Eastern Woodlands Indians


The Many Tribes of the Eastern Woodlands Indians



Located east of the Mississippi River, the Woodland People or Eastern Woodlands Indians represents a large culture group of indigenous people stretching from Florida to Maine. Their name originates from the fact that they dwelled the in forest and used their natural environment to meet all their needs.



The Woodland People represent many tribes, with the most well known being the Iroquois Nation living in the New York area and consisting of the Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Tuscarora tribes. The Iroquoians spoke the same language other tribes of the Woodland People belong to the eastern or central Algonquian tribes.

The Nations People were hard working men, women and children though they lived near the forest their homes were also based near lakes and streams giving them an abundant access to food. The Iroquois believed that no one in their village should do without and all resources including food where shared among the entire village.

Several clans existed in each tribe, and each tribe was lead by a woman known as the clan mother. Clan mothers had a lot of power and were solely responsible for choosing a group of male council members to lead the tribe. The clan mother also gave the council members advice and suggestions before each meeting.

The Eastern Woodlands Indians lived in several different types of homes but the most abundantly used were longhouses. These long rectangular homes were massive structures, typically measuring around 200 feet long. Each longhouse could hold several families and was covered sheets of bark to help protect their homes.

Wigwams were another type of dwelling. These round wooden structures were made in a circular pattern but like longhouses used young trees that were easily flexible. Bark and grass covered the tops of their homes to protect the structure from bad weather.

The Iroquois mostly farmed and hunted for their livelihoods. Women and children planted seeds for corn, lima beans and squash and tended to the farmland while the men hunted for bear, bison, rabbit moose and deer. The Eastern people made their own rakes and spades using wood to help cultivate their farms. Men would teach the boys how to hunt and catch fish. Their diets also included eggs, nuts and wild fruits gathered by the women, as well as maple syrup a popular sweet treat.







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