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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This is the thread to discuss the Iroquois Confederacy:

The Iroquois Confederacy, an association of six linguistically related tribes in the northeastern woodlands, was a sophisticated society of some 5,500 people when the first white explorers encountered it at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The 1990 Census counted 49,038 Iroquois living in the United States, making them the country's eighth most populous Native American group. Although Iroquoian tribes own seven reservations in New York state and one in Wisconsin, the majority of the people live off the reservations. An additional 5,000 Iroquois reside in Canada, where there are two Iroquoian reservations. The people are not averse to adopting new technology when it is beneficial, but they want to maintain their own traditional identity.


The "Five Tribes" that first joined to form the Iroquois Confederacy, or League, were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca (listed in order from east to west according to where they lived in an area that roughly corresponds to central New York state). They called themselves Haudenosaunee (pronounced "hoo-dee-noh-SHAW-nee"), or people of the longhouse, referring to the construction of their homes, in which extended families of up to 50 people lived together in bark-covered, wooden-framed houses that were 50 to 150 feet long. They also envisioned their extended community as occupying a symbolic longhouse some 300 miles long, with the Mohawk guarding the eastern door and the Seneca the western.

Source: Wikipedia

message 2: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I would like to recommend a series of books from the author Allan W. Eckert that provides a historical narrative of the Iroquois League that I found hard to put down. This is history at its best, an easy to read, riveting and fast-paced narrative from a master-storyteller.

Wilderness Empire A Narrative (Eckert, Allan W. Winning of America Series.) by Allan W. Eckert by Allan W. Eckert
Publishers blurb:
For over two hundred years no Indian force in America was so powerful and feared as the Iroquois League. Throughout two thirds of this continent, the cry of "The Iroquois are coming!" was enough to demoralize entire tribes. But these Iroquois occupied and controlled a vast wilderness empire which beckoned like a precious gem to foreign powers. France and England secured toeholds and suddenly each was claiming as its own this land of the Iroquois. Alliance with the Indians was the key; whichever power controlled them could destroy the other.
Wilderness Empire is the gripping narrative of the eighteenth-century struggle of these two powers to win for themselves the allegiance of the Indians in a war for territorial dominance, yet without letting these Indians know that the prize of the war would be this very Iroquois land. It is the story of English strength hamstrung by incredible incompetence, of French power sapped by devastating corruption. It is the story of the English, Indian and French individuals whose lives intertwine in the greatest territorial struggle in American history - the French and Indian War.

The Wilderness War A Narrative (Eckert, Allan W. Winning of America Series.) by Allan W. Eckert by Allan W. Eckert
Publishers blurb:
The Wilderness War is the eagerly awaited fourth volume in Allan W. Eckert’s acclaimed series of narratives, The Winning of America, the violent and monumental description of the wresting of the North American continent from the Indians.
Two hundred fifty years had elapsed since the Five Nations, the greatest of the Indian tribes, ceased their continual warfare among themselves and banded together for mutual defense. Their union had created the feared and formidable Iroquois League; their empire stretched from Lake Champlain, across New York to Niagara Falls. Theirs was a remarkable form of representative government that presaged our own, and their wealth lay in the vast, beautiful lands abundant with crops. As warriors they were unsurpassed—even the depredations of the recent French and Indian War could not diminish their prowess.

But by 1770 the white men living in their land were fighting among themselves again, and war came once more to the Iroquois land.

The Wilderness War begins in 1763 (where the second book in this series, Wilderness Empire, concluded with the English victory over the French in the French and Indian War) and continues through the American Revolution to 1780, by which time the Iroquois League had been ruptured and the Indians dispossessed of their homelands.

Their defeat and humiliation occurred despite the valor of their famous war chief Thayendanegea, better known as Joseph Brant, who had allied his tribes with the one man the Iroquois loved and trusted, Sir William Johnson, Colonial Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and subsequently with Johnson’s son and nephew, leaders of the Tory forces in New York.

Based on an abundance of primary sources: original letters and notes, diaries and journals, deeds, wills, military records, Indian tribal records, logbooks, newspapers and magazines and government reports, and dominated by the compelling character of Chief Joseph Brant, The Wilderness War gives a factual account (sustained with the suspense and pace of first-rate fiction) of the last years of the Iroquois Empire and the first years of the American nation. Allan W. Eckert has molded the raw facts of history into a moving, perceptive and penetrating narrative. It is filled with the pathos and action, humanity and savagery which were all a part of survival on the expanding American frontier.

message 3: by Aaron (new)

Aaron Cooper | 5 comments Would love a recommendation about a good history of the Iroquois Confederacy. Something that provides a broad overview would be best, as I am not well read in the area. Thanks.

message 4: by Bryan (last edited May 03, 2013 07:52AM) (new)

Bryan Craig Aaron:

The Great Law and the Longhouse: A Political History of the Iroquois Confederacy

The Great Law And The Longhouse A Political History Of The Iroquois Confederacy by William N. Fenton William N. Fenton


An in-depth survey of Iroquois culture and history

This masterful summary represents a major synthesis of the history and culture of the Six Nations from the mid-sixteenth century to the Canandaigua treaty of 1794. William N. Fenton, renowned as the dean of Iroquoian studies, draws on primary sources, in both French and English to create a readable narrative and an invaluable reference for all future scholars of Iroquois polity.

Central to Fenton’s study is the tradition of the Great Law, still practiced today by the conservative Iroquois. It is sustained by celebrations of the condolence ceremony when participants mourn a dead chief and install his successor for life on good behavior. This ritual act, reaching back to the dawn of history, maintained the League of the Iroquois, the legendary form of government that gave way over time to the Iroquois Confederacy.

message 5: by Aaron (new)

Aaron Cooper | 5 comments Thanks Bryan, I appreciate it. Will be adding this to my shelf.

Bryan wrote: "Aaron:

The Great Law and the Longhouse: A Political History of the Iroquois Confederacy

The Great Law And The Longhouse A Political History Of The Iroquois Confederacy by William N. FentonWillia..."

message 6: by Judy (new)

Judy (dujyt) | 93 comments Hi Aaron,
Just wanted to add another suggestion.
The Ordeal of the Longhouse The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization by Daniel K. Richter by Daniel K. Richter(no photo)

Synopsis: Richter examines a wide range of primary documents to survey the responses of the peoples of the Iroquois League--the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas, and Tuscaroras--to the challenges of the European colonialization of North America. He demonstrates that by the early eighteenth century a series of creative adaptations in politics and diplomacy allowed the peoples of the Longhouse to preserve their cultural autonomy in a land now dominated by foreign powers.

This book was awarded several prizes, including a CHOICE Outstanding Academic book in 1994.

message 7: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4374 comments Mod
Unconquered: The Iroquois League at War in Colonial America

Unconquered The Iroquois League at War in Colonial America by Daniel P. Barr by Daniel P. Barr (no photo)


Unconquered explores the complex world of Iroquois warfare, providing a narrative overview of nearly two hundred years of Iroquois conflict during the colonial era of North America. Detailing Iroquois wars against the French, English, Americans, and a host of Indian enemies, "Unconquered" builds upon decades of modern scholarship to reveal the vital importance of warfare in Iroquois society and culture, at the same time exploring the diverse motivations--especially Iroquoian spiritual and cultural beliefs--that guided such warfare.

Economic competition and rivalry for trade were important factors in Iroquois warfare, but they often provided less motivation for waging war than Iroquoian spiritual and cultural beliefs, including the important tradition of the mourning war. Nor were European agendas particularly important to Iroquois warfare, except in that they occasionally coincided with Iroquois designs. Europeans influenced and incited, both directly and indirectly, conflict within the Iroquois League and with other Indian nations, but the peoples of the Iroquois League waged war according to their own cultural beliefs and by their own rules. In reality, the Iroquoi League rarely waged war against anyone. Rather its individual member nations drove the warfare often attributed to the whole, creating a shifting, amorphous political and military position that allowed member nations to pursue separate policies of war and peace against common foes and multiple enemies.

Unconquered also seeks to dispel longstanding beliefs about the invincible Iroquois empire, myths that have been dispelled by focused academic studies, but still retain a powerful resonance among popular conceptions of the Iroquois League. While the Iroquois created far-reaching networks of trade and destroyed or dispersed Indian peoples along their borders, they created no expansive territorial empires. Nor were Iroquois warriors unequaled in battle. Europeans, Americans, and Indians defeated Iroquois warriors and burned Iroquois villages as often as they tasted defeat, and on more than one occasion they brought the Iroquois League to the brink of utter ruin. Yet the Iroquois were never completely destroyed.

message 8: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Treaty of Canandaigua 1794: 200 Years of Treaty Relations Between the Iroquois Confederacy and the United States

Treaty of Canandaigua 1794 200 Years of Treaty Relations Between the Iroquois Confederacy and the United States by G. Peter Jemison by G. Peter Jemison (no photo)


This book tells the complex and intriguing story of the Six Nations and their relationship with the United States over the 200-year period following the American Revolution. Two hundred years after signing the treaty that was to protect their lands and sovereign rights, the Haudenosaunee -- the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy -- have been stripped of all but a small fraction leading up to the signing of the treaty and look at how the Haudenosaunee have fared under its terms.

message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you Bryan for all of the adds on the Native American threads.

message 10: by Teri (new)

Teri (teriboop) Tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy

Tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy by Michael Johnson by Michael Johnson (no photo)


The Five (later Six) Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy were central to the story of the white colonization of the American Northeast. The European fur trade transformed their world, and the struggles between English and French colonists forced the tribes to take sides during the Beaver Wars as well as the French and Indian Wars (1689-1763), which included King William's War, Queen Anne's War, King George's War, and finally ended with the French and Indian War of 1754. Sir William Johnson's efforts in the Mohawk Valley ensured that the Iroquois Nations were allies of the British crown; and the loyalty of his kinsman Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea) during the American Revolution forced the Mohawks into Canadian exile. This richly illustrated book introduces Iroquois history, social organization, religion and material culture.

message 11: by Teri (new)

Teri (teriboop) Native American Tribes: The History and Culture of the Iroquois Confederacy

Native American Tribes The History and Culture of the Iroquois Confederacy by Charles River Editors by Charles River Editors (no photo)


From the "Trail of Tears" to Wounded Knee and Little Bighorn, the narrative of American history is incomplete without the inclusion of the Native Americans that lived on the continent before European explorers and settlers arrived in the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the first contact between natives and settlers, tribes like the Sioux, Cherokee, and Navajo have both fascinated and perplexed outsiders with their history, language, and culture. In Charles River Editors' Native American Tribes series, readers can get caught up to speed on the history and culture of North America's most famous native tribes in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.

Among all the Native American tribes, the Iroquois people are some of the most well documented Native Americans in history. Indigenous to the northeast region of what is now the United States and parts of Canada, they were among some of the earliest contacts Europeans had with the native tribes. And yet they have remained a constant source of mystery.

The name "Iroquois," like many Native American tribal names, is not a name the people knew themselves by, but a word applied to them by their enemies the Huron, who called them "Iroquo" (rattlesnake) as an insult. The French later added the suffix "ois." Moreover, the Iroquois are not even a single tribe but a confederation of several different tribal nations that include the Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, Mohawk, Cayuga and the Tuscarora, who didn't become part of the union until the early 1700's. The name Haudenosaunee (pronounced "ho-den-oh-SHO-nee") is the name the people use for themselves, which translates as "the People of the Longhouse." They are also commonly known as the Six Nations.

Despite their own cultural differences, the nations that comprised the Iroquois Confederacy established their political dominance across much of America's East Coast and Midwest through conquest, and it is that aspect which has perhaps best endured among Americans in terms of the Iroquois' legacy. European settlers who came into contact with the Mohawks in the Northeast certainly learned to respect their combat skills, to the point that there were literally bounties on the Mohawks' heads, with scalps fetching money for colonists who succeeded in slaying them and carrying away the "battle prize."

In addition to the constant state of conflict between the Iroquois and different nations, including the French and the colonists, the Six Nations are perhaps best known for their political structure, and their influence on American democracy is well documented if not well known by most Americans.

Far from being relics of history, they are living communities who maintain political relationships with United States and Canada, as they have occupied their territories long before international borders were drawn. Their histories have left an indelible mark on the formation of the United States and Canada. Native American Tribes: The History and Culture of the Iroquois Confederacy comprehensively covers the culture and history of the Six Nations. Along with pictures depicting the Iroquois, you will learn about the Iroquois like you never have before, in no time at all.

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