The Tuscarora: Taskarorahaka
People of the Shirt
The Tuscarora nation joined the Iroquois confederacy in the early 1700's.  The Tuscarora nation fled North, migrating from North Carolina into the Iroquois territory of present day New York State.  They were accepted under the shelter of the great tree of peace that represents the Iroquois confederacy, and stand together alongside the other five nations.

The Seneca: Shotinontowane'haka
People of the Great Hills or Great Mountain
The Seneca Nation were given this name, in reference to their geographic territory where they resided.  Their original territory, near the Rochester area in upstate New York is mountainous with rich farmlands. The Seneca Nation is also sometimes referred to as Keepers of the Western Door.  This is in reference to the formation of the Iroquois Confederacy, which united all five nations.  A longhouse was used to symbolize the joining together of one entity.   As the Seneca Nation was located the furthest west of all the nations, they were thus known as the Keepers of the Western Door.

The Cayuga: Kayonkwe'haka
People of the Great Swamp or the Great Pipe People
The Cayuga Nation were given this name in reference to the area that they originated from, the Cayuga Lake area.  There is said to be a marshy area in their territory known as the Montezuma Swamp, thus their namesake.  When the Cayuga Nation came to council, they were usually led by a Chief named Big Pipe, thus their second name, People of the Pipe.

The Onondaga: Ononta'kehaka
People of the Hills
The Onondaga territory is located near the town of present day Syracuse, New York.  The landscape has lush, rolling hills.  The Onondaga Nation is also sometimes referred to as the Central Fire keeper of the Iroquois confederacy.  Their role is to watch over all of the nations within the confederacy, to ensure that matters prevail under the framework of  peace, power and righteousness.

The Oneida: Onenyotehaka
People of the Standing Stone
The Oneida territory is located in New York State, approx 30 miles south of Syracuse.  As the Oneida Nation was forced to migrate to various areas within their history, it is said that a stone would appear and always direct them to the area they were to travel to next.

The Mohawk: Kahnyen'kehaka
People of the Flint
The Mohawk Territory is located in New York State. This area is known as the Mohawk Valley. Throughout this area, many pieces of flint can be found within the earth.  Flint became an important tool for the way of life for the Mohawk people, as it was used in hunting, cooking, and trading.  Symbolically, the Mohawk nation is also referred to as the Keepers of the Eastern door of the Confederacy.

Background graphic courtesy of the Wampum Chronicles

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