What Is the History of the Mohawk Indian Tribe?

What Is the History of the Mohawk Indian Tribe?

The Mohawk tribe lived in the areas around the Great Lakes in what is now Quebec, Ontario and New York. The tribe was an original member of the Iroquois Confederacy. During the colonial period, the Mohawk generally allied with the English against the French.

As the Mohawk were the easternmost tribe in the Iroquois Confederacy, the other members of the confederacy referred to them as the Keepers of the Eastern Door, protecting the confederacy from threats from the east. Like many neighboring tribes, the Mohawk relied on agriculture for sustenance, growing corn, beans and squash.

The Mohawk first appear in French records during the 1600s as enemies of the Huron and Algonquin peoples, who were French trading partners. The Mohawk moved to the Mohawk River region in what is now upstate New York after defeats by the French, Huron and Algonquin. Conflict between the French and Mohawk continued throughout the 17th century.

Increasingly surrounded by English settlers in the 18th century, the Mohawk started to adopt European housing styles and tied themselves closely with the English. The Mohawk fought with the English against the French during the French and Indian War and against American revolutionaries 20 years later. Many Mohawk moved north into British territory in Canada after the American Revolution.

Many Mohawk living in both the United States and Canada integrated themselves into the new societies, though many also continue to live on reservations. The largest existing tribe resides on the Saint Regis Reservation in New York.