Mohawk People

Mohawk is a tribe of North American native Indians that originates from the valley around Mohawk River in today's upstate New York. They represented one of the founding members of Iroquois confederation, gathering of similar speaking tribes that lived in the area of northeast US, with Mohawks being located on the most eastern part. Throughout the history, Mohawk nation became integral part in the struggle of Indian tribes against the colonization and military expansion of the European colonist and American settlers. After the events of the American War of the Independence, and 1812 North Indian War, today's population of Mohawks was relocated in present-day southern Quebec and eastern Ontario (mostly around Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River in Canada). Expelled from their traditional homelands, nation of Mohawk Indians todays numbers around 80.000 people, with over 20 thousand located in the northern parts of the US state of New York.

Before the arrival of the European explorers to the America, Mohawk people were known between the Indian tribes as the skilled hunters and warriors. Their nation carried the name "Kanien'kehá:ka" which can today be translated as "People of the Place of Flint". That name was given to them because of their rich deposits of flint, which they used for the creation of arrow tips and other tools. After the arrival of European settlers in the early 17th century, Mohawks became allies of the Dutch and one of their most important fur trading partners. After the brief war with the French in 1666, Mohawk people accepted the peace condition, which brought to them first Jesuit missionaries who managed to convert small amount of their population. In the second part of 17th century, and especially after the fall of New Netherland, Mohawks became allies of England. During 1690s, large amount of Indians became converted into Christianity by many Protestant missionaries who started baptizing them with English names and surnames.

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18th century saw the continued alliance between Mohawks and England. With the help of the diplomats Sir William Johnson, Conrad Weiser and HendrickTheyanoguin, Mohawk nation supported the England in their war against French (also known as "Seven Years' War"). During that time Sir William Johnson married famous Mohawk woman Molly Brant (stepdaughter of the Mohawk Chief Brant Kanagaradunkwa), and her much more famous brother Joseph Brant made his first steps in the English army.

American War for the Independence brought much hardship to the Mohawk nation. Led by the rising military chief Joseph Brant, they fought on the side of England in a losing war against American colonists. Although Brant managed to gather many tribes under his leadership and win many battles during the war, final price that Mohawk nation had to pay was too high. Their lands were pillaged and destroyed by American army, Mohawk people were expelled to the Canada, and finally in the peace treaties after the war England released the claim of their lands to the America. Although Mohawk and other tribes continued to fight against the America in the following years (under Brant's Western Coalition and during Northern Indian War of 1812), in the end their ancestral lands remained out of their reach.

In the modern age, Mohawk people lives in the several communities scattered around Canada and northern New York. After the 1993, they gained the permission to conduct gambling on their American lands, which represented new great source of income that united (and sometimes divided) Mohawk nation.

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