"Few have enjoyed better rapport with the old people of the Longhouse; no one has pushed these advantages as far for the advance of systematic ethnology; and none has contributed to a taller monograph."—William N. Fenton, American Anthropologist
"Remains relevant to the understanding of conservative elements and practices in Iroquois communities today. . . . A study of the depth of Shimony's would be exceedingly difficult to do today, given current political trends."—Thomas S. Abler, University of Waterloo
Annemarie Anrod Shimony’s classic work clearly shows the contemporary cultural and religious crises that face the Longhouse Iroquois at the Six Nations Reserve, Ontario. Shimony presents a lucid and eloquent account of the survival of the Native American tradition, which is struggling to maintain political and cultural autonomy in an ever-changing modern world.
Based on original field work dating from 1953 to 1961, and supplemented by new material describing changes during the last thirty years, Shimony’s work is once again the most comprehensive ethnography of the largest extant traditional Iroquoian community. Some of the material discussed includes the social organization, the system of hereditary chiefs, the beliefs and practices of the Longhouse religion, the events of the Iroquoian life cycle, and the extensive medicinal and witchcraft aspects of the culture. Additional areas of focus include the rituals of the agricultural calendar and Iroquois conceptions of death and burial
As Elizabeth Tooker wrote in Indians of the Northeast, Shimony’s monograph is, “next to Morgan’s League, the most important general description of the Iroquois.” With its new material added, Conservatism among the Iroquois is once again required reading for anyone interested in Native American culture.
Anniemarie Anrod Shimony is Professor of Anthropology at Wellesley College, where she is also codirector of the Peace Studies Program.
Series: The Iroquois and Their Neighbors
7 x 10, 356 pages, 18 black and white illustrations