"Mohawk Indians - Six Nations"
Related links:

This is a great link to the history of the Iroquois Six Nations ~  Iroquois History

This link gives background provides about the Iroquois, Bristish and the French & Indian War  ~ Native Peoples of North America and the Eighteenth-Century British Empire


The information below does not give surnames of Indians but does show the early routes the Indians and their tribes traveled throughout the Mohawk area and also their respective Indian dialects and/or names.   Hopefully, this information is helpful in determining where Indians were located should you come across Indian language or are researching their migration.


This information has been extracted from pages 415-419, Lewis Henry Morgan's, "League of the Iroquois", which was origanlly published in 1851. It was republished in 1962 by Carol Communications.  Lewis  Henry Morgan, Pioneer Ethnologist, was born 1818 in Cayuga Lake, New York and died in 1881.


Describing the Central Trail....

    ...Leaving the Hudson at the site of Albany, the trail took the direction of the old turnpike north of the capitol, and proceeded mostly on the line of  this road, to a spring which issued from a ravine about six miles west.  From thence it continued towards Schenectady, and descending the ravine through which the railway passes, it came upon the Mohawk at the site of this city, and crossed the river at the fording-place, where the toll-bridge has been since erected.  Schenectady has not only appropriated the Indian name of Albany, but has, by inheritance, one of the most euphonious names in the dialects of the Iroquois, as given by the Oneidas.  It was christened O-no-al'-i-gone, which signifies "in the head", a somewhat fanciful geographical name.

    From this fording place, two trails passed up the Mohawk, one up each side.  That upon the south was most traveled, as the three Mohawk castles, as they were termed, or principle villages, were upon that side.  Following the valley, and pursuing the windings of the river, the trailed crossed the Schoharie Creek, Ose-ho-kar'-l, and entered Te-hon-d-lo'-ga, the lower castle of the Mohawks, situated upon the west side of this creek, at its junction with the river. At a subsequent day Fort Hunter was located near the site of this Indian village. From thence the trail, continuing up the valley nearly on the line subsequently pursued by the canal, crossed the Canajoharie creek, near its junction with the river, and led up to Canajoharie, C-n-j-h-e,(1) or the middle Mohawk castle. This favorite and populous village occupied a little eminence upon the east bank of the Ot-squ’-go creek, and overlooking the present site of Fort Plain. From Canajoharie, the trail followed up the river to G-n-ga-h’-g the upper Mohawk castle, which was situated in the town of Danube, Herkimer county, nearly opposite the mouth of the East Canada creek. Leaving this Indian village, the last in the territory of the Mohawks, the trail pursued the bank of the river without passing any other stopping-place, until it reached the site of Utica, in the country of the Oneidas.

    Near this city, on the east side, the trail passed around the base of a hill, in such a manner as to be noticeable for its singularity. Hence, Nun-da-d'-sis, signifying "around the hill," was bestowed upon this locality, as a name descriptive of the course of the trail. When Utica at a subsequent day sprang up near this spot, the name was transferred, according to the custom of the Iroquois, to the city itself.

    From Utica, the trail proceeded up the river, and crossing the Whitesboro creek at Whitesboro, Che-g-queh, and the Oriskany creek, Ole-his’-ka, at Oriskany, it continued up the bank of the Mohawk to Rome, where this river turns to the north.

    The site of Rome was an important stopping-place with the Iroquois, both as the terminus of the trails upon the Mohawk, and as a carrying-place for canoes. A narrow ridge at this point forms a division between those waters which flow through the Mohawk and the Hudson, and those which flow through lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence. The portage from the Mohawk to Wood creek, was about a mile. In the days of aboriginal sovereignty, the amount of navigation, in bark canoes, upon the large lakes, as well as upon smaller lakes and rivers, was much greater than we would be apt to suspect. Birch-bark canoes would find their way from Detroit, and even beyond to Rome and Schenectady. Others from Kingston, would make their way into the Cayuga(2) and Seneca lakes, and on to the old trading-post at the mouth of the Niagara river. Such was the facility of transportation, owing to the lightness of the vessel, that the portage made but a slight obstruction. In an hour after drawing out the canoe from Wood creek, it was floating again up the Mohawk; and the carp having also been carried over, the frail vessel was soon re-ladened, and under weigh upon the descending stream.(3)  The aboriginal name of this locality, Da-y-hoo-w’-quat, which signifies a "place for carrying boats," has been bestowed upon Rome.

The trail upon the north bank of the Mohawk ascended the river from Schenectady nearly upon the line since pursued by the turnpike. At Tribes Hill, nearly opposite the Mohawk castle, a branch trail crossed the country to Johnstown, Ko-l-ne’-k, a few miles north from the river. This was the name bestowed upon the residence of William Johnson, the Indian Superintendent. From the period of the settlement of this distinguished personage In the country of the Mohawks, and more especially after the battle of lake George in 1755, he acquired and maintained, until his death in 1774, a greater personal influence over the Iroquois than was ever possessed by any other individual, or even by any government. A careful scrutiny of his intercourse with the Iroquois, shows that he exercised a watchful care over their welfare, and that his conduct was governed by the most enlightened principles of rectitude and benevolence. To this fact he owed his personal popularity, and the affectionate respect with which the Iroquois ever regarded him. His house at Ko-l-n-k was a favorite place of Indian resort; and the Mohawk and the Seneca, the Oneida and the Cayuga felt as much as ease under the roof of the baronet as beneath the wide-spread shelter of their own forests.

    Leaving Johnstown, the trail came down again upon the Mohawk at the small Indian village of G-n-wau-ga, near the site of Fonda, where it intersected the river trail. Continuing up the Mohawk, and crossing at East Canada creek, Date-car-hu-har-lo, and over the site of Little Falls, T-l-qu-ga, it came next upon the West Canada creek, Te-ug-ga, and from thence led up to the portage at the site of Rome.

    As with lake Ontario, the Mohawk river was known under a multiplicity of names. It is difficult now to determine whether it had any general name running through several dialects by which it was known to all the nations of the League. Among the Senecas, the West Canada creek was considered the true head of the river, and this stream, together with the Mohawk from Herkimer to the Hudson, was known as one river under the name Te-ug-ga, while the Mohawk from the junction of the West Canada creek to its source was regarded as a branch under the name of Da-y-hoo-w’-quat. With the Oneidas and Onodagas it was known under the last name, or the word which, in their respective dialects, signifies the same thing."



1. This word signifies "washing the basin." In the bed of the Canajoharie creek there is said to be a basin, several feet in diameter, with a symmetrical concavity, washed out in the rock. Hence the name C-n-j-h-e. One would naturally have expected to have found the Indian village upon this creek, instead of the Ot-squ’-go.

2. In 1798, a canoe ladened with 1200 pounds of fur started from Kingston in Canada; and having coasted the lake to the Great Sodus bay, Seo-dose’, and been transported from thence over the portage to Clyde river, it made its way into the Cayuga lake and up to Aurora, De--wen’-dote; where the furs were transhiped in a bateau for
Albany. The canoe was owned for some years afterwards by Col. Payne, one of the first settlers of Aurora.

3. For many years after the commencement (about 1790) of the settlement of Western New York, the greater part of the supplies of merchandise from the east, as well as the immigrants who flocked thitherward, with their household goods, and farming implements, ascended the Mohawk’s in bateaus or small river boats as far as Rome. Having drawn out their vessels at this portage and unladened them, they carried them over the ridge and launched them into Wood creek. Descending to the Oswego river, which is formed by the outlets of the principal inland lakes of the State, the whole lake country was open before them. Like the Iroquois, they made use of the natural highways of the country.


G-NE--GA-O-N-GA or Mohawk Territory

Mohawk Dialect.

West Canda Creek Te-ug-ga, G. At the Forks.
Mohawk River      Te-ug-ga, G. At the Forks.
Herkimer        Te-ug-ga At the Forks.
Little Falls T-l-qu-ga Small Bushes
Fort Plain Tw-d-a-la-h-l Fort on a Hill
Canajoharie Creek G-na-jo-h-e, G. Washing the Basin
Canajoharie G-na-jo-h-e, G. Washing the Basin
Johnstown  Ko-l-n-k Indian Superintendent
Fonda G-n-w’-da On the Rapids
Fort Hunter Te-on-d-l-ga Two Streams coming together
Schoharie Creek Sko-har’-le, G. Flood-wood
Schoharie Sko-har’-le Flood-wood
East Canda Creek  Te-car’-hu-har-l-da, G. Visible over the Creek
Otsquago Creek  O-squa’-go, G. Under the Bridge
Amsterdam Creek Ju-ta-l’-ga, G. Signification lost.
Schenectady O-no--l-gone’-na In the head
Albany Sk’-neh-t-de Beyond the Openings
Hudson River Sk’-neh-t-de, G. River Beyond the Openings


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Last updated Tuesday, 13-May-2008 13:14:03 PDT