Wikisq 'This is a detailed (long) blog, possibly containing Spoilers for Assassin's Creed III.
Piecing together the Puzzle. Read on if you want to know more about the Native Americans in the game and please don't complain about the length because I have already warned you (in this sentence).
I hope you all find it as informative as I did.

Connor’s Native American Culture

"Each individual has to have a vision for the future, ... for the children to come."

Jake Swamp, Akwesane Mohawk

Foreword: A note to all readers

This blog should be taken more as an opportunity for discussion in a much overlooked aspect of the upcoming game Assassin’s Creed III. I will try my best to present the information as accurately as possible and offer my thought (when speculative I will say so in terms of the game) on the role of the Native American culture in this game. Given the sheer scale and depth of history of this unique and often misunderstood culture, I will try to present the facts in a fun and concise manner and relate as much as possible to what I believe we will see in the game. Be warned before reading on that this is going to be a very long and detailed blog so please try and not focus on that in the comments. .

Assassin’s Creed III: What we know so far

Main article: American Revolutionary War

The war was a result of the political revolution stemming from the Stamp Act of 1765, which the colonists held as unconstitutional because of their lack of representation in the Parliament of Great Britain. The colonists claimed that there could be not taxation without representation and that they had the right to a degree of self-governance, while the Parliament claimed that they represented all citizens of the British Empire, granting them "virtual representation."

Thus, Parliament continued to tax the colonists, until the tax on tea led to the Boston Tea Party in 1773, which was followed promptly by the Intolerable Acts as a punishment for the movement. Parliament also disbanded the civilian colonial government in Massachusetts and put the colony under the direct military control of British Army General Thomas Gage, headquartered in Boston.

The major players in the American Revolution

Main article: Mohawk
Assassinscreed3 Native American Settlement

A Mohawk village (artwork by Gilles Beloeil).

The Mohawk were a tribe of Native Americans found in upstate New York. At least one of their members, Connor Kenway, joined the Assassin Order.[1]

During the American Revolutionary War, the Mohawk sided with the British, and helped fight the Americans. After the war, most of the tribe migrated up into Canada. The name Mohawk – meaning "man-eaters" – was given to them by their rival tribe, the Algonquians. It is unknown if they were a cannibal culture, or if the name referred to their alleged ferocity in battle.

History of the Mohawk Tribe

Mohawk belt

Pattern adopted for modern Mohawks

The Mohawk Nation, then known as Kanien'kehake (people of the flint) was one of the five founding Nations of the Iroquois League (or confederacy). The name Mohawk was given to the tribe by the Algonquin and was later adopted by the Europeans who had difficulty pronouncing Kanien'kehake. The other Nations in the Confederacy were the Cayuga, the Seneca, the Oneida, and the Onondaga. The sixth Nation to join was the Tuscarora.

At the time of the formation of the Iroquois League, the five tribes occupied territory from the East to the West, the Mohawk being the "keepers of the eastern door". People of Iroquoian linguistic stock were sedentary tribes who were accustomed to life in the harsher climates of the North-East.

They were sometimes referred to as the Haudenosaunee, which meant "People of the Longhouse" because of their long, rectangular communal dwellings. In addition to hunting, the Mohawk practiced agriculture, cultivating corn, squash and beans (the three sisters). They were also excellent trappers; when the European settlers came, the Mohawk exchanged furs for rifles, and arrangement which kept the colonists warm, and the conquering Mohawk strong.

Were they really man-eaters? It's not clear anymore whether that name was supposed to be literal, or an insult, or just a figure of speech to show that the Mohawks were fierce. Some Mohawk people believe that in ancient times, before they joined the Iroquois Confederacy, their ancestors used to eat enemies they had killed in battle. Other Mohawks think that never really happened and cannibals were always rare and strange in Mohawk society, like they were in other cultures.

Where do the Mohawks live? The Mohawks are original people of New York State. Here is our map of New York Indian tribes and the location of their original home lands. Take note of the locations in terms of Turin and New York and the tribes which are significant for each region. Can we expect to see more of them in the story and how significant a role they will have in Assassin’s Creed III.

Kanonsionni (Iroquois Nation)


Original Iroquois Nations Pattern

The Kanonsionni, also known under many names such as the Iroquois Confederation, the Six Nations and the Iroquois Great Council was a coming together of all the major regional tribes under one group.

The Mohawk Indian tribe was one of the original members of the Iroquois Confederation, or Kanonsionni in their own language ("people of the longhouse.") The other member nations were the the Seneca, the Oneida, the Cayuga, and the Onondaga. Later a sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the confederacy. Today these long-term allies refer to themselves as the Haudenosaunee or Six Nations.

How is the Mohawk Indian nation organized?

Native American Map locations

Map of Native American regions.

The Mohawk nation had a tribal council chosen by the Mohawk clan mothers (matriarchs, or female leaders.) But the Mohawks were also subject to the decisions made by the Iroquois Great Council. Nine Mohawk chiefs represented their tribe's interests in the Iroquois Council. This is similar to American states which each have their own government, but are all subject to the US government. In fact, the Iroquois Confederacy was one of the examples of representative democracy used as a model by America's founding fathers.

Today the Mohawk people have four First Nations in what is now Ontario and Quebec, including one reservation with land on both sides of the Canada-US border. Each of these Mohawk tribes is autonomous, which means the Indians who live there have the right to make their own government and laws. There are also other Mohawk communities in New York and Quebec, and some Mohawk people live on the Six Nations Reserve, which they share with members of the other Iroquois nations.

Typical Hierarchy


Modern Mohawk Nation Flag

One of the features of the Great Law of Peace and the alliance of nations in the Confederacy is that each nation maintained control over affairs within its own territory. It was in the area of dealings between the nations of the Confederacy, and dealings of the Confederacy with other nations that the Grand Council became involved. Within the individual nations, there was respect for the autonomy and the independence of local settlements. Within the settlements, there was still some autonomy for each of the clans as well. Clans had their own meetings, settlements had their own meetings, nations met in a national council, and all of the nations met in the Grand Council as the occasion warranted.

Differences of opinion and arguments could always be resolved within the system outlined by the Great Law of Peace. When an individual had a disagreement with another individual of the same clan, it was resolved by the clan. When individuals of different clans had disagreements, it was resolved by the local settlement. When settlements had difficulties, these difficulties were resolved by the national council. Finally, when nations within the Confederacy had differences amongst themselves or with a nation outside of the Confederacy, solutions were worked out by the Grand Council representing all of the nations of the Confederacy.

The organization of the Mohawk Nation within the Confederacy looked like this:

  • Confederacy (Grand Council)
  • Mohawk Nation (National Council)
  • Mohawk Settlements
  • Kahnawake- Kanesatake- Akwesasne
  • Canajoharie - Tiononderoge (All settlements with their local councils)
  • Mohawk Clans (Turtle - Wolf - Bear)
  • The Individual

Every individual belonged to a clan, or was protected by a clan. These clans were organized within each of the settlements of the nation. Each settlement was the responsibility of a particular nation, and each of these nations belonged to the Confederacy.

Mohawk Trivia

  • What was Mohawk culture like in the past? What is it like now?
    • Here is the home page of the Mohawk Tribe of Kahnawake, where you can find information about the Mohawk lifestyle past and present. You can also read simple articles about the Mohawk Indians here.
  • What language do the Mohawks speak?
    • Most Mohawk people speak English today, but some Mohawks also speak their native Mohawk language. Mohawk is a complex language with many sounds that are unlike the sounds in English. If you'd like to know a few easy Mohawk words, "she:kon" (pronounced similar to shay-cone) is a friendly greeting, and "nia:wen" (pronounced similar to nee-ah-wenh) means 'thank you.'
  • What were men and women's roles in the Mohawk tribe?
    • Mohawk men were in charge of hunting, trading, and war. Mohawk women were in charge of farming, property, and family. These different roles were reflected in Mohawk government. Mohawk clans were always ruled by women, who made all the land and resource decisions for each clan. But Mohawk chiefs, who made military decisions and trade agreements, were always men. Only men represented the Mohawks at the Iroquois Great Council, but only women voted to determine who the Mohawk representatives would be. Both genders took part in storytelling, artwork and music, and traditional medicine.
  • What were Mohawk homes like in the past?
    • Traditional longhouse

      Traditional longhouse

      The Mohawk people lived in villages of longhouses, which were large wood-frame buildings covered with sheets of elm bark. One Mohawk house could be a hundred feet long, and an entire clan lived in it--up to 60 people! Here are some pictures of Iroquois longhouses like the ones Mohawk Indians used, and a drawing of what a long house looked like on the inside. Here is some concept art of an Iroquois longhouse as we will see in the game.
  • What was Mohawk clothing like? Did they wear feather headdresses and face paint?
    • Mohawk men wore breechcloths with leggings. Mohawk women wore wraparound skirts with shorter leggings. Men did not originally wear shirts in Mohawk culture, but women often wore a poncho-like tunic called an overdress. Mohawk Indians usually wore moccasins on their feet. In colonial times, the Mohawks adapted European costume like cloth shirts and blouses, decorating them with beadwork and ribbon applique. Here is a webpage about traditional Iroquois dress, and some photographs and links about American Indian clothes in general.
    • The Mohawks didn't wear long headdresses like the Sioux. Mohawk men wore traditional Iroquois headdresses, which are feathered caps with a different insignia for each tribe. (The Mohawk headdress has three eagle feathers on top.) Mohawk women sometimes wore special beaded tiaras. In times of war, Mohawk men shaved their heads except for a scalplock or a crest down the center of their head--the hairstyle known as a roach or a "Mohawk."
    • Iroquoisbeadwork
      Sometimes they augmented this haircut with splayed feathers or artificial roaches made of brightly dyed porcupine and deer hair. Here are some pictures of these different kinds of Indian headdresses. Mohawk women only cut their hair when they were in mourning. Otherwise they wore their hair long and loose or plaited into a long braid. Men sometimes decorated their faces and bodies with tattoo art, but Mohawk women generally didn't paint or tattoo themselves.
  • What was Mohawk transportation like in the days before cars? Did they paddle canoes?
    • Assassins-Creed-3-Connor using a Native American Canoe
      Yes, there were two types of Mohawk canoes. A canoe made from elm bark was light and fast. A dugout canoe, made from hollowed-out logs, was long and could carry many people.
    • Over land, the Mohawks used dogs as pack animals. (There were no horses in North America until colonists brought them over from Europe.)
    • Iroquois snowshoes

      Traditional snowshoes used to traverse the Frontier.

      During the winter the Mohawks used sleds and laced snowshoes to travel through the snow. Iroquois snowshoes
  • What were Mohawk weapons, tools, and artifacts like in the past?
    • Mohawk hunters used bows and arrows. Mohawk fishermen used spears and fishing poles. In war, Mohawk men used their bows and arrows or fought with clubs, spears and shields.

      War Club (historical basis for the modern Lacross Stick)

    • Other important tools used by the Mohawks included stone adzes (hand axes for woodworking), flint knives for skinning animals, and wooden hoes for farming. The Mohawks and other Iroquois were skilled woodworkers, steaming wood so that it could be bent to make curved tools. Some Iroquois artisans still make lacrosse sticks this way today.
  • What are Mohawk arts and crafts like?
    • The Mohawk and other Iroquois tribes were known for their mask carving, which is considered such a sacred art form that outsiders are still not permitted to view many of these masks. Beadwork and the more demanding porcupine quillwork are more common Mohawk crafts. The Mohawks also crafted wampum out of white and purple shell beads. Wampum beads were traded as a kind of currency, but they were more culturally important as an art material. The designs and pictures on wampum belts often told a story or represented a person's family. Interestingly, Connor can be seen wearing these in the concept art and in-game images. However, the coloring does indicate…..
  • What other Native Americans did the Mohawk tribe interact with?
    • The most important neighbors of the Mohawk tribe were the other Iroquois nations: the Seneca, Onondaga, Oneida, and Cayuga. Before the Iroquois Confederacy the Mohawks sometimes fought with the other Iroquois tribes, but once the alliance was formed they were loyal to each other. The Mohawks were fierce warriors who fought wars with the other eastern tribes, particularly the Wabanaki tribes, the Algonquin and Ojibway, and the Mohican bands. The Mohawks also traded with their neighbors, exchanging corn and woodcrafts for furs and quahog shells.
  • What about Mohawk religion?
    • Typical indian 1
      Religions are too complicated and culturally sensitive to describe appropriately in only a few simple sentences, and we strongly want to avoid misleading anybody. I will however be touching on some interesting theories I have for Assassin’s Creed III where I make comparisons to Native American mythology and religious stories. This will be covered in the First Civilization section of this blog.

The Oneida Nation of New York

The Oneida, or "Onyota'a ka" are one of the original five members of the Iroquois League, being situated in what today is upper New York State. The traditional lands of the Oneida were the second most easterly of the Iroquois, situated between the easternmost Mohawk and the Onondaga. Their name means either, the "People of the Boulder" or "People of the Standing Stone". This refers to a significant rock formation found within the lands of the Oneida.


Modern Oneida Nation Flag

My Theory

Their name means either, the "People of the Boulder" or "People of the Standing Stone". This refers to a significant rock formation found within the lands of the Oneida and refers to the Grand Temple in my opinion. (We see this at the end of Assassin's Creed: Revelations during the passage of time and the way nature grew around the giant statue head of Minerva. Geographically that region 43 39 19 N 75 27 42 W is strewn with surface boulders though for some reason google maps doesnt show this and another surface satellite mapper is required to view this location.)

History of the Oneida

Even in the glory days of the Iroquois League, long before there was ever United States, the symbol of the Oneida people was a great tree. This continues right up to today. The tree is a white pine; this tree was selected by Deganawada, the “Peacemaker” ("The Oneida Indian Nation Seal" and a very important legend to the ACIII story in my opinion) because its needles stay green forever. The Peacemaker had a vision of the tribes coming together in peace under a "great tree". It is Deganawada and Hiawatha who are credited with uniting the Iroquois nations in the 16th century. The Peacemaker, according to legend, instructed the nations of the Iroquois to "bury their weapons of war under the sacred roots, and never unearth them again to use on each other" ("The Oneida Indian Nation Seal"). This legend and story will be covered more in the First Civilization section of this blog.

The seal of the Oneida Nation is red, appearing frequently as a reddish-orange or even orange. The red color recalls the blood spilled before the union of the five original nal nations. The trunk of the white pine is white and ends with four roots, the white represents purity while the four roots spread to the four directions of Mother Earth.

It bears the great tree of the Oneida in the center and pictured upon it are three clan totems, a wolf, bear and turtle. The tree is topped by an eagle with wings outstretched. The eagle is the national bird of the United States and the Iroquois. Its placement symbolizes that it is watching out for the Oneida and will scream out a warning of any impending danger. All totems appear in black. The clan totems are sheltered by the protection of the "Great Tree".

The green of the tree symbolizes that the Oneida's way of life, their government and the Oneida People shall prosper so long as they adhere to the Great Law) that was brought to the Oneida and the other Iroquois nations by the Peacemaker from the Creator.

Below the eagle is "Hiawatha's Belt", the wampum symbol of the creation of the Iroquois League around 1570. It appears in the original colors of the belt - white bearing the tree and links in bluish-purple or purple. The color purple represents peace ("The Oneida Indian Nation Seal", undated) These reflect the natural coloring of the shells from which the original "Hiawatha's Belt" of wampum was constructed.

Oneida Trivia

  • Originally the Oneida ruled nearly 270,000 acres in the 1700s and Turin, New York was known to be one of their sacred grounds.
  • The Oneida and the sixth member of the Iroquois League, the Tuscarora who joined in 1722, were the only members to side with the United States in its fight for independence.
  • Interestingly, the Grand Temple is located within the Oneida region and the surrounding area of Turin, New York was a place that held spiritual significance for the tribe.

The Seneca of New York


Modern Seneca Nation Flag

Originally called "Sen Uh Kuh", or the "Great Hill People", the name Seneca devolved from the similarity in sound to the Latin name familiar to the white man's ears. The Seneca were the most powerful of the member tribes in the Iroquois League and served the league as the "guardians of the western door". This term came from the Iroquois' view of their confederacy as a huge long house, their traditional dwelling. As the westernmost member of the league, it fell upon the Seneca to protect that gateway into the heart of Iroquois land.

During the American revolution, the Seneca, under the leadership of two chiefs, Red Jacket and Cornplanter, sided with the British. After the war, the Seneca remained within the boundaries of the new nation.

French and Indian War

Main article: French and Indian War

During the French & Indian War a young American major they called "Caunotaucarius", or "Town Destroyer" led American troops through the lands of the Seneca, burning villages, destroying all crops and stored foodstuffs, killing many and leaving the rest to starve through the bitter winter of upstate New York. Years later Cornplanter met with "Town Destroyer" and reminded him of his actsd against the Seneca. At that time, the former major had a new job - President of a newly independent nation. 'Town Destroyer" is better known to most people as George Washington.

The flag of the Seneca is white and bears the seal of the tribe in blue with red lettering in the center. This seal contains maps of the three reservations and is the modern variation of their flag.

Surrounding the maps are eight animals, the beaver, the deer, a wolf, a bear, a turtle, a hawk, a heron and a snipe. These eight creatures are the totems, or emblems associated with particular Seneca clans. For the Seneca, the clan is a group of families all descended from a common ancestor.

Around the seal appear two legends in red. Over the top appears "Seneca Nation of Indians". Along the bottom is their title "Keepers of the Western Door".

The First Civilization & the Native Americans

Finally, we are here, the most interesting part of my blog, simply because it will allow me to try and make connections between the real history and what we may see in the Assassin’s Creed III.

The Prophecy

The prophecy of the Seventh Generation is common to many American Indian nations. Young native people, especially young Mohawk people, would pay attention to and consider important as it was passed down from tribal elder to tribal elder throughout the generations. This prophecy has always been emphasized in the tradition of the Mohawk Nation during storytelling and lore.

According to the prophecy, after seven generations of living in close contact with the Europeans, the Onkwehonwe would see the day when the elm trees would die, the land would sunder and the skies would burn. The prophecy said that animals would be born strange and deformed, their limbs twisted out of shape. Huge stone monsters would tear open the face of the earth. The rivers would burn aflame. The air would burn the eyes of man.

According to the prophecy of the Seventh Generation the Onkwehonwe would see the day when birds would fall from the sky, the fish would die in the water, a great thunder would be heard, the sky would glow and shimmer and man would grow ashamed of the way that he had treated his mother and provider, the Earth.

Finally, according to this prophecy, after seven generations of living in close contact with the Europeans, the Onkwehonwe would rise up and demand that their rights and stewardship over the Earth be respected and restored.

Seneca Cavern example

Seneca Cavern entrance to greater cave dwelling.

According to the wisdom of this prophecy, men and women would one day turn to the Onkwehonwe, and particularly to the eastern door of the Confederacy, for both guidance and direction. It is up to the present generation of youth of the Kanien'kehake to provide leadership and example to all who have failed. The children of the Kanien'kehake are the seventh generation.

  • The Eastern door!!!! This could very well refer to the Turin and the Grand Temple since it is located easterly from the Mohawk Nation region. It could also refer to the Seneca Tribe, that were famed for having a series of underground cavern systems that the used to traverse areas and shelter themselves in.

The Symbols of the Haudenosaunee

Haudenosaunee (also known as the Iroquios) designs (Glyphs) have featured recurring designs for centuries; these symbols have been passed on through generations, and have deep cultural significance. I suspect they will replace the Glyphs from previous games.

They can also tell us a great deal about the people of this tribe, and what they believed in. In the West, we might be more likely to associate picture symbols with road signs, or playing cards used in games of poker. However, for the Haudenosaunee, many symbols bare a much deeper meaning. Examples of some such symbols are listed below:

  • The Tree of Peace is a tall white pine that has been planted by the Onondaga, representing the great binding law, or Gayanahsagowa, which unified the five Nations. This is also significant to the Oneida Tribe and is their symbol. What that means in the Assassin’s Creed Universe though is anyone’s guess.
    • The cardinal points for north, south, east, and west are represented by four white roots growing from the Tree of Peace. The number four has great significance in Haudenosaunee lore, also representing the four beings that help the Creator, and the four winds that blow (Altair, Ezio, Connor and Desmond).

An eagle sits atop the tree of peace, watching over the five Nations, ready to cry out at the first sign of approaching danger. The eagle is considered to be a messenger sent by the Creator.

  • On a side note, in most Greco-Roman mythologies the Creator god was Zeus or Jupiter.

Also, take note of the various tribes mentioned and how they relate to the cardinal points in this prophecy;

  • North – Mohawk
  • South – Possibly Onondaga or Cayuga (though likely to be the Tuscarora Nation)
  • East – Oneida Tribe (region where the Grand Temple is located)
  • West – Seneca Tribe

The first five nations listed below formed the original Five Nations (listed from west to east); the Tuscarora became the sixth nation in 1720.

Tribes after the American Revolutionary War


Pattern adopted by tribes after the American Revolution (Oneida version)

The treaty of Paris in 1783 formally ended the Revolutionary war and the tribal belt was assembled in 1784. The reason we have the tribal Oneida belt with the 6 diamonds is that signified the coming together of the 6 Iroquois Nations after the war because they had been split up during the war.

"Now, it is this wampum that the chiefs made as a record after the time when the war ended between Washington and the British. It was the Oneidas who fashioned this wampum to remind each other of their territories of the Six Nations. When we begin reciting this wampum, we always start to the right side. First, we have the territories of the Mohawk nation. In the middle, the diamond shape represents their fire. They are also known as the Keepers of the Eastern Door. All matters that come from the east from other tribes, they Of importance, then it is brought to the Six Nations Confederacy. The next square represents the territory of the Oneida Nation and it’s fire. Next the Onondaga Nation’s territory and it’s fire. They are also known as the central fire of the Six Nations. All matters pertaining to the Six Nations are brought here. Next is the Cayuga Nations Territory and it’s fire. The next one is the Seneca Nations territory and it’s fire. They are also know as the Keepers of the Western Door. All matters coming from the west are brought here, before they would go to the Six Nations Confederacy. Next we have the Tuscarora Nation and it’s territory in the middle represents their fire. This wampum is always in the care of the firekeeper of the Oneida Nation of chiefs. Every so often it would be taken out and it would be recited to remind everyone of it’s meaning. Now this is as much as I can convey at this time so these are all the words."
(Interview with Oneida Faithkeeper, 1996)

The Great Peace Maker

The next symbol is that of a circle, representing unity and the cycle of life. According to Haudenosaunee lore, the Peace Maker made the Iroquois chiefs gather around the Tree of Peace, forming a circle by holding hands in order to keep the peace. The next symbol is a bundle of five arrows, each representing one of the five founding tribes of the Iroquois League. The Peace Maker demonstrated that one arrow could easily be broken, while a bundle five would remain strong. All life is believed to have come from the Sky World, which is represented as a dome, or arch.

  • In my opinion the Peace Maker represents Connor and as a by-product Desmond Miles as well. The lore for the Peace Maker is far too long for this already long blog so I have attached the Wikipedia link to the article and will allow you, the reader,to draw your own conclusions. I think you will start to see a pattern emerge once you read it and consider what we have uncovered so far in this blog. All I will say is that there are interesting times ahead of us in Assassin’s Creed III and I am looking forward to how this story will develop.

Gallery of Native American Patterns on Connor's Clothing and Apparel

2012 and the Great Disaster

In addition to the Tree of Peace, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Indians) often make references to the Celestial Tree (the Sun), from which all light in the Sky World originate. Lore states of the spitting of fire from the Sky World when the Celestial Tree grows angry. This is unique as each tribe has its own lore but all of them collectively have this one.

Somehow it is starting to make sense now and the puzzle pieces are coming together (?).

Closing Thoughts

Well, if you made it this far I'd like to thank you. This took a lot of time and effort to research, plan and prepare but if it receives even a moderate amount of interest then it will have been worth it because I'd love to hear what the community thinks about the facts and theories I present here (and what it all means for Assassin's Creed III).


  • The information on this page was edited from material found from numerous academic sources and is said to be in the public domain.

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