Mohawk Indians

The Mohawk Indians are part of the Iroquois Indian confederation. They referred to themselves as the Kaniengehaga, which means the people of the flint. The Mohawk Indians are one of the indigenous tribes that inhabited what is now the Mohawk Valley of upstate New York. The Tribes spread throughout New York State and even up into Canada. The word Canada is actually a Mohawk name in itself. Many people are familiar with the famous Mohawk Indian hairstyle, but not many people realize that the Mohawk Indians shaved their heads like this during times of war, in order to look fierce to their enemies.

The Mohawk Indians were also known for their great battle skills and the organization of their political groups. The Mohawks had their own laws and created their own constitution that they wrote with patterns of beads. The Mohawks lived in longhouses which would provide shelter for many families under one longhouse roof. The Mohawk Indian men wore fur breech cloths leather moccasins, and in addition to their Mohawk hairstyles they would also paint their faces during times of war. In the Mohawk culture the women had equal shares of the work loads, usually having the women fish and the men would go out and hunt.

Later in history the Mohawk Indians became allies of the Dutch settlers in Fort Orange, which is now Albany, New York. The Dutch traders equipped the Mohawks with weapons to fight against other Native American nations that were allied with the French. Some of these tribes included the Ojibwes and the Algonquins. After Fort Orange was conquered the Mohawk Indians became allied to the English. As history went on the Mohawk tribes were forced out of their territories and moved on to new territories in other parts of what is now New York and they spread right up into Canada. There are many Mohawk reservations and people that still live throughout the northeast of the United States. Many of these reservations have their own laws and many also support themselves through their very popular casinos. These reservations have their own elected chiefs and their own police forces. They are very civilized in modern time but still try to stick with many of their cultural traditions.

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