The palisade that encloses the back of the garden recalls a time when impressive pole fences surrounded Iroquois villages. They protected the longhouses that were built of wood and bark from strong gusty winds.
The Iroquois palisades found in the Saint Lawrence Valley in the Great Lakes region reached heights of 6, 10, even 15 metres and often included watchtowers and galleries used to spot the enemy.
In each longhouse lived several families led by women whose authority was transmitted from mother to daughter. Iroquois women played an essential role in the life of the village. They bore the children, transmitted their traditional knowledge and saw to the food requirements of the community.
Iroquois palisade surrounding a village
Illustration: Francis Back
The palisade of the Jardin des origines
Photo: Pierre Guzzo