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democratic methods, all having a voice in the management of affairs. Age and experience and consequent knowledge of climatic conditions affecting agricultural operations were the qualifications sought for in those who were chosen governors of the community.
The Plains and the Oases of the Desert presented, perhaps, the clearest examples of each form of clan economy when isolated and complete in its development. The Eastern Forest environment, however, affords the student the best opportunity to observe the slow growth of the coöperative principle. Within its limits, from north to south, were economies in every stage of development. In the cold and thickly wooded section about the St. Lawrence River, where the food supply was comparatively scarce and irregular, the domestic economy prevailed for the greater part of the year. Congregation occurred in spots where food was temporarily abundant, but when the season was over each family wandered off by itself, to carry on its food-quest as best it might. The Quebec Indians, for instance, were “wanderers ... during the six winter months—roving here and there according as they might find game, two or three families erecting their cabins together in one place, two or three in another, and so on."1
In times of famine, “they play, so to speak, at 'save himself who can'-deserting each other and abandoning all interest in the common welfare, each one strives to find something for himself. Then the children, women, and for that matter all those who cannot hunt, die of cold and hunger. Thus in times of comparative plenty the village system might appear for a season, while in times of great scarcity the food-quest became a purely individual matter. In general, however, the economy characteristic of the northern portion of the Eastern Forest environment was domestic. In the warmer climate and more favorable conditions of the central portion, the principles of association and coöperation began to operate. Here two clans—the men's and
* Jes. Rel. IV, 203. Cf. “La Potherie,” I, 118 sq.; "Le Clercq," 67 sq. "Lettres Edifiantes,” X, 315 sq. Jes. Rel. II, 77; LXII, 221; XXXIII, 153.
? Jes. Rel. VII, 49.
the women's, the one a warring and hunting, and the other an agricultural organization-existed side by side in the same community. Finally, in the warm districts of the far South, there was developed the regular communal clan economy, typical of the primitive agricultural community. Among the Ayennis, near the mouth of the Mississippi River, says Charlevoix," when the season for cultivation arrives, there assemble sometimes as many as a hundred persons, the men and the women separately. They work thus until they have cultivated a certain portion of ground, the owner of which subsequently feasts the workers. . . . The next day they begin again, and this goes on until all the fields are worked over.' Among the Natchez, progress had gone so far that the men of the community really did most of the work. A desirable husband, according to the Jesuit Relation, had to be a skilful hunter, a good warrior, and an excellent field-worker."?
* Charlevoix, II, 15–16.
Jes. Rel. LXVIII, 141. Cf. Carr, “Mounds," Sm. Inst. Rep., 1891, pp. 524 note, 527, 530.
Lafitau, II, 80; "Lettres Edifiantes,” XX, 118-119.
THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE IROQUOIS.
The Iroquois tribes inhabited the central portion of the eastern forest region of North America. Here, in an environment transitional between that of the upper and that of the lower sections of the area in question, they developed a culture which is likewise to be regarded as a connecting link between those which prevailed to the north and to the south of them. Iroquois civilization stood midway between the lowest and the highest stage of the natural state. An analysis of the life of these tribes, therefore, affords an admirable demonstration of the laws according to which society was first developed.
Though the history of the Iroquois before the coming of the Europeans is mainly a matter of tradition and conjecture, yet the present consensus of opinion is somewhat as follows. The valleys drained by the Columbia River and the streams flowing into Puget Sound were probably the early home of the Iroquois. Here, not less than ten centuries ago, they lived as a fish-eating people, ignorant of agriculture and organized only to the extent generally characteristic of the village economy of the northwest coast. Migrating from this region, they finally reached the Mississippi Valley, where they learned agriculture. Here the Cherokees broke off from the main stem and turned southwards. The other tribes, including the ancestors of the Hurons, Eries, and Neutrals, as well as those of the Five Nations, remained together for a longer period, settled probably in the Ohio Valley. From
Morgan, "League” (ed. 1901), Appendix B.
2 Mr. Morgan's theory that the first sedentary home of the Iroquois was in the vicinity of Montreal, is altogether improbable. At any rate,
here, the different tribes of the Iroquois stock scattered to their historic locations in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada. At the time of their first acquaintance with the Europeans, the Iroquois and Hurons had long been settled in their respective homes. The country of the Iroquois in the seventeenth century lay south of Lake Ontario between the Hudson River and Lake Erie. In the center of this tract, occupying the Onondaga River valley and the adjacent hills, was the tribe of the Onondagas. On their right hand, around and near Oneida Lake, were the principal villages of the Oneidas. On their left, along the east shore of Cayuga Lake and the ridge to the eastward, the Cayugas were settled. The western frontier, as far as the Genesee River, was occupied by the Senecas, while the eastern boundaries were defended by the Mohawks, who lived in the valley of the river bearing their name.
From the point of view of geographic unity, the location finally chosen by the Iroquois was well adapted to be the permanent habitat of tribes already connected by ties of kinship and association. The region was enclosed on the north and west by the St. Lawrence River and by Lakes Ontario and Erie, while on the east it was shut in by the Appalachian mountain ranges. Within these boundaries there were no bars to communication or differences in environment. Hence the tribes living in the region would naturally tend to develop along similar lines, and become more closely united among themselves. Although the Iroquois were protected by mountain and lake barriers from outside attack, nevertheless they were not entirely imprisoned. Situated on the highest part of the region east of the Mississippi, they had the best possible highways leading into the outer world in the great he is undoubtedly mistaken in his idea, based upon some vague tradition, that the Iroquois learned agriculture from the Adirondacks. The Valley of the St. Lawrence, where maize crops often failed, was not an environment where agriculture was likely to be adopted by a people hitherto ignorant of it. Furthermore, even though it might have been here that they first learned to cultivate maize, it is absurd to suppose that the Adirondacks were their teachers, since the latter were nomad hunters who knew nothing about agriculture. Cf. Lloyd in Morgan's League. Ed. 1901, Appendix B.
rivers whose headwaters find their sources here. These were routes whose swift currents made an easy exit for Iroquois warriors and a difficult approach for hostile bands.
In short, says Mr. Morgan, the Iroquois, “ situated upon the head waters of the Hudson, the Delaware, the Susquehanna, the Ohio, and the St. Lawrence rivers—flowing in every direction to the sea—held within their jurisdiction the gates of the country, and could through them descend at will upon any point.'
The Iroquois territory itself was, in general, hilly and covered with forests of hemlock, maple, pine, oak, and other trees characteristic of the temperate zone. Among the hills, however, were many fertile valleys, and here and there were open tracts of alluvial land,-all favorable to such agriculture as the inhabitants knew how to carry on. Onondaga, for example, was a hilly district, but, says one of the early travellers, “there is a small valley, which is very fertile, and yields almost incredible crops of corn, which is plentiful about here."2 One of the Jesuits, writing to his superior from his station among the Cayugas, says, “Goiogouen is the fairest country that I have seen in America. ... It is a tract situated between two lakes and not exceeding four leagues in width, consisting of almost uninterrupted plains, the woods bordering which are extremely beautiful.”3 In the Seneca country, there were several such open tracts, formed by a recession of the hills from the bed of the Genesee River. In one place "the alluvial flats through which the river meanders for four or five miles above, and as many miles below, are from one to two miles wide ... level ... and fertile. ... These flats are encompassed on each side by a rolling country, gradually rising as it recedes from the river. ... This was the terrestrial paradise of the Senecas.”4
So far as its water supply was concerned, the Iroquois country was extremely well off. It was intersected by innumerable streams and dotted with lakes ranging in size from small ponds to large sheets of water several miles in extent. Of the larger