Teaching Students About the Iroquois

The Iroquois, also referred to as the Haudenosaunee, were a group of Native American tribes who lived in the northeastern region of the United States and parts of southern Canada. Their culture, language, and traditions are unique and have a rich history, which makes it an interesting topic to teach students about in the classroom.

Why Teach About the Iroquois?

Learning about the Iroquois is important for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to break down the stereotype that Native American history is solely about their conflicts with European settlers. By studying the Iroquois, students can gain a fuller understanding of the complexity of Native American societies and cultures. Secondly, the Iroquois played a significant role in shaping the history of the United States, including their contributions to the American Revolution and the Constitution. Additionally, the teachings and values of the Iroquois, such as the importance of consensus-building and respect for the environment, are still relevant today and have the potential to inspire students to think critically about the world around them.

How to Teach About the Iroquois

There are several ways to teach students about the Iroquois. One approach is through storytelling. The Iroquois have many myths and legends that provide valuable insights into their culture and history. These stories are often passed down orally from generation to generation and can be utilized as lesson plans in the classroom.

Another way to teach about the Iroquois is through the use of primary sources. Primary sources, such as letters, journal entries, and artifacts, provide a direct connection to the past and can help students to understand the daily life and experiences of the Iroquois. Some primary source collections that may be useful in the classroom include the Iroquois Manuscripts, which were written by missionaries who lived among the Iroquois, and the “Hiawatha Wampum Belt,” a beaded belt that represents the founding of the Iroquois Confederacy.

Finally, students can learn about the Iroquois by engaging in hands-on activities and projects. Examples of classroom projects include creating traditional Iroquois artwork, building a model longhouse, or organizing a mock Iroquois council.


Teaching students about the Iroquois is a valuable opportunity to teach students about the complexities of Native American history and culture. While there are many approaches to teaching about the Iroquois, incorporating primary sources and hands-on activities can help to make the topic more engaging and meaningful for students. By learning about the Iroquois, students can gain a deeper understanding of the importance of respecting and celebrating the diversity of cultures that make up our society.

Choose your Reaction!