The Native American Indian tribe called the Iroquois contributed greatly toward America. They have many stories about the world, and how things came to be the way they are. They have one story about the creation of the world. They use oral traditional elements in this story which is represented by nature. They also use a romantic aspect, which is represented by God’s and the super natural. In the beginning there were two worlds.
The lower world, and the upper world. Everything existed in total darkness. The upper world was to hold mankind, and the lower world was where all of the monsters lived. A woman gave birth too twins. One twin was the good mind and the other was the evil mind. The good mind wanted to continue with creation, while the evil mind wanted the world to remain in it’s natural state of darkness.
The good mind creates rivers, creeks, bushes, animals, and humans. This brings the oral traditional elements of their respect for nature. Mountains and valleys were created. The good mind kept destroying what ever he created for fear it was not perfect.
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Traces of animals from the beginning of time were left in the rocks known as fossils. The moon and the sun were created. Both the good and the evil mind attempted to create mankind. When the evil mind tries to create mankind he messes up and accidentally creates apes. When the evil mind is unable to create mankind as the good mind does, he becomes angry with him.
The twins continue to argue with each other as they believed that the other was not creating the world as it should be. They both wanted control over of the universe. In the end the good mind wins and the evil mind sinks to eternal doom. After the battle the good mind visits the people and teaches them what they will need to know in order to survive. One of the most important Native American groups in North American history is the Iroquois.
The Iroquois Indians have been estimated to have been around as early as 900 ad. They lived in what are called long houses. The long houses were built in rows of one or two. They could be up to 200 feet long and 20 feet wide. These homes accommodated 5 to 20 families. They had a central hole in the center of the house that was used for a fire that all of the families used.
The houses were covered in elm bark on the outside. The villages were for the most part permanent. They only moved villages when they needed to. A reason for moving the village would have been if they had used up all of the fertile land. The Iroquois moved about every 20 years. The Iroquois lived in what is today upstate New York and parts of Canada along the ST.
Lawrence River Valley. The Iroquois were once one strong nation. In the mid 1500’s the Europeans started moving into the St. Lawrence River Valley, and the Nation was split up. It was split into five Nations. The Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, and the Cayuga.
Each Nation was free to peruse their own interests. In 1570 the League of Iroquois Nation was formed. The Iroquois Indians were farmers and hunters. Every year in the fall the men would leave to go on their annual hunt. They would not return until mid winter. This left the women behind.
Women owned property and were considered very important to the tribe. Each tribe had three clans. The turtle, bear, and wolf each headed by a clan mother. The clan mother’s would supervise over their clan such as when they were working in the fields.
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The fields were capable and fertile land because of the men’s responsibility of clearing it before farming. The men were also responsible for building villages, and most important, warfare. The Iroquois would fish during the spring to help provide food. The Iroquois were one of the most fierce Native American tribes. They considered themselves “Ong wi” the superior people. Due to this they were always at war, either with other tribes or with the Europeans.
The Iroquois were known know for the torture and ritual cannibalism that was looked down upon. The Iroquois warriors would remove all of their body hair, and shave their heads to make Mohawks. They have distinctive war paint and battle cries. If the Iroquois were not fighting with other tribes or Europeans, they were fighting with themselves. The Nation was broken up until a Indian known as the Peace Maker came along and reunited the Nations.
The Iroquois Nation had a sophisticated government system. We would think that they would have learned it from the Europeans when in fact it is the other way around. The Iroquois had an elaborate system of checks and balances. They had supreme law throughout the Nation.
All decisions had to be unanimously approved by the council that was made up of members of the 5 Nations. This was actually a league weakness and hurt them. Many people believe that the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution are strongly influenced by the Iroquois system of government. For these reasons the Iroquois are one of the most important Native American groups in North American history..