What Are Some Indigenous Foods of the Iroquois?


Quick Answer

In Iroquois culture, three of the most important foods were squash, corn and beans, often referred to as "the three sisters." These vegetables sustained Iroquois life both spiritually and physically; numerous Iroquois festivals celebrated these staples.

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Full Answer

The Iroquois produced much of their diet by farming the three foods. Iroquois men were responsible for clearing the fields, while Iroquois women planted the seeds. Iroquois women would use wooden spades to make small mounds, where they would plant roughly 10 seeds. These mounds protected the seeds from harsh weather and cold temperatures. The Iroquois often made flat bread, pudding or soup from their corn harvests.

Other Iroquois foods came from the wild. Women and children often foraged for wild nuts, fruits, berries and vegetables such as mushrooms and root vegetables. The Iroquois also used bird and turtle eggs in their cooking, as well as clams and oysters.

Many Iroquois men were responsible for hunting to provide the tribe with meat. Some of the most widely-hunted animals included turkeys, black bear, elk, deer and rabbits. The Iroquois women cooked whatever meat was brought back from the hunt and shared it among the tribe. In the spring, Iroquois also caught fish using large nets.

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