FOREWORD (By the Editors of this site)
James Fenimore Cooper's 1826 novel, The Last of the
Mohicans contains several instances where Native Americans are
referred to as "savages". Our inclusion of the story on this web
site in no way constitutes an endorsement of the views and opinions of
the author. The story remains a classic of literature and a
fact-based account of the life of Native Americans and their dealings
with the European colonists.
Another reason we have chosen to feature this story on our site is
the historical relationship between the Mohican and Mohawk; the
Mohican had been the victims of several attacks by the conquering
Mohawk tribe, their neighbors to the south of the Hudson River Valley.
Although the Mohican had formed an alliance with the Dutch
colonists, but after 6 soldiers died during a raid, the Mohican were
left to fend for themselves, and were soon defeated by the invaders
who forced them to abandon their villages on the western side of the
Eventually, the Dutch were also forced to relocate to more hostile
territory, where they became reluctant to trade rifles for furs with
the Natives, for fear of eventual attacks. Swedish settlers on the
other hand, had no qualms about trading weapons and soon enough,
tribes such as the Susquehannock, who had been trading beaver furs
with the Swedes and other European colonists had so many firearms,
they even owned a canon.
In order to restore a balance of power, the Dutch were forced to
start trading in weapons again. Eventually, the Mohawk and the
Mohican, who were both well-equipped in rifles, set up a truce in
order to jointly raid small settlements to expand their hunting
grounds. But the temporary truce did not last, and the Mohawk
resumed their raids on the Mohican, until they were almost completely
driven out of the Hudson River Valley.
The Mohican surrendered to the Iroquois Nations, and became the
first members of the "Covenant Chain", a protective trade
alliance between the Iroquois, the European settlers, and the
tribes they had conquered.
James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans made the tribe famous,
but ironically led its readers to believe the tribe had ceased to
exist. Nothing could be further from the truth as there are
currently over 1,500 descendents of the Mohicans (The Stockbrige
Indians) currently living in Wisconsin.