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|Joseph Brant, painted by Gilbert Stuart, 1786|
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Mohawk (borrowed from the Narraganset 'mohowaùuck', 'they eat (animate) things,)[better source needed] are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint. Kanien'kehá:ka ("People of the Place of Flint") are an Iroquoian-speaking indigenous people of North America originally from the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York. Their territory ranged to present-day southern Quebec and eastern Ontario. Their current settlements include areas around Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River in Canada. Their traditional homeland stretched southward of the Mohawk River, eastward to the Green Mountains of Vermont, westward to the border with the Oneida Nation's traditional homeland territory, and northward to the St Lawrence River. As original members of the Iroquois League, or Haudenosaunee, the Mohawk were known as the "Keepers of the Eastern Door". For hundreds of years, they guarded the Iroquois Confederation against invasion from that direction by tribes from the New England and lower New York areas. Mohawk religion is predominantly Animist.
Origins of name 
In the Mohawk language, the people call themselves the autonym, Kanien'kehá:ka, "People of the Place of Flint" or "People of the Light". It has been spelled in a variety of ways as Europeans tried to put it into their phonetic systems (e.g. Canyeers.) Some sources say Europeans adopted an Algonquian-language exonym given to the Kahnawake by traditional competitors of the tribe: in their language Mohawk meant "eaters of flesh". Other historians believe Europeans such as the Dutch, who called them Maquasen, and English, who first called them Mohowawogs, were trying to render the phonetic sounds of the name they heard other tribes call them. The Dutch also referred to the Mohawk as Hawks, Egils, or Maquas. The French adapted these terms as Aigniers, Maquis, or called them by the generic Iroquois. The accepted traditional use of "People of the Flint" is associated with their origins in the Mohawk Valley, their homeland in New York. There, the Natives used flint deposits to tip their arrows and for other toolmaking.
History since colonization 
First contact with European settlers 
In 1614, the Dutch opened a trading post at Fort Nassau, New Netherland, near present-day Albany, New York. The Dutch initially traded for furs with the local Mahican. In 1628, the Mohawk tribe defeated the Mahican, who retreated to Connecticut. The Mohawk gained a near-monopoly in the fur trade with the Dutch by not allowing the neighboring Algonquian-speaking tribes to the north or east to trade with them. The Dutch established trading posts at present-day Schenectady and Schoharie, further west in the Mohawk Valley.
The Mohawk and Dutch became allies. Their relations were peaceful even during the periods of Kieft's War and the Esopus Wars, when the Dutch fought localized battles with other tribes. The Dutch trade partners equipped the Mohawk to fight against other nations allied with the French, including the Ojibwe, Huron-Wendat, and Algonquin. In 1645 the Mohawk made peace with the French.
During the Pequot War (1634–1638), the Algonquian Indians of New England sought an alliance with the Mohawk. The Mohawk refused the alliance, killing the Pequot sachem Sassacus, who had come to them for refuge.
In the winter of 1651, the Mohawks attacked to the southeast and overwhelmed Algonquians in the coastal areas. They took between 500-600 captives. In 1664, the Pequot of New England killed a Mohawk ambassador, starting a war that destroyed the Pequot. The Mohawks also attacked other members of the Pequot confederacy, in a war that lasted until 1671.
In 1666, the French attacked the Mohawk in the central New York area, burning all the Mohawk villages and their stored food supply. One of the conditions of the peace was that the Mohawks accept Jesuit missionaries. Beginning in 1669, missionaries attempted to convert many Mohawks from paganism to Christianity and relocate to two mission villages near Montreal. These Mohawks became known as Kahnawake (also spelled Caughnawaga) and they became allies of the French. Many converted to Catholicism at Kahnawake, the village named after them.
After the fall of New Netherland to England, the Mohawks in New York became English allies. During King Philip's War, Metacom, sachem of the warring Wampanoag Pokanoket, decided to winter with his warriors near Albany in 1675. Encouraged by the English, the Mohawks attacked and killed all but 40 of the 400 Pokanokets.
From the 1690s, the Mohawks in the New York colony underwent a period of Christianization by Protestant missionaries. Many were baptized with English surnames while others were given both first and surnames in English.
During the era of the French and Indian War (also known as the Seven Years' War), Anglo-Mohawk partnership relations were maintained by men such as Sir William Johnson (for the British Crown), Conrad Weiser (on behalf of the colony of Pennsylvania), and Hendrick Theyanoguin (for the Mohawks). The Albany Congress of 1754 was called in part to repair the damaged diplomatic relationship between the British and the Mohawks.
American Revolutionary War 
During the second and third quarters of the 18th century, most of the Mohawks in the Province of New York lived along the Mohawk River at Canajoharie. A few lived at Schoharie, and the rest lived about 30 miles downstream at the Ticonderoga Castle, also called Fort Hunter. The two settlements were traditionally called the Upper Castle and the Lower Castle. The Lower Castle was almost contiguous with Sir Peter Warren's Warrensbush. Sir William Johnson built his first house on the north bank of the Mohawk River almost opposite Warrensbush.
Because of unsettled conflicts with settlers encroaching into the Mohawk Valley and outstanding treaty obligations to the British Crown, Mohawks fought against the United States during the American Revolutionary War. Some prominent Mohawks, such as the sachem Little Abraham at Fort Hunter, remained neutral throughout the war. One man, Joseph Louis Cook, supported the Americans and received a commission from the Continental Congress. During this war, Johannes Tekarihoga was the leader of the Mohawks. Johannes Tekarihoga died about 1780. Catherine Crogan, wife of Mohawk war chief Joseph Brant, named her brother Henry Crogan as the new Tekarihoga.
After the Revolution 
After the American victory, most of the Mohawks were forced to move further west, or into Canada. The Mohawks at the Upper Castle fled to Fort Niagara, while most of those at the Lower Castle fled to Montreal.
Joseph Brant led a large group of Iroquois out of New York to Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario. Another Mohawk war chief, John Deseronto, led a group of Mohawks to the Bay of Quinte. Other Mohawks settled in the vicinity of Montreal, joining the communities at Kahnawake, Akwesasne, and Kanesatake.
On November 11, 1794, representatives of the Mohawks (along with the other Iroquois nations) signed the Treaty of Canandaigua with the United States allowing them to own land in the Americas.
The Mohawks fought against the United States in the War of 1812.
Members of the Mohawk tribe now live in settlements spread throughout New York State and southeastern Canada. Among these are Kanièn:ke and Kana'tsioharè:ke in northeast New York, Ahkwesásne along the New York-Ontario-Quebec border, Ka'nehsatà:ke and Kahnawà:ke in southern Quebec, and Kenhtè:ke and Wáhta in southern Ontario. Mohawks also form the majority on the mixed Iroquois reserve, Ohswé:ken, in Ontario. There are also Mohawk Orange Lodges in Canada.
Many Mohawk communities have two sets of chiefs, who rule in unison and are in some sense competing governmental rivals. One group are the hereditary chiefs nominated by Clan Mother matriarchs in the traditional Mohawk fashion; the other is the elected chief and councilors with whom the Canadian and U.S. governments usually prefer to deal exclusively. Since the 1980s, Mohawk politics have been driven by factional disputes over gambling, land claims, traditional government jurisdiction, taxation, and the Indian Act.
Both the elected chiefs and the controversial Warrior Society have encouraged gambling as a means of ensuring tribal self-sufficiency on the various reserves or Indian reservations. Traditional chiefs have tended to oppose gaming on moral grounds and out of fear of corruption and organized crime. Such disputes have also been associated with religious divisions: the traditional chiefs are often associated with the Longhouse tradition, practicing consensus-democratic values, while the Warrior Society has attacked that religion and asserted independence. Meanwhile, the elected chiefs have tended to be associated (though in a much looser and general way) with democratic, legislative and Canadian governmental values.
In the 19th and early 20th century, the Government of Canada imposed English schooling and separated families to place children in English boarding schools. Like other tribes, Mohawks have fluctuated in their native language fluency. Many have left the reserve to join Canadian culture, and to work in a greater variety of occupations.
On October 15, 1993, Governor Mario Cuomo entered into the "Tribal-State Compact Between the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and the State of New York." The compact allowed the Tribe to conduct gambling, including games such as baccarat, blackjack, craps and roulette, on the Akwesasne Reservation in Franklin County under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
According to the terms of the 1993 compact, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, the New York State Police and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Gaming Commission were vested with gaming oversight. Law enforcement responsibilities fell under the cognizance of the state police, with some law enforcement matters left to the tribe. As required by IGRA, the compact was approved by the United States Department of the Interior before it took effect. There were several extensions and amendments to this compact, but not all of them were approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
On June 12, 2003, the New York Court of Appeals affirmed the lower courts' rulings that Governor Cuomo exceeded his authority by entering into the compact absent legislative authorization and declared the compact void . On October 19, 2004, Governor George Pataki signed a bill passed by the State Legislature that ratified the compact as being Nunc Pro Tunc, with some additional minor changes.
The Mohawk Nation is currently in pursuit of obtaining approval to own and operate a casino in Sullivan County, New York, at Monticello Raceway. The U.S. Department of the Interior has until recently approved of this action and even after obtaining Governor Eliot Spitzer's concurrence subject to the negotiation and approval of either an amendment to the current compact or a new compact has rejected their application to take the land into trust.
There are currently two pending. The State of New York has expressed similar objections in its responses to take land into trust for other Indian nations and tribes. The other contends that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act violates the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution as it is applied in the State of New York and is currently pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York.
Traditional Mohawk dress 
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
Most people believe that the Mohawks, like some indigenous tribes in the Great Lakes region, sometimes wore their hair cut off except for a narrow strip down the middle of the scalp from the forehead to the nape, that was approximately three finger widths across. However, the idea that Mohawks had "Mohawk hairstyles" is incorrect, and came from Hollywood movies, particularly Drums Along the Mohawk. The true hairstyle of the Mohawk, including the entire Six Nations, was to remove the hair from the head by plucking (not shaving) tuft by tuft of hair until all that was left was a square of hair on the back crown of the head. The remaining hair was shortened so that three short braids of hair were created and those braids were highly decorated. This is the true "Mohawk" hairstyle and not the Hollywood version taken from the Pawnee.
The women wore their hair long, often with traditional bear grease, or tied back into a single braid. They often wore no covering or hat on their heads, even in winter.
Traditional dress styles of the Kanien'kehá:ka Mohawk peoples consisted of women going topless in summer with a skirt of deerskin. In colder seasons, women wore a full woodland deerskin dress, leather tied underwear, long fashioned hair or a braid and bear grease. They wore several ear piercings adorned by shell earrings, shell necklaces, and also puckered seam ankle wrap moccasins.
The women also used a layer of smoked and cured moss as an insulation absorbency for menses, as well as simple scraps of leather. Later menses use consisted of cotton linen pieces where pilgrim settlers and missionaries provided trade and introduced of such items.
The traditional dress styles of the Kanien'kehá:ka Mohawk men consisted solely of a breech cloth of deerskin in summer, deerskin leggings and a full piece deerskin shirt in winter, several shell strand earrings, shell necklaces, long fashioned hair, and puckered seamed wrap ankle moccasins.
The men also carried a quill and flint arrow hunting bag, and arm and knee bands.
During the summer, the Kanien'kehá:ka Mohawk children traditionally wore nothing up to the ages of thirteen, the time before they were ready for their warrior or woman passages or rites.
Later dress after European contact combined some cloth pieces such as the males' ribbon shirt in addition to the deerskin clothing, and wool trousers and skirts. For a time many Mohawk peoples incorporated a combination of the older styles of dress with newly introduced forms of clothing.
According to author Kanatí:ios in Rotinonhsión:ni Clothing and & Other Cultural Items, Mohawks as a part of the Rotinonhsión:ni Confederacy "traditionally used furs obtained from the woodland, which consisted of elk and deer hides, corn husks, and they also wove plant and tree fibers to produce [the] clothing".
Later, sinew or animal gut was cleaned and prepared as a thread for garments and footwear and was threaded to porcupine quills or sharp leg bones to sew or pierce eyeholes for threading. Clothing dyes were obtained of various sources such as berries, tree barks, flowers, grasses, sometimes fixed with urine.
Durable clothing that was held by older village people and adults was handed down to others in their family sometimes as gifts, honours, or because of outgrowth.
Mohawk clothing was sometimes reminiscent of designs from trade with neighboring First Nation tribes, and more closely resembled that of other Six Nations confederacy nations; however, much of the originality of the Mohawk nation peoples' style of dress was preserved as the foundation of the style they wore.
There were often men who would dress in what would be seen as women clothing and embellishments.
Mohawk Nation wedding ceremonies are conducted by a nobleman or by couple's choice. The marrying couple unite in a lifelong relationship. The Mohawk Nation people are a matrilineal society and hold marriage as a great commitment that should be nurtured and respected. Much respect is given to the woman because she is the head of the household.
The traditional marriage ceremony included a day of celebration for the newlyweds, a formal oration by a nobleman of the woman's nation and clan, community dancing and feast, and gifts of respect and honour by community members. Traditionally these gifts were practical items that the couple will use in their everyday lives.
For wedding clothing, they wore white rabbit leathers and furs with personal adornments, usually made by their families, to stand apart from the rest of the community's traditional style of dress during the ceremony. The "Rabbit Dance Song" and other social dance songs were sung by the men, where they used gourd rattles and later cow-horn rattles. In the "Water Drum", other well-wishing couples participated in the dance with the couple. The meal commenced after the ceremony and everyone who participated ate.
Today, the marriage ceremony may follow that of the old tradition or incorporate newer elements, but is still used by many Mohawk Nation marrying couples. Some couples choose to marry in the European manner and the Longhouse manner, with the Longhouse ceremony usually held first.
Replicas of seventeenth-century longhouses have been built at landmarks and tourist villages, such as Kanata Village, Brantford, Ontario, and Awkwasasne's "Tsiionhiakwatha" interpretation village. Other Mohawk Nation Longhouses are found on the Mohawk territory reserves that hold the Mohawk law recitations, ceremonial rites, and the Mohawk and Handsome Lake religion. These include:
- Ohswé:ken(Six Nations) First Nation Territory, Ontario holds six Ceremonial Mohawk Community Longhouse.
- Wáhta First Nation Territory, Ontario holds one Ceremonial Mohawk Community Longhouse.
- Kenhtè:ke(Tyendinaga) First Nation Territory, Ontario holds one Ceremonial Mohawk Community Longhouse.
- Ahkwesásne First Nation Territory, Quebec holds two Mohawk Ceremonial Community Longhouses.
- Ka'nehsatà:ke First Nation Territory, Quebec holds one Ceremonial Mohawk Community Longhouses.
- Kahnawà:ke First Nation Territory, Quebec holds three Ceremonial Mohawk Community Longhouse.
- Kanièn:ke(Ganienkeh) First Nation Territory, New York State holds one Ceremonial Mohawk Community Longhouse.
- Kana'tsioharà:ke First Nation Territory, New York State holds one Ceremonial Mohawk Community Longhouse.
Mohawk communities today 
These are grouped by broad geographical cluster, with notes on the character of community governance found in each.
- Inland New York:
- Kanièn:ke(Ganienkeh) "Place of the flint". Traditional governance.
- Kana'tsioharè:ke "Place of the washed pail". Traditional governance.
- Along the St Lawrence:
- Ahkwesásne(St.Regis) "Where the partridge drums". Traditional governance, band/tribal elections.
- Ka'nehsatà:ke(Oka) "Where the snow crust is". Traditional governance, band/tribal elections.
- Kahnawà:ke "On the rapids". Traditional governance, band/tribal elections.
- Southern Ontario:
- Kenhtè:ke(Tyendinaga) "On the bay". Traditional governance, band/tribal elections.
- Wáhta(Gibson) "Maple tree". Traditional governance, band/tribal elections.
- Ohswé:ken(Six Nations of the Grand River) "???". Traditional governance, band/tribal elections.
Mohawk skyscraper builders 
New York City has a Mohawk Indian community founded by the arrival of hired skyscraper construction workers of Mohawk and other Iroquois origin from the 1930s to the 1970s on special labor contracts to build bridges and skyscrapers, including the Empire State Building. The construction companies found that the Mohawks did not fear heights or dangerous conditions, but the contracts offered lower than average wages and limited labor union membership.
A Mohawk community in Brooklyn called "Little Caughnawaga" had its heyday from the 1920s to the 1960s. Brooklyn Mohawks were mostly from Kahnawake. The work and home life of Mohawk steelworkers was documented in Don Owen's 1965 National Film Board of Canada documentary High Steel.
Approximately 200 Mohawk iron workers (out of 2000 total iron workers at the site) have contributed to rebuilding the One World Trade Center. They typically drive the 360 miles from the Kahnawake reserve on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec to work the week in lower Manhattan, and then return on the weekend to be with their families. A selection of portraits of these Mohawk iron workers were featured in an online photo essay for Time Magazine in September 2012.
Notable Mohawks 
- Joseph Brant, Mohawk leader, British officer
- Molly Brant, Mohawk leader, sister of Joseph Brant
- Jessica Danforth, founder and executive director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network
- Joseph Tehawehron David, Mohawk artist
- John Deseronto, Mohawk chief
- Flemish Bastard, Mohawk chief
- Hiawatha, Mohawk chief
- Kahn-Tineta Horn, activist
- Patricia Monture-Angus, lawyer, activist, educator, and author.
- Kaniehtiio Horn, film and television actress
- Waneek Horn-Miller, Olympian
- Sid Jamieson, lacrosse player, coach
- Pauline Johnson, writer
- Stan Jonathan, former NHL hockey player
- Derek Miller, singer-songwriter
- Shelley Niro (b. 1954), filmmaker, photographer, and installation artist
- Ots-Toch, wife of Dutch colonist Cornelius A. Van Slyck
- Alex Rice, actress
- Robbie Robertson, singer-songwriter, The Band
- August Schellenberg, actor
- Jay Silverheels, actor
- Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, "Lily of the Mohawks", a Catholic saint
- Billy Two Rivers, professional wrestler
See also 
- African Americans with Native Heritage
- Iroquois Confederacy
- Mohawk language
- Native American tribe
- Native Americans in the United States
- Oka Crisis
- One-Drop Rule
- The Kahnawake Iroquois and the Rebellions of 1837-38
- The Flying Head
- Kahnawake surnames
- "Native Americans Tribes Northeast Region: Tribal History". McGary. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
- American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pg. 401
- "Mohawk". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- Milton M. Klein, ed., The Empire State: A History of New York, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005, p. 7, accessed 27 Jan 2010
- see C. 590 of the Laws of 2004
- "The Associate Deputy Secretary of the Interior". Washington. 4 January 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- "Former Website of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation". Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- "Warren v. United States of America, et al". Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- Anne Marie Shimony, "Conservatism among the Iroquois at Six Nations Reserve", 1961
- Joseph Mitchell, "The Mohawks in High Steel," in Edmund Wilson, Apologies to the Iroquois (New York: Vintage, 1960), pp. 3-36."
- Tarbell, Reaghan (2008). "Little Caughnawaga: To Brooklyn and Back". National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
- Owen, Don. "High Steel" (Requires Adobe Flash). Online documentary. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
- Wallace, Vaughn (2012-09-11). "The Mohawk Ironworkers: Rebuilding the Iconic Skyline of New York". Time.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mohawk tribe|
- Mohawk Creation Story
- "Tsiionhiakwatha archaeological site and interpretation centre".
- "Mohawk Institute", Geronimo Henry
- Hodenasaunee Clothing and other Cultural Items
- The Wampum Chronicles: Mohawk Territory on the Internet, a website dedicated to Mohawk history, culture, and current events
- Iroquois Book of Rites