Although the members of the Iroquois Confederacy pledged not to war with one another, they were often ferocious in battles with other tribes.
The Iroquois often fought against neighboring Algonquian and Iroquoian tribes, especially the Huron, whom they considered their greatest enemy. Successful warriors brought captives taken in battle back to their village.
A captive’s fate was in the hands of the village’s women. Sometimes they ordered that the captive be put to death, often by being tied to a stake and set on fire. At other times, the women chose to adopt the captive as a full member of the tribe.
Adopting captives helped keep the number of young men in a village constant, since they could replace men killed in battle.