|The Iroquois was
comprised of six tribes who lived in what is now known as upstate New
York. The Mohawks lived in Northeast New York, the Seneca lived in
the Western portion of New York. In between were the Oneida, Onondaga,
Cayuga, and Tuscarora tribes. The Seneca, Cayuga, and Onondaga tribes
all occupied territory near Lake Ontario. The Tuscarora
eventually lived between the Oneida and Onondaga tribes, having
migrated north from North Carolina.
The Iroquois tended to establish settlements between two rivers. They moved up and down the river as they exhausted their fertile land, leaving only ruins behind. These tribes all lived in woodlands that were so dense that it is said that a squirrel could travel all the way from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River without touching the ground. These dense forests yielded many natural resources, such as timber, fruits, maple syrup and wild game.
The original home of the Iroquois was between the Adirondack Mountains and Niagara Falls. At their height, their lands extended west to the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and north to lake Michigan as well as parts of Quebec.
But when the Europeans moved into Iroquois territory in the 1600s, the first clouds of a storm of doom had arrived. After the Revolutionary War (in which they sided with the British) and the Civil War, Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, which pushed the Iroquois as well as many other tribes off the Atlantic seaboard. Eventually, the government forced them, as well as all other Native American tribes, onto small reservations.