Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mohawk Native Americans

Mohawks in New York
Mohawk (Kanienkeh, Kanienkehaka Kanien’Kahake, or Kahnawake (meaning "People of the Flint") are an Iroquoian-speaking indigenous people of North America originally from the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York. Their territory ranged to present-day southern Quebec and eastern Ontario. Their current settlements include areas around Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River in Canada. Their traditional homeland stretched southward of the Mohawk River, eastward to the Green Mountains of Vermont, westward to the border with the Oneida Nation traditional homeland territory, and northward to the St Lawrence River. As original members of the Iroquois League, or Haudenosaunee, the Mohawk were known as the "Keepers of the Eastern Door". For hundreds of years, they guarded the Iroquois Confederation against invasion from that direction by tribes from the New England and lower New York areas.

The Mohawk have only 3 clans, namely, the Bear, the Wolf, and the Turtle. The tribe is represented in the federal council by 9 chiefs of the rank of roianer (see Chiefs), being 3 from every clan. These chiefships were known by specific names, which were conferred with the office.

Mohawk Chiefs

Chief Joseph Brant

In the revolutionary war, Chief Joseph Brant supported the British mainly due to his association with the Johnson family who were British officials.  William Johnson married Joseph Brant's sister.  For more information on Chief Joseph Brant, click here.

In the following timeline of events of the Mohawk tribe, the importance of Chief Joseph Brant will be noted:

Four Mohawk chiefs visit Queen Anne of England. They declare their allegiance to the British crown.
The Tuscarora Nation joins the Iroquois Confederacy making it a Six Nations Confederacy.
Joseph Brant is born on the banks of the Ohio River.
November 5 - Treaty is signed at Fort Stanwix by the Six Nations and the British.
Sir William Johnson dies

Chief Joseph Brant joins Guy Johnson on a trip to England. Joseph Brant is well received and returns home even more devoted to the British cause in North America.
1775 -1783
The American Revolution war between the British and the Americans for control of the colonies.
August 6 - The Battle of Oriskany Joseph Brant and his followers defeat an American militia army on its way to relieve the siege of Fort Stanwix.
July 3 - Wyoming Massacre. John Butler and Sayenqueraghta's Seneca warriors burn nearly 1000 houses and kill 227 rebels.
The Americans destroy 41 native villages and force them to flee to British Fort Niagara. The campaign was executed under the direction of General John Sullivan
October 22 - Second treaty at Fort Stanwix between the British and the Six Nations.

October 25 - Haldimand's Proclamation awards the Six Nations a tract of land six miles wide on either side of the Grand River from its source to its mouth.
1785 -1787
Mohawk Village is built on a bend of the Grand River
The Jay Treaty formalizes the border between the United States and Canada
Seneca chief, Sganyadaiyoh (Handsome Lake), has a series of visions which yields the Gaiwiyo (The Good Message) urging the Iroquois to revert back to a more traditional way of life.
Chief Joseph Brant dies on November 24 at his home in Burlington, Ontario.
1812 - 1814
War of 1812. Iroquois warriors in the Niagara region fight for the British.
July 5 - Battle of Chippewa , in which the American Six Nations, under Red Jacket, fight against the Canadian Six Nations and the British under Major Norton.
The Six Nations gives up 800 acres for the site of the town of Brantford, Ontario.
1834 -1842
Six Nations funds were invested in the Grand River Navigation Company without the approval of the Six Nations. The investment was a total disaster and the money was lost. Part of the Six Nations funds was also used for the founding of McGill University and the University of Toronto.
Six Nations surrender 20,000 acres on a recommendation by Samuel Peter Jarvis, Chief Superintendent of Indian Affairs.
Indian Act goes against Iroquois tradition by emphasizing male lineage and suppressing traditional forms of native government in favor of a system of non-traditionally elected Band Councils.
Province of Saskatchewan defined The North West Territory provisional districts of Assinboia, Saskatchewan and Athabaska became known as the province of Saskatchewan.
1939 - 1945
Many Iroquois enlist to fight in WWII.
The Six Nations declare war on the Axis powers, asserting its right as an independent sovereign nation.
A series of encroachments on upstate New York reservation lands leads to increased militancy among the Iroquois tribes, including the Mohawk, the Tuscarora, and the Seneca.

The Seneca learn that much of their land is about to be flooded by the proposed Kinzua Dam.
Kinzua Dam completed. It causes the flooding of Seneca lands in New York and destroys the burial place of Cornplanter, a great Seneca leader.
The Mohawk of the Akwesasne Reserve block the International Seaway Bridge between Massena, N.Y. in the U.S. and Cornwall, ON, Canada to draw attention to the violation of the Jay Treaty of 1794 by the government of Canada.
Mohawks protest the expansion of a golf course on tribal burial lands near Oka, Quebec.
Roberta Jamieson is the first female chief elected by the Six Nations.