Cover image for Iroquoia : the development of a Native world
Iroquoia : the development of a Native world
Engelbrecht, William E.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Syracuse, N.Y. : Syracuse University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xv, 231 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm.
The ancient roots of the Iroquois: hunting, fishing, gathering -- Farming and fighting -- Spirituality and the individual -- The household -- The village -- Iroquois nations -- The league of the Haudenosaunee -- Contact -- The present.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E99.I7 E534 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Drawing on archaeology, historical evidence, oral traditions, and linguistics, this book provides a dynamic view of Iroquois life from the prehistoric period and Owasco sites through the Five Nations. In a book that spans the Iroquoian culture from its ancient roots to its survival in the modern world, William Engelbrecht maintains that two themes pervade this development: warfare and spirituality. An investigation of oral tradition, archaeology, and historical records provides new insight into this now largely vanished world known as Iroquoia. Engelbrecht covers a wide geographic range, exploring regional and temporal differences in material culture and subsistence patterns. He finds change over time in the distribution and size of communities and in response to environmental, demographic, and social factors. In addition, he furthers the controversial debate that arrow sacrifice and other beliefs spread from Mesoamerica with the dispersal of maize and horticulture. Although scholars have suggested that palisaded hilltop Iroquoian villages were constructed with an eye for defense, this book is unique in showing that the longhouse - known mainly as a community forum and spiritual

Author Notes

William Engelbrecht is professor of anthropology at Buffalo State College. His articles have appeared in many journals, including American Antiquity, North American Archaeologist, Northeast Anthropology, and Bulletin: Journal of the New York State Archaeological Association

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This history of the nations of Iroquoia is written from a material culture perspective, with frequent resort to written and oral records. Engelbrecht (anthropology, Buffalo State College) asserts "One cannot claim a full understanding of the history of New York without an understanding of the development of these nations." Stressing the continuities between prehistoric, protohistoric, and historic time periods, Engelbrecht's perspective depends less on the defining presence of Europeans than on the changes among Iroquoian groups as they negotiated changing circumstances among themselves. Warfare, when indicated by archaeological and documentary evidence and oral tradition, is depicted openly. Hostilities were "a fact of life ... and much of Iroquoian culture is comprehensible as a response to these conditions." Engelbrecht identifies warfare and spirituality as the key dimensions of Iroquoian life as he moves in scale from the individual to the Iroquois confederacy, linking trade, spirituality, and warfare in a dynamic system of alliances and political finesse. The story ends abruptly with the defeat of the British and the confiscation of Iroquoian lands. A capstone chapter describes the cultural landscape of upstate New York, emphasizing the persistence of Iroquoian culture. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. For all levels/collections. S. R. Martin Michigan Technological University

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
1. The Ancient Roots of the Iroquois: Hunting, Fishing, Gatheringp. 3
2. Farming and Fightingp. 22
3. Spirituality and the Individualp. 47
4. The Householdp. 68
5. The Villagep. 88
6. Iroquois Nationsp. 111
7. The League of the Haudenosauneep. 129
8. Contactp. 145
9. The Presentp. 171
Works Citedp. 185
Indexp. 215