Anthropology 209
Fall 2013
Dr. Judkins







            This course involves study of the social organization and world-view of the various Northern Iroquoian groups, with special emphasis on the Seneca-Iroquois of western New York State during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Particular attention is paid to the position of Iroquois culture in the Northeastern Woodlands, as well as to its adaptability and persistence.  The cultural vitality and contributions of the Iroquois people are central themes.  Special attention is given to world-view, knowledge and intellectual accomplishments of the Iroquois people.




            Jesse Cornplanter, Legends of the Longhouse

            Russell A. Judkins (ed.), Morgan’s League of the Iroquois

            James Seaver, A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison

            Annemarie Shimony, Conservatism Among the Iroquois at the Six Nations 

Frank Speck, Midwinter Rites of the Cayuga Long House





            *Midterm + Final Exam: each = 50% of the Final Grade; essay format

            *A substantial project or paper may be submitted in place of one of the exams.  All such

                        papers /projects must be approved by the instructor before Mid-semester and

                        each: (1) must be presented in class, as well as (2) be submitted in written, poster

                        PowerPoint, video, or other appropriate form during the final week of class.





            Sturges 15

            Tues & Thurs: 11:30-1:00; Wed: 11:12:30 (by appt. only on Wed.)

            Phone: 245-5433





            Milne Library has a very useful Iroquois collection.  Interlibrary loan

            requests must be made well ahead of deadline needs; plan accordingly. 





FINAL EXAM DATE: Thursday, December 12, Noon-3:00 PM
FINAL EXAM:  (exam will be cumulative)




Weeks 1 & 2              (Aug 27-Sept 5)


1. History, the Media and Popular Culture: Placing the Iroquois within Western Frames-of-Reference


                                    Historical Images: Indian Captives literature; “Savagery” in literature

                                    Current Issues and Controversies: media images of the Iroquois; gaming;

                                                tax-free gas & cigarettes; relations with New York State


                                    READINGS: James Seaver, A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison

                                    VIDEO: POV Series: The Salamanca Lease (Seneca)



Weeks 3 - 5                 (Sept 10-26)


2. Myth-Truth Cycles: Placing the Iroquois in Native American Frames-of-Reference


                                    Iroquois Myth Cycles

                                                - anthropological concepts: Culture vs. Society

                                                - myth, ritual & symbol:

                                                            meaning and experience in Iroquois life and universe

                                    - myth & folklore as cultural guides; myth as cultural truth

                                                - A.C. Parker’s “Axiomatic Iroquoian Cultural Themes”

                                                - essential pattern and summary of the Iroquois grand myth cycle


                                    Iroquois Creation and Cosmological Myths

                                                - Seneca Creation Myth: “The Myth of the Earth-Grasper”

                                                - Bare Hill and the myths of autochthonous origin


                                    READINGS: Jesse Cornplanter, Legends of the Longhouse



Weeks 6 - 8                (Oct 1-17)


3. Fundamental/Traditional Patterns of Iroquois Social Structure and Organization


                                    Horticultural Systems: fundamental logic, pattern, and organization

                                    Kinship: Lineage, Descent & Moiety; adaptational nature of descent rules

Cultural Themes of Complementarity & Alliance

                                    Political Processes: segmentary opposition and the pervasiveness

of factionalism, resolution by alliance processes

                                                Cf. self-regulation processes of accusation & resolution in witchcraft

Confederacy: Peacemaker - Deganiweda Myth

                                    Confederacy: Origins, Prevalence and Nature of League of the Iroquois

                                    Structure & Function: change and continuity/adaptation and process


READINGS: R. Judkins, Morgan’s League of the Iroquois.  (Intro - Book II)

                                    VIDEO: “The Longhouse People” National Film Board of Canada




Week 9                       (Oct 22, 24)


4. Morgan, Ethnography, Material Culture, and Maps


                        Morgan - Parker and the invention of “Ethnography”

                        Morgan and the invention of “Material Culture” studies: Iroquois collections

                        Mapping Iroquoia - New York State


                        READINGS: R. Judkins, Morgan’s League of the Iroquois.  (Book III & map)



Midterm Exam: Tuesday, October 29



Weeks 10 & 11          (Oct 31-Nov 7)


5. Handsome Lake Myth and Revitalization: Cultural Renewal and Social Transformation


                                    Iroquois League or Confederacy in the American Revolution  

                                    Revitalization Movements: social and cultural adaptation

                                    Handsome Lake and the Longhouse Religion

                                    Religious myth, ritual & symbols and cultural renewal

                                                - Persistence of axiomatic Iroquois cultural themes, images,

                                                            knowledge, realities and interpretations of reality, vs.

                                    “Explanation” by non-Iroquois, e.g. AFC Wallace and the problem of

                                                        “explaining” the Iroquois world by “explaining it away”

                                    Seneca communities of the Genesee Valley 1750 - 1825


READINGS: Frank Speck, Midwinter Ceremonies of the Cayuga Long

        House (complete)


VIDEO: “Oren Lyons the Faithkeeper” (PBS)



Weeks 12-14  (Nov 12 - 26)


6. Traditional Iroquois in modern times: world and worldview           


READINGS: Annemarie Shimony, Conservatism among the Iroquois at the

Six Nations Reserve, pp 11-205; 261-292

VIDEO: “Raccoon and Crawfish” (Oneida)


Social structure

Longhouse roles and organization

Political titles and roles

Ceremonies and calendar

Witchcraft, medicine and wellness





Week 15                     (Dec 3 & 5)


7. Prophecies of Final Times, Renewals & Restorations: Completion of the Mythological Cycle

                                    READINGS: “Shining Serpents stories and symbols;”

End and Restoration of the world (articles TBA)



8. A Tradition of Iroquois Intellectuals, Writers & Artists and Their Contributions


                                    David Cusick

                                    Ely S. Parker

                                    Arthur C. Parker

                                    Chief John Arthur Gibson

                                    JNB Hewitt

                                    Ernest Smith

                                    Jesse Cornplanter

                                    Stan Hill

                                    Ted Williams

                                    John Mohawk

                                    Tom Porter

                                    Oren Lyons





FINAL EXAM:  (exam will be cumulative)


Thursday, December 12, Noon – 3:00 PM