Concept

Kahnawake

Summary
The Kahnawake Mohawk Territory (Territoire Mohawk de Kahnawake, ɡahnaˈwaːɡe in the Mohawk language, Kahnawáˀkye in Tuscarora) is a First Nations reserve of the Mohawks of Kahnawá:ke on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, across from Montreal. Established by French Canadians in 1719 as a Jesuit mission, it has also been known as Seigneury Sault du St-Louis, and Caughnawaga (after a Mohawk village in the Mohawk Valley of New York). There are 17 European spelling variations of the Mohawk Kahnawake. Kahnawake's territory totals an area of . Its resident population numbers slightly above 8,000, with a significant number living off reserve. Its land base today is unevenly distributed due to the federal Indian Act, which governs individual land possession. It has rules that are different from those applying to Canadian non-reserve areas. Most Kahnawake residents originally spoke the Mohawk language, and some learned French when trading with and allied with French colonists. Together with most of four Iroquois nations, including the Mohawk, they allied with the British government during the American Revolutionary War and the Lower Canada Rebellion. They have since become mostly English speaking. Although people of European descent traditionally refer to the residents of Kahnawake as Mohawk, their autonym is Kanien’kehá:ka (the "People of the Flint"). Another meaning is "those who speak [the language] Kanien'kéha"). The Kanien’kehá:ka were historically the most easterly nation of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) and are known as the "Keepers of the Eastern Door". They controlled territory on both sides of the Mohawk River and west of the Hudson River in present-day New York, where they protected other parts of the confederacy to the west against invasion by tribes from present-day New England and the coastal areas.
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