Iroquoians around 1500

Around 100 000 people

There were about 100 000 Iroquoian people in Iroquoia around 1500. This was before the Europeans arrived in North America. We cannot know exactly how many people lived there at the time because the Iroquoians did not conduct censuses*. It was a society without writing; instead, it had oral traditions. Several Nations The Iroquoians are Indigenous Peoples who speak languages that share common characteristics and a common origin, kind of like how French and Spanish share certain traits. The Iroquoian Language Family is made up of several nations that each have distinct languages, knowledges and beliefs. In 1500, there were about 30 Iroquoian Nations. Each had its own territory that was divided into one or more villages. The table below lists some of these nations. Many Nations that belong to the Iroquoian Language Family still exist in 2020; The Wendat Nation (Huron-Wendat) and The Kanienʼkehá꞉ka Nation (Mohawk) have established and thriving communities in the province of Quebec. Note: We have tried to use the self-identified names of Indigenous Nations with communities in province Quebec. The name(s) that English and French settlers have used to refer to members of each Nation are in brackets. We encourage you to use and teach others the self-identified names of Indigenous Nations. Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social with translation and adaptations by LEARN!   See also:Oral tradition: the word is king  

Important concepts and big ideas:

[glossary slug=’languagefamily’] [glossary slug=’census’] [glossary slug=’nation’]

Teacher's Corner

Teacher resources to help cover the society of the Iroquoian people around 1500.