The nations of the confederacy recognize themselves as Haudenosaunee from their own language meaning “They made the house,” symbolizing all the nations coming together as one. From east to west the original nations of the confederacy are Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca.

The Tuscarora nation joined the league after leaving their traditional territory in North Carolina and Virginia to become the sixth nation.  Any issues the Tuscarora members have are submitted through the Cayugas.  Other nations like the Tuscaroras have been welcomed into the confederacy including the Delaware nation, the Wyendot nation and the Tutela nation and they as well bring their issues forward through the Cayuga nation.

The Confederacy symbol, the long house, was provided by the Peacemaker and is recognized in traditional geographic locations. In the early time it signified a way of living together as families of the same house. Today it signifies a people supporting the traditional cultural ways and values.

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is renowned for its organization and democratic system, one of the first of its kind. The Confederacy, also known as the league of nations, are five separate nations with an agreement to live under the Great Law as provided by the Peacemaker.

Each nation is known as follows:

Mohawk (Kanienkahagen) – The People of the Flint

Oneida (Onayotekaono) – The People of the Upright Stone

Onondaga (Onundagaono) – The People of the Hills

Cayuga (Guyohkohnyoh) – The People of the Great Swamp

Seneca (Onondowahgah)– The People of the Great Hill

Tuscarora (Ska-Ruh-Reh) – The Shirt Wearing People




During the American Revolution the nations were split with some fighting alongside the British and others joining the Americans. After the defeat of the British many moved to Upper Canada where they were provided by the British Crown with a large area of land known as the Grand River Tract to replace the land they lost.

While much of the land had been lost to land sales, leases and squatters, what was left was given the name of Six Nations Indian Reserve Number 40 in 1842. It exists as that today with all the nations accounted for on the land. The Haudenosaunee system of government still exists today but a federally-recognized Band Council has also been enacted by the Canadian federal government.