Variant name of place

Cognawaga; Cochnowaga; Canada

Geographic position

45.4167° N, 73.6833° W


Hoxie, Frederick, E, ed. Encyclopedia of North American Indians. New York: Houghton Mifflin 1996; Calloway, Colin. The Indian History of an American Institution: Native Americans and Dartmouth. Hanover: University Press of New England, 2010. Geo coordinates at https://www.google.com/#q=geographic+coordinates+of+kahnawake.

General note

Settled by Mohawk immigrants from eastern New York state, Kahnawake is a village located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence river in Quebec, Canada, across from Montreal. One of several reserves of the Mohawk tribe in Canada, Kahnawake remained part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and was also considered one of the Seven Nations of Canada. In 1664, French Jesuits from New France established a mission in Caughnagawa, one of four "castles" or populous fortified villages along the Mohawk River, and began teaching the inhabitants French and converting them to Catholicism. In 1667, a band of Mohawks under French influence left their traditional land and settled south of Montreal, establishing a village they named Caughnawaga after their home in New York. This village, also the site of a Jesuit mission, became known as Kahnawake. The name Caughnawaga derives from a Mohawk word meaning place of the rapids; Kahnawake, like its namesake, is close to the Lachine Rapids of the St. Lawrence River. Among the migrants was Kateri Tekakwitha, a young Mohawk convert who in 1993 was canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church. New France garrisoned the village as a defense of Montreal, which fell to the British in 1759. Several envoys from Kahnawake attended the important Congress at Fort Stanwix in 1768, which produced a treaty between the British and the Six Nations that substantially increased British territory much further west and set the stage for the next round of hostilities along the Ohio River. After the Six Nations removed all their students from Wheelock's Indian school in 1769, Wheelock began recruiting students from Canada, including Mohawk and mixed race boys (the sons of white captives adopted into the tribe) from Kahnawake. Joseph Brant, an influential Mohawk chief (and graduate of Wheelock's School), had urged the Haudenosaunee to support the British in the Revolutionary War; after the British defeat Brant fled the newly formed U.S. and settled in Kahnawake, where the British were discouraging Native students from attending Wheelock's school.