(group 9: Pre-Confederate Canada) St. Lawrence Iroquoian

Taylor Morton    



  1. The St. Lawrence Iroquoians lived on the shores of what is now called the St. Lawrence River, and in the surrounding region.  Their Iroquoian culture was shared by the Huron, Mohawks, and Seneca to the south, but on all other sides they were bordered by Algonquian peoples.  They lived in semi-permanent villages, sometimes fortified with log palisades.  Clans were matriarchal and more than one family lived in each longhouse.


            2. The Iroquois nations kept in good contact with each other, including the St. Lawrence Iroquoians.  The only Europeans the St. Lawrence Iroquoians had contact with were Jaques Cartier and the French.





Parks Canada.  “Cartier-Brebeuf National Historic Site of Canada.” Last modified 15 July, 2009. Accessed 24 September, 2013. http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/qc/cartierbrebeuf/natcul/natcul4/a.aspx.



Andrew Smitten

3.         Where did these people come into contact?

A.        The St. Lawrence Iroquoian and Europeans did manage to come in contact like all other native tribes at the time. The first recorded interaction between the two was made in 1535-1536. It was reported that Jacques Cartier and his crew were the first Europeans to make contact with the St. Lawrence Iroquoian. This encounter was completely by change when Cartier and his crew were traveling down the mighty St. Lawrence River they spotted a small village located just a few kilometres inland from the banks of the St. Lawrence. Their first meeting was reported to have gone very smoothly (Except for a kidnapping), an interesting fact about this encounter especial compared to others was that this was rumored to be the birth place of Canada as a name, because in the Iroquoian language Canada meant village so this was possible the first time anyone from outside the Iroquoian nation heard the word Canada. This meeting between the St. Lawrence Iroquoian and Cartier was not Cartier’s first time meeting with natives but it was an important one none the less.


4.         For what purpose were Europeans in the area?

A.        The St. Lawrence area saw lots of exploration by different European explores.  The main reason why Europeans were in this area was they were trying to find new areas to set up fur trading post and to explore farther down the St. Lawrence River. At the time when the St. Lawrence Iroquoian and Cartier made their historic first encounter, Cartier was on a voyage down to find valuable metals and fur. His voyage did not yield anything he was looking for. But when he did finally meet the Iroquoian he kidnapped the two sons of a chief and took them back with him. Cartier was in the area to explore and find new riches he may not have found any of the riches he was looking for but he did find a huge piece that makes Canada what it is today.  



•           http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/firstnations, Copyright 2000

•           Pendergast, James F. “The St.Lawrence Iroquoians: Their Past, Present and Immediate Future,” The Bulletin, 47-74, 1991



Luke Berlemont

5)         The St. Lawrence Iroquois were a bit hesitant upon first contact with European, but were very eager to trade with them. When Jacques Cartier kidnapped two sons of a Iroquois chief, he allowed his sons to be taken on the condition that Cartier return with them along with European goods. They remained friendly with the French for the first few years, even helping them deal with an outbreak of Scurvy, but by 1542, they had grown hostile to the French. They attacked Cartier’s settlement of Charlesbourg-Royal, and killed many people before they could get to safety behind the walls. This, along with harsh winters and disease, drove Cartier and the French to abandon the settlement of Canada for the time being.


6)         When Cartier first landed along the mouth of the St. Lawrence, he placed a large wooden cross and claimed the land for France. He kidnapped two son of the local chieftain to learn more about the land. On his second voyage, he took Chief Donnacona back to France after spending the winter with his village. From their stories, he believed that there was a rich kingdom further north and this motivated him and France to attempt to settle the area, which upset the Iroquois.

Posted on September 25, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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