The Iroquois are famous in history as the most powerful and influential Native Americans in eastern north America. Their Confederacy of six nations, the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora, played a vital role in the development of North America, both before and after the arrival of European settlers.
The Museum specializes in researching the ethnohistory of the Schoharie Mohawk, with a large library of copies of original papers and records from the 1600s and 1700s. New trading markets, technologies, alliances, and religions affected the lives of Iroquois women and men. Exhibits and programs illustrate the men's realm of politics, hunting, warfare, games, and chieftainship, and the women's realm of the longhouse, the clan, the crops, and their role in politics.
Iroquois are among the Native American descendants of the first people of this land. They call themselves the Haudenosaunee - "People who live in the extended longhouse". The name "Iroquois" was given to them by their neighbors (Algonkian speaking people) and then used by Europeans.
The Five nations -- Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, & Seneca became the Six Nations when the Tuscarora joined in 1712. Members of other Native nations were conquered, were adopted in the 1600 and 1700s, or fled to Iroquois communities to escape from the encroachments of the new white settlers.
Iroquois villages in the early 1600s centered in what is known as upstate New York. Today Iroquois live in 17 communities in the United States and Canada and in urban areas.
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