“The Great Creator has made us of the one blood and of the same soil he made us and as only different tongues constitute different nations he established different hunting grounds and territories and made boundary lines between them…”(Iroquois Constitution,)These were the words spoken by a strong group of men long ago. Before the United States became the United States, there were many different groups of Native Americans that lived on those lands.
Among these groups lived a powerful tribe called the “Iroquois”. The Iroquois were a tribe formed by five nations banding together, but they were eventually separated and destroyed by the western settlers.The Iroquois were a league of tribes in the Northeastern part of America. They were originally formed by five tribes: The Cayuga, Onondaga, Mohawk, Seneca, and Oneida. They called themselves “Haudenosaunee” but the French named them Iroquois. They had a representative government where each tribe elected their own leader.
These leaders were called chiefs and they attended council meetings.They lived in wooden rectangular buildings covered in bark called longhouses and up to 20 people lived in one. Farming was their primary source of food.
In Iroquois society, women had a special responsibility.The Iroquois believed that women had a special connection to the earth because they could reproduce, and because of that belief, women determined how the food would be distributed.Although the tribes began to work together, they definitely were not peaceful. The Iroquois lived on a region that was surrounded by other tribes and beavers.This gave them large advantage over their rivals.They had come to rely on the trade for the purchase of firearms and other European goods, but they didn’t realize the negative outcome that foreign goods and advanced weaponry would have on them. The introduction of firearms caused a depopulation of the beavers, so much that by 1640 the animal had nearly disappeared from the Hudson Valley.
This caused them to lose money in the fur trade. The Iroquois believed they were the most advanced and powerful in the area and they hated that they were being replaced in the fur trade by other tribes in the region. They affected badly by European diseases and their population was decreasing ,so the Iroquois began attacking other tribes to disrupt their trade with the French.
This caused many wars in which the Iroquois were victorious.Just after the French and Indian War started, the Iroquois allied themselves with the British against the French and their Algonquin allies, both common enemies of the Iroquois. The Iroquois hoped that siding with the British would also bring favors after the war. The British government issued the Proclamation of 1763 when the war ended, which stopped settlers from expanding beyond the Appalachian Mountains, but the settlers ignored the documents and moved onto the lands anyway. During the American Revolution, many Tuscarora and the Oneida allied themselves with the Americans, while the Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga, and Cayuga remained allies with Great Britain. This was one of the first major splits among the tribes. After several victorious battles against frontier settlements, the American settlers sought for revenge.
The Settlers terrorized the Native Americans in hopes of breaking their spirit.In 1794, the Iroquois and the Americans signed the Treaty of Canandaigua. After the war was over, a group of Iroquois left New York to settle in Canada. As a reward for their loyalty to Great Britain they were given a large amount of land on the Grand River.
By 1847, all the tribes had either been destroyed or separated across the land living as their own.The Iroquois lasted a very long time but were too overtaken by the western settlers. They had no immunity to European illnesses and their population was minimized by the introduction of diseases like smallpox. Over time, most surviving tribes were forcibly relocated from their traditional lands to make way for expanding European settlements.
Works Cited”1100 – Great Law of Peace, Constitution of the Iroquois Federation”, Duhaime.org – Learn Lawhttp://www.duhaime.org/LawMuseum/LawArticle-1590/1100–Great-Law-of-Peace-Constitution-of-the-Iroquois-Federation.aspx Date Accessed: December 20, 2017″French and Iroquois Wars (1642-1698)”, United States Warshttps://www.uswars.net/french-iroquois-wars/ Date Accessed: December 20, 2017″Native Americans”, Ducksters Educational Sitehttp://www.ducksters.com/history/native_american_iroquois.php Date Accessed: December 20, 2017