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Over the years, several competing theories have been proposed for this name's ultimate origin— the earliest such proposal is by the Jesuit priest Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix, who wrote in 1744: The name Iroquois is purely French, and is formed from the term Hiro or Hero, which means I have said— with which these Indians close all their addresses, as the Latins did of old with their dixi— and of Koué, which is a cry sometimes of sadness, when it is prolonged, and sometimes of joy, when it is pronounced shorter. His preferred etymology at the time was from Montagnais irin "true, real" and ako "snake", plus the French -ois suffix, though he later revised his theory to state that the source was Algonquin Iriⁿakhoiw.

Each nation within the Iroquoian family had a distinct language, territory and function in the League.Lawrence Iroquoians, all independent peoples, spoke Iroquoian languages.In the larger sense of linguistic families, they are often considered Iroquoian peoples because of their similar languages and cultures, all culturally and linguistically descended from the Proto-Iroquoian people and language; however, they were traditionally enemies of the nations in the Iroquois League.The Iroquois have absorbed many other peoples into their cultures as a result of warfare, adoption of captives, and by offering shelter to displaced peoples.The historic Erie, Susquehannock, Wyandot (Huron), and St.Lawrence River area downstream to today's Montreal.

French, Dutch and British colonists in both Canada and the Thirteen Colonies recognized a need to gain favor with the Iroquois people, who occupied a significant portion of lands west of colonial settlements.

The women elders nominate the chief for life from the clan, and own the symbols of his office.

When Europeans first arrived in North America, the Haudenosaunee were based in what is now the northeastern United States, primarily in what is referred to today as Central New York west of the Hudson River and through the Finger Lakes region, and upstate New York along the St.

The League was composed of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca nations.

In or close to 1722, the Tuscarora tribe joined the League, having migrated from the Carolinas after being displaced by Anglo-European settlement.

Day in 1968, who elaborates upon an earlier etymology given by Charles Arnaud in 1880.