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An Ancient Bond with the Land

People of the Longhouse

The People of Longhouses

Within the Iroquoian village, longhouses were important activity centres. People lived and worked in and around them. These homes sheltered several families related through the women. If need be, the longhouse could be physically extended to make more room for new residents.

Longhouses brought together, under a single roof, people related through the female line. To the Iroquoian people, the longhouse symbolized all of society. This society was based on relationships between and through women, and on cooperation for everyone's support and benefit.

Some 15th-century Iroquoian villages such as the Draper site near Pickering, Ontario, housed several thousand individuals. The clustering of houses within the communities is thought to indicate social and family groupings.

Artistic recreation of the Draper site village. From The 1975 and 1978 Rescue Excavations at the Draper Site, by William D. Finlayson, National Museum of Man Mercury Series, Archaeological Survey of Canada Paper no. 130, Ottawa, 1985.

Draper site village

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