Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac My class and I read a novel called Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac. The characters in this story are Ohkwa’ri, and his twin Otsi:stia who makes enemies of Grabber, Greasy Hair, Eats Like a Bear, and Falls a Lot. Other characters are Big Tree and Hand Talker, the twins’ uncles, Two Ideas and Herons Flying, their parents, She Opens the Sky (their grandmother) and Thunder’s Voice, a sick old man. The book was about Ohkwa’ri telling Grabber’s plan to raid the Annentaks village, then having to deal with Grabber’s plan. This book takes place in the 1490’s in the Northeastern part of what is now America before Columbus came. The people in this book live how the Indian people would have lived. The people never gave up on each other. Everybody worked together. If you did not behave correctly, people would think that you were not raised correctly. Basically, everyone respected each other and their opinions. Even if there was a plan for war, it would have to be voted on and then pass through the League of Peace. We read this book to let us know more about this social studies topic. We really enjoyed this book!!!
The 5 Nations of the Longhouse People
The Seneca People are called, “The People of the Hill”. The Seneca live in what today is Southeastern New York, around Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and Niagara Falls. They also created the League of Peace. It was started to stop other clans from fighting and hurting each other.
The Mohawk people are called the Flint Nation People. They live near the Oneida. The Mohawk people have three clans. They are called the, Bear, Turtle, and the Wolf clans. They also lived near Vermont.
The Cayuga are called the Marshy Land people. They live near the Oswego R. and they are really close to the Onondaga people and they are not really close, but not too far, from the Seneca. They have four clans called the Deer, Turtle, Wolf and Snipe.
The Onondaga are called the Fire keepers. They have eight clans called the Bear, Beaver, Snipe, Hawk, Turtle, Wolf, Deer and Eel. According to legend, the first wampum belt was made by Hiawatha, an Onondaga who was a follower of the famous peacemaker, Oenganawida, of the Iroquois Confederacy.
The Oneida are called the Standing Stone people. They live really close to the Onondaga and are close to the Mohawk too. They are near the Oswego River. The girls of the Oneida wore traditional costumes of headbands, necklaces, fringed tunics, and moccasins. In contrast, the boys dressed in European clothing. Many of the Oneida living in Wisconsin today are members of Christian churches.
Families and Clans by Matthew
This book talks about a family in the Kanatsiohareke village in the fourteen nineties. They are in the Great League of the Iroquois Nation. In these nations they have many beliefs. The Mohawk men hunted, while the women stayed at the longhouse and cared for their papooses. Everyone in the Iroquois nation lived in longhouses with stockades around them, like big walls with spikes on top of them. These people play a game called tekwarathon. It is what we would call lacrosse today, accept that they didn’t have anything to protect themselves with. Many people would get hurt because there was nobody to call a penalty.
The Mohawk tribes had made peace with each other. Like the Annentak tribe, they could help out the Mohawk tribe if they were going through rough times. The Annentak men could build canoes; they could build them fast and efficient. The big nation had many festivals like the strawberry and blackberry festivals. Hunters made traps to catch deer, rabbits, and squirrels. They didn’t have a written language, so they just used symbols that they made up. They could make their own tattoos by taking a sharp rock and poking holes in their leg or arm and then cover it with ash. Each tribe would have clan mother, and she would make all of the big decisions for the clan, (usually an old woman.)
In the old days if a man was from another clan married a woman from a different, the man would have to move in with the woman that he married, then they had a baby the whole process would start over again.
Foods and Medicines by Andrew
Their main foods were from Hunters, gatherers, and gardeners.
The Mohawk Indians of New York ate deer meat, corn, squash and beans – the Three Sisters. For fruits, they gathered strawberries, blue berries, and maple sugar. Most of the time when they smoked deer meat, they put maple sugar on it.
When they prepared blue berries they dried them or made a drink. And when they prepared strawberries they made a drink or left them plain. With squash they had a special day to celebrate the good beans. They also had squash, strawberry, and corn harvest festivals.
Some Indians used yellow root to dye baskets and cure sore eyes. Here’s a list of ailments and natural remedies they used:
Symptoms and Remedies
The snake bite remedy is red elm, the remedy for boils is wild grapes, for burns it is oak bark, the remedy for warts is milk weed. The remedy for coughs is a chestnut, for asthma it is mint. Bee stings and sores remedy is Mullen poultice, and the remedy for skin trouble is black willow.
Clothes by Lainey
Clothes were made from deer skin. How clothes were made took about three weeks. Deerskin could be made into many things like dresses, loincloths, or blankets. Animal skins were very useful and were very important, without animal skins they would not have any clothes. People sometimes would wear head pieces if they were important such as a medicine man.
Tools and Weapons by Evan
Indians usually painted their faces on special occasions such as a game. Paints would be held in a shell and the brush would be made from deerskin. The Indians believed if they painted certain figures on their faces it would bring good luck. Indians would have tattoos according to something they did. Usually they would have someone good at drawing tattoos or have something simple like a line or a shape. Tattoos would be made by poking the skin with a needle, then rubbing ashes in and that gave it a blue color. Indians would usually only have one tattoo.
Everything they made was used from nature, such as animals, trees, shells and stone. When men got back from hunting, the women would be in charge of skinning the animals. They used rocks or shells to skin them. The hides were soaked until they were cleaned, then were stretched to dry.
A war club can easily crack open a person’s head! In the story, Two Ideas has a war club. A knife is used to carve, and Big Tree used a knife to carve Ohkwa’ri’s new cup. They used coals and a hollow branch to make the cup. A knife is made of flint stone. An ax was made of wood and stone. The handle was wood, and the blade was stone. The stone was pressure flaked to help it not break when it cut.
Spears used for the snow snake game were often long and the handle was wood. Deer skin string used for tying pieces of wood together, and was very strong. A tekwarathon stick, made from one of the strongest woods, hickory, had a deerskin net to catch the ball in.
Spiritual Beliefs by Erin
The Indians have other thoughts than us and believed in other things.
The Indians say they have a creator. The creator says all they have to do is be thankful. So that is what they do. They show respect.
They say they have Little Stone Throwing people. The Little Stone Throwing people give gifts is what the Indians say. They can also be very tricky. You never know.
They also say the Little Stone Throwing people have a magic canoe that takes them places that they need to go. Sometimes a night they would go on magic canoe rides. They were very helpful.
The Indians give each other names. If something they will always remember happens they that relate to that. It can also be something that describes you. Like if you have a lot of books you could be called Many Stories.
They believe in good and bad magic. Good things will happen if there is good magic. Bad things will happen if there is bad magic. You never know.
Mohawk Indian Games of the 1490's by Daniel
Tekwarathon was a Mohawk Indian game the Longhouse People played. They played Tekwarathon with a stick which is made out of hickory which is one of the strongest woods. At the end of the sticks there is a net that has strings of deer skin. They took a bunch of deer skin and tied it into a ball. They would throw the ball to their teammates and try to catch the ball in their stick’s net till they got to a goal post. Goal posts could be from one side of the village to the other or in the forest. Whichever team got three points first would win.
They usually played the game for fun but sometimes they would play the game to heal people. They believed that playing the game while the sick one watched would heal the sick one. They had different ways to separate the teams. They had boys against girls, old men against young men, or mixed. A game of Tekwarathon can be very long and violent. In the game people can break bones. In a book I read a kid who played the game had his bone pop out of the skin and bleed. It bled rapidly. Some games of Tekwarathon can last months without either team getting a point.
Snow Snake was a winter game the Mohawk Indians played. They played it with a long narrow pole. They tried to get the pole the deepest and the furthest in a very long and deep snow trench. Some people tried to yell and distract their opponents.