The Mohawk (Kanienkehaka), meaning the People of the Flint,are one of the five founding nations of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy. The Mohawks inhabited part of what is now known as the Mohawk Valley in New York State. Traditional Mohawk homelands extended north to the St. Lawrence River, east to Mahican territory, west to Oneida territory and south to Lenape territory.Since the Mohawk Nation was located to the east of the other Iroquois Nations, it was referred to as the “Keepers of the Eastern Door.” They were responsible for guarding the Iroquois Confederacy from threats from the east. In the 1600s, Jesuit missionaries persuaded many Mohawks to move to the Catholic "Station" which was located along the St. Lawrence River in Canada.The Haudenosaunee decided to remain neutral during the American Revolutionary War. Eventually, however, the Mohawks decided to fight with the British against the American colonists. After the Americans defeated the British many Mohawks were forced to flee from their ancestral homelands. Most Mohawks from the Upper Castle (located in the present day town of Danube, NY) fled to Fort Niagara. Most Mohawks from the Lower Castle (located near Fort Hunter, NY) fled to Montreal. Joseph Brant led a large group of Iroquois to Ontario, Canada to settle in what is now referred to as “Six Nations of the Grand River” or ”Six Nations” or “Ohsweken.” John Deseronto led another group of Mohawks to the Bay of Quinte. That became known as “Tyendinaga”. Another large group of Mohawks moved to an area located not far from Montreal, Quebec in Canada. From there, some Mohawks later relocated to Kahnawake, Ahkwesahsne and Kahnesatake. A few Mohawks remained in the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys.

There are 8 Mohawk communities in the United States and Canada shown in blue on the map above.

Click on the images below for information on each of the eight Mohawk communities.

Click the arrows to move to the next slide.

AKWESASNE

AKWESASNE

Akwesasne, also known as the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation, is a Mohawk territory located where Ontario Province, Quebec Province and New York State meet. Akwesasne is situated under the international border of the United States and Canada and includes islands in the St. Lawrence River. (The word “under” is used because Akwesasne existed before the United States/ Canadian border was established.) Akwesasne became a permanent settlement in 1755. Akwesasne means “Where the Partridge Drums”which refers to the pounding sound that a bird called the Partridge makes with its wings on a log during mating season. It also describes the sound of the rapids in the St. Lawrence River.

AKWESASNE

AKWESASNE

There are three forms of native government at Akwesasne. They are the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, and the St. Regis Band Council. The Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs is a traditionally run government that follows the teachings of the Great Law of Peace. It is the oldest form of government at Akwesasne. The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne was forcibly imposed on Akwesasne by Canada. The St. Regis Band Council was forcibly imposed on Akwesasne by the United States. Today, Akwesasne has a population of about 13,000 people. Some of the people follow the traditional spiritual teachings of the Longhouse. Some follow the Christian teachings of various religious denominations. Some follow other spiritual belief systems.

AKWESASNE

AKWESASNE

It is a vibrant community which has a variety of locally run businesses, schools, stores, restaurants, health clinics, a sports arena, cultural centers, homes for the aged, a library, museums, a radio station, locally run newspapers, gas stations, and many other modern conveniences. Akwesasne is constantly adapting to the demands of everyday life in the contemporary world. The people at Akwesasne never forget who they are. They are always aware of their rich and valuable heritage. They have learned how to survive by incorporating the teachings and values of the past with the needs and demands of today’s world.

GANIENKEH

GANIENKEH

Ganienkeh, which translates from Mohawk into Land of the Flint, is a Mohawk community located on about 600 acres near Altona, New York in the far northeast corner of Upper New York State. In May 1974 an armed group of Mohawks "repossessed" land near Altona, New York, at Moss Lake, a girls' camp. They left Akwesasne reservation in order to live traditional lives. The reclamation is a rare case of Native peoples repossessing land from the US. The members of the community believe that this part of their traditional territory had been illegally obtained in a 1797 treaty made with Joseph Brant. The action was part of specific land claims that were being filed by the Iroquois for lands lost after the American Revolution. The founding of Ganiengeh was also related to local problems at Akwesasne such as substance abuse.

GANIENKEH

GANIENKEH

In 1977 the three-year armed occupation of the camp ended when the Mohawk agreed to move to a 600-700 acre territory at Miner Lake, which was offered by New York State through an intermediary trust. This became the settlement of Ganienkeh, about 12 miles from the Canadian border. The local townspeople helped supply the 25 families with food and other necessities during the first winter. The Mohawk established a "permanent non-reservation settlement" and claimed sovereign status. Altona residents and the government object to the claim of sovereignty and the land dispute has still not been settled. Ganienkeh residents believe that they are the only Mohawk community functioning entirely under the Iroquois Constitution as a sovereign nation without interference from the US or Canadian governments. Their sovereign status means they can not be taxed by either New York State or the federal government.

GANIENKEH

GANIENKEH

In recent years Ganienkeh has relied on the Mohawk Nations Office and Warrior Society's introduction of high stakes, tax-free bingo, and tax-free sales of cigarettes and liquor for income. Not all residents of the community agree with using these sales for economic development. Over the years the community has created a number of agricultural and farming initiatives. The Ganienkeh Wholistic Center was created to provide services for the people of Ganienkeh and our non-Native neighbors. The community is devoted to revitalizing of the Mohawk language at Ganienkeh. In the winter of 2005 - Rontewennanónhnha – Ganienkeh’s first total immersion school became a reality. Initially the residents at Ganienkeh discouraged outside visitors, but they have begun extending their support to its “non-Indian” neighbors by providing employment opportunities and by assisting with various area charity fundraisers.

GIBSON (Wahta)

GIBSON (Wahta)

Wahta Territory is a small Mohawk community of 15,000 acres located in the Muskoka region of central Ontario, Canada. The territory was established in 1881, when a group of Protestant Mohawks moved from their original home in Oka, Quebec due to religious, civil and economic differences. Subsistence farming, trapping and work in the logging camps were their way of life. Many Wahta Mohawk have had to move from the community for economic reasons but still consider Wahta home. Recently Wahta Mohawks completed a history book that outlines a complete historical narration from the elders themselves.

GIBSON (Wahta)

GIBSON (Wahta)

The Wahta Mohawks own and operate Ontario's largest cranberry farm. The Iroquois Cranberry Growers have 68 acres of cranberries and also produces cranberry products including juice and sauces. The annual harvest is in October and is spectacular. The bog is open to visitors in season.

GIBSON (Wahta)

GIBSON (Wahta)

The Wahta Mohawks have several native government affiliations that carry out governance roles and responsibilities under the overall fiduciary responsibility of The Queen In Right of Canada. These include the Assembly of First Nations, the Chief's of Ontario, the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians and the local level of Wahta Mohawks Chief and Council. This structure is what defines the relationship between Wahta Mohawk members, their leaders and government of Canada. The Chief and Council is elected for a three year term.

KAHNAWAKE

KAHNAWAKE

The community of Kahnawake is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, approximately 20 km from Montreal. It is one of eight communities that make up the Mohawk Nation.The population of Kahnawake is approximately 7500. Residents originally spoke their Mohawk language, and some learned French when under French rule. Allied with the British government during the American Revolutionary War and the Lower Canada Rebellion, they have since become mostly English speaking. The territory is described in Mohawk as "on, or by the rapids" (of the Saint Lawrence River). In French, it was originally called Sault du St. Louis, also related to the rapids. The village was located along the natural rapids of the old river, until the Saint Lawrence Seaway canal cut through the village, permanently separating it from the natural river shore.

KAHNAWAKE

KAHNAWAKE

In 1680 the French Crown granted 40,320 acres in what was known as the Seigneurie du Sault-Saint-Louis, to the Jesuits for the protection of newly converted Mohawks. The territory was intended to be closed to European settlers, but the Jesuits allowed whites to rent land there. After the British assumed rule in 1762, the reserve was ordered to be exclusively for settlement by the Mohawks. Despite this order, the land was continually mismanaged by agents for the Mohawk resulting in the loss

KAHNAWAKE

KAHNAWAKE

In an attempt to prevent further loss of land, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake passed laws regulating who is eligible to reside on the Reserve. In 1981 non-natives were prohibited from living in the community and the Membership Law of 2004 ruled that Kahnawake members who married non-Mohawk would no longer be able to live on the reserve.

KAHNAWAKE

KAHNAWAKE

Kahnawake men have worked for generations as highsteel workers. In 1886 and 1887, when a new bridge was built across the river from Kahnawake to Montreal Island many men from Kahnwake worked as bridgemen and ironworkers. During the first half of the 20th century ironworkers from Kahnwake continued to work in Canada while some went to work on New York City's many skyscrapers, including the Empire State Building. With their families, they established a community in Brooklyn they called “Little Caughnawaga”. The families would return to Kahnwake in the summers to stay with relatives. Some residents of Kahnwake who grew up in Brooklyn still have a New York accent. When the Quebec Bridge collapsed in 1907, thirty-three Kahnawake (Mohawk) ironworkers died. Crosses of steel girders were erected at both ends of the reserve in honor of the men.

KAHNAWAKE

KAHNAWAKE

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission offers gambling licenses to Internet-based poker, casino, and sportsbook sites. In 1998 Kahnawake established Mohawk Internet Technologies, a data center that hosts and manages a number of Internet gambling web sites. MIT has become the nearest source of “legally hosted” online gambling for North America.

KANATSIOHAREKE

KANATSIOHAREKE

Kanatsiohareke (pronounced Ga na jo ha lay gay) was reestablished as a Mohawk community in 1993. It is located on the northern shore of the Mohawk River between Fonda and Canajoharie, about one hour west of Albany, New York. It is a working farm with cattle, horses and organic gardens. It has a Craft Store, a Bed and Breakfast, a Conference Room, and residential apartments. A small population of people live there fulltime. A large group of family, friends and volunteers visit regularly to help with maintaining the buildings and grounds and providing cultural information to native and non-native visitors at community events. Kanatsiohareke offers Mohawk Language immersion classes. It hosts classes, lectures, workshops and conferences relating to Haudenosaunee culture and spirituality, the environment, health issues, and a wide variety of other subjects. It also provides cultural exchange programs for educational and community groups. Visitors from all over the world come to learn about the Haudenosaunee. Some stay for a few hours. Some stay for days, weeks or even months.

KANATSIOHAREKE

KANATSIOHAREKE

Kanatsiohareke means “The Place of The Clean Pot,” “The Place of the Pot That Washes Itself,” or “The Place of the Hanging Pot.” It refers to a spot in Canajoharie Creek where the action of the water has carved perfectly round holes into the stream bed. Long ago, the Mohawks noticed that when the water ran downstream and into those holes, the water swirled and churned around making it look like the water was scrubbing the inside of the potholes. Due to its unique appearance, the Mohawks named the area Kanatsiohareke. Currently, locals call the town of Canajoharie “The Boiling Pot” even though the water was and is not hot.

KANATSIOHAREKE

KANATSIOHAREKE

The Community of Kanatsiohareke was archeologically, layer upon layer, the site of many Mohawk Bear Clan villages. Prior to the Revolutionary War, George Washington promised the Mohawks that they would keep their lands forever. But after the war, he broke that promise and ordered the destruction of their villages and food storage areas. Most Mohawks left the Mohawk Valley but took with them a prophesy that said that they would someday return to their ancestral homeland. After the Mohawks left the valley, the area that is now known as Kanatsiohareke was owned by a merchant named Jelles Fonda. Various other families lived there in succeeding years until Montgomery County purchased it and operated it as a home for the aged, the poor, orphans, and others in need of assistance and housing. It was referred to as “The County Farm” or “Montgomery Manor” and existed as a working farm and residential facility for 100 years until it was finally boarded up by the county.

KANATSIOHAREKE

KANATSIOHAREKE

In 1993, Montgomery Manor was purchased at auction and renamed Mohawk Manor and then Kanatsiohareke. Mohawk elder and spiritual leader, Tom Sakokwenionkwas Porter along with a small group of family and friends moved from Akwesasne to Kanatsiohareke and began the work of clearing the gardens and renovating the buildings. In 1998, the first of many Mohawk Language Immersion classes were offered at Kanatsiohareke. Kanatsiohareke is considered to be a place of cultural revitalization and spiritual renewal.

KANEHSATAKE

KANEHSATAKE

Kanehsatake is a Mohawk settlement on the shore of the Lake of Two Mountains at the Ottawa River in southwestern Quebec, near Montreal. The Doncaster 17 Indian Reserve also belongs to the Mohawks of Kanehsatake. The population of the community is approximately 1700. The community was formally founded under supervision of the Sulpician Order, a Catholic religious order, in the early 18th century. Mohawk had used the territory as a hunting ground since the late 16th century

KANEHSATAKE

KANEHSATAKE

To encourage the Mohawk to move southwest of Montreal, historians believe that in 1717 the French colonial governor gave them a grant for nearly nine square miles at the Lake of Two Mountains. The Sulpician Order, which had established a mission with the Mohawk, received a smaller grant for land next to them. The religious order had the deeds changed so that all the land was granted to them. Believing the Order supervised land in trust for them, the Mohawk did not discover the deception until the late 19th century. They lost a land claim case in the late 20th century on technical issues.

KANEHSATAKE

KANEHSATAKE

Kanehsatake is one of several Iroquois self-governing reserves in Canada. In the late 20th and early 21st century, rising Mohawk political activism brought changes to the community. In 1990, the adjacent town of Oka decided to extend a private golf course onto a Mohawk burial ground. In protest, the Mohawks occupied the land and when Canadian police forces intervened, it resulted in the prolonged standoff referred to as the Oka Crisis.

KANEHSATAKE

KANEHSATAKE

In 2003 the Mohawks of Kanehsatake started selling tax free tobacco to non-Natives. Expanding from the original two fishing shacks to more than 30 stores in 2009, the reserve has has benefited economically from the business. Factories in Akwesasne, and Kahnawake have been providing Kanehsatake with their product since the business began. Revenues from tobacco sales have allowed the residents of Kanehsatake develop land and create other businesses, such as a restaurant, clothing store, and gas station.

SIX NATIONS

SIX NATIONS

The Six Nations of the Grand River is a reserve located approximately 25 km southwest of the city of Hamilton, Ontario; between the cities of Brantford, Caledonia, and Hagersville. During the American Revolution, Captain Joseph Brant convinced many Iroquois to ally with the British. For their aid during the war, they were deeded a tract of land along the Grand River in Ontario. Much of the original tract was surrendered or sold and the reserve currently has 46,000 acres.

SIX NATIONS

SIX NATIONS

The Six Nations of the Grand River has the largest population of all First Nations in Canada. In 2005, total band membership was 22,294 with 11,297 people living within the Six Nations Reserve. The Reserve is centered on the village of Ohsweken and is home to newspapers, approximately 300 native businesses, a library, an arena and other sports facilities, social services, including men and women's shelter and band council offices, shopping centers, several schools, four longhouses, and numerous churches. The reserve has both a traditional Iroquois council of chiefs and an elected band council conforming to Canadian government requirements.

SIX NATIONS

SIX NATIONS

There are approximately 2,674 houses on the Reserve, most in rural areas, with a few in urban subdivisions. Fire protection is provided by the Six Nations Volunteer Fire department.

TYENDINAGA

TYENDINAGA

Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory is a reserve located on the shores of the Bay of Quinte, approximately 80 miles east of Belleville and 50 miles west of Kingston, Ontario. The English translation of Tyendinaga is “placing the wood together.” It is derived from “Thayendanegea”, Joseph Brant’s Mohawk name.

TYENDINAGA

TYENDINAGA

Captain John Deserontyon/Deseronto was the recognized military leader of the Fort Hunter Mohawks of the Mohawk Valley, the forefathers of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. After the Revolutionary War, he founded the Mohawk village at Tyendinaga in 1784, and negotiated the formal granting of the land from the British Crown in 1793. Upon arrival on the shores of the Bay of Quinte in 1784, there were approximately 20 families or 100 individuals. As of 1996, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte number over 6,000 with those resident on the Territory numbering approximately 2,200. Originally referred to as the Mohawk tract, Tyendinaga began as a land grant of 92,700 acres by the Lt. Gov. of Upper Canada in 1793. ("Simcoe Deed") Over the years the Territory has been reduced through land surrenders to approximately 18,000 acres.

TYENDINAGA

TYENDINAGA

The first Community Centre at Tyendinaga was built in 1850. The current centre was built in 1971-72 and renovated in 1989. It is used by individuals and organizations for a variety of functions, from wedding receptions to dances, to general community meetings. The Quinte Mohawk School (K-8) was opened for the 1973-74 school year. In 1991, an addition was completed, including facilities for exceptional students in a Special Needs program. The School offers programs such as the Mohawk Language program which teaches Mohawk at all grade levels; and the Arts and Crafts program which focuses on the Woodland style of arts, crafts, and design in leather, clay and beadwork.

TYENDINAGA

TYENDINAGA

The Administration Office is the centralized location for administration and coordination of Tyendinaga programs and services. The office is also headquarters for Tyendinaga Mohawk Council where the Chief's Office and Council Chambers are located. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had community-based administration since 1956. Tyendinaga's housing subdivision is located on Huron Brant Drive. Construction started in 1986, and as of 1993, 54 houses were completed, many built by native workers,

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