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Eastern Woodland Farmers
Groups in
this Region
Environment / Housing Food
/ Tools
Transportation / Migration Religion / Ceremonies / Art / Clothing Tribal Relations / War
The Eastern Woodland Farmers inhabited the shores of the Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence River,
and up towards Georgian Bay, in Southwestern and South-Central Ontario.
Family
  • Families were important, and extended families shared living quarters.
  • The Elders held the wisdom and were greatly respected.
  • The eldest female was the master of the longhouse.
  • The elder grandfathers were the storytellers.
  • The females were symbols of fertility, and raised the children, and tended to the fields.
  • The males were the hunters and the protectors of the family and the villages. They went to war, were away during the winter hunting, and did the hard-labour jobs like building the villages and clearing the forest lots.
  • Children helped out in the fields and with everyday duties like cooking, sewing and maintaining the longhouse.

Sitting in the Longhouse
Social Structure / Leadership
  • Each village belonged to a certain tribe or clan, and a collection of villages made up a Nation.
  • Each village had a sachem, or chief who enforced laws and guided the village in times of trouble.
  • Chiefs were hereditary, determined through the bloodline of the mother.
  • There was also a warrior chief who gained his position through valour, wealth and courage.
  • The more material goods someone could afford to give away, the more their status rose.
  • This reinforced the community, because then the person needed to rely more on other people’s kindness and less on himself.
  • Individual liberty was strong; a person’s wrongdoings brought misfortunes and illness.  Public confession was the only remedy.
  • When there were conflicts between nations or tribes, village councils tried to settle with the dead man’s relatives to get equal restitution and restore peace.
  • Male members of the victim’s longhouse were honor bound to kill the murderer.

Mohawk War Chief
Groups in
this Region
Environment / Housing Food
/ Tools
Transportation / Migration Religion / Ceremonies / Art / Clothing Tribal Relations / War
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