- from America 1492
Forests covered the eastern half of North America 500 years ago. Native Americans had cleared the underbrush in many areas. They used a technique we call controlled burning.
Many early European explorers described the forests as open and like parks. That was because of the controlled burning. Native Americans cleared fields for farming. They also made paths through the forest that would someday become roads and then highways.
In 1492, the Iroquois people lived in northern New York State. The Iroquois were actually a group of five peoples: the Mohawks, the Seneca, the Oneida, the Onondaga, and the Cayuga. Each lived in different areas of the forest. The women did most of the farm work. The men took care of hunting and war-making. Men had to defend the villages against war parties from other tribes. They also tried to take more land for their tribes. Boys trained to be warriors when they grew up.