North American Archaeolgy Iroquoian Confederacy

3750 North America Archaeology- Iroquoian Confederacy The Iroquoian Confederacy has been argued by some scholars to predate the arrival of Europeans, while other scholars contend that it was formed in response to the earliest European presence in the Northeast. What evidence supports both of the claims? The suggestion that Iroquoian confederacy predated the arrival of the Europeans is based on the findings on archaeological sites. Iroquoian confederacies started with neighbouring communities uniting to form single communities. This coalescing may have occurred between the fourteenth through to the sixteenth century (Birch 196). It is evident that the findings suggest that in the 14th century warfare was an essential factor in Iroquoian life suggesting the adoption of fortified villages. According to Fagan, neighbouring villages in the Iroquoian society came together for self-defence purposes. Cannibalism is an act prevalent in this period evidently supported by the existence of split, cut cooked human bones in archaeological sites, in south Ontario. This act waged war between tribes of northern Ontario and south Ontario. The war was due to the need to revenge the death of their kinsfolk (Fagan 157). Fagan states that the constant warfare exposed communities to premature death resulted to hardship by disrupting subsistence. This warfare led neighbouring communities to combine for self-defence archaeologists suggest that the fortified middle Iroquoian communities present the first development of western Iroquoian country (Fagan 157). This trend brought significant changes in societies. Neusis suggests that alliances between Iroquoian communities were maintained through intermarriages archeologically evident through the clustering of communities dated to the 5th century. However, intermarriages proved not to resolve conflicts among the communities like the competition for resources (Neusis 589). The difference in pottery styles, burial practices, and house types signified the division that existed among the Iroquoians living south of Lake Ontario, and Iroquoians living north of Lake Ontario. Social complexity in the Iroquoian society was a result of the fusion of communities. There is evidence to support the occupation of dense local populations in certain areas. Communities were separated by largely uninhabited land (Fagan 159). Iroquoian communities had unique talents, for instance there were communities skilled in medicine and healing rituals. Such unique talents strengthened the link among Iroquoian societies. Fagan suggests that, before the end of the 16th century, Iroquoian tribes of both Ontario and New York established loosely knit confederacies targeting to reduce blood feuds and warfare. The confederacy sole responsibility was to settle grievances among the Iroquoian communities (Fagan 160). According to Trigger the confederacy was a force that replaced hunting bands with larger groups, followed by tribes. Confederacies prevented unnecessary blood feuds. it promoted maintenance of cultural and political identity. The confederacy already existed upon the arrival of the Europeans. Trigger suggests that European contact only triggered the strengthening of the confederacies (Neusis 591). However, there is evidence that he Iroquoians had indirect contact with the Europeans evident from European artefacts located in Iroquoians settlement areas. This as many archaeologists explain is due to the fur trade that took place in the northeast. What did membership in this Confederacy do for its members during the colonial era? The Iroquoian confederacy governed the Iroquoian society. The organisation assisted members of its society in preventing blood feuds. The confederacy adopted a diplomatic policy when dealing with outsiders. The confederacy unified the northern Iroquoians. The confederacy instilled upon members correct social behaviour, which entailed politeness and hospitality towards one another (Fagan 158). According to Neusis, the confederacy resolved conflicts among the Iroquoian societies that arose in the process of competing for resources. The confederacy strengthened the Iroquoians alliance against other societies at the same time it reduced cases of warfare among Iroquoian communities (Neusis 589). The confederacy strengthened the political influence of the Iroquoians. They dominated Canada and United states for close to 200 years. The confederacy enabled Iroquoians win against their enemies in war. The great law of peace adopted by communities in the Iroquoian confederacy advocated against killing among Iroquoians (sunyit.edu, The Iroquois Constitution”). The community’s under the Iroquoian confederacy shared unity in events such as sharing of resources even sentimental ceremonies such as mourning. The unity of the communities under the confederacy enabled the sharing of military skills and diplomacy. This strengthened the community enabling then conquer empires. What was life like for the enemies of the Iroquois during this same period? The Iroquoian confederacy principal function was promoting peace among its member societies. Foreigners were welcomed into their communities, but the foreigners had to abide by the rules spelt out in the confederacy constitution. The confederacy had the power to declare war upon their enemies a win against their enemies the war chiefs ordered their scouts to take all the weapons of war from their enemies (sunyit.edu “The Iroquois Constitution”). A victory by the Iroquoian confederacy against their enemy permitted them control over their enemies by forbidding the defeated group from participating in any warfare against other nations. Enemies defeated by the Iroquoian league had to join the great peace. Rebellion from the enemy after continuous persuasion did lead to a declaration of an indefinite war until the Iroquoian league wins the war. The Iroquoian league amalgamated their neighbours such as the Algonquian tribes. According to Neusis, this event was protohistoric and not a response to the European contact (591). Warfare launched by the Iroquoian league against their enemies was aimed at capturing captives for their sacrifice ceremony to the sun symbolising fertility and life. Fagan states that the Huron and Algonquians feared the Iroquoian league (Fagan 246). Works Cited Birch, Jennifer. “Rethinking the Archaeological Application of Iroquoian Kinship.”Canadian Journal of Archaeology 32 (2008): 194-213. Print. Fagan, Brian. The First North America: An Archaeological Journey. London: Thames &amp. Hudson, 2011. Print. “Introduction to the Iroquois Constitution.” People.sunyit.edu. Gayanerekowa, n.d. http://people.sunyit.edu/~nicola/GAYANEREKOWA.html. 05 November 2012. Neusis, Sarah, W. Seeking Our Past. USA: Oxford University Press, 2006. Print.