The Iroquois Indians consisted of five nations; the five nations were the Cayuga, the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Onondaga, and the Seneca. The Iroquois Indians had a very extensive political system and were way ahead of their times when it came to politics. The legislative, judicial, and executive powers in the Iroquois political system were taken on by the Iroquois tribal chiefs. There were three different grades of chiefs as well. Among many tribes being Chief was something that would be a tradition for certain important families.
Through conquest the Iroquois Indians seized control of most of the northeastern United States and even eastern Canada. In 1680 their empire was at its largest state in history, where it extended west from the Chesapeake Bay going right through Kentucky into the area where Ohio and the Mississippi River met. Then they controlled areas north that followed the Illinois River to the south of Lake Michigan, Lower Michigan, southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec.
The Iroquois Indians were the most important Native American tribe throughout North American history and the Mohawk were the largest tribe of Iroquois Indians with over 35,000 members. Over time though war and disease took its and by 1691 the Mohawk Indian tribe had less than 800 people. Before this time agriculture was extremely important to the Iroquois. Corn, beans, and squash were the main staples of their diets. The importance of agriculture to the Iroquois tribes was clearly seen with the six annual festivals they held with prayers of gratitude for their bountiful harvests. The Iroquois women usually tended the fields while the Iroquois men would take care of all the hunting duties, and during the winter they would sometimes go out on long hunting expeditions. During the spring time was fishing season for the Iroquois, and it was also the time when the women of the tribes would begin their planting. There are still Iroquois Indian tribes spread throughout America and Canada and many of their traditions remain alive. Much of their artwork and artifacts are on display in museums, where many people can get a small glimpse into what life was like for the Native American people who used to rules these lands.