The Haudenosaunee or people
of the Longhouse, (also known as the Iroquois)
are a Confederacy of six nations who joined together to form a peaceful alliance
under the democratic constitution known as the "Kaianerakowa" or Great Law of
Peace. The members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy include the Seneca,
Cayuga, Tuscarora, Onondaga, Oneida and Mohawk nations.
"Kahniakehaka" is our name for the Mohawk nation of people who are regarded
as the "Eastern Door Keepers", because we are situated in the eastern portion of
our traditional territories, and hold the position as the guardians and protectors of
those issues that occur in the eastern district.
The Akwesasne Community is one of several communities comprising the
Kahniakehaka/Mohawk nation. The other constituent communities are:
Kahnawake, Kanesatake, Akwesasne, Tyendinaga, Ganienkeh, Kanatsiohareke,
the Kahniakehaka of Ohsweken, and Wahtha.
In 1888, Akwesasne was bestowed with the special responsibility and honor as
the site of the Haudenosuanee Confederacy-sanctioned "Fire" or seat of the
The Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs, is the traditional national government
situated at Akwesasne, which utilizes its Chiefs, Clanmothers, Faithkeepers and
People to provide for the well-being of the Mohawk Nation and to sit with the
other Haudenosaunee nations on issues of national and international importance.
Mohawk Council of Akwesasne is the elected community government that was
forced upon this community in 1899, taking one of our traditional peoples in a
violent altercation to change us from a traditional style of governance to an
elected style of governance. From the late 1800's to around the 1970's, the
elected system was not able to take hold here.
Our people simply did not participate in the structure at all. It is only in the last 30 years, that the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne has built a solid foundation within this community and has worked to establish a strong relationship and bond with the traditional Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs. This alone is an encouraging and positive element that will help to build a strong foundation as we build our future.