Eastern Woodland Indians
The Indians in the Eastern Woodland Culture lived east of the Plains Indians. At that time much of the land between the Mississippi River and the east coast was covered with forest. These Indians, like the Indians of the other cultures depended on the natural resources around them for all of their basic needs. Because these Indians lived in the forests, they were called the Eastern Woodland Indians. Their food, shelter, clothing, weapons, and tools came from the forests around them. They lived in villages near a lake or stream. There were many diverse groups within the Eastern Woodland People. The most well known were the Iroquois, and the Cherokee nations.
The Iroquois Indians lived in the Northeastern part of the Woodland Culture. Today we call this part of our country New York. The Iroquois Indians were actually a "nation" of Indians made up of 5 tribes. These tribes were the Senecas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and Mohawks. These tribes were hostile, or war-like, to each other until they joined together to become the "League of the Five Nations". Even after the forming of this nation there was still some fighting among the 5 tribes.
The Iroquois found their food by hunting, fishing, and gathering berries, fruits, and nuts. They also cleared the land and planted large fields of corn, beans, and squash which Native Americans called “the three sisters.” The Iroquois used a bow and arrow to hunt. They would sometimes wear the skin of a deer over their body to sneak up to the deer.
The Cherokee lived mainly in what is now Tennessee and Georgia. Like the Iroquois, the Cherokee depended on their natural resources for survival. They lived in about 200 fairly large villages. A normal Cherokee town had about 30 - 60 houses and a large meeting building. Cherokee homes were usually wattle and daub. Wattle is twigs, branches, and stalks woven together to make a frame for a building. Daub is a sticky substance like mud or clay. The Cherokee covered the wattle frame with daub. This created the look of an upside down basket. Later, log cabins with bark roofs were used for homes. The Cherokee villages also had fences around them to prevent enemies from entering.
Like the Iroquois, the Cherokee also hunted small game such as deer, rabbit, and bear. Since their villages were usually near streams or lakes, they also fished using spears and nets. Berries, nuts, and wild plants were important forms of food for the Cherokee. The Cherokee were considered to be excellent farmers. They had large farms which grew corns, beans, and squash.