The Iroquois

The Iroquois
Curriculum Kit
This is part of the
Iroquois Indian Museum Kit
curriculum kit.

The Iroquois traditionally lived in what is now upstate New York, subsisting on wild plant foods, game, and fish from the area's fertile forests and teeming waterways, along with corn, beans, and squash. Long ago the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca tribes formed the League of the Five Nations. Despite its ideal of cooperation, the League was fearsome in war as it attempted to extend its rule. In the 16th century, the League challenged other Indian groups for access to European traders and their goods, siding first with the French, then with the Dutch and English. In the 17th century the League absorbed the related Tuscarora tribe and was henceforth known as the Six Nations. Most Iroquois were allies of the English in the American Revolution. By the early 19th century, the League was in disarray, its member nations dispersed to reservations. The men learned farming, formerly considered women's work, and found jobs in urban industries. The Iroquois' battles in recent years have been legal ones as they resisted efforts to build public works projects on their lands. The Iroquois live today in cities and on reservations in Canada, New York, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma.

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