Iroquoian People Performing A Ceremoney

The area in which Woodland people is live is a part of a larger region stretching from the Maritimes along the St. Lawrence basin and to Illinois and South Carolina in the South and East. In this area, there are 2 unrelated language groups that inhabit it: the Algonquin and the Iroquoian.

The Iroquoian group includes members of the 6 Nations Confederacy: Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, and Huron. These people were great farmers and were primarily agriculturally based, where they grew corns squash, and beans (otherwise known as the 3 sisters). The Iroquoian people fished, hunted, and gathered enhanced (augmented) domestic crops. Contrary to most Aboriginal bands, these people were not nomadic, in that they had permanent settlements, where some groups were as large as 2,500 people! The population densities of these people were relatively high in comparison to other Aboriginal clans; estimates of 70-90,000 Iroquoian before European contact. There were several longhouses in villages, surrounded by pallisaded walls. These longhouses consisted of a number of related families. Housing was determined matrilocally,  i.e. husband moves into home of wife’s family. Not only that, Iroquoian society ran matrilineally. These people were augmented with clan systems (totems or crests).There was both a war and civil chief that governed these people. The confederacy included 50 permanent and hereditary

An Iroquoian Man

offices. Number of various seasonal ceremonies were performed by these people in relation to harvest, feasts etc; shamanistic society. Huron held extravagant and elaborate ceremonies of the dead, specially when villages moved. There were several many elaborate medicine societies with varied responsibilities.

The Algonquin speakers in the Woodlands include the Ojibwa, Ottawa, Algonquin, Abenaki, Mailseet, and Miqmac. There is very little horticulture in the Woodland society (subsistence purposes only). The food supply mainly came from hunting and fishing. There were also some wild rice and maple and birch syrup.

These people had less-permanent settlement than Iroquoian people but still more sedentary than people in the sub-arctic region. Their homes (dwellings) were much smaller than the Iroquoian and as said before, less permanent. They usually thrived in conical tipis or domed wigwams. Algonquin villages in the Woodlands vary by season, with the largest concentrations in the summer.

There were approximately 15-20,000 Algonquin speakers before the European contact. These people are quite famous for their ability to travel on water, and their graceful, birch bark canoes. Trading and visiting each other were key parts of the culture. The Algonquin people believed the Shaman was the most important religious figure. He appeases/ located games, cures, and wards of evil spirits, such as the windigo. These people believed there were no distinction between human and animal worlds. Season rituals as well as other types of rituals were performed by the Algonquins, such as  birth, death, and puberty. These people went on vision quests to find supernatural spirit guides or helpers at puberty.

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