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The political structure

The Algonquians

The Algonquian nations were made up of bands, which in turn consisted of small family groups. Each band chose a chief to represent it at council meetings. When the bands met in summer, chiefs were chosen to represent the nation. The qualities the Algonquians looked for in their chiefs included being a good hunter and a skilled orator. Being a chief among the Algonquians did not change the lifestyle of the individual chosen, a chief lived just like all the other members of the group.

The Iroquoians

The Iroquoian nations, for the most part, formed confederations. A confederation was comprised of two or more nations that had decided to unite. Their political structure had a hierarchy of chiefs: the village chiefs, the chiefs of each nation, and the chiefs of the confederation. The clan mothers held an important place in this structure: they chose the chiefs of their village. An Iroquoian chief had to be a good orator and generous with the members of his village. Even if they represented several thousand individuals, the chiefs of the confederation lived in the same way as the other inhabitants of their village. This was also true for the village chiefs and the chiefs of the nations.