Iroquois Confederacy Essay examples

9080 Words Mar 20th, 2008 37 Pages

by Loretta Hall

The Iroquois Confederacy, an association of six linguistically related tribes in the northeastern woodlands, was a sophisticated society of some 5,500 people when the first white explorers encountered it at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The 1990 Census counted 49,038 Iroquois living in the United States, making them the country's eighth most populous Native American group. Although Iroquoian tribes own seven reservations in New York state and one in Wisconsin, the majority of the people live off the reservations. An additional 5,000 Iroquois reside in Canada, where there are two Iroquoian reservations. The people are not averse to adopting new technology when it is
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Finally, he encountered a violent, cannibalistic Onondagan. According to legend, Deganawidah watched through a hole in the roof while the man prepared to cook his latest victim. Seeing the stranger's face reflected in the cooking pot, the barbarian assumed it to be his own image. He was struck by the thought that the beauty of the face was incompatible with the horrendous practice of cannibalism and immediately forsook the practice. He went outside to dispose of the corpse, and when he returned to his lodge he met Deganawidah. The foreigner's words of peace and righteousness were so powerful that the man became a loyal disciple and helped spread the message.

Deganawidah named his disciple Hiawatha, meaning "he who combs," and sent him to confront Todadaho and remove the snakes from the chief's hair. After enduring terrible hardships at his adversary's hands, and after convincing the other Iroquoian chiefs to accept the Good Message, Hiawatha finally convinced Todadaho as well. On the banks of Onondaga Lake, sometime between 1350 and 1600, Deganawidah established the Iroquois Confederacy, a league of nations that shared a positive code of values and lived in mutual harmony. Out of respect, the Iroquois refer to him as the Peacemaker.

When the first white explorers arrived in the early seventeenth century, they found the settled, agricultural society of the Iroquois a contrast to the nomadic culture of the neighboring

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