Indians of North America Series: The Iroquois. Edited film documents the history of the Iroquois American Indians and their contributions to agriculture, the role of women in Iroquois society, the relationship with both Indians and non-Indians on Iroquois territory, and Iroquois philosophy on the land. Film explains the division of the League of the Iroquois into the six tribes of the Mohawks, Onondaga, Seneca, Tuscarora, Oneida, and Cayuga, situated in what is today Pennsylvania, New York and southern Canada. One major contribution cited is the harvesting of numerous types of corn, a skill which the Iroquois passed along to the European settlers along with other agricultural knowledge. Various themes explored include: the American Revolutionary War as a conflict dividing the Iroquois; matriarchy and the role of women in selecting the new chiefs; the Iroquois understanding of land as an unownable entity; friendly relations with nearby Quakers; impact of the U.S. Government land policies. Featured are tribal heroes such as Eli Parker, the first Indian elected head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the spiritual leader Handsome Lake, who taught of the importance of dreams an visions and advocated a return to lost Iroquois rituals. Footage sequences include black and white photographs of Iroquois farming; beadwork used for belts and as symbols of peace; the longhouse as the site of religious worship; the site of the 1960 flood of the Kinzua Dam destroying Iroquois land and homes; interviews with elders and youths.
Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, MD