By Barbara Graymont

An agricultural and matrilineal (the girls owned all estate and decided kinship) society, the Iroquois Confederacy was once made of six nations--Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The time of problems -- the good peace -- The prolonged inn prospers -- Iroquois and Europeans -- the growth of Iroquois strength -- struggle and international relations -- Decline and revival -- the fashionable Iroquois -- The Iroquois at the present time and the next day to come

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Long before they met the French, the Iroquois had begun to acquire French trade goods through warfare with the Indians of the St. Lawrence River. Metal goods, such as axes, were particularly desirable to the Iroquois. Like their neighbors, they had only tools they made themselves from stone, bone, and shells. It was largely the Mohawk, the easternmost of the Iroquois nations, who participated in these raiding expeditions along the St. Lawrence. By 1609, these raids were disrupting the French and Indian fur trade in the St.

The Mohawks once more began raiding in Canada and encouraged the western tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy to attack the French and Huron. The Iroquois were on the verge of a new era of militancy that would take them to the peak of their power on the continent. The resulting conflict marked the start of one of the most bloody and devastating series of wars in American Indian history. q 7/24/04 12:09 PM Page 44 5 The Expansion of Iroquois Power T he short-lived peace made by the Mohawks with the French and their Indian allies did not include the other nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.

They continued to prosper and generally to enjoy the blessings of nature. Nature was generous and the people were industrious. Iroquois culture was vigorous and dynamic. q 7/24/04 12:06 PM Page 33 The Extended Lodge Flourishes The confederacy was a remarkable creation, formed by an early people, showing their great political and social sophistication. They were kindly and reverent, affectionate and loyal toward their families, considerate and tender toward their friends. They had provided within their League a means for extending the house and admitting other peoples into their peaceful way of life.

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