Fulton County Living
|Map of the Iroquois
Iroquois Confederacy, also called Iroquois League, Five Nations, or (from 1722) Six
Nations, confederation of five (later six) Indian tribes across upper New York state that
during the 17th and 18th centuries played a strategic role in the struggle between the
French and British for mastery of North America. The five Iroquois nations,
characterizing themselves as “the people of the longhouse,” were the Mohawk, Oneida,
Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. After the Tuscarora joined in 1722, the confederacy
became known to the English as the Six Nations and was recognized as such at Albany,
New York (1722).
The Mohawk, Iroquoian-speaking North American Indian tribe and the easternmost
tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy. Their name for themselves is Kahniakehake, which
means “people of the flint,” and within the confederacy they were considered to be the
“keepers of the eastern door.” At the time of European colonization, they occupied three
villages west of what is now Schenectady, New York, U.S.
Like the other Iroquois tribes, the Mohawk were semisedentary. Women engaged in corn
(maize) agriculture; men hunted during the fall and winter and fished during the summer.
Related families lived together in longhouses, a symbol of Iroquois society. Each Mohawk
community also had a local council that guided the village chief or chiefs.
|Longhouse of the Northeast Indians of North America.
From Stories of American History by Wilbur F. Gordy (Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1913)