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the beaver was not so highly appreciated. The hunting season was confined mainly to the winter months. During the rest of the year only desultory trapping was done. The fall and spring were the seasons for the capture of wild fowl; from January to May, during the hibernating period, was the best time for hunting bears; while the deer and beaver hunt was mainly an affair of the first four months of winter.2 From October until January, parties small and large scattered in all directions in search of the desired game. Seneca expeditions went to Niagara for the beaver hunt, or southward to the Chemung River for deer and other game. They also penetrated by way of the Alleghany into Ohio, a favorite hunting ground of all the Iroquois. The Cayugas found a wealth of game in the valley of the Susquehanna, in fact, all over Pennsylvania. They, with bands from the other Iroquois tribes, often roamed as far south as the Potomac in search of deer and bear. Onondaga parties also frequented the Susquehanna region, descending thither by way of the Che
Other bands, turning northward, went into Canada. The Oneidas descended the Unadilla, or went north into the region watered by the Black River. The Mohawks hunted in the Adirondacks, or near the head waters of the Delaware and Susquehanna. About midwinter, all these scattered groups came back to their homes, bringing with them the supplies of meat left over from the winter's consumption. After this there was little regular work until with the spring came the beginning of the fishing season.
As hunting was a winter occupation, so fishing formed one of the main activities of the summer months. From the middle of March until the beginning of winter and the deer-hunting season, fishing of one kind or another was always going on. The varieties of fish taken were many, ranging from the fresh water clamo up to sturgeon large enough to be killed with a hatchet. The salmon and eel fisheries were the most productive. The former
Beauchamp, “Iroquois Trail,” p. 91. ? Loskiel, p. 80. * Morgan, “League,” 346. * Beauchamp, N. Y. St. Mus. Bul., No. 41, p. 462.
furnished food to the village of Onondaga throughout the sum
Eels, too, were caught during the whole season. Fishing was even more extensively carried on by the Hurons than by the Five Nations, the former doing more or less of it all through the year.
Besides hunting and fishing, the Iroquois carried on another and more developed form of activity, namely, agriculture. Forest hunting, as a rule, demanded little other exertion than that immediately expended in the pursuit and slaughter of the game; agriculture, on the other hand, involved a much longer and more complicated series of operations. The maize upon which the Iroquois largely depended was, on account of the great size of the plant and of its grain, as well as its large returns, the most suitable of all cereals for cultivation by slightly advanced peoples ;? nevertheless, the labor necessitated by maize culture called for a greater amount of patience and forethought, and meant a higher degree of economic development, than was possible among a people depending for subsistence solely upon forest hunting and fishing. The production of one crop of maize involved four principal stages of procedure,-clearing the ground, planting, cultivating, and harvesting. From beginning to end, the process was the work of a whole summer. Perhaps, if the task of clearing were especially difficult, the first crop taken from a field might be the product of several years' labor. places along the streams the question of clearing did not have to be taken into account.3 These sites were consequently much sought after. But the necessity of choosing a place comparatively easy to defend against hostile attacks, and other reasons, often compelled the selection of a heavily wooded spot as the site for a village. In such a case, the deforesting of land for cornfields was sometimes a matter of years. Furthermore, the ex
1 Jes. Rel. XLIII, 261; XLII, 73; XXXIX, 215; LIV, 151. 2 Payne, “History of America,” I, 354 sq.
3 Ga-o-sai-gao, for instance, an important Seneca Village, was situated in the middle of an opening of about 2,000 acres, on Honeoye Creek. Morgan, “League” (ed. 1901), II, 210; cf. Beauchamp, N. Y. St. Mus. Bul., No. 32, p. 29.
* Lafitau, II, 109; Greenhalgh, Doc. Hist. N. Y., I, 12.
In the open
tensive agricultural methods of the Iroquois and the consequent frequent migrations of the village necessitated the repetition of the task of clearing about every ten or twelve years. The ground once cleared, the planting followed. Maize, beans, pumpkins, and melons were the chief crops.
The first two were sown in the same field, the stalks of the maize serving as supports for the bean vines. Pumpkins and melons were cultivated in gardens by themselves. Sunflowers and tobacco were also grown to a limited extent. Throughout the summer, careful cultivation of these crops was kept up until finally, amid rejoicing and festivity, the harvest was gathered in and the agricultural labors of the year were ended.
Maize culture involved more prolonged and systematic effort than deer-hunting could possibly demand; consequently, maize-culture developed a more advanced manner of life than was to be found in the case of purely hunting tribes : hence, among a people like the Iroquois, where both manners of production existed, there was more or less conflict between agricultural and hunting ideals. Eventually the relative importance of the two as a means of assuring the economic welfare of the community decided the outcome of the struggle.
While there is no doubt that hunting and fishing occupied a position subordinate to agriculture in the Iroquois' economic system, it would certainly be a mistake to imagine that the former pursuits were of slight importance in the life of these tribes. Although the scarcity of game in the Huron territories caused the Hurons to do but little hunting, the activities of the Iroquois in this direction were very considerable. Among the Oneidas hunting was so productive an occupation that, according to the Jesuit Relation, “the fate of the women depends upon their husbands, who supply them with food, and clothes.”3 With both the Hurons and Iroquois, fishing formed no small part of the year's labor. At certain seasons whole communities would abandon their houses and go fishing, sometimes remaining away for
1 Jes. Rel. XV, 153.
2 Jes. Rel., XXXVIII, 245.—“The Hurons ... hunt only for pleasure or on extraordinary occasions."
* Jes. Rel., LVII, 123.
weeks. The Jesuit Relation speaks of a camp, where there were about four hundred savages who had ected their cabins there for fishing." In another Relation, an instance is given where “the scarcity of seasoning for giving some taste to the Turkish wheat boiled in water obliges a large part of the villagers to go in quest of fish at a place ten leagues from here." ? Evidently, the Iroquois and Hurons depended to a considerable extent for subsistence upon the products of their hunting and fishing.
Nevertheless, it seems certain that for the greater part of their food supply they looked to their maize fields. The exact extent of this dependence as over against that placed upon hunting and fishing, differed with the locality in which each group found itself.
It was greater among the Hurons than among the Iroquois, and among the Cayugas than the Senecas—the more agricultural people in each case living in the less densely forested environment. 3
In general we may conclude that maize rather than meat, had come, in the course of time, to be the chief basis of subsistence of all the Iroquois tribes. The comparatively permanent nature of their villages, and the sites chosen for them, as well as the amount of cultivated land around or near them, are sufficient proof of the statement. The village, as we have seen, was not moved oftener than once in a dozen or more years, and during that time a part of the inhabitants was generally to be found in residence there. Others might go on the periodical hunting and fishing expeditions, and the warriors when engaged in some distant raid might be absent for years at a time; never
i Jes. Rel., XXVI, 41.
8 Jes. Rel., LIII, 243; cf. Jes. Rel., XV, 113, 125; XIX, 87; LIV, 151; LII, 175; LIV, 81.
3 Hiawatha at the formation of the confederacy says in addressing the different tribes :-“ And you (the Cayugas) the people who live in the open country, and possess much wisdom, shall be the fifth nation, because you understand better the art of raising corn and beans, and making houses.” But to the Senecas he says, “You, whose dwelling is in the dark forest, and whose home is everywhere, shall be the fourth nation, because of your superior cunning in hunting.” Schoolcraft, “Hist. Ind. Tribes,” III, 317.
theless, all regarded the home village as their permanent headquarters, and returned to it when the expedition was over. Not only the permanence of the settlements, but also their situation, is evidence of the agricultural bent of their inhabitants. In choosing a site, the Iroquois looked primarily for a spot favorable to agriculture. Naturally, any site chosen must not be too much exposed to attack by hostile war parties; but, "in any event, due regard was had to the soil. ... fishing and hunting advantages determined their camps, but their towns had regard to the culture of the fields. A fertile soil, easily worked, but in a secure situation, was one of the first requisites. Of course water must always be near.” 1 The amount of land cultivated relative to the size of the town is, again, proof that the Iroquois were becoming an agricultural rather than a hunting people. A village field often extended over an area of several hundred acres, in which enough corn was raised in one season to support the whole population, and to lay aside a large surplus. Greenhalgh says that in 1677 Onondaga had cornfields extending for two miles on each side of the town. Besides feeding herself, she had enough to supply her neighbors, the Oneidas, who had moved into a new location and were not yet able to prepare all the land they needed. Of all the other towns, Greenhalgh's invariable assertion is that “they have abundance of Corne.” The extent of cultivation may be estimated from the great quantities of corn destroyed by the French and American expeditions against the Iroquois. The former in 1687 destroyed four Seneca villages, and consumed nearly a week in cutting down the adjacent fields of corn.
Even then the Senecas were not left to starve; for the other Iroquois nations were well able to supply them from their surplus.3 The Hurons were even more agricultural in habit
* Beauchamp, N. Y. St. Mus. Bul., No. 32, p. 23.
* Greenhalgh, Doc. Hist. N. Y., I, 12.—“Onondaga is situate upon a hill that is very large, the banke on each side extending itself at least two miles, all cleared land, whereon the corne is planted. . . . They plant abundance of corne, which they sell to the Onyades. The Onondagas are said to be about three hundred and fifty fighting men.”
Carr, “Mounds,” Sm. Inst. Rep., 1891, pp. 513 sq.