The Iroquois ( /ˈɪrəkwɔɪ/ or /ˈɪrəkwɑː/), also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are a league of several nations and tribes of indigenous people of North America. After the Iroquoian-speaking peoples of present-day central and upstate New York coalesced as distinct tribes, by the 16th century or earlier, they came together in an association known today as the Iroquois League, or the "League of Peace and Power". The Iroquois were a matriarchal society. They had clan mothers, or main women of the leagues.
The original Iroquois League was often known as the Five Nations, as it was composed of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca nations. After the Tuscarora nation joined the League in 1722, the Iroquois became known as the Six Nations. The League is embodied in the Grand Council, an assembly of fifty hereditary sachems. Other Iroquian peoples lived along the St. Lawrence River, around the Great Lakes and in the American Southeast, but they were not part of the Haudenosaunee and often competed and warred with these tribes.
When Europeans first arrived in North America, the Haudenosaunee were based in what is now the northeastern United States, primarily in what is referred to today as upstate New York west of the Hudson River and through the Finger Lakes region. Today, the Iroquois live primarily in New York, Quebec, and Ontario.
The Iroquois League has also been known as the Iroquois Confederacy. Modern scholars distinguish between the League and the Confederacy. According to this interpretation, the Iroquois League refers to the ceremonial and cultural institution embodied in the Grand Council, while the Iroquois Confederacy was the decentralized political and diplomatic entity that emerged in response to European colonization. The League still exists. The Confederacy dissolved after the defeat of the British and allied Iroquois nations in the American Revolutionary War.
Read more about Iroquois People: Name, Government, International
Famous quotes containing the words iroquois and/or people:
“While the very inhabitants of New England were thus fabling about the country a hundred miles inland, which was a terra incognita to them,... Champlain, the first Governor of Canada,... had already gone to war against the Iroquois in their forest forts, and penetrated to the Great Lakes and wintered there, before a Pilgrim had heard of New England.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“It is a base thing for a man among the people not to obey those in command. Never in a state can the laws be well administered when fear does not stand firm.”
—Sophocles (497406/5 B.C.)