Iroquois of Canada

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Native American Peoples >> Iroquois of Canada

Origin and History

When Jacques Cartier explored the Saint-Laurent River in 1535, he found it occupied by Iroquoian speakers with two large settlements at Stadacona (present-day Québec) and Hochelaga (present-day Montréal). When Champlain arrived in 1607, these people had dispersed due to cold weather and famine and had been replaced by Algonquin speakers.

In 1665, three nations (Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca) of the Iroquois Confederacy offered the French an alliance. In 1666, the French launched two offensives against the Mohawks and Oneidas, burning crops and several villages. In 1667, these Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) signed a peace treaty with the French and, as a result, extended the ‘rafters of the longhouse’ by establishing nine settlements along the Saint-Laurent and on the north shore of Lake Ontario reclaiming their former homelands; the Cayuga at the Bay of Quinté, and Mohawk and some Oneida at La Prairie.

In 1680, the French Crown gave the estates of Sault Saint-Louis (present-day Kahnawake), on the south shore of the Saint-Laurent River near Montréal, to the Jesuit missionaries. At that time, diplomatic relations between the French settlers and the Iroquois Confederacy were slowly deteriorating, and induced by fish, game, trade, medicine and Jesuits some Mohawks, to relocate to ancestral lands in Canada, near Montréal in the heart of Nouvelle-France.

During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713), aka Queen Anne’s War, the Iroquois of Canada took part in raids against New England settlements and traded captives. Younger children and women were sometimes adopted and assimilated into the tribe.

In 1717, the French Crown granted the Mohawk a tract of land 14.5 km long by 14.5 km on Lake des Deux-Montagnes, just west of Montréal. The settlement, known as Oka or Kanesatake, was a Catholic mission supervised by the Sulpicians. It initially counted 300 Mohawk, about 100 Algonquin, and approximately 250 Nipissing peoples.

Settlements of the Iroquois of Canada - Copyright: Kronoskaf

In 1749, the French Abbé Piquet established the mission of La Présentation (near present-day Ogdensburg/NY) near the mouth of the Oswegatchie River. The mission attracted Native Americans, mostly Onondaga, for the fur trade. They ostensibly converted to Catholicism. By 1751, 396 Iroquois families, largely Onondaga with some Oneida and Cayuga, had settled in the area between Toniato Creek (now known as Jones Creek, in Thousand Islands National Park) and the Long Sault. They came to be called the Oswegatchie. By 1755, there were 3,000 Iroquois living at La Présentation. In 1757, the Oswegatchie of La Présentation had 12 village council men, 6 pine tree (war) chiefs and 12 clan mothers.

In 1754, about 30 families of Kanesatake migrated about 100 km upstream along the Saint-Laurent River to Akwesasne. In 1755, the Jesuits established the mission of Saint-Régis among these Native Americans.

Role during the War

In the first years of the Seven Years’ War, the Iroquois of Canada fought alongside the French against the British. They took part in most expeditions on Lake Champlain and Lake Ontario.


On July 3, 1754, Kanesatake and Kahnawake men were present in the Native American force that defeated Colonel Washington in the engagement of Fort Necessity.


On July 9, 1755, of the 637 Native American warriors who took part in the ambush of Braddock’s forces on the Monongahela, 18 were from Kanesatake, 22 from Kahnawake and 6 Iroquois from La Présentation.

In September, the Kahnawake Mohawk, although providing support for the French in the Ohio, were also in touch with the Mohawk and British in New York with whom they had profitable commercial relationships but also grievances with the latter. They informed a delegation of Mohawks belonging to the Confederacy that they remain neutral but themselves were committed to the French.

In September, following persuasion by the Abenaki, Canadian Iroquois placed themselves at the head of the column commanded by General Dieskau heading for Fort Edward. The British army under William Johnson was camped at Lake George and given the choice of besieging Fort Edward or the army, the Native Americans chose the army. Dieskau turned north when scouts reported British troops marching south, he planned to ambush them. However, the provincial column was accompanied by Mohawk and some Oneidas headed by Theyanoguin (Hendrick). A Kahnawake warrior shouted out to Theyanoguin that they had no desire to fight their kin and each asked the other to remain neutral in the coming fight. A shot was fired by a young League Mohawk warrior at the Kahnawake negotiator starting firing from the Canadian natives. The provincial column was quickly forced to retreat followed by in particular Kahnawake and Abenaki warriors. Theyanoguin, unhorsed, was killed by some Native American women whilst attempting to escape. The action became known as the ‘Bloody Morning Scout’ by the British.

On reaching the provincial camp on Lake George, Native American warriors sniped at the entrenchments. The French attacks failed and Dieskau was mortally wounded. The force withdrew to Carillon (present-day Ticonderoga).


In February and March 1756, 45 Compagnies Franches de la Marine, 49 soldiers from the La Reine, Guyenne and Béarn infantry and 166 men of the Milice accompanied by some 106 Native American warriors, including 33 Iroquois from Kanesatake; 18 from Kahnawake; 38 Oswegatchie from La Présentation; and 3 from Akwesasne, took part in the French expedition against Fort Bull, to the north-east of Lake Oneida. The expeditionary force led by M. de Léry was guided by Oratory, an Oneida from La Présentation.

The 130-mile trek was made on snowshoes and involved crossing two rivers, one waded as Rogers was later to do on the Saint-François Raid, in freezing conditions, reached its target Fort Bull which was taken and returned by a different route. Of the Native Americans 30 Iroquois had taken part in the actual assault; the majority thought it to make no sense. The Iroquois captains had informed Léry "the Master of Life has favoured us, here is the food, here are the prisoners, let's return home." The British incurred 76 men killed and 35 made prisoner. The French lost 1 Troupes de la Marine killed and nine soldiers wounded/injured and one the Iroquois captains, Collière, was killed.

On March 8 Akwesasne Iroquois arrive in Varennes with 8 prisoners from around Fort Oswego (Chouaguen).

In July, 87 Canadian Iroquois and 173 other Native Americans joined with Montcalm’s Army of 2,787 regulars and militias assembled at Niaouré Bay prior to an attack on Forts Ontario and Oswego at the mouth of the Oswego River. On August 10, 150 Native Americans with 300 Milice and 90 regulars landed at La Petite Anse, 2 km from Oswego and proceeded to encircle Fort Ontario on the east bank of the Oswego River. Whilst Fort Ontario was besieged by Montcalm on August 14 all the Native Americans and most of the Milice swam or waded the Oswego River under fire from British warships, took the unfinished Fort George to the west and encircled Fort Oswego preventing the garrison from escaping. Outflanked the British surrendered. Some Native Americans looted Fort Ontario and all left the next day.

To the east, on July 23, during the operations on Lake Champlain, a number of Iroquois warriors from Canada joined Lévis’ forces at Carillon. On July 30, 112 Native Americans accompanied 100 Milice scouting towards Forts William Henry and Edward.

On August 7, another party of 25 Iroquois warriors arrived at Carillon from Montréal.

On September 4, 150 Kahnawake warriors arrived from Sault-Saint-Louis. Three days later, Lévis sent all the Native Americans present to advance posts.

On September 11, a further party of 300 Native American warriors (Iroquois, Mississauga and Odowa) arrived at Carillon. On September 16 at 6:00 p.m., 100 Canadiens and 400 Native American warriors under Captain de la Perrière embarked aboard 34 canoes at Contrecoeur’s camp for an expedition in the direction of Fort Edward and Fort William Henry (Malartic mentions 600 Native American warriors (Iroquois, Abenaki and Odowa) and 200 Milices Canadiennes).

On September 19, 110 Native Americans, including at least, Kahnawake men, and 30 Milice led by Marin (part of La Perrière's force) ambushed Captain Hodges and 50 men a few km from Fort William Henry. Only six men of Hodges' detachment escaped. La Perrière returned to Carillon with 14 prisoners and 26 scalps.

On September 21 and 22 almost all Native Americans departed Carillon to return home before winter, except 36 who were retained by Montcalm by giving them gifts.

On September 22, 24 Iroquois and Nipissing warriors from Kanesatake arrived at Carillon.


In January 1757, 300 Kahnawake Mohaw and Abenaki warriors joined Rigaud’s winter expedition against Fort William Henry. Although there were some skirmishes around the Fort the expedition was forced to retire due to the weather.

In June, Iroquois, Abenaki, Mi’kmaq, Nipissing, Wendat and Algonquin warriors from Canada, along with warriors from the "Pays d’en Haut", started to join the army preparing to lay siege to Fort William Henry.

By July 20, 258 Kahnawake warriors from Sault-Saint-Louis and 81 Kanesatake from Deux-Montagnes formed part of Longueuil's Brigade. Furthermore, on July 24 on Lake Champlain, 277 Iroquois warriors of Canada arrived at Fort Carillon. By the end of July, the allied Native Americans numbered 1,799 men.

On August 4, the French began the siege of Fort William Henry and the retrenchment outside the fort. During the siege, the Iroquois, along with the rest of the Native American force and the Milice formed an observation screen from the edge of the woods to the south of the fort and retrenchment blocking the road to Fort Edward. On August 9, Colonel Monroe surrendered the fort and was permitted to leave. The following morning the British marched out to Fort Edward. The rear of the column consisting of provincials and rangers was briefly assaulted by aggrieved Abenakis.

In November, Oswegatchie warriors of La Présentation took part in the raid on the Mohawk River.


On March 12, 1758, some 200 Native American warriors from the mission villages (mostly Kahnawake Iroquois) took part in the Skirmish of Snow Shoes where they lost 7 men killed and 15 wounded. On March 28, the Kahnawake contingent arrived at Sault Saint-Louis.

In the late winter and spring of 1758, the Oswegatchie carried out a number of raids on British settlements along the Mohawk River. On one such raid in April, the pine tree chief Ohquandageghte accompanied by two men carried out a raid on German Flats. In the attack on a house Ohquandageghte, single-handedly, brandishing a knife, leapt through a window assaulted 11 New York Provincials placing himself between their stacked muskets he trapped all in a corner of a room. With the aid of the other two warriors the provincials became prisoners and were taken back to Montréal.

In July, following the French repulse of the British at Carillon, a small party of Kahnawake arrived at Carillon. The three3 warriors joined 200 Milice and travelled to Fort Halfway Brook between Fort Edward and Lake George. On July 20, there was a skirmish with a convoy escort. The party returned on July 21 with 20 scalps and 8 prisoners. However, one Iroquois had been killed and two wounded.

On July 16, 200 Kanesatake, Nipissing and Algonquin warriors had arrived at Carillon.

At a meeting of Native Americans with Montcalm on July 22, he requested that they stay. The Iroquois and Abenaki refused to accompany a planned expedition towards Lake George and played lacrosse instead. The next day, the Native American divided, 400 headed with 200 Canadiens headed south and attacked a British convoy at Halfway Brook. One Kahnawake was killed and 10 wounded in the allied force but they took 84 prisoners, including Abercromby’s entire military band, and 100 scalps. The remaining Native Americans travelled north to Montréal to meet with Governor Vaudreuil. After the meeting they agreed to return to Carillon when Vaudreuil explained that Montcalm’s interpreters had been at fault.

On August 8, about 400 Native Americans and Canadiens and Compagnies Franches de la Marine ambushed an advance guard of Rogers' Rangers east of Lake George near Fort Anne. A bush fight developed in which the rangers were reinforced by the main body. The French withdrew, ‘as the British were so many’. As a result, the British force lost 49 killed, 40 to 60 wounded and 6 prisoners including Major Israel Putnam. The French report the loss of 3 soldiers, 3 Canadiens and 4 Native Americans with 2 cadets, 1 soldier, 5 Canadiens and 4 Native Americans wounded. With this encounter the campaign season came to an end for the Canadian Iroquois.


Beginning in May, Canadian Iroquois, Abenaki, Nipissing, Odowa, Menominee and Mississauga warriors based at Carillon took part in a series of raids on the British. These raids were directed at the growing British presence between Fort Edward and Lake George and British rangers and associates who were increasingly found on Lake George.

On July 8, 75 Kahnawake encountered three whaleboats on Lake George carrying 4 rangers and 22 mostly Mahican rangers. The rangers were pursued by the Kahnawake men in their canoes and despite being fired upon kept up the chase. The rangers beached and scattered into the forest on the western shore with the Kahnawake right behind. The Kahnawake eventually killed 4 and took 4 prisoners.

By the end of June, Québec was under siege by the British. On August 21, a party of Native Americans, probably Kahnawake, women carrying muskets fired on and put to flight a British landing at Pointe aux Trembles.

Meanwhile, on July 23 on Lake Champlain, as the British army approached Fort Carillon the Kahnawake and other Native Americans departed for home to be replaced on July 26 joining the field army at the Rivière à la Barbue by 70 other Canadian Iroquois. On July 29, Carillon was abandoned and the defenders retired to Rivière à la Barbue. This was, along with the loss of Fort Niagara, a turning point in the war for the Canadian Iroquois.

In August, Luc de la Corne reported that although, ‘... our Natives are most favourably disposed, and say they will never abandon the French...’ but many informed that, ‘... if the English invade our land, the people of the rapids [Kahnawakes] will remain neutral.’ In September the Oswegatchies were approached by an embassy from Sir William Johnson to quit the French as a British army was about to advance up the Saint-Laurent. On September 30, Kahnawake and Kanesatake emissaries met Johnson to assure that they would ‘... never more assist the French’.

In September, Iroquois warriors from Kanesatake (Deux-Montagnes) and Oswegatchie (La Présentation) joined La Corne's forces posted near the rapids of the Saint-Laurent River.


Canadian Iroquois continued to fight for the French outside the Lake Ontario region. On February 15 1760, 25 Oswegatchie arrived in Montréal to take part in the offensive on Québec and sailed with the army on April 20. The British were defeated in the Battle of Sainte-Foy and retreated into Québec. The Canadian Iroquois played no part in this encounter but were involved in scouting until the siege was lifted on May 16. Prior to the campaign, the Kanesatake considered that if the French did not succeed further opposition to the British would be in vain.

Fear of the British was apparent for the Oswegatchie, the town being abandoned by many families who relocated to the Ile Piquet, considering their ruthlessness against the Acadians, the civil population around Québec and the Saint-François raid. On July 26, 67 women, children and elders left Oswegatchie and travelled the supposed safety of Kanesatake and Montréal. Akwesasnes, Kahnawakes, Kanesatakes and Oswegatchies travelled regularly to Oswego and Johnson Hall to reaffirm their peaceful intentions and to trade.

In August, 15 Oswegatchies joined Amherst at Oswego. Nonetheless, the approach of Amherst’s Army caused most of the Iroquois and their Abenaki guests to abandon Akwesasne whilst the remaining Oswegatchies led into the forest. The British mistook the Oswegatchie homes for being French. Oswegatchie was garrisoned by the British and by October most of the houses had been destroyed for firewood. When the Oswegatchie returned their community was in ruins.

Whilst investing Fort Lévis a treaty was agreed with the Canadian Iroquois and other Native American nations that they, ‘... would not only enjoy the same privileges we enjoyed with the French, but still more and greater, - and better usage’.

Even so, a significant contingent of Canadian Iroquois remained alongside the French at Montréal but the French could not meet their conditions and following a message of mediation received from the League Iroquois on August 24, they withdrew to Kahnawake.

On September 15 and 16 the Treaty of Kahnawake neutrality was turned into alliance with the British and the Iroquois Confederacy.


The 44th Regiment of Foot was billeted near Kahnawake and numerous community members were assaulted, robbed and generally abused by the soldiers. Other incidents occurred when going into Montréal and at Les Cèdres during the winter of 1760-61 where British troops fired on passing canoes of Kanesatakes and Kahnawakes.

By 1773 the Kanesatakes declared that the privileges made by Sir William Johnson were contrary to that promised. Nonetheless, the Canadian Iroquois had emerged from the Seven Years War with their communities intact and their rights acknowledged.


Mohawk Warrior in 1764. - Source: Public domain


Lafitau writing in 1724 of his observations between 1712 and 1717 described Kahnawake men’s hair as being arranged in various configurations including the placement atop the head of, ‘... two [one is indicated in the original French text] or three little topknots in the form of tufts to which he ties, with a little worked leather, a little piece of white wampum; and he passes through the base of the middle tuft a feather tube adorned with different colours.’

Young James Smith, during his Kahnawake adoption rites of passage in 1755, had his hair shorn to a patch 7.5 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) square on the crown. The remaining hair was cut off with scissors and braided into three scalplocks, two of which were wrapped around with a narrow beaded garter and the other plaited to the full length and silver broaches ‘stuck’ to it. Later when Smith’s face and body had been painted, a warrior bound one of the youth’s scalp locks erect for about six inches and tied a cockade of red feathers to it. Possibly the three scalplocks are congruent with the three eagle feathers adorning the Mohawk gustoweh. Certainly, hair is to do with the spirit of a person passing on into the Sky World following death, helped by the great celestial eagle-spirit; a feather of the eagle often adorned a man’s head. The head depilation practice may have grown out of a desire to honour Hinun, the Great Bald Eagle Man-being [aka the Thunderer - The bald eagle was the true ‘war eagle’ and snake killer; the earthly counterpart of Hinun, the Thunderer].


A helmet called the gustoweh made of either buckskin or cloth covering a frame of wood splints and decorated with feathers was often worn by men at special occasions. Each nation could be identified by the number and positioning:

  • the Mohawk: three upright eagle feathers
  • the Oneida: two upright feathers and one down
  • the Onondaga: one feather pointing upward and another pointing down
  • the Cayuga: a single feather at a forty-five degree angle
  • the Seneca: a single feather pointing up
  • the Tuscarora: no distinguishing feathers

N.B.: Council members wore gustoweh with deer antlers attached each side.


Tattooing of the face and body was practised as an alternative to painting. Tattoos in the form of some animal, such as an eagle, a snake or other figure were ingrained with powdered charcoal. Linear patterns were also used extensively.


Pierre Pouchot, a French engineering officer writing in the late 1750s stated, generically, that men spent up to three or four hours decorating their head and goes on the say: ‘They practice of dressing their faces artistically in red, black and green, in fanciful designs, and which they often change two or three times a day, does not allow us to judge the natural colour except of eyes and teeth, which are very small but very white. The lips are stained with vermillion’. Louis Antoine de Bougainville recorded on July 10, 1757 in his journal, of Kahnawake men approaching in... ‘Two canoes, each with ten naked Indians, the finest men of all the villages, painted for war in red and blue...’

Ears and Nose

When adopted by the Kahnawake (albeit those who moved to the Allegheny at Muskingham with Lenape and Mohicans. There was also commuting between Saint-Laurent and the Ohio regions) James Smith in 1755 stated that ‘... they bored my nose and ears, and fixed me off with ear rings and nose jewels.’

Robert Hunter, albeit visiting Montréal in the 1780s wrote, probably referring to Kahnawake or Kanesatake men, that: ‘They have all great trinkets hanging to their noses and amazing large stars and suns dangling at their ears.’ At the same time his travelling companion Joseph Hadfield described Akwesasne men, living west of Montréal, as having, ‘... ears are cut in shreds to which are affixed curious iron ornaments of 2 to 3 inches in diameter. They also have pendants to their noses.

At the time of the French and Indian War, Pierre Pouchot, a French engineering officer considered the helix of the ears were cut after a young man had been to war for the first time. A piece of lead is attached to extend the cartilage, ‘... forming an opening large enough to put in a mitasse rolled up. They put brass wire around, and in the circumference, they put tufts of coloured hair or feathers. These ears come down to the shoulders, and float there as they walk. When they travel in the woods, they put a band around their foreheads to keep their ears from being torn in the thickets.’ Pouchot also observed that: ‘They pierce the cartilage of the nose, and put in a little ring with a triangle of silver, which falls down before the mouth.’

Necklaces and Neck Pouches

James Smith recalled that, ‘They put a large belt of wampom on my neck, and silver bands on my hands and right arm...’ Pouchot stated that Indian men wore, ‘... around the neck, a collar pendant like our orders of knighthood. At the end is a plate of silver, as large as a saucer. Or a shell of the same size, or a disc of wampum’. A tobacco pouch could also have been worn around the neck and in which was kept a man’s personal pipe. The tobacco pouch were made of the skins of animals with the hairy side turned outwards.

‘The Indians are fond of wearing rings upon all their fingers.’

Breechclout and Apron

Pierre Pouchot, writing between 1755 and 1760, generically, recorded men wearing, ‘... a breech-cloth, which is a quarter of an ell of cloth, which they pass under their thighs, crossing before and behind upon a belt around the waist. Sometime the cloth is embroidered. When they travel, to avoid being chafed by the cloth, they put it simply as an apron before them.’


Judging from contemporary illustrations, it appears the Iroquois living along the Saint-Laurent in the 18th century had adopted leggings from Algonquin speaking associates with the seam on the outside leg rather than the front seam type worn by the New York Iroquois. These were fitted tightly to the leg with double flaps or wings hanging feely down the outside. Some had a single flap at the back with the front stitched on the inside forming the outer seam of the legging. Each flap was decorated with ribbons, edge beading, moose hair embroidery, broaches and braid. Jesuit Nau stated in 1735 that: ‘Their mitasse, that is their Leggings, are adorned with ribbons and a variety of flowers embroidered with elk [moose]-hair dyed red or yellow. These are made to fit closely, the better to show off the elaborate finish of the work.’ Obviously, these were for best wear and that on the trail plain half or full leggings of blue or red cloth, or buckskin would be worn.


Pierre Pouchot observed that, generically, ‘... they wear garters of beads [probably loomed wampum in geometric patterns of white and dark blue black], or porcupine quills [in red, black and white], bordered four fingers wide, which are tied on the legs.’ Garters were also made of woven woollen fibres typically dyed red with white bead patterns incorporated into the weave.


Jesuit Nau observed in 1735 that Kahnawake... ‘moccasins are of smoke-dried deerskin. Some wear silk Stockings and shoes of French make and silver buckles.’ Moccasins were made of smoked moose or buckskin with a puckered centre seam along the instep. They had cuffs split at the back (women’s moccasins were made with a single cuff around the ankle). A two-piece moccasin style with a separate vamp, probably adopted from the Algonquins/Nipissings, was also worn. They are fastened under the cuff and tied at the instep with a thong. During the winter, moccasins are made larger so that they could be lined with rabbit skin, moose hair and or old blanket and the cuffs wrapped up around the ankles. Snow shoes were worn during the winter.


A European shirt, cut in contemporary European fashion, was also popular and could be daubed with grease and paint to waterproof it. Peter Kalm states that: ‘They wear a shirt which is either white or blue striped and a shaggy piece of cloth, which is either blue or white, with a blue or red stripe below. This they always carry over their shoulders... They all have their breasts uncovered.’ Pouchet mentions that: ‘The fore arm [of a shirt presumably] is ornamented with silver broaches, three or four inches wide, and the arms by a kind of wristlets made of wampum or coloured porcupine quills with fringes of leather above and below.’ Quillwork for the area was likely to use black, red and white quills.

Blankets and Coats

Trade blankets were worn for warmth. At the time French blankets were considered of better quality than those supplied by the British. Hooded capotes were a popular item of winter dress for Algonquin speakers and are likely to have also be worn by Canadian Iroquois men. In 1743, it is recorded that seventy cloth capotes trimmed with false silver lace were sent to Fort La Raye (Green Bay) to be traded for furs. Eight were of white cloth and the others of unspecified colours. They lacked buttons and were fastened by a patterned woven wool sash or belt at the waist. European coats and sleeved waistcoats in the contemporary style were also obtained and worn by some men.


Halters or tumplines were carried on raids for captives. These were a woven braid made of twined vegetal fibre some 350cm long with a broad central portion for a neck band of about 70 cm and 7 cm wide which could be decorated with false embroidery with dyed moose hair in bold geometric patterns. Colours were white, grey, blue, orange and black and could have the edges of the centre portion beaded with white seed beads.

Further to above, James Smith wrote of more about his adoption by the Kahnawake: ‘These young women then led me up to the council house, where some of the tribe were ready with new cloths for me. They gave me a new ruffled shirt, which put on, also a pair of leggins done off with ribbons and beads, likewise a pair of mockasons, and garters dressed with beads, porcupine-quills, and red hair also a tinsel laced cappo. They again painted my head and face with various colours, and tied a bunch of red feathers to one of these locks they had left on the crown of my head, which stood up five or six inches. They seated me on a bear skin, and gave me a pipe. tomahawk, and polecat skin pouch, which had been skinned pocket fashion, and contained tobacco, killegenico, or dry sumach leaves, which they mix with their also spunk, flint and steel.'


Pierre Pouchot described generically the equipment carried by Native American men. ‘The men wear a belt about six inches wide, made of wool of different colour, which the Indian women make very neatly, of flaming designs. They hung to this belt their mirrors and their tobacco pouch, which is the skin of an otter, beaver, cat or bird taken off whole and tanned, into which they put their pipe tobacco and steel. They have also a pocket hanging like a wallet, for carrying their balls and lead for hunting or war. They have an ox horn with a shoulder strap for carrying powder. Their knife is hung in a sheaf from the neck, and falls upon the breast. They also have a crooked knife or a curved sword, and they make great use of this.’

By the beginning of the 18th century the standard trade musket that armed the Canadian Iroquois was manufactured in France at the Tulle arsenal. The .62 calibre ‘fusil de chasse’ or hunting musket has a 44-inch octagon-to-round barrel and the lock plate is marked with the name of the arsenal spelt as TVLLE. After 1745 the ‘V’ changed to a ‘U’. Characteristically the stock had a drooped ‘cow’s foot’ butt. In addition, Canadian Iroquois travelled regularly to trade in Albany and Oswego where British manufactured fuzee are likely to have been available.

A powder horn and a shot pouch would have been worn over the shoulder and high up under the arm to minimise them flapping about whilst moving. Shot pouches were often made of woven fibre with white bead patterns woven into the threads; bags of deerskin with sewn wampum panels with small white geometric patterns on a dark blue-black field or of black dyed skin with quillwork and white bead edging with a fringe of metal cones filled with red dyed deer hair (thunderbird and underwater panther designs are absent from Iroquoian quillwork, where the Thunderer is envisaged as a man-being form). Straps were of woven fibre or loomed wampum. A knife was carried in a sheaf, often decorated with red, black and white quillwork, hung around the neck and a tomahawk or warclub was carried stuffed through a belt at the back.


Bearor, Bob, Leading by Example, Volume 3, Westminster: Heritage Books, Inc., 2004, pp. 140-159.

Castle, Ian, Fort William Henry 1755-57: A battle, two sieges and bloody massacre, Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd, 2014, pp 41-51, 58-87.

Chartrand, René, Montcalm’s Crushing Blow: French and Indian Raids along New York’s Oswego River 1756, Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd, 2014, pp. 27-40

Hamilton, Edward (trans. and ed.) Adventures in the Wilderness: The American Journals of Louis Antoine de Bougainville, 1756-1760, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990, pp. 124.

Karklins, Karlis, Trade Ornament Usage Among the Native Peoples of Canada: A Source Book. Ottawa: Minister of the Environment. 1992, pp. 77.

MacLeod, D. Peter, The Canadian Iroquois and the Seven Years War, Canadian War Museum, 2012.

Pouchot, Pierre, Memoir Upon The Late War In North America, Between The French And English, 1755-60. Volume II, Alpha Editions, 2021, pp. 189-191.

Smith, James, Captivity with the Indians: An Account of the Remarkable Occurrences in the Life and Travels of Col. James Smith During His Captivity with The Indians, in the Years 1755, '56, '57, '58, and '59, Cincinnati: The Robert Clarke Co. 1907, pp. 14-16.

Thwaites, Rueben, The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents 1610 to 1791, Vol. 68, pp.:263-265. Accessed at

Haudenosaunee Confederacy

Waldman, Carl: Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes, Revised Edition, pp. 103-108


Bougainville, Louis Antoine de: Adventure in the Wilderness - The American Journal of Louis Antoide de Bougainville 1756-1760, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press translated by Edward P. Hamilton, p. 103

N.B.: the section Role during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.


Larry Burrows for a major overhaul of the entire article