We learned about the Haudenosaunee, a federation of five Indigenous tribes (the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora people) in what is now Upstate and Western New York. They are often known by the French appellation ‘Iroquois’. We learned about the concepts of autonyms and exonyms, which are names that people give to themselves and names that are given to groups by others. We learned that the autonomy Haudenosaunee means ‘People of the Longhouse’, in reference to the communal structures the Haudenosaunee built. We learned about how the Haudenosaunee lived together in community, about some of the symbols and beading traditions used in Haudenosaunee culture.
After learning about Haudenosaunee lifestyle, we viewed examples of traditional Haudenosaunee pots. These pots, made by women of the community, were made from harvested clay and fired inside of an open fire. We noted the rounded shape of the pots’ bodies and the detailed designs of the pots’ collars. After a presentation on how to construct a pot using the coil technique, each of us made a Haudenosaunee-inspired pot with collar embellishments.