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.
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