Mohawk (Kanien'keha)

Mohawk is an Iroquoian language spoken in southern Ontario and Quebec provinces in Canada, and in western New York State in the USA. In 2016 there were about 990 speakers of Mohawk in Canada, and there were about 2,050 Mohawk speakers in the USA in 2015.

There are six Mohawk-speaking communities: Tyendinaga, Wáhta, and Ohswé:ken in Ontario; Kahnawà:ke and Kanehsatà:ke in Quebec, and Akwesasne / Ahkwesáhsne in Quebec, Ontario, which is known as the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation over the border in 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. There are currently immersion classes in Mohawk for children and adults in Akwesasne and other Mohawk communities.

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)

Mohawk alphabet and pronunciation


Download an alphabet chart for Mohawk (Excel)

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.


Sample videos

Information about Mohawk | Numbers | Tower of Babel | 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, Seneca, Tuscarora, Wendat

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 14.07.24


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