Iriquois Nation

The Iroquois Nation

The Iroquois Nation
The Iroquois, also known as the Haudenosaunee, were a league of five (later six) nations of North America. Once a nation of fierce warriors who expanded their territories from the area of present day New York and Canada to the Ohio River valley, they now primarily resided in New York, and parts of Canada. The Iroquois nation was an egalitarian society, rich with spiritual and political customs, and where both sexes were viewed equal.
Unlike their Algonquin neighbors, the Iroquois were a matrilineal society; their descent was traced back through their mothers. Another difference between the Iroquois and their neighbors was their reliance on agriculture (Willsey, 2000, Jan 02).Women were the key food producers and land was held jointly with the men. (Nowak & Laird, 2010, Sect 4.5, Para. 5).
According to Beauchamp (1900), members of the same clan were not to marry, because they were considered closely related. Due to the Iroquois being a matrilineal society, any children born to a couple would be considered part of the mother’s clan (Beauchamp, 1900, P. 84, Para. 3).
The Iroquois divide the kinship into two separate groupings, parents and siblings which are too close to marry and potential spouses and in-laws. They not only married outside their clan, they are careful to marry outside their lineage, as well. For example, cousins from the same sex siblings of a parent, such as their mother’s sister, sometimes called parallel cousins and are often referred to as siblings. These cousins would be considered to be from the same lineage and therefore not potential spouses. The marriage of cross cousins, for example the children of their father’s sister, or mother’s brother would be permitted (Nowak & Laird, 2010, Sect. 4.5, Para. 9).
The matrilineage gave the women the rights to the fields and the tools. After marriage the groom would be expected to reside in the wife’s home, which would be a longhouse with a...