Modern Applications Longhouses, while no longer utilized to house families, are an essential aspect of Iroquoian history and culture. Longhouses are still used for many spiritual rites and cultural events.
Longhouses provide a secure environment where families can feel comfortable leaving their children while they go about their daily business or travel to other settlements for trade or ceremonies.
Today, most Iroquois live in housing developments, but there are also many descendants of the tribe who remain loyal to its traditions. They build their homes using techniques they have practiced for hundreds of years; because of this, it is possible to see examples of modern longhouses at certain cultural sites in North America.
Although they are no longer common, it is important to understand that modern applications longhouses play an integral role in the lives of the people who build them and use them. They are more than just houses; they are centers of community life.
Longhouses were gradually supplanted as principal dwellings by European-style single-family houses in the 1700s. Longhouses, however, continue to be essential buildings where certain Indigenous peoples hold rituals, political meetings, and diverse communal gatherings. Interior of an Iroquoian Longhouse (artwork by Lewis Parker).
The longhouse is a large building with multiple rooms for living, working, and playing. It is usually built of logs that are cut from a single forest stand and thus represent the community's commitment to recycling its resources. The shape of the longhouse varies depending on the culture but typically has three floors and a roof made up of interlocking beams and boards. The first floor is the largest; it contains the main entrance and can also be used as a platform for entering trees. The middle floor is where most of the activity takes place; it includes a cooking area, a meeting place, and sometimes a bedroom. The third floor is where food is stored. Longhouses can be as small as two rooms or as large as 150 feet long.
An important aspect of many Indigenous cultures is the role that women play within those cultures. The female members of a group often handle domestic duties such as cooking, cleaning, gardening, and caring for children. They may also have control over which men get to sleep with their families by deciding who sleeps in which room. These choices are important because successful hunting and gathering depend on cooperation between men and women.
Ste-Marie Among the Hurons is a village in Midland, Ontario. It was established around 1650 by French colonists who had moved from nearby Rivière du Loup (modern-day Louisiana). The community was destroyed by Iroquois warriors in 1668, but it was rebuilt about 1 mile to the south.
In 17th-century New France, the longhouse was the most important building in an Indigenous community. It was here that all tribal leaders met to make decisions on matters such as trade agreements and warfare campaigns. The longhouse also served as a church, school, hospital, courthouse, and market all in one.
In addition to its ceremonial purposes, the longhouse provided security for women and children by shielding them from intruders. It also provided some form of shelter for men when hunting or fishing. Finally, the longhouse kept families together even though they may have been living many miles from each other. By building these large structures with high ceilings and open floors, Indigenous people were able to enjoy greater peace of mind than if they were living in small isolated camps.
Long houses were usually made out of wood, although some tribes used stone or mud bricks instead.
Longhouses are Native American dwellings utilized by the Iroquois and their Algonquian neighbors. They are constructed in the same manner as wigwams, with pole framework and elm bark covers. The Iroquois were nomadic farmers who lived in stable settlements.... They traveled between these settlements to trade with other tribes.
Longhouses are generally larger than wigwams and have one central room with a fireplace at one end and beds along the opposite wall. There may be as many as seven rooms inside the house. Each family had its own section of the house where they could store their belongings and eat their meals. The entire structure was usually not more than 100 feet long or wide.
Native Americans did not build longhouses for heat; instead, they used fire to keep out cold weather and insects. The only time they would need a house this large is if they were going to hold a community event such as a festival or peace talk. Then it would be necessary to have space for everyone to sleep.
After the arrival of Europeans into what is now the United States, many Indian nations adopted English styles of housing, including the use of timber frames and plaster walls. Some tribes built large houses using materials found near where they lived, such as cedar for the Seneca and maple for the Mohawk. Others hired architects from among their people to design them new homes.