- from America 1492
Five hundred years ago, forests covered the eastern half of North America. In many areas, native peoples cleared the underbrush by controlled burning of bushes.
Many early European explorers described the forests as open and parklike. This was because the Indians kept many areas free of brush. Native Americans had cleared fields for farming and 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 not actually one people but a group of five separate peoples—the Mohawks, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, and Cayuga. Each lived in different areas of the forest. While 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 of other tribes, and they also tried to extend their own territories. Boys were trained to become brave warriors when they grew up.