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Indigenous Territories around 1500 by RECITUS

Information / Instructions
Did the Algonquian and Iroquoian peoples live in the same type of territory?

Human populations live on all sorts of territories. Some of them adapted very well to the characteristics of their territory, while others simply adapted the territory to meet their needs.

The Iroquoian and Algonquian people lived in territories that had different characteristics. These features influenced their lifestyle. Would you be able to recognize those features?

Key aspects (strengths and limitations) for describing a territory:
  • its relief
  • hydrography
  • vegetation
  • wildlife
  • climate


Instructions :
You must first choose one of the two societies, either Iroquoian or Algonquian.
1- Read the text that describes their way of life.
2- On the map, find the marker points that describe the characteristics of that group's territory.
3- Complete the chart on the characteristics of their territory
4- Compare the way of life of your chosen society with that studied by one of your classmates.


The Texts


The Iroquoians
Iroquoian nations were sedentary, unlike the Algonquian who were constantly moving. The Iroquois lived in villages and cultivated the land for food. They established villages where the land was flat and fertile. The village also needed to be near a source of drinking water and a forest to have a supply wood. Gathering, hunting and fishing supplemented their diet. Some villages only had five to fifteen longhouses. Other villages included fifty houses. These large villages were often surrounded by a palisade to protect themselves. This was the case for the village of Hochelaga on the island of Montreal, inhabited by St. Lawrence Iroquoians.

The Algonquians
Algonquian were nomadic, that is to say, they had no fixed villages or regular place of residence. In summer, they formed large groups and settled near a river or lake. Their territory was often hilly and had many lakes and rivers. They spent the summer at the same place and ate the fish they caught. In winter, when the lakes and rivers were frozen, they would move and then settle in the forest. At this time of the year, the Algonquin hunted small and big game. It was easier for them to hunt big game such as moose in the winter, because it moved more slowly through the deep snow.

Algonquians mostly ate meat. In winter, they dispersed into small bands, so as not to hunt on the territory of the other bands. When there was no more game in one place, they moved to a place where hunting was better. In the same winter the Algonquians moved their camp several times and did not spend more than 15 or 20 days in the same place.

Download these instructions and the chart here:
Amerindians_1500_en.doc