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The Housing, Food and Lifestyle

The Algonquians

The Algonquians were semi-nomadic, moving around their territory in function of the seasons.

The dwellings of the Algonquians are often referred to as wigwams or teepees, but each nation had a different name in its own language. These dwellings did not have much room inside, but were adapted to the nomadic lifestyle. The wooden framework was covered with bark or hides. When a group moved, they brought the hides and sheets of bark with them, but left the wood poles behind to be used again when they returned. On arriving at the next campsite, they made new poles or used those that they had left previously.

The Algonquians moved and hunted according to the seasons. They hunted deer and beaver during winter, and migrating birds in the spring. In summer, fish and wild fruit were their staple foods. To complete their diet, the Algonquians traded with the Iroquoians, mainly for corn.

The Iroquoians

Settling in a location for about fifteen years, the Iroquoians were semi-sedentary. They moved their villages when resources started to become scarce.

The traditional dwelling of the Iroquoians was the longhouse. It could be thirty metres long, and sometimes over fifty! The length of a longhouse depended on the number of people who lived in it. On average, between sixty and eighty people lived in a longhouse, all members of the same clan.

The Iroquoians depended on horticulture for their food supply. Among the plants they grew were corn, squash and beans, which they called the Three Sisters. These three plants provided 80% of the Iroquoian diet. They also grew Jerusalem artichokes, sunflowers and tobacco. The men also hunted and fished to vary the menu.