An Ancient Bond with the Land

People of the Longhouse

The Longhouse as a Home

Longhouses could accommodate 100 or more occupants. The house was framed with poles, and covered on the outside with large sheets of bark attached with lashing. A row of hearths divided the interior of the house down the centre. Two families shared each hearth. Sleeping bunks, with storage areas above them, flanked this central passageway. Storage compartments for food and equipment were located near the entrances at either end of the house.

Women engaged in a wide range of activities around the house. They prepared meals around the central fireplaces, processed and stored food, made clothing, mats, baskets and dolls, and produced useful and beautiful clay pots. Longhouses were also places for visits, and for storytelling and political discussion.

"The whole building is replete with stores of food, and besides the corn, we see large quantities of smoked meat, dried fish, dried pumpkins and squashes and dried herbs of various kinds...."

Arthur C. Parker, Seneca anthropologist and historian

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