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Mohawk (Kanien'keha)

Mohawk is an Iroquoian language with about 3,350 speakers, most of whom are elderly, though there are younger speakers in some areas. There are six Mohawk-speaking communities: Tyendinaga, Wáhta, and Ohswé:ken in Ontario; Kahnawà:ke and Kanehsatà:ke in Quebec, and Ahkwesáhsne in Quebec, Ontario and New York State.

The native name for the Mohawk language, Kanien'keha, means 'people of the flint'. The term Mohawk comes from a name meaing 'man-eaters' used by their Algonquian enemies.

Mohawk was first written by French missionaries in the early 18th. They devised a spelling system based on French pronunciation and used it to produce Mohawk translations of various religious and legal documents.

Mohawk has been taught in schools since 1970, and in 1972, a group of educators, translators and Elders developed an orthography for the language. Several other spelling systems have been used for Mohawk.

A standard form of written Mohawk was agreed on at the Mohawk Language Standardisation Conference, held in August 1993 at Tyendinaga.

Mohawk alphabet (Iewennonnià:tha)

A a E e H h I i K k N n O o R r S s T t W w Y y
[ a ] [ e ] [ h ] [ i ] [ k ] [ n ] [ o ] [ r ] [ s ] [ t ] [ w ] [ y ]


Sample texts in Mohawk

Teiohonwa:ka ne'ni akhonwe:ia
Kon'tatieshon iohnekotatie
Wakkawehatie wakkawehatie.


The canoe is very fast. It is mine.
All day long I splash away.
I paddle along, I paddle along.

Okariata:ne tahotharatie
Tahsakohroria:ne ne tsi niho:ten
Ne se aonha:a thorihwaka:ion
Ne se aonha:a thorihwaka:ion


The mosquito is bringing a message
He's coming to tell us how poor he is.
The truth of the matter is, that
He is so old fashioned and brings the same old message.


Information about Mohawk | Tower of Babel in Mohawk | Mohawk learning materials


Information about the Mohawk people and language

Mohawk words and phrases (with audio)

Mohawk Language blog

Online Mohawk dictionaries

The Mohawk Language Standardisation Project

Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory

Mohawks of Kahnawá:ke

Iroquoian languages

Cayuga, Cherokee, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Wynadot

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet