are a historically powerful northeast Native American confederacy.
They were known during the colonial years to the French as the "Iroquois League", and later as the "Iroquois Confederacy", and to the English as the "Five Nations" (before 1722), and later as the "Six Nations", comprising the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora peoples.
The Iroquois have absorbed many other peoples into their cultures as a result of warfare, adoption of captives, and by offering shelter to displaced peoples.
The League was composed of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca nations.In or close to 1722, the Tuscarora tribe joined the League, having migrated from the Carolinas after being displaced by Anglo-European settlement.Thus the word according to Bakker is translatable as "the killer people", and is similar to other terms used by Eastern Algonquian tribes to refer to the Iroquois which translate as "murderers".This name derives from two phonetically-similar but etymologically-distinct words in the Seneca language: Hodínöhšö:ni:h, meaning "those of the extended house," and Hodínöhsö:ni:h, meaning "house builders".Iroquois influence extended into present-day Canada, westward along the Great Lakes and down both sides of the Allegheny mountains into present-day Virginia and Kentucky and into the Ohio Valley.
The League is governed by a Grand Council, an assembly of fifty chiefs or sachems, each representing one of the clans of one of the nations.The history of the Iroquois Confederacy goes back to its formation by the Peacemaker in 1142, bringing together five distinct nations in the southern Great Lakes area into "The Great League of Peace".Each nation within the Iroquoian family had a distinct language, territory and function in the League.The women elders nominate the chief for life from the clan, and own the symbols of his office.When Europeans first arrived in North America, the Haudenosaunee were based in what is now the northeastern United States, primarily in what is referred to today as Central New York west of the Hudson River and through the Finger Lakes region, and upstate New York along the St.More recently, Peter Bakker has proposed a Basque origin for "Iroquois".