Cosmologies, therefore, are composite, representing the accumulated explanations of many things by many generations in diverse times. It must not be overlooked that although these legends concerning the beginnings of things are usually called myths, creation stories, or cosmogonies, the terms myth and creation are, in fact, misnomers. In all of these narratives, except such as are of modern date, creation in the modern acceptation of the word is never signified, nor is it even conceived; and when these legends or narratives are called myths, it is because a full comprehension and a correct interpretation of them have to a large extent been lost or because they have lieen supplanted by more accurate knowledge, and they are related without a clear conception of what they were designed to signify, and rather from custom than as the source of the major portion of the customs and ceremonies and opinions in vogue among the people relating them. The term Iroquoian is derived from the name Iroquois, which adapted from the Algonquian Indian language by the early French explorers, was applied originally to a group of five tribes then united in a permanent confederacy for offense and defense, and inhabiting the central and eastern portions of the region now comprised within the State of New York. Among other names they were called the Five Nations, and the League of the Iroquois, and, after their adoption of the Tuscaroras in 1722, the Six Nations. These five tribes attained the zenith of their remarkable career during the latter part of the seventeenth century, when, by the exploitation of the fundamental principles of the constitution of their League, they dominated by force of arms the greater part of the watershed of the Great lakes.


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Iroquoian Cosmology - J Hewitt 1904