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Hillis

Of Mohawks and Mohicans

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NOTE: I posted this message in the private area and got no replies. I realized that there was no need for this message to be private, so I am reposting it here in hopes of a response.

 

I have seen many drawn depictions of Mohican or Mohawk Indians. Many pictures vary in the way the hair of the mohicans is drawn. Did the majority of the Mohicans actually have mohawks? What were the actual mohawks like? Long and in a ponytail? Short and spikey? Multicolored Liberty Spikes (just kidding)?

 

--Hillis

 

P.S. I have also heard alot about different groups (Mohagens, Mandinkans, Mohicans, etc.) that may have created and used the Mohawk. Which group was it that first created/used the Mohawk?

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Historians believe that the "mohawk" originated with the Huron (now Wyandot)Indians - a confederacy of 4 nations that were centered around the western portion of Lake Ontario and near Lake Huron (in the US, in the Eastern part of the state of Michigan). The Huron's are in the same linguistic group of indians as the Iroquois Confederation (the linguistic group is named after the Iroquois Confederation, though some scholars believe that the Huron's are the true root of the language) - but they are not a part of the Iroquois Confederation. The Mohawks were part of the Iroquois Confederation, and were mostly found on on the eastern edges of the Iroquois Confederation, the Hurons were generally found to the west of the Iroquois Confederation- something that will become more important in just a bit. A small "confederacy" of Neutral Indians lived between the Hurons and the Iroquois.

 

The Huron's had a habit of plucking the hair from the sides of their heads, leaving a narrow strip of hair down the center of the scalp when going to war - a hairstyle that is correctly called a Scalp Lock (not a Mohawk). It is important to note that only the warriors going to war wore the scalp lock - so perhaps their is some ritual involved.

 

At various times, the Hurons and the Iroquois plunged into war - they were bitter enemies as it is believed that the Iroquois forced the Huron's off their lands in the east causing them to migrate west. Because the Hurons and Iroquois were often at war with each other, it is very likly that the Mohawks came into contact with Huron warriors, and copied the scalp lock from them. White missionaries and settlers likely saw the scalp lock hairstyle first when meeting with Mohawk Indians - and though they weren't the first to use them, they got the credit (via the name) for it.

 

CalicoPenn

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