The structure of the government of the Iroquois nation consisted of a council of 50 chiefs who met once a year to settle disputes and create the customs and laws of the confederacy. These laws were codified on strings of wampum to aid recitation and became known as the Book of the Great Law.Know More
The Iroquois confederacy first consisted of five tribes, called the Five Nations, or the people of the longhouse, and it included the Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida and Onondaga tribes. In 1722, the Tuscarora joined, and the confederacy became known as the Six Nations. The confederacy originated when a man named Deganawida, who became known as the peacemaker, joined with Hiawatha to proclaim a message of unity to the five tribes. Because the Iroquois were matriarchal, clan mothers chose the 50 chiefs who met to work out the details of the accord.
The confederacy gave great strength to the Iroquois because, although they were warriors, they maintained peace within their alliance and concentrated their attacks on those outside. While the council consisted only of men, the power was held only by women. When a council chief died, women of his family and lineage met together to choose a new chief, who would then be approved by the council. Elaborate rituals marked the choosing of leaders and the making of decisions. For more than a century before the American Revolution, the Iroquois nation governed the northeastern woodlands with unity and efficiency.Learn more about US History
Montgomery, Ala. was the initial capital of the Confederacy until the government relocated to Richmond, Va., in May 1861. Richmond fell to federal occupation in 1865. The capital briefly shifted to Danville, Va. before the war ended.Full Answer >
The Iroquois have many symbols including turtles, the tree symbol that alludes to the Great Tree of Peace, the eagle and a cluster of arrows. The turtle is the symbol of one of the Iroquois clans.Full Answer >
Iroquois canoes were water vessels made out of elm bark or a hollowed-out log. Though most styles of Native-American canoes were built to be light and swift, Iroquois canoes could be very long, as much as 30 feet in length. They could carry a passenger load of 18 people.Full Answer >
An Iroquois longhouse was a traditional home for Native American tribes living in southern New England, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A longhouse was constructed of wooden poles covered in bark that housed as many as 20 families simultaneously. A typical Iroquois longhouse ranged from 180 to 220 feet long, although some were nearly 400 feet in length.Full Answer >