Mahican (American Indians Ready Reference)
The Mahican were Algonquian-speaking people closely related to the Delaware or Lenni Lenape and very strongly influenced by the Mohawk. They lived on both sides of the Hudson River and in northern New York nearly to Lake Champlain. When the Iroquois Confederacy became an allied military force after 1650, and Dutch and English settlers began moving into the lower Hudson River valley, the Mahican were pushed first east of the Hudson and then onto settlements in western Massachusetts near present-day Stockbridge.
Mahican, translated as “People of the Wolf,” are easily confused with the Mohegan, also of Delaware lineage, who lived in the Connecticut and lower Hudson River area. (It is not certain which tribe James Fenimore Cooper was referring to in his 1826 novel The Last of the Mohicans.)
White encroachment and the Iroquois alliance forced many Mahican in the early 1800's to migrate south into Pennsylvania and then down the Ohio River. Some migrants continued with other Delaware tribes into Oklahoma, while others went north through the straits of Mackinaw into Canada.
Mahican who stayed behind became associated with the Stockbridge Indians. Educated in white mission schools, many assimilated into white culture. During the revolutionary war, Stockbridge Indian men in high percentages joined the American army, influenced in part by the Iroquois alliance with the British.
History's most famous Mahican was John...
(The entire section is 413 words.)
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