The same organization, new relations
In 1745, the Iroquoians still had the same political organization as in 1500. So did the Huron and the domiciled Iroquois living near Québec City and Montréal. They still lived in their village with their council, as was the custom in their nations. They had kept their traditional political organization and laws. They elected their chiefs and society was still based on clans. The Five Nations still formed a confederation.
What had changed were the new relationships that had been forged when the Europeans arrived in North America. However, Native people and the Europeans did not always see eye-to-eye. Take the domiciled Natives for example. Were they French allies or the king’s subjects like the French colonists?
The view of the domiciled Iroquoians
The domiciled Huron and Iroquois saw themselves as French allies. They do not consider themselves subjects of the King of France. They were autonomous. They saw the governor of New France as a chief who took care of society’s day-to-day affairs. His role was to get people to agree with one another, but he could not force someone to obey him or agree with him.
The view of the French
The French, meanwhile, saw things differently. They thought Native people should be subjected to them and obey their laws. They saw themselves as masters of the territory. But because they needed Native people, either for the fur trade or to help protect the colony, they often had to make compromises.
As a result, relations were sometimes strained between the domiciled Native people and the French.
Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social
See also: Traces of the past