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AN201 Eastern Woodlands Notes.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Byron Williston

The Eastern Woodlands Region o Lower great lakes o Huron, Eerie, Ontario o St. Lawrence Valley o New York o Southern Ontario o Hudson’s Bay o Mixed forests o Deciduous/coniferous o Berry bushes, sugar maple, medicinal herbs o Mid-temperate climate Wildlife o Fauna o White tailed deer, black bear o Fur Bearers o Beaver, mink, muskrat o Birds o Partridge, wild turkey o Fish o Whitefish, trout, pike, pickerel Peoples o 2 linguistic families o Algonquian  Maritimes, New England, Upper Great Lakes o Iroquoian  Northern Iroquoians  St. Lawrence Iroquois o Tribes  Huron, Neutral, Petun o Six Nations  Mohawk  Oneida  Onandaga  Cayuga  Seneca  Erie Subsistence o Mixed horticulture/fishing/hunting/gathering o Food: o Corn, beans, squash  The “3 sisters”  Supporters of life o Hunting o Fall through winter o Fishing (Huron) o Extensive fishing technology  Nets, traps, spears o Canoes  Huron tribe used birch wood  6 Nations tribe used elm wood o Religious year focused on planting and harvesting Settlements o Villages and towns had up to 2000 people o Semi-permanent o 10-12 year cycle  Wood supply  Soil fertility  Water supply  Feast of the dead  Ossuary reburial Social Structure o Iroquoians o Matrilineal o Clans totemic structure  Bear, turtle, wolf, snipe, beaver, ball, hawk, deer, eel, heron o Tribes  Mohawk, Oneida, Huron, Seneca, Cayuga o Kinship o Bifurcate  Divides into two branches o Iroquois cousins merged The Life Cycle: Spiritual Aspects o Thanksgiving songs o Creator, thunderers, spirits, living & dead o Dead are still part of society o Elders  old men and ladies o Children  “on the board, on the ground” o The unborn & deceased children  infants reincarnate  Buried on pathways where women walk and under house floors Clans o A group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent o Matrilineal o Totemic o Exogamous (marry outside of clan or family) o Clan segments  village lineages o Property control Phratrys o A descent group or kinship group in some tribal societies o A group of linked clans o Not exogamous  there is cooperation o “Ahiende”  relationship/partners Moieties o Two kinship groups based on unilateral descent that together make up a tribe o Halves o Might be exogamous o Reciprocal sharing o Condolence ceremony Sociopolitical Structure o Tribes o Territory, History, Political Organization o Linked in sibling ship  Hurons  5 nations  (Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, Onondaga) o Village councils o Representatives o Leadership in the league o The league is a political ritual/structure Kinship/Political Structure  “Royaner” positions distributed by lineages  Tribal representation on council uneven o Mohawk  3 villages, 3 clans, 3 positions each o Oneida  1 village, 3 clans, 3 positions each o Onondaga  1 village, 9 clans o Cayuga  3 villages o Seneca  2 large villages, 2 small villages  Appointment removal of Royaner – “clan mothers”  Appointment confirmed with representatives of other lineages and opposite moiety o Clan mothers attended, but did not speak in council  Atotaro o Leading Royaner position of league  Onondagas “fire keepers” and “wampum keepers” The Great Tree of Peace  Great “law” of peace  L.H Morgan  Condolence council o People gathered when people died Indigenous Warfare  Endemic from late woodlands times  Evidence from palisaded villages  Motivation: o Personal status for men o The worthy good man is shown to be a warrior  Small wars o Small raids, sanctioned or unsanctioned  Leadership is partly hereditary but also partly recognition  War & hunting o Male properties  Vengeance o Perpetuated for wrongs o Stimulation of further raids o Accelerated during European times  Population and “mourning wars” o Wars involved casualties  Main goal was to capture, torture and kill o Wars focused on prisoners  Raids o Instigated by paternal aunts, mothers in law  Sons in law urged to carry out raids o Justification  recompense for lost husbands, sons, brothers o Absence of code of valour of Plains o “Woodlands code”  Carried out in summer  Aimed at encountering outlying groups or settlements of enemy  Object: to catch prisoners  Women and children taken back to camp, men are killed in fight or taken back to camp too  Tortured on return trip  Broken, amputated fingers, nails torn out, burning, cutting  Women participated  Women and children adopted  Prisoners meant to withstand torture, after were beheaded  Body parts (Liver, heart) cooked and eaten The Three Great Myths o Earth Diver and Ataensic
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