Intercultural Communication

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Intercultural communication is a discipline that seeks to comprehend how individuals from different cultures conduct themselves, communicate and perceive the world around them. Generally, intercultural communication can be termed as the social interaction between different groups of people in relation to the shared knowledge, languages and symbols of behaviors (Kanentiio, 2000). In order to understand this concept of intercultural communication, this study seeks to examine the history of the Iroquois ethnic group in North America. Importantly, this community comprises five tribes namely; Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, and Seneca hence the name Five Nations (Kanentiio, 2000).

Among these tribes, kinship is usually traced through matrilineal perspective. In this case, senior women had the duty of running family affairs (Kanentiio, 2000). According to the history of this community, women were responsible for family matters and agricultural products while men were held accountable for political and diplomatic matters within the village. It should be noted that, this community comprised of 5,500 people by the time they encountered the first white explorers on the onset of 17th century. The 1990 census report indicated that, there were 49,038 Iroquois live in America that made this community to be the eighth in the country's most populated Indigenous American groups (Kanentiio, 2000).

Interestingly, Iroquois constructed their homes in such a way that extended families comprising of 50 people stayed together in bark-covered, 50-150 feet long wooden-framed huts. It has been revealed that, the origin of the name Iroquois is not well known but some people think that it came from the Algonquian word ‘Irinakhoiw' (Kanentiio, 2000). On the other hand, no evidence has been provided to indicate where the Iroquois group came from. In this relation, it is believed that since Algonquian people are different in their culture despite the fact that they live on both corridors of Iroquois community; hence the Iroquois must have moved to this area at some time (Kanentiio, 2000).

It should be noted that, one of the significant event of this community's history is that; in spite of their commonness in culture and language, these five tribes have lived in constant war fare amongst them. In this aspect, the interrelationships of these tribes worsened which made them vulnerable to constant attacks by the Algonquian tribes (Kanentiio, 2000). On this basis, this period of constant attacks from neighboring community came to an end during the reign of chief Todadaho. According to the Iroquois legends, this chief was a cannibal as he ate from bowls made of his victims' skulls, his hair contained a knot of snakes, and he could murder with his Medusa-like look (Kanentiio, 2000).

History has it that, the cannibalism practices of chief Todadaho were put to an end by Deganawidah and his disciple Hiawatha when they confronted him with a message of peace. According to history, Todadaho when he was preparing to cook his latest victim saw the face of Deganawidah reproduced in the cooking pot and thought it was his. The beauty of the face could not be compared with his barbaric and dreadful practice of cannibalism and without more ado he forsook the practice (Kanentiio, 2000). After Todadaho and other Iroquois chiefs were convinced by Deganawidah and his disciple about his good message, they together established an Iroquois Confederacy on the banks of Lake Onondaga in 1400. In this case, this union was a confederation of nations that helped people share a positive system of values and live in harmony. As a result of this confederation, the Iroquois changed their lifestyles to the extent that when the first white explorers arrived thin community, Iroquois community was a settled agricultural society and more developed as compared with the Algonquians who practiced nomadic culture (Kanentiio, 2000).

Iroquois Historical Relationships with Algonquians and Hurons


History has it that, the Iroquois community and the Algonquians lived in constant conflicts where Iroquois because of their internal constant conflicts were always overpowered. According to the Iroquois legends, Chief Todadaho who practiced cannibalism practices helped Iroquois from the miseries of the Algonquians until a confederation was established in the year 1400 (Kanentiio, 2000). It is of importance to note that, since Iroquois were agriculturalist when they were met by the early white explorers; they used to exchange agricultural goods with Algonquians who were nomadic. On this basis, Algonquians exchanged their fur with Iroquois agricultural products. Additionally, it has been found that the language of the northern Iroquois was somehow related to Algonquians hence suggesting that there was an intrusion sometime in the past (Kanentiio, 2000).

Further, despite the fact that Huron community had some traces in Iroquoian linguistic family; they lived in great warfare where their relationship was termed as inherited hostility. On this basis, the Iroquois were growing mightily subjugating surrounding tribes which resulted to their crushing Huron confederacy in 1649. Moreover, Hurons traded with Iroquois where they provided fish and hunted animals in exchange of agricultural products like beans (Kanentiio, 2000).

Historical incidence of Iroquois discrimination


Significantly, Iroquois community only experienced discrimination from the colonizers where they were forced to pay taxes, offer food and forced labor in mineral industries and at the same time pearl harvesting. On this basis, the Iroquois fought the colonizers and became free considering themselves as a sovereign nation in America (Kanentiio, 2000). A point worth noting is that, Iroquois were divided on which side to support where some supported the colonizers while other rebelled. It is of importance to note that, Iroquois over-ruled other Indian communities and raided them as they are described as great lovers of fight (Kanentiio, 2000).
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