The Mohawk people are a Native American tribe historically located in what is now known as the Mohawk Valley in present-day upstate New York in the United States, though their territory expanded to include parts of present-day southeastern Canada. One of the initial five tribes that composed the Iroquois League of Nations, the Mohawks fought against the United States in both the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. A substantial Mohawk population remains throughout New York and in Quebec and Ontario, Canada. Mohawks own and operate casinos in upstate New York and were known in the 20th century for their work in the construction of many of New York City's skyscrapers, including the Empire State Building.
As a nation of the Iroquois League, the Mohawk people traditionally speak the Mohawk language of the Iroquoian language family. In the Mohawk language, the Mohawk people refer to themselves as Kanienkehaka which translate as "People of the Flint." Their name derives from their traditional region in the present-day Mohawk Valley, where they mined flint deposits to produce arrowheads and other tools.
In the early 17th century, the Mohawk people encountered Dutch colonists in what was then known as New Netherland. Mohawks entered into the business of fur trade with the Dutch and formed an alliance. They maintained an exclusive trade with the Dutch through battles with other nearby tribes, including the Algonquin, and originally were on peaceful terms with French colonists. This peace with the French lasted until 1666, when the French attacked the Mohawks before making a new peace agreement that was contingent upon the Mohawks welcoming Jesuit missionaries and converting to Catholicism.
When England drove the Dutch out of New Netherland in approximately 1674, the Mohawks became English allies, with many undergoing conversion to Protestantism, and they maintained hostile relations with neighboring Native American tribes. Mohawk allegiance to British colonists continued throughout the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. After the American victory in 1776, a large percentage of the Mohawk people was driven west from present-day New York and into what is now Canada. In alliance with the rest of the Iroquois League, the Mohawk people finally signed a treaty with the United States in 1794, though they again sided with the British in the War of 1812.