Iroquois League

     Despite the fact that the early explorers from Europe called the Native Americans, "savages," the Iroquois were perhaps more civilized than the people from Europe. The Native Americans had all they needed from the land, forest, rivers, lakes and ocean to survive. However, they lacked technology and a reading ability.  These deficiencies made the Europeans feel superior. 

    During this comparative study of government and culture, we will be asking ourselves who really was superior?  H-m-m-m-?

The Iroquois bathed daily. This kept germs, flies and smells away. The animals they hunted couldn't hear nor smell them coming.  They successfully could kill animals at close range. The Europeans bathed only (phew) twice a year, dressed in heavy wool, layers of clothing, and armor. Their weapons were noisy and not too accurate. The animals could hear and smell their arrival in the forest.

The Iroquois League was developed to stop fighting amongst themselves and create a government for the clans.  They guaranteed:

  •  life (they could travel and hunt in any of the land occupied by the Iroquois)

  • freedom of religion

  • citizenship to those captured

  • equality -women were equal, and they had no slaves

  • diversity -women voted for the chiefs who were intelligent, good providers, and fair, The women were accepted as great farmers and appreciated by the whole tribe.

  • they had a form of federalism, the clans would meet with the whole tribe, and also with the whole council of Iroquois to discuss problems and set rules for living and punishment.

  • Popular sovereignty - the chief was there to serve his clan

  • Common good - the laws were good and fair for all

  • checks and balances - the tribes, as they sat across the Council Fire, had to agree or the laws were not made, nor carried out

  • The head chief was never a warrior, but he could declare war (our President can't be in the military, but he is in charge of it and can declare war)

If you noted many similarities between The Iroquois League Constitution and our own United States Constitution, you are very intelligent.  You see, although the one hundred seven laws were memorized and only recited orally by special people, a Jesuit Missionary priest wrote down these laws because he was so impressed by the Iroquois' organization. Ben Franklin, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson had read these words, and based our Constitution on the Iroquois League.  H-m-m-m? Were the Iroquois savages?


D2 Rubric for Iroquois Project


Studentís name: ___________________________

Teacher: _________________

Due: ______________________





You will be graded using the following rubric.  Use the rubric below to grade yourself before you turn in your project.  Please remember what we discussed in class.  This is your project, not your parentsí project. Plan your time well and donít do things last minute.



Points Possible

(My grading)

Points Earned

(teacherís score)


Followed project directions, including rough copies.

Product shows creativity and originality.

         Project was done by you with only a little help from your parents.



         Answered the questions

Answers contain important information which are thoughtful and reflective.



         Neatness and Craftsmanship






         Grammar and punctuation



         Completed by due date