Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Origins of name
A 1634 Dutch expedition from Fort Orange (present-day Albany, New York) to the Mohawk settlements to the west was led by a surgeon named Harmen van den Bogaert. At the time of the expedition there were only eight villages (from east to west): Onekahoncka, Canowarode, Schatsyerosy, Canagere, Schanidisse, Osquage, Cawaoge, and Tenotoge. All villages were on the south side of the river, between present-day Fonda and Fort Plain. The first (Onekahoncka) being situated on the south side of the Mohawk River where it meets the Cayadutta Creek, and the last being on the south side of the Mohawk River where it meets the Caroga Creek.
During the seventeenth century, the Mohawks were allied with the Dutch at Fort Orange, New Netherland. Their Dutch trade partners equipped the Mohawks to fight against other nations allied with the French, including the Ojibwes, Huron-Wendats, and Algonquins. After the fall of New Netherland to the English, the Mohawks became allies of the English Crown. From the 1690s, they underwent a period of Christianization, during which many were baptized with English first names.
During the era of the French and Indian War, Anglo-Mohawk relations were maintained by men such as Sir William Johnson (for the British Crown), Conrad Weiser (on behalf of the colony of Pennsylvania), and King Hendrick (for the Mohawks). The Albany Congress of 1754 was called in part to repair the damaged diplomatic relationship between the British and Mohawks.
Because of unsettled conflicts with Anglo-American settlers infiltrating into the Mohawk Valley and outstanding treaty obligations to the Crown, the Mohawks generally fought against the United States during the American Revolutionary War, the Northwest Indian War, and the War of 1812. After the American victory in the revolutionary war, one prominent Mohawk leader, Joseph Brant, led a large group of Iroquois out of New York to a new homeland at Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario. On November 11, 1794, representatives of the Mohawks (along with the other Iroquois nations) signed the Treaty of Canandaigua with the United States.
One large group of Mohawks settled in the vicinity of Montreal. From this group descend the Mohawks of Kahnawake, Akwesasne and Kanesatake. One of the most famous Catholic Mohawks was Kateri, who was later beatified.
The Mohawk Nation, as part of the Iroquois Confederacy, were recognised for some time by the British government, and the Confederacy was a participant in the Congress of Vienna, having been allied with the British during the War of 1812 which was viewed by the British as part of the Napoleonic Wars. However, in 1842 their legal existence was overlooked in Lord Durham's report on the reform and organization of the Canadas.
Members of the Mohawk tribe now live in settlements spread throughout New York State and southeastern Canada. Among these are Ganienkeh and Kanatsiohareke in northeast New York, Akwesasne (St. Regis) along the Ontario-New York State border, Kanesatake (Oka) and Kahnawake in southern Quebec, and Tyendinaga and Wahta (Gibson) in southern Ontario. Mohawks also form the majority on the mixed Iroquois reserve, Six Nations of the Grand River, in Ontario.
There are also Mohawk Orange Lodges in Canada.
Many Mohawk communities have two sets of chiefs that exist in parallel and are in some sense rivals. One group are the hereditary chiefs nominated by clan matriarchs in the traditional fashion; the other are elected chiefs with whom the Canadian and US governments usually deal exclusively. Since the 1980s, Mohawk politics have been driven by factional disputes over gambling. Both the elected chiefs and the controversial Warrior Society have encouraged gaming as a means of ensuring tribal self-sufficiency on the various reserves/reservations, while traditional chiefs have opposed gaming on moral grounds and out of fear of corruption and organized crime. Such disputes have also been associated with religious divisions: the traditional chiefs are often associated with the Longhouse tradition, practicing consensus-democratic values, while Warrior Society has attacked that religion in favor of their rebellious nature. Meanwhile, the elected chiefs have tended to be associated (though in a much looser and general way) with democratic values. The Government of Canada when ruling the Indians imposed English schooling and separated families to place children in English boarding schools. Like other tribes, Mohawks have mostly lost their native language and many have left the reserve to meld with the English Canadian culture.
On October 15, 1993, Governor Mario Cuomo entered into the "Tribal-State Compact Between the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and the State of New York." The compact purported to allow the Tribe to conduct gambling, including games such as baccarat, blackjack, craps and roulette, on the Akwesasne Reservation in Franklin County under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
According to the terms of the 1993 compact, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, the New York State Police and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Gaming Commission were vested with gaming oversight. Law enforcement responsibilities fell under the cognizance of the State Police, with some law enforcement matters left to the Tribe. As required by IGRA, the compact was approved by the United States Department of the Interior before it took effect. There were a number of extensions and amendments to this compact, but not all of them were approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
On June 12, 2003, the New York Court of Appeals affirmed the lower courts' rulings that then Governor Cuomo exceeded his authority by entering into the compact absent legislative authorization and declared the compact void [1]. On October 19, 2004, Governor George Pataki signed a bill passed by the State Legislature that ratified the compact 'nunc pro tunc' (Latin for "now for then", or, with a retroactive effect) with some minor changes (see C. 590 of the Laws of 2004).
The tribe is currently pursuing obtaining approval to own and operate a casino in Sullivan County, NY at Monticello Raceway. The U.S. Department of the Interior has so far approved of this action and is awaiting Governor Eliot Spitzer's concurrence subject to the negotiation and approval of either an amendment to the current compact or a new compact and for the land to be taken into trust.
There are currently pending two lawsuits which may affect the plans for a new casino in Sullivan County. The first is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York which claims that the Department of the Interior cannot take land into trust for any Indian nation or Tribe in New York under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 [2]. The State of New York has expressed similar objections in its responses to take land into trust for other Indian nations and tribes [3]. The other contends that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act violates the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution as it is applied in the State of New York and is currently pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York [4].

The Mohawks, like many indigenous tribes in the Great Lakes region, sometimes wore a hair style in which all their hair would be cut off except for a narrow strip down the middle of the scalp from the forehead to the nape, that was approximately three finger widths across. This style was only used by warriors going off to war. The Mohawks saw their hair as a connection to the creator, and therefore grew it long. But when they went to war, they cut all or some of it off, leaving that narrow strip. They did this because they did not want the creator to go with them to war.
The women wore their hair long often with traditional Bear Grease or tied back into a single braid.
Today the hairstyle of the Mohawk is still called a Mohawk (or, in Britain, a "Mohican", because this enemy-tribe used it as a disguise during war).

Mohawks Traditional Mohawk hair
Traditional dress of the Kanien'kehá:ka consisted of women going topless with a skirt of deerskin or a full woodland deerskin dress, long fashioned hair or a braid and Bear Grease otherwise nothing on their head, several ear piercings adorned by shell earings, shell necklaces, and puckered seam moccasins. The men wore a breech cloth of deerskin in summer, deerskin leggings and a full piece deerskin shirt in winter, several shell strand earrings, shell necklaces, long fashioned hair or a three finger width forehead to nape hair row which stood approxiamtely three inches from the head, and puckered seamed moccasins. During summer children wore nothing and went naked even until about age fourteen. Later dress after European contact combined some cloth pieces such as the males ribbon shirt in addition to the place of the deerskin clothing.

Traditional Mohawk dress
These are grouped by broad geographical cluster, with notes on the character of community governance found in each.

inland New York:

  • Ganienkeh. Warrior Society.
    Kanatsiohareke. Traditional chiefs.
    along the St Lawrence:

    • Akwesasne/St.Regis. Traditional chiefs, elected chiefs on US side, elected chiefs on Canadian side. The Warrior society is also active.
      Kahnawake. Elected chiefs, traditional chiefs, Warrior Society.
      southern Ontario:

      • Tyendinaga. Elected chiefs.
        Wahta/Gibson in southern Ontario. Elected chiefs, (traditional chiefs?).
        Six Nations of the Grand River. Elected chiefs, traditional chiefs.

        • Bay of Quinte Mohawk
          Upper Mohawk
          Lower Mohawk
          Walker Mohawk Mohawk communities today

          August Schellenberg, actor
          Jay Silverheels, actor.
          Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief See also

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