Households and Families of the Longhouse Iroquois at Six Nations Reserve


Households and Families of the Longhouse Iroquois at Six Nations Reserve

Merlin G. Myers
Foreword by Fred Eggan
Afterword by M. Sam Cronk

Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians Series

260 pages
Illus., maps


July 2006


$75.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

This study of kinship relations, economics, and household organization among the modern Longhouse Iroquois, located in Ontario, Canada, fills a crucial gap in our knowledge of modern Iroquoian culture and history and provides a treasury of information about Longhouse social organization. Founded by nearly two thousand Iroquois allies of the British crown in 1784, the Six Nations Reserve became the first Iroquoian community to contain members of all five tribes of the original Iroquois Confederacy. By the mid-twentieth century, the reserve had divided along the lines of politics and religion into two distinct social groups, those who practiced Christianity and the followers of the more traditional Longhouse religion.

In the late 1950s, Merlin G. Myers conducted fieldwork among these traditionalists. He collected data on household structure and kinship relations from 150 families and interpreted his findings within the context of structural-functional anthropology, providing a rare example of British anthropological theory from this time applied to a North American Native community. His work also features valuable Cayuga linguistic contributions.

Author Bio

Merlin G. Myers (1923–91) was a professor of anthropology at Brigham Young University. The late Fred Eggan was an eminent anthropologist of the twentieth century who is especially noted for his studies of Native Americans in the Southwest and of Philippine tribal culture. M. Sam Cronk is a lecturer at Indiana University and a coauthor of Visions of Sound: Musical Instruments of First Nation Communities in Northeastern America.


"In a large literature, this book is the only example of structural-functional analysis in the British social anthropology mode of the 1950s. . . . It is a good book, and its detailed analysis of the household group and its relationship to matrilineal organization is a lasting contribution."—Choice