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Monday, March 11, 2013

Iroquois Language Family


Contents Page, listing more than sixty different Native Northern American language families.  All are original to tribes living North of Mexico.

Cherokee language is a unique one falling within the Iroquoian family.

North America has more language families per land area, than anywhere else in the world.

I'd venture to say that genetic variations among the tribes of North America, if fully studied and understood, would significantly reflect the associated language variations.

"Iroquoian Family"

"Mr. Hale was the first to give formal expression to his belief in the affinity of the Cheroki to Iroquois." 

"Unlike most linguistic stocks, the Iroquois did not occupy a continuous area, but when first known to Europeans were settled in three distinct regions, separated from each other by tribes of different lineage."  

The Thirteen Principal Tribes of Iroquoian Stock:
 
Cayuga
Cherokee
Conestoga
Erie
Mohawk
Neuter
Nottaway
Oneida
Onondaga
Seneca
Tionantate
Tuscarora
Wyandot

The 1890 U.S. Census records a population of Cherokees numbering 27,063 individuals, excluding adopted Indians, negroes, and whites.  The Eastern Band (from which I'm descended) numbered only 1,500 people at that time.

"The Iroquois of St. Regis, Caughnawaga, Lake of Two Mountains (Oka), and Gibson speak a dialect mainly Mohawk and Oneida, but are a mixture of all the tribes of the original Five Nations."
 
The original Five Nations of the Iroquois confederation comprised the following tribes:
 
Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca.
 
Later, the Iroquois confederation became known as the Six Nations, after the Tuscarora tribe was added.
 
Wikipedia: "When Americans and Canadians of European descent began to study Iroquois customs in the 18th and 19th centuries, they learned that the people had a matrilineal system:  women held property and hereditary leadership passed through their lines.  They held dwellings, horses and farmed land, and a woman's property before marriage stayed in her possession without being mixed with that of her husband.  They had separate roles but real power in the nations.  The work of a woman's hands was hers to do with as she saw fit.  At marriage, a young couple lived in the longhouse of the wife's family.  A woman choosing to divorce a shiftless or otherwise unsatisfactory husband was able to ask him to leave the dwelling and take his possessions with him.
 
"The children of the marriage belonged to their mother's clan and gained their social status through hers.  Her brothers were important teachers and mentors to the children, especially introducing boys to men's roles and societies.  The clans were matrilineal, that is, clan ties were traced through the mother's line.  If a couple separated, the woman kept the children.  The [male] chief of a clan could be removed at any time by a council of the women elders of that clan.  The chief's sister was responsible for nominating his successor."
 
(Note that Cherokee society was similarly matrilineal, with comparable familial and governmental customs.  Each Iroquoian tribe had its own unique clan divisions, but all were matrilineal.)

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