Brief History Of Kahnawake

The Mohawks of Kahnawá:ke (Kahnawákeró:non) are an ancient people with a vibrant culture and rich history. We are one of the eight communities that make up the Mohawk (Kanien:keha’ka) Nation and have historic, political and cultural ties based on Honor, Trust and Respect to the Oneida, Seneca, Onondaga, Cayuga and Tuscarora Nations of the Northeastern part of North America.

In ancient times, these nations achieved a major and innovative development by forming a Confederacy and devising a system of governance known as the Great Law of Peace. In all of the world’s history, there are very few examples of such a coming together of nations for the purpose of peace; the formation of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy is one of them.

The Creation Story , along with the Great Law of Peace, the concept of the Seventh Generation, the Two Row Wampum Treaty and the Confederacy, form the basis of our beliefs, values, traditions, philosophies and unique world view. The founding of the Confederacy demonstrates to us the value of working together in a respectful and peaceful manner; the Great Law provides a democratic model for governing ourselves; our Creation Story explains how we came to be on this earth and what our duties are as human beings; the Two Row Wampum instructs us on how to interrelate with other governments and nations; and the concept of the Seventh Generation reminds us to be respectful of future generations. The contemporary community of Kahnawá:ke has sustained itself and built on its rich cultural background.