"This study cuts through this confusing and contradictory body of literature to present a convincing scenario of League formation. In my view, Wonderley and Sempowski have nailed it. This is an extremely important book."—William Engelbrecht, professor emeritus, SUNY Buffalo State
"This book is well worth reading by Iroquoianists. It is also a book that should be read by archaeologists elsewhere in North America interested in not only sociopolitical developments and dynamics but also the way ethnohistory and archaeology can be used together to advance our knowledge of the past."—American Antiquity
"Breaks new ground in an area fraught with controversy and misunderstanding, and presents a convincing narrative of league formation."—American Archaeology
"Draw[s] new conclusions about how and when the five-nation confederation began."—The Hudson River Valley Review
The League of the Iroquois, the most famous native government in North America, dominated intertribal diplomacy in the Northeast and influenced the course of American colonial history for nearly two centuries. The age and early development of the League, however, have long been in dispute. In this highly original book, two anthropological archaeologists with differing approaches and distinct regional interests synthesize their research to explore the underpinnings of the confederacy. Wonderley and Sempowski endeavor to address such issues as when tribes coalesced, when intertribal alliances presaging the League were forged, when the five-nation confederation came to fruition, and what light oral tradition may shine on these developments. This groundbreaking work develops a new conversation in the field of Indigenous studies, one that deepens our understanding of the Iroquois League’s origins.
Anthony Wonderley is the former curator of Collections and Interpretation at the Oneida Community Mansion House. He is the author of Oneida Iroquois: Folklore, Myth, and History and At the Font of the Marvelous: Exploring Oral Narrative and Mythic Imagery of the Iroquois and Their Neighbors.
Martha L. Sempowski is a Resident and Research Fellow at the Rochester Museum Science Center, where she served as the codirector of the Seneca Archaeology Research Project.
6 x 9, 288 pages, 15 black and white illustrations, 5 maps