"This volume represents far more than a description of the culture, history, and archaeological record of the Iroquoisit is an accessible, anthropological account of their world. It should be considered essential reading not only for scholars . . . but also anyone interested in understanding contemporary Iroquois world view and politics. It is a book that celebrates the dynamic history of a living culture."—Ontario Archeology
"William Englebrecht draws on archaeology, ethnology, historical evidence, and oral traditions to give the reader a detailed overview of this great culture from its ancient roots until today. . . . An outstanding survey of this captivating episode of America's heritage."—American Archeology
"A very accessible and plainspoken account of the Iroquois and their homeland . . . The book's strength lies in its use of enthnohistory. . . . Engelbrecht's descriptions of the Iroquois economy, practiced in the throes of what to all appearances was unending strife and warfare, are some of the best available. So too are his depictions of villages and village life, which are based not only on his own field work, but also [on] information gleaned from the most recent, authoritative literature"—New York History
In a book that spans the Iroquoian culture from its ancient roots to its survival in the modern world, William Engelbrecht maintains that two themes pervade this development: warfare and spirituality. An investigation of oral tradition, archaeology, and historical records provides new insight into this now largely vanished world known as Iroquoia.
Engelbrecht covers a wide geographic range, exploring regional and temporal differences in material culture and subsistence patterns. He finds change over time in the distribution and size of communities and in response to environmental demographic, and social factors. In addition, he furthers the controversial debate that “arrow sacrifice” and other beliefs spread from Mesoamerica with the dispersal of maize and horticulture.
Although scholars have suggested that palisaded hilltop Iroquoian villages were constructed with an eye for defense, this book is unique in showing that the longhouse—known mainly as a community forum and spiritual place—may also have served as a defense structure. Throughout this work, which will become the new
standard text to which scholars will refer, Engelbrecht reminds us that the the study of the Iroquoian people continues to enrich and inform the modern world.
William Engelbrecht is professor emeritus of anthropology at Buffalo State College. His articles have appeared in many journals, including American Antiquity, North American Archaeologist, Northeast Anthropology, and Bulletin: Journal of the New York State Archaeological Association.
Series: The Iroquois and Their Neighbors
7.1 x 10.12, 232 pages, 6 maps