Haudenosaunee Country in Mohawk

Kanonshionni’onwè:ke tsi ionhwéntsare (Haudenosaunee Country) in Kanien’kéha (Mohawk), by Karonhí:io Delaronde and Jordan Engel
Kanonshionni’onwè:ke tsi ionhwéntsare (Haudenosaunee Country) in Kanien’kéha (Mohawk), by Karonhí:io Delaronde and Jordan Engel

The Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk people) are the Keepers of the Eastern Door of the Haudenosaunee – The People of the Longhouse. Settlers call them the Iroquois. The six nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy are the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk), Oneniote’á:ka (Oneida), Ononta’kehá:ka (Onondaga), Kahoniokwenhá:ka (Cayuga), Tsonontowane’á:ka (Seneca), and Thatihskarò:roks (Tuscarora). One will notice that there is no Tsi tekaristì:seron (Where the tracks are dragged) – or borders – on this map. Haudenosaunee land spans the border between so-called Canada and the so-called United States, and did so before the tracks were dragged by colonists.

This map of the Haudenosaunee homelands was made by Karonhí:io Delaronde, a Kanien’kéha speaker from Kanièn:ke (Ganienkeh – http://ganienkeh.net/), and Jordan Engel, a map-maker from Ka’skonhtsherá:kon (Rochester). It is best viewed in it’s full size by clicking on the image above.

The following list of toponyms contains the Kanien’kéha place name, it’s translation, and the English place name:

Ahkwesásne (Place of where the partridge drums) – St. Regis, NY/QC/ON / The St. Regis River (NY)

Ahná:wate – The Raquette River (NY)

Aterón:to (It’s tree in the water/It’s a dug-out canoe), or Tkarón:to (Tree in the water there) – Toronto, ON

Atí:ron – The Grand River (OH)

Ioniatarakwà:ronte, or Kaniatarakwà:ronte (A bulged lake), or Kaniá:tare tsi kahnhokà:ronte (Lake to the country), or Rotsíhne (Place of Rotsí:io [an island in the lake]), or Oniá:tarote (Standing lake) – Lake Champlain (NY/VT/QC)

Ioskóhare – Schoharie Creek (NY)

Iotékha (It’s on fire), or Niionontatá:se (It twisted the mountain) – Utica, NY

Ka’skonhtsherá:kon (Mohawk varient of the Seneca name Ga’sgöhsagöh [At the waterfall]) – Rochester, NY

Kahná:wakon (In the rapids) – Warren, PA

Kahnawà:ke (On, at the rapids) – Kahnawake, QC

Kahoniókwen, or Kanawe’tà:ke – Cayuga Lake (NY)

Kana’tsioharè:ke (Place of the washed pail) – Kanatsiohareke, NY

Kanà:tso (Pail in the water, pail boiling) – Ottawa, ON / The Ottawa River

Kanahnòn:ke (Where it’s replenished [said so because of a story about a giant beaver damming the lake]), or Teiohóserare (Basswood around on it), or Anòn:warore (Hat [said because a European boat capsized and all that was seen afterwards were hats floating]) – Lake Erie

Kanatasè:ke (Place of the new town) – Geneva, NY / Seneca Lake (NY)

Kanehsatà:ke – Kanesatake, QC / Oka, QC

Kanen’táweron (Princess pine) – Dunkirk, NY

Kaniá:taro’kte (Lake-end) – Lake George (NY)

Kaniá:taro’kte (Lake-end), or Tsi ioteniá:taro’kte (At the end of the lake [said to the area where the city of Lake George is]) – Lake George, NY

Kaniatarahòn:tsi (Black river) – Ogdensburg, NY / Oswegatchie River (NY)

Kaniatarakwà:ronte (A bulged lake), or Oniá:tarote (Standing lake), or Kaniá:tare tsi kahnhokà:ronte (Lake to the country) – Lake Champlain

Kaniatarontákwen (A taken-off lake) – Irondequoit, NY

Kaniatarowanénhne, or Kahnawà:ke, or Ahná:wate, or Kahrhionhwa’kó:wa – The St. Lawrence River

Kanièn:ke (Place of the flint) – Ganienkeh, NY

Kanontà:’a – Onondaga Lake (NY)

Kawehnohkowanénhne – The Susquehanna River

Ken’tarókwen (Clay taken out of the water), or Kanatókwen (Town out of water), or Tkaristó:ton (There are steal bars standing there) – Kingston, ON

Kenhtè:ke (On the bay) – Tyendinaga, ON

Koráhne (Place of Corlaer [a Dutch man who influenced the Iroquois and from him the word Kó:ra came from]) – Johnstown, NY

Niiohehsà:ne – Beaver River (NY)

Nikahrhionhwa’kó:wa / Nikahionhwa’kó:wa (The great sized stream/river) – The Black River (NY)

Nikahrhionhwa’kó:wa / Nikahionhwa’kó:wa (The great sized stream/river) – Watertown, NY

Nikentsà:ke (Place of the good sized fish) or Kentsà:ke (Place of fish [where they spawn]) – Massena, NY / The Grass River (NY)

Ó:se, or Ose’kowáhne – The Grand River (ON)

Ohrhionhwí:io / Ohionhwí:io – The Allegheny River (and Ohio River)

Ohròn:wakon (In the ditch, ravine), or Tsi kanatákera’s (At where the town smells) – Hamilton, ON

Onén:iote – Chenango River (NY)

Onenièn:ton (Hanging rocks[named so because of the rock formation there known as Tablerocks]) – Oneonta, NY

Oneniotè:ke (Place of standing stone) – Oneida, NY

Oniahkarà:ke (The nape), or Tkahná:wen’s, or Tkaniá:taren’s, or Tkahnawenhtha’kó:wa  – The Niagara River (NY/ON)

Oniatarí:io (Beautiful Lake), or Kaniatarí:io, or Skaniatarí:io, or Oniarà:ke – Lake Ontario

Onon’onhrakónhne (In the little islands) – Schenectady, NY

Ononhwaróhare – Oneida Lake (NY)

Oròn:ia, or Tsi tkaniatareskó:wa – Tupper Lake (NY)

Osha’kentà:ke – Great Sacandaga Lake (NY)

Oshahrhè:’on (Most likely to do with Osháhrhe [Cattail]), or Shahrhè:’on – The Chateauguay River (NY/QC)

Otsihkwà:ke – Black Lake (NY)

Ratirón:taks (They eat trees [named so because of the Algonquin people who were in the area]), or Ratirón:taks tsi iononténion/ionontahrónnion (Mountains of the Ratirón:taks), or Kohserà:ke (Place of winter [named more for the wilderness of the Adirondacks]), or Tsi Kario’tanákere (said to be the place of animals) – The Adirondack Mountains

Seratà:ke (On your heel), or Teioshahrathè:ke (Place of the bright mouth of the river) – Saratoga Springs, NY

Skahentowanè:ke – The Delaware River

Skahnéhtati (Beyond the pines) – Albany, NY

Skahnéhtati (Beyond the pines), or Ka’nón:no (Splints in the water/Splint trees in the water) – The Hudson River (NY)

Skaniá:tares (A long lake) – Skaneateles Lake (NY) / Skaneateles, NY

Skanontkaraksèn:ke (Where the cliffs are clumsy), or Skanontkaraksèn:ke tsi iononténion/ionontahrónnion (The mountains where the cliffs are clumsy) – The Green Mountains

Tawí:ne – Otter Creek (VT)

Teiehonwahkwà:tha (What’s used to pick up boats), or Tiehoniokwáhtha (Where one takes the boat out of the water) – Rome, NY

Teiohóserare – Buffalo Creek (NY)

Teionontatátie, or Tsi ionnontatá:ses, or Teiokèn:ke, or Teiehonwahkwà:tha – The Mohawk River (NY)

Teiokèn:ke – West Canada Creek (NY)

Teionatèn:ro – The Unadilla River (NY)

Tekahrhiónhwake / Tekahiónhake (Two rivers/streams) – London, ON

Tekanatà:ronhwe (A town that extends over one side to the other) – Malone, NY

Tekaniataró:ken (A forked river) – Ticonderoga, NY

Tetio’neshóhon (There the sand banks are emmersed in water) – Burlington, ON

Tetiotenonshà:kton (A curved house) – St. Catharines, ON

Tewaskóhon (Bridge submerged into water there) – Auburn, NY / Owasco Lake (NY)
Tewawe’éstha / Tehawe’éstha – Mount Marcy

Thahná:wate – Tonawanda Creek (NY) / Tonawanda, NY

Thatinatón:ni (They build towns/cities there) – Guelph, ON

Tiehashentáhkhwa (Counseling place) – Osweken, ON

Tiohtià:ke (From Tiotià:kon/Tiótia’ke [Broken in two]) – Montreal, QC

Tiotó:ren (There’s a split), or Teiohóserare (Covered over by basswood trees), or Tetiohoseró:ken (There it’s basswood trees are forked) – Buffalo, NY

Tkanatarákwen (A town chosen there) – Canandaigua, NY

Tkanennohkaráhere (A hickory log/stick in perched up) – Haggersfield, ON

Tkaniá:taren’s (At the falling river), or Tkahná:wen’s (At the falling rapids), or Tkahnawenhtha’kó:wa (At where the rapids fall down greatly), or Tiorá:kahre (There’s noise there), or Oniáhkara (The nape [called so because where the falls is located, the head is Lake Ontario and the body is Lake Erie and the falls is the nape]) – Niagara Falls

Tkarón:to (Tree in the water there), or Aterón:to (It’s tree in the water/It’s a dug-out canoe) – Simcoe Lake (ON)

Tken’taresónsne (Many long chimneys there) – Fredonia, NY

Tsi ietsénhtha (Where one draws up water), or Iakotsénhon – The Saranac River (NY)

Tsi ietsénhtha (Where one draws up water) – Plattsburgh, NY

Tsi iohná:wate or Tiohná:wate (Where the rapid is rough) – Belleville, ON
Tsi kahio’tsísto (At where the salt is in the water), or Onontà:ke (On the mountain/hill) – Syracuse, NY

Tsi kaná:taien (Where the town is) – Cornwall, ON

Tsi kanatáher (At where the town is situated on something) – Brantford, ON
Tsi tewate’nehtararénies (Where the pebbles scatter around) – Potsdam, NY

Tsi tiontashehtahkhwà:ke (Where they use to hide at [from the Tutelo when they joined the confederacy]), or Tsi tiontashehtahkhwà:ke tsi iononténion/ionontahrónnion (The mountains where they use to hide at) – The Appalachian Mountains

Tsonenstí:io / Tso’neshí:io – The Genesee River

Wáhta (Maple tree) – Wahta Mohawk Territory, ON


  1. […] * I read that Oniatarí:i (“Beautiful Lake”) is one of several Mohawk names to reference Lake Ontario. And that in Ojibwe, this water body is referred to as Niigaani-gichigami (“Leading Sea”), and Gichi-zaaga’igan (“Big Lake”). Let us acknowledge all the names that have been lost to colonialism and also the knowledge keepers. Check out these sources for more info: 1, 2, 3, 4. […]


  2. Kanehsatà:ke – Kanesatake, QC / Oka, QC means “on the sand” because they are at the west end of Montreal island with sandy shore. Also the old word for Montreal is Hochelaga – Otsira:ke (on the fire / because it was a gathering place for nations to trade … also it may be a dormant volcano) and Canada is Kana:ta (the village)


  3. my grandfather said Saratoga /Sarahto:ken had to do with “sore heels” because it was so far by the time you got there your feet hurt


  4. I climbed what settlers have names St. Regis Mountain today but cannot find a record of its Mohawk or Haudenosaunee name. I would love to know if it carries a name bestowed by the indigenous tribes. Thank you!


  5. Close to Fonda, one can visit the archeological site of Kahnawa:ke (same name as the village close to Tiotia:ke). This village was built in 1666: 42°57’17.47″N 74°23’34.76″O

    Liked by 1 person

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