Getting around in Iroquoia: rivers and forest trails
The Iroquoian people were strong walkers, because their legs were their main mode of transportation. There were no horses to help them get around at the time. To find their bearings, they knew how to observe the things around them in nature, such as the moss on the trees, the wind and the sun. They also had forest trails to guide them.
Snowshoes in winter
In the winter, the climate made transportation more difficult. The Iroquoian people made snowshoes so that their feet wouldn’t sink in the snow and slow them down. Each nation made snowshoes of slightly different shapes, but they all served the same purpose: to make walking on snow easier and faster.
Canoes for the many rivers
How did they travel long distances? The Iroquoian people used the many rivers that crisscrossed their territory. Thanks to the birch bark canoes that the men made, they could travel just about anywhere. Just like with snowshoes, their canoes differed slightly from one nation to the next. The Hurons, for example, used birch bark, while the Iroquois mostly used elm, because there was no birch on their territory. As a result, their boats did not have the same qualities. While rivers were a huge transportation asset, rapids could be dangerous and made travel in some areas more difficult.
Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social