"The Iroquois"

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
Mohawk Nation.

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.