close proximity to streams or lakes and were secured by log palisades." [2]

[1]: Evaneshko 1975, 19

[2]: Reid 1996, 2



Only dry moats or "natural moats" (rivers) were used. [1]

[1]: (Jones 2004, 52) Jones, David. 2004. Native North American Armor, Shields, and Fortifications. Austin: University of Texas Press. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/collectionKey/943RGM7A/itemKey/HABDQG2T



Earth Rampart:
absent

Though the Iroquois were known for their impressive fortifications in the seventeenth century, no sources could be found describing Iroquois fortifications in the eighteenth century. This, combined with Lyford’s claim that the Iroquois had abandoned their traditional fortification methods by the end of the seventeenth century, suggests that most of our "fortification" variables cannot be confidently coded as "present". "The necessity of stockading the villages had almost ceased by the beginning of the seventeenth century, and by the close of the century the stockades were abandoned. Villages became less compact, but houses continued to be built near enough together to form a neighborhood." [1] Because, in seventeenth century descriptions, earth ramparts are not mentioned separately from palisade system, it seems reasonable to infer this variable as inferred absent.

[1]: Lyford 1945, 11


Though the Iroquois were known for their impressive fortifications in the seventeenth century, no sources could be found describing Iroquois fortifications in the eighteenth century. This, combined with Lyford’s claim that the Iroquois had abandoned their traditional fortification methods by the end of the seventeenth century, suggests that most of our "fortification" variables cannot be confidently coded as "present". "The necessity of stockading the villages had almost ceased by the beginning of the seventeenth century, and by the close of the century the stockades were abandoned. Villages became less compact, but houses continued to be built near enough together to form a neighborhood." [1] Because, in seventeenth century descriptions, dry moats are not mentioned separately from palisade system, it seems reasonable to infer this variable as inferred absent.

[1]: Lyford 1945, 11


Complex Fortification:
absent

Though the Iroquois were known for their impressive fortifications in the seventeenth century, no sources could be found describing Iroquois fortifications in the eighteenth century. This, combined with Lyford’s claim that the Iroquois had abandoned their traditional fortification methods by the end of the seventeenth century, suggests that most of our "fortification" variables cannot be confidently coded as "present". "The necessity of stockading the villages had almost ceased by the beginning of the seventeenth century, and by the close of the century the stockades were abandoned. Villages became less compact, but houses continued to be built near enough together to form a neighborhood." [1] Because, in seventeenth century descriptions, earth ramparts are not mentioned separately from palisade system, it seems reasonable to infer this variable as inferred absent.

[1]: Lyford 1945, 11



Military use of Metals

"Through trade with the Colonists, brass, steel, and iron war clubs replaced the wooden ones." [1] "The tomahawk succeeded the war-club, as the rifle did the bow. With the invention of this terrible implement of warfare the red man had nothing to do, except in having it so fashioned as to be adapted to his taste and usage. The tomahawk is known as widely as the Indian, and the two names have become apparently inseparable. They are made of steel, brass, or iron." [2]

[1]: Lyford 1945, 45

[2]: Morgan & Lloyd 1901, 15


"Through trade with the Colonists, brass, steel, and iron war clubs replaced the wooden ones." [1] "The tomahawk succeeded the war-club, as the rifle did the bow. With the invention of this terrible implement of warfare the red man had nothing to do, except in having it so fashioned as to be adapted to his taste and usage. The tomahawk is known as widely as the Indian, and the two names have become apparently inseparable. They are made of steel, brass, or iron." [2]

[1]: Lyford 1945, 45

[2]: Morgan & Lloyd 1901, 15



Bronze:
present

"Through trade with the Colonists, brass, steel, and iron war clubs replaced the wooden ones." [1] "The tomahawk succeeded the war-club, as the rifle did the bow. With the invention of this terrible implement of warfare the red man had nothing to do, except in having it so fashioned as to be adapted to his taste and usage. The tomahawk is known as widely as the Indian, and the two names have become apparently inseparable. They are made of steel, brass, or iron." [2]

[1]: Lyford 1945, 45

[2]: Morgan & Lloyd 1901, 15


Projectiles


Iroquois warfare is relatively well documented, so the fact that source do not mention slings suggests that there weren’t any, or that they weren’t particularly common.


Self Bow:
present

"The men of the Five Nations devised a number of weapons effective in aggressive warfare, which they fashioned with much skill. The making of spears, bows and arrows, and the tomahawk or war club occupied much of their time." [1] "The Indian bow was usually from three and a half to four feet in length, with such a difficult spring that an inexperienced person could scarcely bend it sufficiently to set the string... With such an arrow, it was an easy matter to bring down the deer, the wild fowl, or the warrior himself. Skeletons have been disentombed, having the skull penetrated with an arrow-head of this description, with the flint-head itself still in the fracture, or entirely within the skull." [2]

[1]: Lyford 1945, 44

[2]: Morgan & Lloyd 1901, 296


Javelin:
present

Javelins are mentioned, but not in an explicitly military context: "Two games of the javelin are yet popular among the Onondagas. In one a group of boys may be seen with their hands full of peeled sumac sticks, often gayly colored. These they throw in the air, and often to a great distance, as they are very light. As a game it is simply a contest of throwing farthest, but a boy will sometimes amuse himself alone. The javelin and hoop requires opposing sides, as one must roll the hoop while the other throws the javelin at or through it. It is little played now." [1]

[1]: Beauchamp 1896, 272


Handheld Firearm:
present

The Mohawk obtained guns in the first half of the 17th century: "In the early 1640s the Mohawk obtained guns, first from the English and then in large numbers from the Dutch." [1]

[1]: Fenton & Tooker 1978, 468


Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
present

Wallace and Steen mention a cannon installed at the Onondaga council house: "Three Onondaga villages were burned, twelve Indians were killed, thirtythree were taken prisoner, and considerable military equipment (including the cannon installed at the council-house) was taken or destroyed." [1] But captured and traded cannons must have been the exception rather than the rule, especially prior to 1713.

[1]: Wallace, Anthony F. C., and Sheila K. Steen 1969. “Death And Rebirth Of The Seneca”, 141




Iroquois warfare is relatively well documented, so the fact that source do not mention the atlatl suggests that there weren’t used, or that they weren’t particularly common.


Handheld weapons
War Club:
present

"The men of the Five Nations devised a number of weapons effective in aggressive warfare, which they fashioned with much skill... The Iroquois war club was originally a heavy weapon two feet in length made of ironwood with a globular head five or six inches in diameter." [1]

[1]: Lyford 1945, 44-45



"The men of the Five Nations devised a number of weapons effective in aggressive warfare, which they fashioned with much skill. The making of spears, bows and arrows, and the tomahawk or war club occupied much of their time. Such weapons were constantly being broken, lost, or worn out and had to be replaced so that a steady industry was carried on." [1]

[1]: Lyford 1945, 44



Dagger:
present

"Personal ornaments of various kinds, together with the war-club, the tomahawk, and the scalping-knife, completed the attire." [1]

[1]: Morgan & Lloyd 1901, 255


Battle Axe:
present

"The tomahawk, which the Iroquois could throw with great dexterity, was originally a stone weapon somewhat like an ax, with a deep groove cut around the outside by means of which the wooden handle was firmly attached with a willow withe or rawhide thong. [1] They used [the tomahawk] in close combat with terrible effect, and also threw it with unerring certainty at distant objects, making it revolve in the air in its flight." [2]

[1]: Lyford 1945, 45

[2]: Morgan & Lloyd 1901, 15


Animals used in warfare
Horse:
absent
1714 CE 1750 CE

"Although the horse was adopted by the eastern tribes as a beast of burden, there seems to be little reference to its use in warfare except in the later 18th and early 19th centuries and particularly by the western tribes Sauk, Fox, Winnebago, etc. However, the Iroquois and Cherokee has large numbers of horses from the mid-18th century on." [1]

[1]: (Johnson and Hook 24) Johnson, Michael G., and Richard Hook. 1990. American Woodland Indians. Men-at-Arms. Osprey. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/collectionKey/943RGM7A/itemKey/X87SHFX7

Horse:
present
1751 CE 1848 CE

"Although the horse was adopted by the eastern tribes as a beast of burden, there seems to be little reference to its use in warfare except in the later 18th and early 19th centuries and particularly by the western tribes Sauk, Fox, Winnebago, etc. However, the Iroquois and Cherokee has large numbers of horses from the mid-18th century on." [1]

[1]: (Johnson and Hook 24) Johnson, Michael G., and Richard Hook. 1990. American Woodland Indians. Men-at-Arms. Osprey. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/collectionKey/943RGM7A/itemKey/X87SHFX7






Armor
Wood Bark Etc:
absent

"[T]he introduction of firearms and metal tipped weapons into native warfare forced the Iroquois to reconsider the way they approached combat. They discarded their wooden body armor and shields, which were only marginally effective against metal weapons and afforded no protection whatsoever against French guns. Moreover, continued use of wooden armor became impractical as Iroquois warriors learned to adapt their fighting style to the new weaponry. Shortly after the stunning debut of French firearms in the 1609 revolt of the Mohawks, Champlain recorded that the Iroquois had already learned to ’throw themselves on the ground when they hear the report’ of guns being fired. Wooden armor was too cumbersome for use in evolving Iroquois tactics, which also included hiding behind trees for protection until after the guns had fired. Armor and shields remained present in Iroquois society as teaching and protectice tools in the education of young warriors, but they no longer found a place in Iroquois wars." [1]

[1]: (Barr 2006, 28) Barr, Daniel P. 2006. Unconquered: The Iroquois League at War in Colonial America. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/collectionKey/943RGM7A/itemKey/KA4QX6HF


"[T]he introduction of firearms and metal tipped weapons into native warfare forced the Iroquois to reconsider the way they approached combat. They discarded their wooden body armor and shields, which were only marginally effective against metal weapons and afforded no protection whatsoever against French guns. Moreover, continued use of wooden armor became impractical as Iroquois warriors learned to adapt their fighting style to the new weaponry. Shortly after the stunning debut of French firearms in the 1609 revolt of the Mohawks, Champlain recorded that the Iroquois had already learned to ’throw themselves on the ground when they hear the report’ of guns being fired. Wooden armor was too cumbersome for use in evolving Iroquois tactics, which also included hiding behind trees for protection until after the guns had fired. Armor and shields remained present in Iroquois society as teaching and protectice tools in the education of young warriors, but they no longer found a place in Iroquois wars." [1]

[1]: (Barr 2006, 28) Barr, Daniel P. 2006. Unconquered: The Iroquois League at War in Colonial America. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/collectionKey/943RGM7A/itemKey/KA4QX6HF


Scaled Armor:
absent

Only references to Iroquois armour describe wooden armour, and it is clear that by this period they had stopped wearing armour altogether, because ineffective against firearms. "[T]he introduction of firearms and metal tipped weapons into native warfare forced the Iroquois to reconsider the way they approached combat. They discarded their wooden body armor and shields, which were only marginally effective against metal weapons and afforded no protection whatsoever against French guns. Moreover, continued use of wooden armor became impractical as Iroquois warriors learned to adapt their fighting style to the new weaponry. Shortly after the stunning debut of French firearms in the 1609 revolt of the Mohawks, Champlain recorded that the Iroquois had already learned to ’throw themselves on the ground when they hear the report’ of guns being fired. Wooden armor was too cumbersome for use in evolving Iroquois tactics, which also included hiding behind trees for protection until after the guns had fired. Armor and shields remained present in Iroquois society as teaching and protectice tools in the education of young warriors, but they no longer found a place in Iroquois wars." [1]

[1]: (Barr 2006, 28) Barr, Daniel P. 2006. Unconquered: The Iroquois League at War in Colonial America. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/collectionKey/943RGM7A/itemKey/KA4QX6HF


Plate Armor:
absent

Only references to Iroquois armour describe wooden armour, and it is clear that by this period they had stopped wearing armour altogether, because ineffective against firearms. "[T]he introduction of firearms and metal tipped weapons into native warfare forced the Iroquois to reconsider the way they approached combat. They discarded their wooden body armor and shields, which were only marginally effective against metal weapons and afforded no protection whatsoever against French guns. Moreover, continued use of wooden armor became impractical as Iroquois warriors learned to adapt their fighting style to the new weaponry. Shortly after the stunning debut of French firearms in the 1609 revolt of the Mohawks, Champlain recorded that the Iroquois had already learned to ’throw themselves on the ground when they hear the report’ of guns being fired. Wooden armor was too cumbersome for use in evolving Iroquois tactics, which also included hiding behind trees for protection until after the guns had fired. Armor and shields remained present in Iroquois society as teaching and protectice tools in the education of young warriors, but they no longer found a place in Iroquois wars." [1]

[1]: (Barr 2006, 28) Barr, Daniel P. 2006. Unconquered: The Iroquois League at War in Colonial America. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/collectionKey/943RGM7A/itemKey/KA4QX6HF


Limb Protection:
absent

Though it’s not clear whether the Iroquois ever used limb protection, by this time they had stopped using body armour altogether. "[T]he introduction of firearms and metal tipped weapons into native warfare forced the Iroquois to reconsider the way they approached combat. They discarded their wooden body armor and shields, which were only marginally effective against metal weapons and afforded no protection whatsoever against French guns. Moreover, continued use of wooden armor became impractical as Iroquois warriors learned to adapt their fighting style to the new weaponry. Shortly after the stunning debut of French firearms in the 1609 revolt of the Mohawks, Champlain recorded that the Iroquois had already learned to ’throw themselves on the ground when they hear the report’ of guns being fired. Wooden armor was too cumbersome for use in evolving Iroquois tactics, which also included hiding behind trees for protection until after the guns had fired. Armor and shields remained present in Iroquois society as teaching and protectice tools in the education of young warriors, but they no longer found a place in Iroquois wars." [1]

[1]: (Barr 2006, 28) Barr, Daniel P. 2006. Unconquered: The Iroquois League at War in Colonial America. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/collectionKey/943RGM7A/itemKey/KA4QX6HF


Leather Cloth:
present

Later this type of helmet developed into a skull cap or round turban... This was covered with tanned skin, red or blue broadcloth, velvet, or a fancy silk handkerchief, and bound at the rim with a quilled, beaded, or silver band. [1]

[1]: Lyford 1945, 27


Laminar Armor:
absent

Only references to Iroquois armour describe wooden armour, and it is clear that by this period they had stopped wearing armour altogether, because ineffective against firearms. "[T]he introduction of firearms and metal tipped weapons into native warfare forced the Iroquois to reconsider the way they approached combat. They discarded their wooden body armor and shields, which were only marginally effective against metal weapons and afforded no protection whatsoever against French guns. Moreover, continued use of wooden armor became impractical as Iroquois warriors learned to adapt their fighting style to the new weaponry. Shortly after the stunning debut of French firearms in the 1609 revolt of the Mohawks, Champlain recorded that the Iroquois had already learned to ’throw themselves on the ground when they hear the report’ of guns being fired. Wooden armor was too cumbersome for use in evolving Iroquois tactics, which also included hiding behind trees for protection until after the guns had fired. Armor and shields remained present in Iroquois society as teaching and protectice tools in the education of young warriors, but they no longer found a place in Iroquois wars." [1]

[1]: (Barr 2006, 28) Barr, Daniel P. 2006. Unconquered: The Iroquois League at War in Colonial America. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/collectionKey/943RGM7A/itemKey/KA4QX6HF


Helmet:
present

At one time a round cap, woven of willow sticks, in two layers, was worn for better protection against a stroke from a war club. Later this type of helmet developed into a skull cap or round turban. It was made over a frame consisting of a band of splints shaped round to fit the head, with two cross splints arched over the top. This was covered with tanned skin, red or blue broadcloth, velvet, or a fancy silk handkerchief, and bound at the rim with a quilled, beaded, or silver band. [1]

[1]: Lyford 1945, 27


Chainmail:
absent

Only references to Iroquois armour describe wooden armour, and it is clear that by this period they had stopped wearing armour altogether, because ineffective against firearms. "[T]he introduction of firearms and metal tipped weapons into native warfare forced the Iroquois to reconsider the way they approached combat. They discarded their wooden body armor and shields, which were only marginally effective against metal weapons and afforded no protection whatsoever against French guns. Moreover, continued use of wooden armor became impractical as Iroquois warriors learned to adapt their fighting style to the new weaponry. Shortly after the stunning debut of French firearms in the 1609 revolt of the Mohawks, Champlain recorded that the Iroquois had already learned to ’throw themselves on the ground when they hear the report’ of guns being fired. Wooden armor was too cumbersome for use in evolving Iroquois tactics, which also included hiding behind trees for protection until after the guns had fired. Armor and shields remained present in Iroquois society as teaching and protectice tools in the education of young warriors, but they no longer found a place in Iroquois wars." [1]

[1]: (Barr 2006, 28) Barr, Daniel P. 2006. Unconquered: The Iroquois League at War in Colonial America. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/collectionKey/943RGM7A/itemKey/KA4QX6HF


Breastplate:
absent

Though it’s not clear whether the Iroquois ever used "breastplates" in the sense of torso protection, by this time they had stopped using body armour altogether. "[T]he introduction of firearms and metal tipped weapons into native warfare forced the Iroquois to reconsider the way they approached combat. They discarded their wooden body armor and shields, which were only marginally effective against metal weapons and afforded no protection whatsoever against French guns. Moreover, continued use of wooden armor became impractical as Iroquois warriors learned to adapt their fighting style to the new weaponry. Shortly after the stunning debut of French firearms in the 1609 revolt of the Mohawks, Champlain recorded that the Iroquois had already learned to ’throw themselves on the ground when they hear the report’ of guns being fired. Wooden armor was too cumbersome for use in evolving Iroquois tactics, which also included hiding behind trees for protection until after the guns had fired. Armor and shields remained present in Iroquois society as teaching and protectice tools in the education of young warriors, but they no longer found a place in Iroquois wars." [1]

[1]: (Barr 2006, 28) Barr, Daniel P. 2006. Unconquered: The Iroquois League at War in Colonial America. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/collectionKey/943RGM7A/itemKey/KA4QX6HF


Naval technology

Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
absent

The following quotes do not suggest that canoes were used in warfare, simply as vehicles to escape conflict. "The Indians withdrew to the fort and the French forces remained on the river overnight to keep the Iroquois from escaping in their canoes." [1] "Some more Indians from the other side tried to cross the river to save their fellows; these were shot down in their canoes." [2] Overall, because Iroquois warfare is relatively well documented, it seems reasonable to infer that the use of canoes for warfare would be known and mentioned in the literature.

[1]: Selden, Sherman Ward. 1994. “Legend, Myth And Code Of Deganawidah And Their Significance To Iroquois Cultural History.”, 65

[2]: Wallace, Anthony F. C., and Sheila K. Steen. 1969. “Death And Rebirth Of The Seneca.”, 123




Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.