draechaeli (draechaeli) wrote in little_details,

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Details of Iroquois traditions and life

The main character of my novel will be spending some time with an Iroquois Tribe from Ontario. There he will find a gay Japanese-Canadian (he is 16 at the current date in the story) is going to end up living with this particular Iroquois tribe. He met them a few times as a young child for single night events. He moved to stay with them permanently when he is twelve.  The setting is current day, but the Iroquois tribe was displaced from time and space before the arrival of the Europeans. Kind of like in the Star Trek The Original Series season 3 episode “The Paradise syndrome”. So this particular tribe never had to deal with the death and disease, or anything else that came with the Europeans. They have however met their neighbours in this new universe some of which are European, Asian, and Canadian etc. But it has always been a peaceful relationship.

 So I have a lot of questions about celebrations, travel, visitors, adoptions, and life, that needs detailed answers.

 I have done research on the subject. I have done a google search in which I found out that there were 6 major Iroquois holidays. And I have found another site (http://www.wheeloftheyear.com/2012/native&mesoamerican.htm). That gives me the dates and the basics of the holiday, but it lists more than six holidays. So I’m looking for clarification and details on the holidays and the general calendar. I have also asked all of these questions to my friend that is part Iroquois but she only gave me vague answer, and not in enough detail for book writing. If this is due to the belief system of the Iroquois would someone please just tell me so I know. I have gone to a museum in Montreal and learned a lot of other things about the Iroquois, but I am still at a loss for details. I’ve searched Iroquois Holidays, calendar, festivals, coming of age, coming of age ceremony, ceremonies, ceremonies and customs, ceremonies and festivals, adoption, children, child life and fishing. My library has no useful books on Iroquois, but I can do an inter-library loan; sadly I can only get two at a time, and I have no way of screening the books ahead of time.

 How would the Japanese-Canadian be integrated into the village? Adopted, etc.?  What is the adoption ceremony? Are there any rites of passage he would go through? At what age? What I found is just a general statement, “At about 15 years of age in the old days, throughout the eastern and central region, the boy made solitary fast and vigil to obtain communication with the medicine spirit which was to be his protector through life; then, after the initiatory ordeal to which, in some tribes, he was subjected, the youth was competent to take his place as a man among the warriors. For a year or more before his admission to full manhood responsibilities the young man cultivated a degree of reserve amounting even to bashfulness in the presence of strangers.” (from: http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/tribes/history/indianchild.htm) I planned on having him be a fisher long before I had flushed out where he was going to be in the story. Is Fisher a practical profession for this character? If not what would be? I learned that fishing is a large group effort and it seems that large hunting and fishing parties would occur, before festivals. Was this a daily or weekly or monthly etc. thing? I’ve learned that they rarely do small scale fishing is that true? It also appears that everything is a group effort and that no one had any one profession so my character could hunt one day and fish the next. Is that true? Did people ever specialise?

How would the Iroquois treat visitors to their village, a group of people that come from a nearby village although not Iroquois, there for reasons of trade and general how-do-you-dos. How would the visiting group be greeted? Where would they stay? Who would they talk to about Trade and the general well-being of the peoples involved? How would the visiting group be sent off?

What does the Iroquois calendar look like? The names of the months or the moons? I learned that they like to start months on or near the new moon and a lot of different festivals. Are there any festivals that correspond to the equinoxes or the solstices? Those dates are important to the story, and I want to make sure they correlate correctly. The main character will visit right before the summer solstice.

Is there anything that would be done when a member of the village wished to leave for an extended stay elsewhere, visiting family or friends outside o the village for a little while before returning to the village? Like tell an elder? Perform a rite for safe travel, etc.?  

Tags: ~native americans, ~religion: native american

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