During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, as populations increased and older soils were exhausted, and as lifestyles grew increasingly sedentary and domestic, indigenous peoples expanded their territories north from the Lake Ontario shoreline in search of new village sites and new fields for their crops.
They worked the soil with small wooden spades, scraping it up to form hills some thirty or more centimetres (about twelve inches) high and a metre or two (three to six feet) across, in which they planted their seeds year after year.
They also gathered the fruit of the elderberry, raspberry, spikenard, and goosefoot bushes which added flavour to an otherwise bland diet.
Iroquoians were also matrilocal, with the extended family usually consisting of a woman and her daughters, or a group of sisters, living together with their husbands and children.
Young girls played games that taught them how to perform household tasks and identify plants, and in a short time, they were pounding corn and helping their mothers in the fields.
Sporting events and feasts broke the regularity of daily tasks at what is now Boyle-Atkinson.
Feasts incorporating games such as lacrosse, along with dancing and eating, were held to celebrate personal good fortune, to solemnize marriage or death, or to invest new leaders.
The clan segment appears to have been the basic unit of political organization among the Iroquoians.
A clan segment consisted of all the members of matrilineal extended families who inhabited a single community and claimed their descent from a common female ancestor.
Village work at Boyle-Atkinson likely reflected the traditional division of labour found among Iroquoian groups documented by Jesuit priests in the seventeenth century.